Ask Eartha: Support nonprofits by volunteering (column) |

Ask Eartha: Support nonprofits by volunteering (column)

Eartha Steward
Special to the Daily
Volunteering for a local nonprofit can be a good way to give back without spending any money.
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?

— Gerry, Silverthorne


Thank you so much for wanting to support organizations that truly make a difference in the High Country. Have no fear, there are ways that you can contribute to community organizations without hurting your wallet.

First off, many nonprofit organizations are always in need of volunteers. Volunteering can come in many forms and involves 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. 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, and, when nonprofit organizations are contracted to help with volunteer coordination for special events, it usually means a contribution to that organization. In fact, the High Country Conservation is holding the 27th annual Tim McClure Memorial Benefit on Friday, March 4. This event is filled with many exciting aspects like live music from High 5, belly dancers, Green Scene Awards, a large silent auction, food and libations. New at this event, HC3 will also have beer, wine and spirit tastings in partnership with Broken Compass Brewing, Dillon Dam Brewery, New Belgium, Pug Ryan’s Brewery and the Breckenridge Distillery. As a volunteer for this event, you will receive free food, admission and a $10 taster. Your volunteer time equals money to any organization, so, in a roundabout way, you will be financially contributing to a nonprofit you believe in, all while having fun partaking in community events.

There are a number of volunteer opportunities occurring this spring and 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. There are many opportunities to volunteer for other local organizations as well. Friends of the Dillon Ranger District has numerous volunteer opportunities for trail building and maintenance. The Summit Foundation also has some fun volunteer opportunities such as the Annual Great Rubber Duck Race and annual golf tournaments. More information about these opportunities is available on the HC3 website at

Gerry, I truly appreciate your willingness to contribute to an environmental organization. While it may be difficult to dole out a large sum of money, 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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