Colorado Gives Day is a chance to donate to local and statewide nonprofits |

Colorado Gives Day is a chance to donate to local and statewide nonprofits

CSA farmer Kyle Wiseman, and Colorado Mountain College intern, Emily Roesel, harvest produce for Summit CSA which provides weekly produce to local families.
High Country Conservation Center | Special to the Daily

Colorado Gives Day

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 9

Time: 12 a.m. to midnight of the same day (24-hour period)


Summit nonprofit organizations participating in Colorado Gives Day include:

Advocates for Victims of Assault

Alpenglow Chamber Music Festivals

Animal Rescue of the Rockies

Boys and Girls Club of South Park

Breckenridge Heritage Alliance

Breckenridge Music Festival

CASA of the Continental Divide

Colorado Fourteeners Initiative

Continental Divide Land Trust

Domus Pacis Family Respite

Family & Intercultural Resource Center

Friends of the Dillon Ranger District

Full Circle of Lake County

High Country Conservation Center

Lake Dillon Theatre Company

Mind Springs Health

SOS Outreach

Summit Community Care Clinic

The Summit Foundation

Summit Public Radio & TV

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado

Retail stores have Black Friday, local businesses have Small Business Saturday and the online stores have Cyber Monday. Fortunately, in Colorado, the nonprofit community has its own special day for donations — Colorado Gives Day.

Colorado Gives Day is Tuesday, Dec. 9 and lasts 24 hours. It’s an opportunity not only to donate to a plethora of causes represented by organizations across the state, but to have that donation go further than it would any other day.


The Community First Foundation, a Denver metro area nonprofit organization with the aim of improving quality of life within the community, started the statewide initiative five years ago, partnering with FirstBank.

The Giving website is an online platform for nonprofit organizations across the state to reach out, share their message and receive donations. Pages are provided at no cost to the organization. While donations can be given on the website year-round, on Colorado Gives Day, all credit card and processing fees are waived for the 24-hour period. This means that 100 percent of the donation goes directly to the organization.

Additionally, FirstBank usually provides an incentive fund that allows even more money to reach the nonprofits. Each organization receives a proportionally allocated percentage of the incentive fund based on the total amount of money they raised individually divided by the total amount raised by Colorado Gives Day as a whole. So for example, if a nonprofit organization receives 10 percent of the total donations made on Colorado Gives Day, that same nonprofit receives 10 percent of the incentive, according to the Community First Foundation.

Last year, FirstBank provided an extra $300,000 to leverage the donations received. This year, the bank is increasing that incentive more than three-fold, to $1 million.


“We love this day,” said Elisabeth Lawrence, events and marketing coordinator at The Summit Foundation. “It’s just so nice that the state of Colorado together focuses on philanthropy, which I think is so nice, during this hectic time of year to focus on so many nonprofits and what they do throughout the state.”

Lawrence estimated that The Summit Foundation has received nearly $70,000 over the past three years it has participated in Colorado Gives Day. 2011 saw the organization’s biggest donation, around $27,000, while last year the total came to about $20,000. Part of the reason for this, Lawrence thinks, is that more local Summit nonprofits are setting up their individual donation pages.

At least 20 Summit County nonprofit organizations are participating in Colorado Gives this year, including The Summit Foundation.

Money received by the foundation from Colorado Gives Day goes into its general account. A nonprofit organization that has been around the county for 30 years, The Summit Foundation serves more than 90 nonprofits in Summit and neighboring counties, offering two grant cycles each year, which distributed more than $2.2 million over the past two years, Lawrence said. The foundation also supports special initiatives, like the CATCH afterschool program for Summit County youth, and scholarships for Summit High School graduates.

“It’s just helping us continue to give back to those other nonprofits and local high school students,” Lawrence said. “We continue to raise more and more money every year, but that’s for the sole purpose that we can give back more.”


High Country Conservation Center (HC3) is one of the Summit nonprofits participating this year. Last year, an anonymous donor offered a match of up to $5,000 for Colorado Gives Day, which helped bring in around $12,000 total, said Jennifer Schenk, HC3 executive director. This year, that same anonymous individual has once again offered a $5,000 match.

“Matches just really result in a lot more donations and a much higher giving rate, because people really like to see their money doubled,” said Schenk. “It’s amazing, it’s really great for us.”

Money from this fundraiser will go towards all of HC3’s programs, including expanding the food donation program.

Being part of the Colorado Gives website also helps smaller local organization receive statewide attention.

“A larger campaign like Colorado Gives Day does, I think, increase our exposure to people who may not necessarily live in Summit or at least not live full time in Summit, but may just believe in the work that we do and want to support it,” said Rob Murphy, assistant director at the Family & Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC), which is also participating in the donation day.


To participate in Colorado Gives Day, simply visit the website, which allows users to search by organization name, keyword, city, zip code or by cause. Each page shows information about the individual organization, from mission statement to financial information to written statements from directors to testimonials.

“Any day is a good day to donate, but I think days like this are set aside as a way to encourage people to take a few minutes and think about causes that they believe in and causes that they want to support, and it creates an organized platform to do that,” Murphy said. “It’s also good timing because it’s the end of the calendar year, and there’s tax considerations for people who want to do their year-end giving. I think an organized event like this gives more exposure to important organizations and causes.”

Murphy added, “We appreciate the community support. We appreciate the generosity of people in Summit County and this is just another way in which that generosity shows itself.”

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