With its mission to increase generosity and power community for positive change, Community First Foundation’s creation of ColoradoGives.org in 2007 has given Colorado residents an easy way to support more than 2,000 nonprofit organizations. The success of this venture is seen in the numbers—more than $253 million has been donated through the website and has made the annual Colorado Gives Day one of the largest giving day movements in the country. In just 24 hours on Dec. 5, 2017, generous donors contributed $36.6 million to 2,308 nonprofits, an increase over the $33.85 million donated in 2016.
According to Charity Navigator (charitynavigator.org), of the estimated $410 billion donated nationwide in 2017, individual contributions accounted for 70 percent of that amount. Our local nonprofits depend on the generosity of people for support.
Choose from this list, or any of the organizations listed on the website. Go to coloradogives.org on Dec. 4, or your favorite nonprofit or charity and give ’til it helps.
Founded by Christie and Walter Isenberg in 2004, Amp the Cause has distributed more than $6 million in monetary and in-kind donations to their beneficiaries. Some of those include Families First, Firefly Autism and Girls, Inc. The goal is to raise needed health and education funds using the money to help children with life-threatening illnesses and to provide opportunities for kids to participate in educational programs in a safe and healthy environment. Fundraisers like Community Day and Denver Day of Rock enlist the help of more than 700 volunteers to benefit 600,000-plus children.
Book Trust’s mission is to help elementary school children in need fall in love with reading and become lifelong learners. Last school year, Book Trust provided almost a million books to more than 55,000 students (22,000 in CO) who chose, read, and loved them. Built on solid research, Book Trust believes that when kids choose what they want to read, and teachers/families provide the daily opportunity and encouragement to do so, we create a world in which literacy removes barriers and all children have the tools to navigate life successfully. Research shows that reading at grade level by 3rd grade is a key factor in graduation rates; annual evaluation data show that Book Trust students make greater gains in grade level reading than non-Book Trust students (19 percent vs 4 percent). The teacher-led, student-driven program offers students the power of choice and the pride of ownership.
Donn and Linda Eley founded Brent’s Place in 1997 to honor their son, Brent, who passed away at 14 years old after a year-long fight with cancer. Since then, Brent’s Place has provided long-term housing and supportive programming for more than 1,000 children and their families facing cancer and other life-threatening illnesses while they receive treatment at local hospitals. In addition to housing, Brent’s Place strives to provide a safe and welcome atmosphere to protect the fragile health of patients while bolstering the strength of the family unit in a community of support and programs such as meals, craft activities, birthday celebrations and more. Generous support from the community ensures families staying at Brent’s Place never receive a bill, allowing them to focus on their family member’s recovery.
Long-time Denver residents are well-aware of the efforts of Barbara and Marvin Davis, who upon learning of their 7-year-old daughter Dana’s diagnosed Type 1 diabetes created this foundation in 1977. Its mission is dedicated solely to the support of research in diabetes and to provide the best possible resources for those afflicted. Funds are raised for the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, where thousands of patients from all over the world receive the finest care available, now located on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. Fundraisers such as the Carousel of Hope benefit research, financial assistance, scholarships, support groups and much more.
As the name implies, this organization provides food for Colorado pets that may be at risk of being taken to a shelter by a family no longer able to care for them. They will temporarily feed those pets, allowing families to keep them at home. Every dollar donated is worth $5 in pet food as well as the satisfaction of knowing that the pet is kept out of a shelter. In 2018 they hope to feed 16,000 pets for a month, and their food distribution points (10 open to the public) have grown to 15, serving many neighborhoods.
For more than 100 years, the Dumb Friends League has been working to end pet homelessness and animal suffering. As the largest community-based animal welfare organization in the region, the Dumb Friends League cares for more than 20,000 homeless pets and horses each year and provides a strong and steadfast voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. The organization has five facilities helping pets, equines and people in Colorado and is a national model in animal welfare—providing care to lost and abandoned pets, adopting pets, helping preserve the human-animal bond, rescuing sick, injured and abused pets and horses, investigating cases of animal cruelty and neglect, educating pet owners and the public and providing reduced cost and no cost spay/neuter and veterinary services to community pets.
One of a handful of autism centers in Colorado, Firefly Autism offers one of the most comprehensive services in the country providing a full range of in-home and clinic-based services including Applied Behavior Analysis therapy to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Firefly serves children as young as 18 months of age and adults, and every program in its clinic has a 1:1 student to teacher ratio. Treatment is based on leading, empirically based interventions, primarily using ABA to teach functional skills. To enhance service delivery, the organization includes speech and occupational therapy and mental health services, based on the individual’s needs. Laugh Yourself Blue is the annual fundraising gala for Firefly Autism.
We’ve all seen the sorrowful photos of dogs in shelters with an unknown fate. But Freedom Service Dogs unleashes some of those dogs and transforms them into custom-trained, life-changing assistance dogs for people in need. Clients include children, veterans and active duty military, and others with disabilities such as autism, brain injury, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries and more. The dogs are trained to open doors, pick up items, pull wheelchairs, turn on lights, and they know more than 50 commands. No client is charged for the services provided, and they also give lifetime support for each service dog.
Research, medical care, education and advocacy are the goals of the foundation established in 2009. Its primary focus is to support the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome—the first academic home in the U.S. committed solely to research and care for those afflicted. When Anna and John J. Sie’s grandchild was born with Down Syndrome, they were motivated to establish the institute, named in memory of Dr. Linda Crnic, a University of Colorado professor of pediatrics and psychiatry who was dedicated to helping people with Down syndrome through research. The single largest annual fundraiser is the Be Beautiful Be Yourself event. The foundation also funds conferences and grants including the Denver Broncos Cheerleaders Dare to Cheer Camp.
