The leaders of nonprofit organizations and event planners have spent a lot of time since the pandemic trying to figure out how to stage fundraisers. They have wondered if it was a good idea to proceed with in-person gatherings or whether virtual or hybrid versions should be substituted. As 2021 winds down and attention shifts to 2022, the mood is both optimistic and cautious. We spoke with representatives from nearly two dozen nonprofits to get an idea of what's to come. Some have event dates and venues locked in; others are more cautious, advising supporters to check their respective websites for updates.
A Precious Child
Founded by Carina Martin, A Precious Child provides “cradle to career support” to Colorado children to empower them to achieve their full potential. From its Broomfield headquarters to satellite offices throughout the eight-county Denver metro area, it provides low-income families food, clothing and other services necessary to give their children the best possible start in life. Annual fundraisers include a gala.
Amp The Cause
A Denver-based nonprofit founded 17 years ago by Christie and Walter Isenberg, AMP the Cause serves the metro area’s most vulnerable children and families annually through a variety of community-driven programming. Its Fill the Void program, launched in 2020, helps alleviate hunger by providing reliable access to food by distributing grocery gift cards to stores like Walmart, King Soopers and Safeway. Fundraisers planned for 2022 include the Denver Day of Rock and a Celebrity Waiters Dinner.
Central City Opera
Julie Penrose and Anne Evans founded the Central City Opera, the nation’s fifth and oldest, in 1932. Its annual Summer Festival involves world-class productions performed in the 550-seat Central City Opera House, constructed in 1878. The company celebrates its 90th season in 2022. Money to support the opera and its educational and outreach programs will be raised at a gala held in the spring; the presentation of the Central City Flower Girls and the Yellow Rose Ball are
held in late June.
Clayton Early Learning
Clayton Early Learning is an “innovation hub” that fosters thriving, equitable communities by partnering with families to nurture a whole child/whole family approach to the early years, discovering what works and advancing systems of change. Money to support Clayton Early Learning initiatives will be raised at A Taste of Clayton in the main auditorium, 3801 Martin Luther King Drive, Denver, on April 21.
Colorado Ballet’s 31 dancers from all over the world—including Japan, Russia, Cuba, France, Mexico and the United States—stage 50-plus performances of classical and contemporary works throughout each year. Headquartered at the Armstrong Center for Dance, 1075 Santa Fe Drive, the company also conducts education and community engagement programs that reach 35,000 students, teachers, families, people with disabilities and lifelong learners annually. Colorado Ballet’s funding comes from ticket sales, sponsorships, donations and fundraising events like the annual Nutcracker Gala staged by Colorado Ballet Auxiliary.
Colorado Pet Pantry
Colorado Pet Pantry is a statewide organization that provides food for pets, allowing people to keep their dogs and cats instead of relinquishing them to a shelter when income isn’t sufficient to cover their living expenses. Colorado Pet Pantry hosts 97 pet food banks each month and helps more than 100 animal rescue organizations with food and supplies. Executive director Eileen Lambert encourages supporters to continue donating dry pet food or money throughout 2022 to aid in this mission. A $5 donation feeds a pet for a month, she says.
Denver Rescue Mission
Since 1892, the Denver Rescue Mission has worked to change the lives of men, women and families in the name of Christ by meeting people at their physical and spiritual points of need with the goal of returning them to society as productive, self-sufficient citizens. The mission currently operates two 24/7 shelters and The Crossing, a residential living facility that houses up to 300 individuals and families. It is currently undergoing renovations expected to be completed in 2022. Events planned for 2022 include a celebration of the mission’s 130th year and the annual turkey drive held in November to collect 15,000 turkeys for individuals and families in need for Thanksgiving.
Dumb Friends League
Founded in 1910, the Dumb Friends League is
the largest independent, nonprofit, community-based animal shelter/humane society in the Rocky Mountain region, with shelters and adoption centers in Denver, Castle Rock, Franktown (the Harmony Equine Center) and Alamosa. Each year, it cares for and helps find homes for thousands of lost or surrendered pets, including dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, horses, donkeys and mules. Fundraisers planned for 2022 are the Furry Scurry, the nation’s largest dog walk, to be held in May, and the Harmony Horse Expo, a weekend-long festival.
Global Down Syndrome Foundation
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation is the largest nonprofit in the U.S. working to save lives
and improve health outcomes for people with Down syndrome. GLOBAL has donated more than $32 million to establish the first Down syndrome research institute supporting 400 scientists and 2,000-plus patients with Down syndrome from 33 states and 10 countries. GLOBAL is the lead advocacy organization in the U.S. for Down syndrome research and medical care. GLOBAL is part of a network of affiliates: Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, Sie Center for Down Syndrome, and University of Colorado Alzheimer’s and Cognition Center, all on the Anschutz Medical Campus. The organization’s signature fundraiser, the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, will take place virtually on Nov. 13. To register, visit bebeautifulbeyourself.org
Invest in Kids
Invest in Kids uses evidence and experience to further its mission of ensuring that every child in Colorado has a strong start in life. Through its three programs—the Nurse-Family Partnership, The Incredible Years and Child First—IIK reaches some 17,000 of Colorado’s youngest residents and their families. Looking ahead to 2022, Invest in Kids seeks monetary donations to help meet the increased need to support nurses, teachers and families across the state. IIK also is enlisting sponsors and participants for its 22nd Jane-A-Thon ski-a-thon set for March at Mary Jane Mountain in Winter Park.
Jewish Family Service
Jewish Family Service is dedicated to strengthening the community by providing vital services to vulnerable individuals and families of all faiths, races, ages, income, abilities, sexual orientation and gender identities. In 2021, JFS served upwards of 150,000 clients through programs like the Weinberg Food Pantry, job training and placement, mental health counseling and support for older adults. In 2022, JFS will mark its 150th anniversary by hosting a variety of events. In addition, there will be the annual Executive Luncheon in the spring, a family-friendly concert at Mission Ballroom in August and a gala with entertainment, dinner and dancing in the fall.
