Neighbors To Nonprofits: How To Help In Estes Park

Town employees and Philanthropy Committee helping build a home for Habitat for Humanity. The organization just finished their 14th home in Estes Park. Anyone can volunteer, those with special skills will get different tasks that those who have never yielded a hammer. They can find a job for any age and interest. Courtesy photo

By: Karen McPherson

Everyone—and every organization and business—is adapting, growing, and changing. Some are struggling and some are thriving. Each month, the Estes Park Nonprofit Resource Center gathers any and all nonprofit partners to share updates, brainstorm resources and collaborations, and call out for help with our needs and challenges. We connect dots. We take care of each other.

There are a few trends emerging from last month’s gathering. There are also trends emerging from conversations with neighbors and friends. Bottom line is: a lot of organizations need help and a lot of people want to help. But how? Doing what?

The Nonprofit Relief Fund has now given away $51k to local organizations. The greatest request we have received from organizations is general help replacing lost income due to COVID. Fundraisers and otherwise regularly generated income is down for most organizations. About $23k of the Nonprofit Relief Fund grants, or about 45% or the money raised and donated, has been put to keeping the lights on, the doors open, and services secured. Other needs that are being funded include: almost 20% of money granted used to support technology or equipment necessary to enhance services during COVID and beyond (modems for students, a new phone line for Crossroads, plastic barriers so tutors and students can meet…), another 20% for basic needs (food gift cards for first responders to distribute as they see fit, support for the food network, access to showers, etc). The rest has gone to support innovative programming and direct Latinx families in the community.

So, how can you help? First and foremost, you can donate directly to an organization that supports your lifestyle, advocates for issues that are important to you, or who you see making a difference you want to see in our town. If you don’t have a nonprofit in mind, consider donating to the Nonprofit Relief Fund, which keeps all funds in Estes Park.

Another trend that we are seeing is that nonprofits are in need of board members. Typically, you might be invited to coffee or an organizational meeting to learn more about serving on a nonprofit board, but these are atypical times and nonprofits are not able to meet with potential board members right now. Now is a great time to push the change you want to see. Some board positions are a one meeting a month commitment. Most have committees (governance, finance, events, etc) that meet separately. There is a fit for you if you are willing and able to try. If you have an organization you want to support, contact them directly. If you are not sure, contact EPNRC Executive Director, Laurie Dale Marshall for ideas. We do know that Estes Park Learning Place, Estes Valley Restorative Justice, and Partners Mentoring Youth are all looking for board members.

Did you realize that Habitat for Humanity just finished their 14th house in Estes Park and plans are underway for more? Here’s your chance to wear a tool belt and rock some safety goggles! Help build local families the home they deserve by volunteering to build with Habitat for Humanity. Go to stvrainhabitat.org to find out more.

EstesVolunteers.org continues to be a resource that may be used to register as a volunteer, for organizations to post needs, events, and opportunities. Match your passion to action by volunteering to go grocery shopping for a homebound neighbor, or support a school supply drive.

Here are some resources to help:

Director@epnonprofit.org to contact Laurie Dale Marshall;

estesvolunteers.org to put your passion into action; epnonprofit.org to buy t-shirts from the Market Place (all sales support the Nonprofit Relief Fund) or to donate to the Nonprofit Relief Fund directly. Estes Eats & Drinks facebook page to support your local restaurants, coffee shops, and establishments. Esteschamber.org for ways to support all local businesses. We are living in a forest of philanthropy; we share the same roots, we all grow together. Thanks for all you do, neighbor.

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