Northwest Colorado nonprofits go through training to develop financial plan

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— Six months of what included several webinars, peer learning groups, on-site workshops and office hours with mentors paid off for five nonprofits in Routt and Moffat counties.

The Yampa Valley Community Foundation partnered with Shell earlier this year to create a program to provide professional development training for organizations.

In January, 30 organizations began the training to develop a sustainable nonprofit financial model, which included help from mentors from The Foundation Center in New York City.

At the end of the program, the best plans were awarded grants. Rocky Mountain Youth Corps came away with the grand prize of $10,000; the Routt County Council on Aging and Moffat County United Way Community Impact Initiative each were awarded $5,000; and the Northwest Colorado Boys & Girls Club and LIFT-UP of Routt County each were awarded $2,500.

The awards were announced during a reception held at Aurum Food & Wine on Thursday night.

“We provided this opportunity to celebrate all the hard work (the nonprofits) had done,” said Mark Andersen, executive director of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation.

The Community Foundation was approached by Shell in late 2013 to help with the pilot program, which was run in Routt and Moffat counties as well as Pinedale, Wyoming.

“Shell approached us so that instead of just giving a grant, we could help local nonprofits become better at what they do,” Andersen said. The organizations “used a curriculum to help establish a fundraising plan that would be long term.”

Shell Social Performance Adviser Garrett Dolan said in a news release that Shell wanted to give organizations the tools to create a financial plan that identifies sustainable revenue streams to support their efforts.

“Shell believes that working with the community for the benefit of the community is the right approach to doing business,” Dolan said. “We are thrilled to see the great success of this program and most importantly, we celebrate the long-term benefit to the organizations and the community as a whole.”

Andersen said that choosing which organizations to award was difficult.

“All of the plans were top-notch, and the panel was impressed with all of the plans,” he said.

Carolyn Tucker, Shell's business communications adviser for the Rockies, said Shell likes to give businesses short-term support as well as long-term support, and the program helped do that.

She said Shell had a presence at one time in these communities, that's why they were chosen for the program.

"We thought the nonprofits within Routt and Moffat were strong, and we thought we could build them up even more — and do a pretty intensive program," Tucker said.

She added that several participants said the work was challenging, but it was worth it.

"We knew that going in (the work would be hard), but at the very end, they said, 'It was hard and I don’t know if I put all that I could have into it, but boy, did I learn a lot,'" Tucker said.

To reach Laura Mazade, call 970-870-1368, email lmazade@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @Lmazade

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