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BOCO Giving Guide: Nonprofits Need You!


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In conducting research for this article, I noticed a consistent theme: in these times of extremity and even crisis, our community chose to ask, not “how can I survive,” but, “what can I give?”

The people and organizations you’ll meet in this article show just such a generosity of spirit. Over the past difficult year they have been working tirelessly to help those in need, even as their own backs are against the wall.

 

Louisville Rising

 

louisvillerising.org

 

 

Since being founded in response to the pandemic, Louisville Rising has helped innumerable non-profits in the area make ends
meet by providing funding for them. Founder Gillian Millar was an event planner before the pandemic hit. As the pandemic became more severe,she realized there was a much deeper need springing up in the community. She said, “I’m not one to sit on my hands and feel sorry for myself. I had to do something to get community engagement and spirits back up.”

She’s very excited to announce the next big event, Miracle on Main Street, a pop-up Christmas bar. 100% of the proceeds will go back into helping local non-profits.

“We need fun right now,” Gillian said, “which is why we focus on creating fundraising events that are fun and also safe.”

“It’s not just raising money,” she added. “It’s more than that. It’s people.”

 

Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

 

Greenwoodwildlife.org

 

 

Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center rehabilitates wildlife that has been orphaned, injured, or become sick. Founded in 1982, they treat thousands of animals every year.

This organization certainly affected Thomas Edgecomb Boothe. Days after being evacuated from their Boulder home, Thomas and his wife Janet drove back up the mountain to gather their belongings and winterize their home against the incomprehensible blizzard that had stormed in since they left.

After gathering their belongings, the couple had ten minutes to spare. They decided to check on the neighbor’s chickens. “Walking up to the coop we saw a bird under the stairway,” Thomas said. “We assumed it was a chicken out in the snow. Then I looked downand did a double take. It had a green beak, long neck, and red eyes. It was frozen to the ground, struggling, but it couldn’t move an inch.”

One of Thomas’s friends ran a raptor rescue program and suggested that they bring the mysterious bird to Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. After putting it in a box, the two of them, bird-in-tow, embarked on a treacherous drive. “This was a Sunday. There was a blizzard, but we just went for it,”

Thomas recalled. “The road was horrible. Accidents all the way there. Then through the snow we saw a light. I grabbed the bird and walked up to the door. The workers were waiting there. They welcomed us with open arms.” The couple discovered that the bird was a Western Grebe – a stressed species that, once on the ground, cannot fly again without being rescued. “Once they’re grounded they can’t fly,” Thomas said emphatically. “The only thing that can rescue them is a human.”

The grebe, under the attentive care of the staff at Greenwood, made a full recovery and was released back out in the wild.

 

Green up our Schools

 

Greenupourschools.org

 

 

Anthony Hodes is the director of Green Up Our Schools, a nonprofit that helps students learn to be responsible environmental stewards. Students work together to build peer-to-peer collaboration skills while designing and implementing waste diversion projects.

“These kids are super enthusiastic; they just get it.” Anthony noted. “And right now the work is especially important. Schools are individualizing school lunch experiences, which is creating a lot more waste, and the kids are asking, ‘what can we do?’ ”

“It’s about being empathetic to humanity,” he added, “one kid at a time.”

 

Last Mile Education Fund

 

lastmile-ed.org

 

 

Our students live on a Razor’s Edge of Insecurity,” said Ruthe Farmer, founder of Last Mile Education Fund, a non-profit dedicated to providing support for young people with aspirations in tech industries. She got the idea for Last Mile Education Fund in 2013 when she helped a student who almost turned down a high-paying internship because she couldn’t afford bus fare. The two of them founded this nonprofit to “invest in students in high-demand fields.”

“Our scholarship system is broken,” Ruthe said. “Everyone wants to find the best of the best. Meanwhile there are capable, qualified, underrepresented kids that get nothing because they’re not some superhero outlier.”

Ruthe recalled a story of a young woman who was impacted by the non-profit. “She was a Black woman, a senior in computer science,” Ruthe said. “She was eating at a food bank and facing homelessness. We paid her tuition and rent and she graduated. She took a job with Microsoft in August. I just got an email from her. She wanted to know how to donate to our fund.”

“Basic needs should not be a privilege. Ruthe stated firmly. “Education was built to invest in citizens. We see their potential and we see the value of investing in them.”

 

YMCA of Northern Colorado

 

ymcanoco.org

 

 

Chris Coker is concerned about all of the people who depend on the Y’s services. He stated, “People don’t realize this, but we are the largest provider of childcare in the US. Families we work with are saying, ‘If I don’t work and have my kids taken care of, I don’t pay rent.’”

The financial future is looking grim for our local Y. Right now it’s sustaining a quarter million in losses every month. As the CEO, Chris noted that, “the right business decision is to shut down until this is over, but we can’t. Where do these kids go then?” He went on, “When non-profits say they need stuff, it’s because our community needs stuff.”

Even with the pandemic, the Y is adapting to meet the needs of children and families. “One of the things that we’ve done is roll out a whole new childcare framework that uses social-emotional learning. Thirty-two lessons about empathy, caring, and anti-bullying,” Chris said.