Junior League of Denver
The Junior League of Denver is a women’s training organization committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Since 2012 it has focused on improving literacy rates and providing access to books for children through third grade in Denver. Now, after two years of exploration, research and community assessment, the JLD will expand its focus area to be inclusive of women and families facing systemic poverty. In 2022, fundraising events will include the 10th edition of The Journey, a dinner with a keynote speaker, a kitchen tour and continuing sales of its six award-winning cookbooks.
Former Denver Bronco Brian Griese established Judi’s House in memory of his mother, Judith Ann Griese, who succumbed to breast cancer in 1988 when Brian was 12 years old. The idea behind Judi’s House is that no child should be alone to cope with the death of an important person. Skilled staff members engage and support children and families using a research-backed approach so that families can heal together and receive free services. Judi’s House will mark its 20th year in 2022 and celebrate with a gala (the date, time and location for which are still being decided). In addition, Judi’s House will move from 1741 Gaylord St. to a new location east of the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora.
National Jewish Health
For 122 years, National Jewish Health has been at the forefront of research and medical care focused on lung, heart and immune-related diseases. And, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors and researchers there have turned to research aimed at defeating it. All of this takes money, and significant funds will be raised at 2022 events, including the Beaux Arts Ball on Feb. 26, Hoop the Hoopla, taking place in the spring, and Rev the Runway, to be held in the fall.
Ronald McDonald House
Ronald McDonald Houses—one in Denver and the other in Aurora—provide a home away from home for families with hospitalized children at no cost for as long as the treatment takes. McDonald’s owner-operators in the Rocky Mountain region and their customers fund an average of 10 to 14 percent of the organization’s operating budget; the remainder comes from fundraising events and other donations. Fundraising events for 2022 remain in the planning stages.
Roundup River Ranch
The Gypsum-based camp was founded by Paul Newman to give children with serious illnesses the chance to feel like ordinary kids by sharing laughter, making new friends and finding the courage to try activities they never thought possible. Camp sessions are free and staffed by health care professionals, trained staff and dedicated volunteers. Fundraising plans for 2022 include the A Taste of Camp Gala to be held in May in downtown Denver.
Shining Stars Foundation
The Shining Stars Foundation is one of very few nonprofits in the nation that provide year-round, no-cost outdoor, social and recreational experiences to children with pediatric cancer or another life-threatening illness and their families. Participation in the 60-plus programs is available at any stage of the illness, including recovery. Several fundraising events, including a gala, a golf tournament and a half-marathon, are in the planning stages for 2022.
Mindy Watrous became chief executive officer of Tennyson Center for Children in July. She is working with the board of directions to set priorities around the organization’s existing commitment to building stronger, healthier lives for children who have experienced trauma, and their families. Fundraising events for 2022 are still in the planning stages, but supporters are encouraged to visit Tennyson Center’s Amazon Wish List for ideas of things that are needed. Donations of gift cards or money toward the purchase of gifts for Tennyson’s Operation Santa are always welcome.
Urban Peak Denver operates a 40-bed overnight shelter for youths between the ages of 15 and 20, along with a daytime drop-in shelter, street outreach, education and employment programs and supportive housing. Its mission is to meet youth where they are and provide them with the assistance and support necessary to become self-sufficient or obtain the services they need to exit a life on the streets.
Volunteers of America
Volunteers of America Colorado is a faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need transform their lives. VOA Colorado has more than 50 programs statewide that provide emergency shelter, housing and food to some 150,000 state residents in need. In the spring of 2022, VOA Colorado will open a new affordable housing community for older adults in Fort Collins. The 29th edition of VOA’s signature fundraiser, Western Fantasy, will take place in the fall of 2022, while the 18th Legends Golf Tournament is set to happen in the summer.
Warren Village, a national leader in providing safe and affordable transitional housing, exists so that low-income, single-parent families can achieve sustainable personal and economic self-sufficiency. All of its residents have experienced homelessness or housing instability before establishing residence at Warren Village. Its annual fundraising gala will take place on April 30 at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center. Donations to the 2021 Holiday Shop, an in-person event on Dec. 11 for residents, can be made by visiting the Warren Village website.
We Don't Waste
When Arlan Preblud started We Don’t Waste in 2009, it was with the belief that excess food should go to people, not landfills. From the first delivery made from his Volvo station wagon, We Don’t Waste has saved 38 million pounds of quality food. It distributes the food to 100-plus hunger relief agencies and several mobile food pantries in four trucks that fan out across the community every day. Fundraisers in 2022 will include the annual Fill a Plate for Hunger and Canstruction.
Wild Animal Sanctuary
The Wild Animal Sanctuary is the world’s largest sanctuary for large carnivores like tigers, lions, bears and wolves, all of which have been rescued from abusive, neglectful and illegal situations around the world. It is currently home to more than 500 such animals that are now living contented lives on natural, large-acreage habitats in Keenesburg. There will be a series of limited-attendance dinners inside the sanctuary’s Bolivian Lion House to raise money in 2022. The dates are May 21, June 25, Aug. 20 and Sept. 17. Reservations can be made on the sanctuary website.
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The nonprofits showcased can be found on the ColoradoGives website, where you can schedule donations for Colorado Gives Day 2021 and any other time of the year.
Another way to give: A ColoradoGives Giving Card is a unique and thoughtful gift. Purchase one for a friend, colleague or family member, and they’ll receive a virtual card to invest in any nonprofit featured on coloradogives.org or the giving site just for kids, kidsforcoloradogives.org.
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