Event connects nonprofits with foundations in state


Next month, representatives of major foundations from across the state will stand in an empty field near Granby.

They will see signs indicating services and facilities -- such as community health centers and affordable housing -- needed in rural Northwest Colorado communities.

The "field" trip will be part of Northwest Colorado Rural Philanthropy Days, a two-day event designed to match all types of nonprofit organizations with foundations interested in funding their causes.

The conference, Sept. 12 and 13, is open to nonprofit representatives from Routt, Moffat, Rio Blanco, Grand and Jackson counties. The registration deadline is Sept. 1.

"Especially for small nonprofits, it's an opportunity to introduce yourself to someone that will support your mission," said Susan Mizen, Horizons director and a co-chairwoman of the Philanthropy Days committee. "It makes that application process so much easier because you've made that connection."

The Anschutz Family Foun--dation and Community Resource Center started Phil--anthropy Days about 14 years ago to help balance the disproportionate amount of foundation dollars that end up in Front Range cities, she said.

The conferences are held annually in various Western and Eastern slope regions. Each region hosts a conference every four years.

The last conference in Northwest Colorado, which was held in Steamboat Springs and Craig, matched Rocky Mountain Youth Corps with four new foundations and more than $200,000 in grants, RMYC executive director Gretchen Van De Carr said.

"It's been my observation that a lot of government dollars have dwindled away. ... Private foundation money has decreased slightly, but there are a lot of foundations nonprofits aren't aware of," she said.

The events typically help attract between $500,000 and $1.5 million for nonprofits in each region, Mizen said.

She expects representatives from about 40 Colorado-based foundations to attend the Granby conference and meet with organizations compatible with their funding missions.

They also will visit various sites in Grand County, including mental health, senior and day-care centers, to learn about rural issues in the region. Land use and arts and culture will be among other topics discussed, Mizen said.

"We really take our responsibility to educate funders about all five counties seriously," she said.

Also during the conference, nonprofit representatives will attend training workshops to learn effective strategies for fund raising, grant writing and other aspects of nonprofits.

Philanthropy Days organizers strongly encourage participants to attend pre-event and post-event trainings to help get the most out of the event and the connections they make there, Mizen said.

Pre-event workshops are from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday at Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs and from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn in Craig.

Philanthropy Days costs $75 a person. For more information or to register, go to www.grandfoundation.com. Scroll to Rural Philanthropy Days on the site map.


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