HomeNews Local, regional non-profits are looking for major money
Local, regional non-profits are looking for major money
Written by Aimee Eaton
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
A quick look at putting our money where our mouths are
Non-profit organizations throughout Gunnison County are seeking funding, but whether they will be successful and the ramifications that could occur should they fail in their fundraising efforts remain unclear.
The Local Organizing Committee for the US Pro Cycling Challenge needs to raise another $60,000 to pay for the event, which will roll through town on August 19. To reach that goal they will need to bring in $3,000 a day for the next 20 days. Meanwhile, the Crested Butte Land Trust is working on purchasing a parcel of land on Snodgrass Mountain for $2.6 million, the Crested Butte Arts Center is looking for $15 million for a new building and the Mt. Crested Butte Performing Arts Center has a campaign under way to finance the new Biery-Witt Center to the tune of $23 million.
Tack onto that the monetary needs of the Gunnison County Substance Abuse Prevention Project, the Imagination Library, the High Country Conservation Advocates, the regional radio station and the other 105 non-profits in Gunnison County and it can be difficult for locals and visitors to discern where to place their cash and their trust.
“All 113 non-profits in the Gunnison Valley are addressing some perceived need within the community and there is very little duplication within the organizations,” said Pam Montgomery, executive director of the Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley. “Throughout America, and the same holds true for Gunnison County, one of the historical facts is that when there is a need, people will fill the need.”
According to Montgomery, that fact has been the genesis for many of the valley’s non-profits, i.e., Crested Butte needed a nationally televised bike race, hence the LOC; Mt. Crested Butte needed a venue for conferences and concerts and the MCBPAC was formed. However, the hiccup for many of these organizations occurs when they have to move from implementing their mission to funding their work.
“The best way to raise money is face-to-face with people,” said Montgomery. “We have non-profits in this valley that go from the very well governed to those that are so focused on meeting their mission that they may not have time to fundraise. You have to tell all donors what the impact is of their money and what the money is going to accomplish.”
In 2012, the last year studied, Colorado was ranked number 30 nationwide in philanthropic giving, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, and Montgomery said Gunnison County is right in line with that statistic. However, she adds, there is much more money available for charitable giving in the county than is currently dispersed.
“There’s a ton of discretionary money available in the U.S. and in the county itself,” Montgomery said. “Here in the valley there is money being left on the table but some of it can be hard to crack. It really is a relationship business and people give to the efforts and agencies where they believe their dollars can make a difference.”
That begs the question many in the Crested Butte area are asking: Just what is it that the community needs? Sporting events? Protected lands? More culture? Fewer drugs?
“What we’re talking about is the image we want to have associated with Crested Butte,” said town mayor Aaron Huckstep, who is also part of the LOC for the Pro Challenge. “There are people in our community who probably believe that some of these events don’t need to be part of the Crested Butte image. They might say that we’re busy enough, we don’t need the coverage, we’re enough in the spotlight already.
“From my perspective, I do think there are a number of events that really promote and establish the image of Crested Butte to both locals and visitors, and the Pro Challenge is one of them,” the mayor continued. “In terms of giving financial support we need to think about what we want people to associate with our community and then work to preserve and promote those things that we value.”
Oh, and by the way—the annual summer fund drive for KBUT just started.