Famed doctor, clown Patch Adams to speak in Craig this September | SteamboatToday.com

Famed doctor, clown Patch Adams to speak in Craig this September

Sasha Nelson/Craig Daily Press

Patch Adams will present the keynote speech at Northwest Colorado Rural Philanthropy Days, Sept. 27-29 in Craig.

When more than 300 individuals representing nonprofit, government and grant-making institutions convene in Craig in September, one of America's most famous doctors and clowns — Patch Adams, M.D. — will be their inspiration.

Hunter Doherty "Patch" Adams is a medical doctor, clown and founder of the Gesundheit Institute that models "radical ideas" in health care, such as free access, holistic health and treating patients as friends.

His life and work were made famous by the 1998 movie "Patch Adams" featuring the late Robin Williams as Adams.

Organizers of Northwest Rural Philanthropy Days announced this week that Adams will headline the conference Sept. 27 to 29 in Craig.

"He will really set the tone for an inspiring, forward-looking conference that will leave us all with new energy and ideas for our important work," said Kate Nowak, executive director of Routt County United Way and conference co-chair.

Adams will deliver the keynote speech during lunch on Sept. 28. He will also present a workshop to meet the unique needs of nonprofit leaders from Grand, Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt counties.

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Adams believes that laughter, joy and creativity are integral parts of the healing process.

"I want, as a doctor, to say it does matter to your health to be happy. It may be the most important health factor in your life," Adams stated in a news release.

The ideas he and his colleagues have developed in health care will be used to inspire community service work.

Rural Philanthropy Days is a statewide partnership between local communities, Community Resource Center and Anschutz Family Foundation. Once every four years a local steering committee organizes a conference in the Northwest region of Colorado.

In October, Craig won the right to host this year’s conference. It is expected to have a big impact on the local economy.

"This can mean a great deal for our community thanks to the lodging nights, event service contracts and retail and restaurant spending," said Michelle Balleck, executive director Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership and co-chair of the marketing committee when they won the bid for Craig in October.

Those attending will participate in capacity-building workshops on topics such as fundraising, financial management, volunteer management, board development, strategic planning and leadership skills.

"The educational and networking opportunities at this event are unmatched anywhere else. You don't want to miss it," said Amanda Arnold, executive director of Moffat County United Way and conference co-chair.

The funder roundtable session, described as speed dating for non-profits, allows nonprofit leaders to pitch ideas to funders to learn if their proposals are a match for grants.

"Between 2009 and 2014, the top 12 funders granted 367 grants to the Northwest Colorado region, totaling more than $12.5 million," Arnold said in October when describing another benefit of bringing the event to Craig.

Conference registration is now open. Registration is $150 for early birds who register by Aug. 11, or $175 after that date. Full and half scholarships are also available with information and registration at NorthwestRPD.org. Regional and state government officials are also encouraged to attend the conference, particularly the Town Hall discussion and reception on Sept. 27. Government officials receive a special discounted rate for selecting particular events to attend.

To learn more or register, visit NorthwestRPD.org or call event coordinator Kyleigh Lawler at 814-360-8212. Follow event updates on Facebook at facebook.com/NWRPD.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education

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