The Art of Giving Back
by Nikhil Mehta
After more than a year of tumult and upheaval, mass vaccination and other safety measures have helped many Americans return to some sense of normalcy. For millions across the country, however, and hundreds of thousands in Colorado, the COVID-19 pandemic deepened existing inequities and gaps for vulnerable communities. Though the economy has rebounded from the darkest days of the pandemic, economic opportunity, education, nutrition, and mental illness are still serious issues facing many across Boulder County. And climate change continued unabated by the Coronavirus, bringing the world that much closer to the brink of a catastrophe.
Boulder County has dozens of organizations working to address all of these problems, but they need your help. Whether you donate your time, money, or urgently-needed items, you can save lives in your community today. With Colorado Gives Day approaching on Tuesday, December 7, be sure to take time and give to a local charity or nonprofit in need to ensure that those in need are provided for during the holiday season.
Community Food Share
Phone: (303) 652-3663
“Hunger is a reality for 1 in 8 people in Boulder and Broomfield Counties.”
Even though Boulder County’s median household income outpaces that of the United States as a whole, food insecurity is still a serious issue in the area. Community Food Share is a food bank leading the fight against hunger by acting as a hub for the delivery of millions of pounds of food to over 40 local food pantries and meal programs. They also provide fresh, nutritious food directly to families, seniors, and students through onsite and mobile pantries. Every $5 donated to Community Food Share provides $25 of groceries to someone in need, making them a great destination for a holiday donation. You can volunteer by yourself, with your family (kids ages 5+), or with a group at their Louisville warehouse or their gardens and mobile pantries around Boulder.
“Remember us on Colorado Gives Day!”
First Nations Development Institute
Phone: (303) 774-7836
“First Nations Development Institute believes that when armed with the appropriate resources, Native Peoples hold the capacity and ingenuity to ensure the sustainable, economic, spiritual, and cultural well-being of their communities.”
First Nations Development Institute has been helping fund Native American communities across the United States since 1980. They invest in Native communities in six key areas:
• Stewarding Native Lands
• Nourishing Native Foods & Health
• Advancing Household & Community Asset-Building Strategies
• Strengthening Tribal & Community Institutions
• Investing in Native Youth
• Achieving Native Financial Empowerment
They have managed more than 2,000 grants and $45 million for projects in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territory American Samoa. They have been imperative in helping Native communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic by directly distributing almost $5 million to Native populations in need. With inequities and vulnerabilities continuing to devastate Native Americans, their work is vital to supporting education, nutrition, and more in Native communities.
“First Nations is the most highly rated American Indian nonprofit in the nation, meeting strict criteria of top charity watchdogs.”
Western Resource Advocates
Phone: (303) 444-1188
“The impacts of human development on wildlife and wild land are being felt around the world and right here in the West.”
For over 30 years, Western Resource Advocates have fought to preserve and protect local wildlife and the environment. With climate change threatening beloved natural beauties and endangered species across Colorado, the time is now to take care of our precious natural resources and the economies they support. Their work protects local wildlife while boosting local economies, especially through access to outdoor recreation including hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing. Western Resource Advocates have set a goal of protecting 50 percent of land and water by 2050 in order to prevent mass extinction of plant and animal species. Their team of policy experts, scientists, economists and attorneys has the requisite expertise and experience to combat the climate crisis, but they need your help. Donate on Giving Day to do your part in the fight against climate change.
“Join the fight to ensure a future for wildlife and wild lands in the West before it’s too late.”
Leave No Trace
Phone: (303) 442-8222
“Through a combination of proven education, collaborative science, and sustainable outreach initiatives, Leave No Trace has been a foundational voice guiding people in how to recreate respectfully and best care for shared outdoor areas.”
Leave No Trace promotes the care and stewardship of all outdoor areas, working to ensure that future generations can enjoy them as well. Founded originally for the sustainable stewardship of wilderness and backcountry travel, Leave No Trace has since expanded to include all forms of outdoor recreation. Your donation will fund their 2022 Hot Spots initiative, which aims to help areas recover from human-related impacts. They create a unique healthy recovery plan for each chosen location to ensure that nature and everything it has to offer will survive long into the future. Your gift will also support Leave No Trace’s education efforts that spread their sustainable approach to enjoying the outdoors.
“I believe that Leave No Trace is the absolute least I can do in exchange for hiking, camping and backpacking in outdoor and wild spaces. Stewardship of the environment is critical to ensuring that generations after me can continue to enjoy the same trails I hike and woods I wander in. Leaving No Trace is a small investment that reaps big returns.” —Victoria, Leave No Trace Donor and Master Educator
Grief Support Network
Phone: (720) 295-4760
“GSN was created to empower people to transform through their experience of grief and loss and to break the stigma around grief in our culture, offering support for all kinds of loss, at any phase of the grief process.”