He ended by saying, “This Y is 140 years old. Think about what it’s survived! But COVID could take it down. The community needs to say this is important.”

 

350 Boulder

 

350colorado.org/bouldercounty

 

 

Julia Williams is the Development and Communications Director at 350 Boulder, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people find meaningful ways to take action on the climate crisis. 350 Boulder certainly impacted Leslie Weise, a volunteer and board member who first found the organization when she discovered unwelcome news.

“One of the largest frack sites in Colorado was proposed to be built less than 2 miles from our home,” she recalled. “Once I made it clear this was an issue really important to me and my family, 350 Boulder was able to connect and amplify the voices of people who would be affected by this.”

350 Boulder is focused on the environment, but for Julia Williams, it’s much more. She said, “we’re waking up to the intersectionality of issues. It’s about uniting movements together, about balance, and about reflecting on how to interact with the world and interact with yourself in a way that benefits society.

 

Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA)

 

movingtoendsexualassault.org

 

 

Janine D’Anniballe is the Director of MESA, the only sexual violence resource center in Boulder County. MESA provides services and support to anyone in the community who has experienced sexual violence.

While MESA works with individuals to heal from trauma, their other goal is to eradicate sexual assault by rooting out its systemic causes. Janine stated, “we help people work through trauma, but there’s also a justice and systems piece to address these inherent abuses of power.

The pandemic has generated an uptick in the need for MESA’s services. Janine noted, “this whole COVID thing is called ‘safe at home.’  But safe at home for whom? Home isn’t safe if you’re stuck with an abuser.”

To respond to the increasing needs in the community, MESA has recently rolled out a text feature. Put simply, Janine said, “We want to be there for people so that we can begin to heal.”

 

Ralston House

 

Ralstonhouse.org

 

 

Courtney Teasdale is on the board of Ralston House, an advocacy center for children who have witnessed or been the victims of violent crime., “The need for our services is higher.” Courtney explained.“At the same time, all of the fundraising events and things we’ve done historically have had to be cancelled.”

Ralston House has been adapting to the new COVID regulations while also providing a safe and nurturing environment for kids up to the age of 18. Courtney noted, “we’ve started doing forensic interviews virtually while still in-house.” Their biggest goal is to help kids give only one testimony of their experiences in a safe and nurturing environment to reduce the chance of retraumatization.

When asked what drives her, Courtney responded, “The innocent. Giving them a voice when they can’t speak for themselves has really been my passion.”

 

Coal Creek Meals on Wheels

 

CoalcreekMOW.org

 

 

“We serve anyone who needs meal delivery,” said Lark Rambo, Executive Director of Coal Creek Meals on Wheels. “It’s not just seniors. We serve people who have lost their jobs temporarily, people with disabilities, people relying on school lunch. We also have a program where people coming home from a hospital get five free meals while they recover.”

Lark recalled a family that they helped recently. “The husband had COVID and lost his job. Then his wife got COVID. They had a child at home and zero income coming in. They couldn’t be in public, and couldn’t pay for food delivery. They just needed support for a couple of weeks to get by. When people are already on the verge of hardship, COVID can push them over the edge. Sometimes, you just need to eat for a couple of weeks.” Lark said.

When asked if there was anything she wanted to add, Lark laughed and said, “Yeah, something people don’t realize is that the food is actually really good! We make all of our food from scratch. Even [the] salad dressing is homemade. All meals are made from scratch and cater to any dietary restrictions. You name it, we can accommodate.”

 

Project V.E.T.S.


projectvets.org

 

Project V.E.T.S. sends supplies, and equipment all over the world to help people improve the lives of animals. While working internationally as a veterinarian, Candy Brad, founder of Project V.E.T.S., met people all over the world who were working to save animals. “Vets never throw anything away,” she explained. “Every time I got a new machine I would store the old one. So I had a closet of state-of-the-art equipment that I would never use again.”

She realized that, “these people all over the world had the skills. They didn’t need my skills. They needed my stuff.”

Project V.E.T.S. sends resources, supplies, and equipment all over the world to help people improve the lives of animals. But, for Candy, it’s not just animals that are being helped. “There’s a lot of people that don’t see that everything affects us,” she said. “We’re all intertwined. If you don’t have a healthy environment you’re not going to have a healthy community or animals. We all want the same things. If we recognize ourselves in every being we can improve the planet. We’re healing the planet one animal at a time.”

 

Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners (RMCP)

 

rmcrisispartners.org

 

 

Tif Choate, artist and founder of Snaiil Candy Art, is on a mission to give back. Specifically, Choate paints murals to fundraise for local nonprofits. Her most recent mural was for Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners, a suicide-prevention organization dedicated to helping people in crisis get the immediate and ongoing help that they need.

She said, “I wanted to help RMCP because someone in my life is struggling with suicide. So many people like my friend who have no idea how to manage their feelings about hopelessness. There aren’t many real, credible resources for someone who is really struggling. The staff at RMCP are working so hard. So many people need support because of the state of our world. So it was really important to me to say, ‘Hey. We need to turn it around and give them some support too.’”

