Ask Eartha: Give back to community without spending money |

Ask Eartha: Give back to community without spending money

Eartha Steward
Special to the Daily
Happy family collecting rubbish
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

Dear Eartha,

I always want to make a contribution to environmental organizations, but living in Summit County can be expensive, and I find it hard to come up with extra money to contribute. Is there another way that I can support organizations that I believe in without writing a big check?

— Kyle, Dillon Valley

Kyle, thank you so much for wanting to support organizations that truly make a difference in the High Country. The Steward household knows how hard it can be, financially, here in Summit County, with the cost of housing continually rising. But, have no fear, there are ways that you can contribute to the organizations that give back to the community without hurting your wallet.

First off, many nonprofit organizations are always in need of volunteers. Volunteering can come in many forms and involve a number of tasks. Planting trees, serving meals, helping out with zero waste, and walking dogs are just some of the examples of things you can do to help out. When you volunteer, not only will you be helping out an organization, you will also achieve some health benefits. A study from the Corporation for National and Community Service found that volunteering within your community can lead to lower mortality rates, lower depression rates, and greater functional ability later in life for those that volunteer versus those that do not. So, volunteering can mean a healthier community and a healthier you.

Volunteering does not have to be a boring endeavor either. Many volunteer opportunities occur during special events in the county. Beer festivals, barbecue festivals, bike races, and other action-packed events are always in need of help. When nonprofit organizations are contracted to help with volunteer coordination for special events, it usually means a contribution to that organization. So, by volunteering at a festival that you would otherwise attend, you are actually contributing financially to the organization that is coordinating volunteers. Your time equals money to these organizations, and, in a round-a-bout way, you will be financially contributing to a nonprofit you believe in.

There are a number of volunteer opportunities occurring this summer and throughout the year that help out a number of nonprofits. At the High Country Conservation Center, there are a number of volunteer opportunities for the remainder of the summer that equate to a financial contribution to HC3. These include the Breckenridge 100 Bike Race, Keystone Bluegrass and Beer festival, USA Pro Cycling Challenge, and the Breckenridge Summer Beer festival. More information about these opportunities are available on the HC3 website at

Secondly, attend an event that a nonprofit is throwing or benefiting from. Many of the fundraising opportunities for nonprofit organizations come in the form of a fun-filled event. For instance, Concert in the Park at the Historic Park in Frisco happens every Thursday afternoon for much of the summer. For each free concert, the beer, wine and bottled water sales benefit a different nonprofit each week. Thursday, July 9, the concert sales will be benefiting High Country Conservation Center. So, by simply buying a beer (or two or three) you will be supporting an organization that needs it. Other examples of nonprofit fundraising events include galas, plated dinners and silent auctions. Buying a ticket or bidding on an item can translate into dollars for the organization throwing the event. In many cases, the cost of tickets, price of a drink, or buying an item doesn’t equate to big bucks.

Kyle, I truly appreciate your willingness to contribute to an environmental organization. While it may be difficult to dole out a large sum of money once or twice a year, attending one of these fundraisers or volunteer events can often be much easier to stomach. Remember that whatever you can spare will always help, even if it is your time (which I understand can be priceless). Thanks to all of those that continually help out the nonprofit organizations in Summit County, and by your continued support these organizations help to make our community a happier and healthier place to live.

Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at

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