The Estes Park Nonprofit Resource Center (EPNRC) is always busy doing good in the neighborhood, but sometimes we are asked what we actually do? Our mission is to provide tools that support, connect, and inspire community nonprofits. But what does that look like? We believe that strong nonprofits make for a strong community and this guides our actions and services.. Facilitating collaboration, keeping the needs of nonprofits in the mind of community leaders, and ensuring our partners have what they need to serve the community often happens behind the scenes. In other words, we don’t tutor or mentor kids, or offer a food pantry to a community member. However, we do support the nonprofits that provide those services. Here are a few examples that illustrate how we create impact in the Estes Valley.
Financial support for nonprofits exists in Estes Park. We are a philanthropic community. However, there are over 70 nonprofits serving Estes Valley and we are all asking the same limited number of funders and donors for support. And none of it is ever guaranteed. In order to meet income goals and be resilient fundraisers, nonprofits must diversify sources of funding.
One way EPNRC supports local nonprofits is through access to a national database of funders outside of Estes Park. The Foundation Directory Online is the premier resource for locating in-depth information about grantmakers and their grants. It includes almost one million grant opportunities from about 90,000 grantmakers. Last month, nonprofits were invited to learn more about this database and six local organizations have since made appointments to search the database. We are excited to see what innovative doors this database opens for our community service organizations.
EPNRC represents our community on many committees and groups that help with everything from crisis recovery to planning for the future. We often sit at the table with government, economic development, and business agencies as well as regional nonprofit partners. One group EPNRC participates in is the Larimer County Fires Long Term Recovery Group, which supports fire survivors with resources. This group is co-chaired by Volunteers of America (VOA) and United Way of Larimer County (UWLC). EPNRC is just one of more than 30 active partners. We lean on each other to tap into case management, emotional support and wellbeing resources, material donations, debris removal, and more. We ensure Estes Park stays connected and benefits from down valley resources.
The Long Term Recovery Group had backpacks to give away to kids in fire areas. They wanted to give them to Estes Park. EPNRC connected them to Bright Christmas. Bright Christmas has been sponsoring families in need at Christmas for over 35 years; they play “Santa” to roughly 300-350 local kids each year. They also provide school supplies to as many as 120 students each year. Now, they have backpacks to utilize in this vital community program.
At the onset of the pandemic EPNRC received a grant to help support food delivery to the Latinx population. This was in partnership with Crossroads and Mountain Home Café. When Safeway Foundation was ready to give out money at the height of COVID through their Nourishing Neighbors grant, they reached out. EPNRC was not in the business of feeding people directly, but received the grant on behalf of the community and passed much of the funds on to partners such as the American Legion, food trucks, and local restaurants. While EPNRC did not cook any food, we inspired a Nourishing Network which provided over 3000 meals. In this case, food acted as a gateway to make sure community members knew how to access other essential services from local nonprofits. Throughout 2020, people accessed more social services and many were seeking services for the first time.
Sometimes, it is hard to see facilitation and support services. But we are here. The Nonprofit Resource Center has been supporting, connecting, and inspiring area nonprofits since 2003. We are thrilled to work with over 70 local agencies in the Valley, what an amazing network for good. To find out more about programs, funding, and connecting with nonprofits in our area, visit epnonprofit.org. A gift to EPNRC supports all nonprofits.