Grief Support Network works to change our how culture grieves with a positive and life-affirming approach that emphasizes mindfulness and personal growth. After founder Wendy Black Stern lost her son Noah when he was just nine months old, she embraced her grief as an opportunity to help her community. She has since worked to develop several initiatives to support others through their grief, including virtual community circles, mindful grieving programs, and mindful connection youth programs. Grief Support Network also utilizes a network of partners, providers and resources to promote collaboration and transform our approach to loss. Your contribution will support their work and keep this vital programming available to the public.
“A culture that does not run from grief but embraces it as an opportunity for growth and connection.”
Phone: (303) 665-4342
“Economic struggles affect us all from time to time—the loss of a job, an unexpected illness, divorce, and other life events. The many people we serve include the underemployed, newly unemployed, seniors, people with disabilities, young adults, families, and the largest group experiencing poverty—children.”
Sister Carmen Community Center has a comprehensive approach to providing for the most vulnerable in Boulder County, promoting nutrition, access to healthcare, housing assistance, and more. With more than 42,000 Boulder County residents under the poverty line, homelessness and lack of childcare are pressing needs for thousands of families. With individualized service and care, Sister Carmen offers wraparound support to those in need, focusing on providing for basic needs and empowering disadvantaged individuals. During the holiday season, donate new or gently used coats and new hats and gloves. Gift cards to local grocery stores (especially King Soopers and Walmart) are also very appreciated in denominations of $10, $15, and $20. They also accept donations of dozens of different food and household items, so be sure to help Sister Carmen stock their pantry!
“We distribute over 1.2 million lbs of food per year, and the majority of those food donations come from community members like you!”
Phone: (720) 466-0532
“Through a combination of individual empowerment and community involvement, we intend to erase the stigma associated with mental illness.”
With the slogan, ‘Every Stitch a Purpose,’ Mindful Works hires and supports individuals in recovery from mental illness through job training and employment opportunities in the design, production, and sale of a variety of clothing and home products. Their programming emphasizes key job-related skills, including time management, attention to detail, and collaboration, to help participants prepare for a future in the workplace. With a wide range of work opportunities, individuals can hone multiple transferable skills while gaining experience and earning a real salary. Through partnerships with the Division of Rehabilitation and community mental health providers, Mindful Works helps those struggling with mental illness overcome barriers to employment. You can get involved by volunteering, and Mindful Works is also a great place to shop for holiday gifts. With everything from furniture to face masks, give two gifts with one purchase from Mindful Works.
“This transitional work experience translates to a positive line on a resume, a positive work reference, and a boost in self-esteem.”
Zonta Foothills Club
“We believe that the future of Boulder County, our nation and our planet, depends on the education and support of women and girls.”
Zonta Foothills Club of Boulder County promotes education, equity, health, and economic stability for women locally and around the world. The all-volunteer organization’s Zonta EducateZ program promotes women in higher education through seven scholarships and education funds, which has distributed almost $30,000 this year. They also have programming that helps students in high school and college develop leadership skills and a career path while promoting community service. As a member of the Women’s Collaborative of Boulder County, Zonta Foothills Club works to address violence against women by partnering with community organizations for education and advocacy.
“From high school through graduate school we are committed to making dreams of education become a reality.
The Reentry Initiative
Phone: (720) 640-9513
“The Reentry Initiative’s (TRI) mission is to provide comprehensive services inside and outside prison walls that empower adults to achieve fulfilling and crime-free lives in their communities.”
The Reentry Initiative utilizes a unique, evidence-based process to support formerly-incarcerated individuals reentering their communities. With a six-month pre-release course in collaboration with the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility, as well as mental health services for trauma and addiction, The Reentry Initiative has been vital to helping individuals thrive after serving time in prison since 2016. Their Longmont Welcome Back Center supports both men and women immediately after their release to promote employment and transition planning.
“TRI is 1 of 19 reentry programs in Colorado funded by WAGEES to work with men and women parolees. It is one of two programs in the state working with female inmates and the only one in Boulder County offering comprehensive wraparound services, committed to the evolution from ‘Surviving to Thriving.'”
Dairy Arts Center
Phone: (303) 440-7826
“The Dairy’s 42,000 square foot facility houses disciplines ranging from visual arts, theater, and film to dance and music. A professional environment complete with art galleries, performance venues, teaching studios, offices, rehearsal spaces, dance studios, and a 60-seat art-house cinema, it is Boulder’s largest multi-disciplinary arts center.”
The Dairy Arts Center is home to some of Boulder’s most popular and acclaimed arts experiences. The Art House Cinema at the Boedecker Theatre is a leading arts cinema with a diverse array of movies and performances, featuring New York Film Critics national screenings, live opera, art house special features and live-streamed ballet performances. Or, check out the Dairy’s visual arts exhibits, which are free and open to the public daily. The Dairy also offers a wide array of programming over the holidays, including Hazel Miller & the Collective’s Gospel Holiday Show with soulful renditions of holiday favorites; enjoy this annual holiday concert on Sunday, December 12. There’s also the Rocky Mountain Revels with Celtic immigrants, featuring music, Irish step dancing, a traditional Mummers’ Play, and stories of Irish legends.
“Even as we have streamlined the 2021 show to acknowledge COVID constraints, its joy reminds us all that human traditions endure through music and laughter.”