The smartest investments are made in children and Invest in Kids has partnered with community leaders for two decades to focus on the needs of children in low-income families with the hope of seeing every child in Colorado thrive. Research-based programs are taken to communities around Colorado and stress a range of goals including accountability, sustainability, commitment and an open exchange of ideas. The Nurse-Family Partnership helps first-time parents, while The Incredible Years is an early childhood emotional and social health program for parents, teachers and children.
Celebrating 100 years of service, the Junior League of Denver is an organization where women from every background give their talent, energy, time and money to the educational and charitable activities of the JDL to improve the quality of life in our community. Through the Community Program, the JLD contributes volunteers and dollars to direct service projects, collaborations, advocacy and training around their focus area of literacy. Key fundraising efforts include JDL Cookbooks (look for a new one in 2019), The Journey and the annual Mile High Holiday Mart, (Nov. 9-11) at the Gates Field House.
In just over 10 short years, The Joshua School ranks as one of the top schools of its kind in aiding individuals with autism spectrum disorder. It is committed to help those with developmental disabilities attain the highest quality of life. The school serves 70-plus students, is an accredited Colorado Department of Education-approved facility school and works with more than 20 local school districts. The Joshua Early Childhood Center, in Centennial, serves children ages 2 to 6. The School-Age Program with two locations (Englewood and Boulder) serves children through 12th grade, while the Transition Program focuses on those 18-21 years of age. With a 1:1 faculty-student ratio, children are provided tailored care to meet their specific needs.
After suffering through the loss of a child, Steve Adams and wife Joan Slaughter created The Morgan Adams Foundation. Their 5-year old daughter was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor in December 1997 and battled her cancer for 11 months before she succumbed to the disease. The foundation has grown to encompass many more families whose children have battled cancer. Funds raised through annual events and the biennial artma art auction support laboratory and clinical research in the area of pediatric cancer, with an emphasis on brain tumors, spine tumors and central nervous system tumors. The Morgan Adams Foundation was born out of love, hope and the determination to see a better, cancer-free future for our children.
National Jewish Health is the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to the research and treatment of respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders. Founded in 1899 to treat tuberculosis, it is a non-sectarian institution regarded as the best in the nation. Until 1968, the institution only accepted patients without health insurance and all care was free. Today, in keeping with this philosophy, free or heavily subsidized care is provided to ensure that patients who are in need can receive the care they require. The hospital also operates the Morgridge Academy for kindergarten through eighth-grade children challenged with chronic illness.
Providing counseling, support and protection for domestic violence victims, the Rose Andom Center opened in 2016 as Colorado’s first family justice center in order to help victims heal and rebuild their lives. The Center was the result of more than ten years of collaboration between community-based organizations and city government agencies that were committed to making it easier for victims to ask for and find help. As one who witnessed domestic violence perpetrated by her father against her mother, Rose Andom gave a lead gift of $1 million and the Center is named in honor of this successful Denver entrepreneur and former McDonald’s franchise owner. The centralized, collaborative facility is where domestic violence victims can access comprehensive services in their journey to find safety from abuse.
720-337- 4400, roseandomcenter.org
Located at the west end of the Vail Valley in Gypsum, this beautiful ranch offers old-fashioned, pure fun camp experiences for children with serious illnesses and their families through year-round activities. With full medical, physical and emotional support from healthcare professionals, trained staff and dedicated volunteers, Roundup River Ranch is free of charge for all kids and their families due to the generosity of the communities served and loyal supporters.
Servicing homeless youth in our community, Urban Peak was founded in 1988, and is the only nonprofit organization in Denver providing a full convergence of services for youth ages 15 through 24 experiencing homelessness or imminent risk of becoming homeless. Through five essentials services: overnight shelter, a daytime drop-in center, outreach, education and employment programming, and supportive housing, Urban Peak assists youth in living a life off the streets so they can create self-determined fulfilling lives. Annual fundraisers include Maverick Thinkers and Urban Nights.
This national, nonprofit, faith-based organization is dedicated to helping those in need rebuild their lives through more than 30 distinct human service programs in the state of Colorado. Volunteers of America helps more than 200,000 Coloradans each year and their service has supported the most vulnerable groups including at-risk youth, frail elderly, low-income families, homeless, and women and children escaping domestic violence. The annual Village Toy Drive sponsored by American State Bank runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 14, 2018. Cash donations and unwrapped toys are accepted, all donations go to Colorado children in need through Volunteers of America.
Sadly, one in six children in Colorado is food insecure, and 40 percent of food produced is thrown away. We Don’t Waste aims to alleviate this situation. As one of the largest food recovery organizations in Colorado, since 2009 it has recovered more than 17,000,000 meals. It focuses on perishable items including produce, lean proteins and dairy products and supplements many food assistance programs reclaimed from donors. Recipient organizations can continue to serve the hungry with healthy meals without increasing their operating costs.
Founded in 2013 by then-Denver Bronco and now San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Zane Beadles, the Zane Beadles Parade Foundation supports the journey of young people going through life-changing medical experiences. The foundation has provided more than 2,500 Greatest Gift Programs and brought a sense of normalcy to 5,000-plus families by creating fun, memorable experiences for patients during their treatments. With costs that may reach $1 million for treatment, ZBPF’s goal is to raise funds to assist families as well as provide experiences they would otherwise not have.
Joy Lawrance is a freelance writer living in Golden. As a former elementary school teacher, she is passionate about early childhood reading—the key that opens doors for kids.
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