Nonprofit leaders emphasize impact of Rural Philanthropy Days conference; registration closes Friday |

Nonprofit leaders emphasize impact of Rural Philanthropy Days conference; registration closes Friday

Michelle Balleck/CMEDP executive director

A conference coming to Craig at the end of the month could have a lasting impact on the community.

Registration for the Northwest Rural Philanthropy Days conference closes Sept. 15, and organizers encourage nonprofit organization staff, board members and volunteers to attend. This conference is held in the region only once every four years.

“What makes NWRPD so unique is the opportunity to not only learn valuable skills, but to network with other local leaders and build relationships with funders who may potentially support projects and programs in the region,” said Kate Nowak, conference co-chair. “As the executive director of Routt County United Way, I see this conference as an absolute must-attend opportunity for nonprofit leaders.”

The event is scheduled for Sept. 27 through 29 in Craig and Moffat counties. Event organizers anticipate more than 300 nonprofit, government and grant-making institutions and individuals to attend. Community Resource Center and Anschutz Family Foundation drive the statewide Rural Philanthropy Days program and coordinate with the local steering committee to host this event for Grand, Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt counties.

Michelle Petix, executive director of Partners in Routt County, said the relationship she built with Charlotte Gillespie, from AV Hunter Trust, at the 2013 conference led to funding that made a significant impact in her community.

“I was still a fairly new executive director for Partners in Routt County mentoring programs,​ and I was pretty nervous about meeting so many funders. But, I realized they were just like me: real people who were passionate about helping others,” Petix said. “Funding from AV Hunter Trust has since helped us expand our school-based mentoring program, hire a Spanish​-speaking case manager and increase the number of youth served in our county. I can’t wait to see Charlotte at the 2017 event and meet others. The relationships you build at RPD are truly invaluable in making your missions come to life.”

The event offers three days of capacity-building workshops, including topics such as fundraising, financial management, volunteer management, board development, strategic planning and leadership skills. The program results in increased access to resources, relationships and skill-building opportunities for local projects.

Patch Adams, M.D., a medical doctor, clown and founder of the Gesundheit Institute, will headline the event. His work was made famous by the 1998 movie featuring the late Robin Williams as the title character.

The funder roundtable portion of the event allows nonprofit leaders to approach those funders and ascertain if their operations and projects are good matches for grant requests.

Amanda Arnold, executive director of Moffat County United Way and event co-chair, utilized the conference to leverage funds for the launch of a new program.

“I attended Rural Philanthropy Days in 2013, when Moffat County United Way was just starting our Bridges Out of Poverty program. I got positive feedback from funders about this project and received three grants in their next cycles.” Arnold said. “The connections I made at RPD made this program a success that continues to grow. This conference is an opportunity you do not want to miss!”

For more information or to register, visit, or follow event updates on Facebook at

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