Nonprofit And Business Partnerships Contribute To A Resilient Community

Rock Cut Brewing Co. threw a carwash at the start of the pandemic. Giving back is a foundational pillar of their business model. The car wash engaged employees who often use nonprofit social services and empowered everyone involved (for-profit staff, nonprofit partners, and customers) to help grow the Nonprofit Relief Fund. Photo by Alex Ho.

The solid ties between local nonprofits and small businesses energized during a year of pandemic. Partnerships and collaboration among small business and local nonprofits ensured our community had what we needed. But, this isn’t happening only during times of intense challenge.

Local nonprofits and small Estes Park businesses have been collaborating to support the community for years. Poppy’s and Mama Rose’s restaurants held Giving Thursdays. They would donate 25% of their day’s sales at both restaurants to a specific nonprofit. The nonprofit would invite their donors and supporters, help promote the day of giving, and often be at the restaurant to help greet friendly and familiar faces.

The tradition of business and nonprofit partnership carried on through COVID. Estes Park Nonprofit Resource Center (EPNRC) facilitated a temporary Nonprofit Relief Fund, which directly supported local organizations as needs and services intensified during the most critical periods of COVID. This fund ensured there were no gaps in social services during COVID. Businesses were an integral part of rising up to support the fund.

For example, Rock Cut Brewing Co. supported the fund with a COVID safe—and charmingly traditional—drive thru car wash. Community members waved to each other as they drove thru, while brewery employees joyfully washed cars and accepted donations. There was dancing! Funds raised at this event provided technology to enable critical nonprofit services to be offered virtually.

Rock Cut Brewing Co. owner Kirby Hazelton notes that giving back has always been a foundational pillar of their business model, pandemic or not. “The car wash came as an opportunity for action when we were so limited in so many other capacities. Our staff has a passion for our community nonprofits—many of them utilize their services, volunteer for their events, etc. —and we all wanted to be able to give back in a meaningful way. We had a blast (thank you weather gods!), kept our staff engaged, and felt like we were able to contribute. ”

Later in 2020, Estes Park experienced a wildfire evacuation. Rock Cut Brewing Co. and EPNRC partnered again, this time joined by Roaming Rations food truck, to provide a warm “Welcome Home” community meal. This free meal was a chance to reconnect with neighbors and share resources for how to access food, mental health support, health and safety services and more.

Partnerships between local nonprofits and small businesses reinforce the spirit of resiliency that exists in Estes Park and broadens the reach of essential services. Local nonprofit organizations are grateful for the support of local businesses, especially in times of crisis. You show your small-town spirit and contribute to the resiliency of Estes Park when you shop, dine, drink and stay local.

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