Philanthropy Days relates importance of generosity

By RYAN SHERIDAN

Daily Press writer

The prospect of $3 billion dollars for use by non-profit organizations brought 250 people from inside and outside the Yampa Valley to a conference to improve funding from philanthropists to the communities in Northwest Colorado.

Non-profit organizations and government agencies gathered Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for Philanthropy Days. The goal of the conference show the funders that the Valley is a good place to invest their money.

With representatives from 40 funding agencies and numerous non-profit organizations from Moffat, Routt, Grand, Rio Blanco and Garfield counties gathering together, event organizers are calling Philanthropy Days a success.

Corrie Scott, co-chair of philanthropy days and executive director of Moffat County United Way, said other communities that have hosted or participated in Philanthropy Days events have seen an average of $500,000 to $700,000 in sustained funding.

Bob Sweeney, president of the Kenneth Kendall King Foundation from Denver, said his foundation had made some potential partnerships with The Memorial Hospital in Craig, the homeless shelter in Steamboat Springs, and other organizations with projects in Craig, Meeker, Rangely, Walden and Hayden.

"This was a very well done conference. I've been to four or five of these, and this one was as good as any other. It's been a blast," Sweeney said. "We've met with a lot of very worthy organizations. I'm sure this event will be very important to granting money to Northwest Colorado."

Robin Mackenzie, director of the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition, said the event may pay off in more ways than just monetary in the long run.

"We definitely have a shot to get some funding. But I also have started talking with other community organizations, and we could start collaborating together when looking or applying for funds. We're looking at providing more services in our area by working together," Mackenzie said. "I've met with eight foundations, and only two said our goals didn't fit with theirs."

The conference also hosted presentations on new trends in philanthropic ventures and on technology advancements and how non-profit agencies can benefit from the technological age.

Marilyn Bouldin, director of community care for the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, said the event was wonderful and said they had made several connections for the different programs the VNA runs.

Scott said that within six months to one year, local organizations should begin to see funds being funneled into the Yampa Valley as a direct result of the Philanthropy Days event.

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