Learn more about Tif’s work at
www.SnaiilCandy.com

 

The Savory Institute

 

savory.global

 

 

Many residents are unaware that we have a powerful environmental institution right in our own backyard. The Savory Institute is dedicated to educating farmers and ranchers on the necessity of holistic land management.

“While our headquarters is in Boulder, we work globally,” said Bobby Gill, the Director of Development and Communications. “We have forty-eight learning hubs around the world that equip ranchers and farmers to improve grazing and regenerate grasslands. Since starting the institution, we’ve influenced the management of thirty-two million acres, training over 12,000 people through our global network.”

While their scope is global, the impact of holistic, regenerative land management has implications right here in our community. “We don’t focus on wildfires, but it’s another symptom of improper land management,” Bobby said. When asked what we can do to make an impact, Bobby suggested, “start asking where your food comes from. Start supporting brands that are dedicated to regenerative agriculture. If we focus on what we have the capacity to influence and change, there’s a lot of hope.”

 

 

Humanity’s Team

 

humanitysteam.org

 

 

Humanity’s Team is dedicated to raising the consciousness of humanity through education. They are especially focused on conscious business practices.

Steve Farrell, founder, found himself in an interesting predicament. After selling a successful tech company in the 1990’s, he achieved a comfortable level of wealth. “My big realization was that the whole American Dream thing of creating financial prosperity was a kids game.” Farrell said. “So my heart led me in this direction of creating Humanity’s Team. We want to be in service. We want to create a sustainable planet.”

In October, Humanity’s Team launched a worldwide virtual summit that reached over 200K people. Steve recalled, “The program went deep.. ”

Steve added, “We’re being guided into that place of connection. We need to stay strong and follow that guidance. Don’t question yourself. You’ll come into really the most amazing life, I promise.”

 

Muse Performance Space

 

museperformancespace.com

 

 

Musicians have had to be especially adaptable in these times. Clare Church, founder of Muse Performance Space in Lafayette, knows firsthand what that’s like. After a lifetime of performing as a saxophonist, Clare developed a neurological disorder that affected her tongue, face, jaw, and neck. In response, she founded the Muse Performance Space to give local musicians a space to play and share their gifts.
Clare knows how powerful music is for bringing people together. She wanted to make sure Muse was still supporting musicians even in the pandemic. She said, “so many musicians lost all of their income and places to play. So we started live streaming as our main format. We give 70% of donations to musicians. Muse is entirely donation based.”
More than that, Clare wanted to maintain a sense of community, even as restrictions made it harder to gather. “We want it to feel like you’re coming into our living room. If you’re here, if you’re listening, you’re our guest. If you can give, you can, and if you can’t, that’s ok. We’re going to keep putting the music out there.”
Musicians have had to be especially adaptable in these times.
Clare Church, founder of Muse Performance Space in Lafayette, knows firsthand what that’s like. After a lifetime of performing as a saxophonist, Clare developed a neurological disorder that affected her tongue, face, jaw, and neck. In response, she founded the Muse Performance Space to give local musicians a space to play and share their gifts.

Clare knows how powerful music is for bringing people together. She wanted to make sure Muse was still supporting musicians even in the pandemic. She said, “so many musicians lost all of their income and places to play. So we started live streaming as our main format. We give 70% of donations to musicians. Muse is entirely donation based.”

More than that, Clare wanted to maintain a sense of community, even as restrictions made it harder to gather. “We want it to feel like you’re coming into our living room. If you’re here, if you’re listening, you’re our guest. If you can give, you can, and if you can’t, that’s ok. We’re going to keep putting the music out there.”

 

Sister Carmen

 

sistercarmen.org

 

 

Sister Carmen meets the basic needs of people who are struggling. From money to food to household items to education, this non-profit is committed to creating a safe, welcoming space of unconditional giving.

Jenny Barger spoke to the way her life was changed by Sister Carmen.

“Thirteen years ago I was jobless and homeless,” Jenny said. “After I landed at Sister Carmen, I obtained employment and bought a home. I want people to understand that Sister Carmen gives people hope. I’m a prime example of that.” She added, “Sister Carmen gives people hope. I want everyone to know you can pull yourself up and out of even the darkest place.”

“When the pandemic started everybody panicked at first.” Jenny recalled. “I looked at my boss and I said, ‘What’s going to happen?’ We rely on our community for our donations so that we can keep the food bank running and help people with bills and rent. Lo and behold, we had donations. We had a family in Lafayette offer to donate $50,000, but they were asking the community to match it. And the community did. A second family did the same thing, and the community matched that. We are a blessing to the community, and the community is a blessing to us.”

The people and organizations featured in this article are just a few incredible examples of generosity, courage, and heart that we have everywhere in our community. During this holiday season, let’s take a moment of gratitude for the kindness, support, and dedication of our neighbors. If you’re wondering where and how to give your own resources, start here. I promise your own gift will be amplified and reflected back to you in the lives of those you’ve served.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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