Reaching out to rural Colorado

Posted by Joanne Kelley, Executive Director, Colorado Association of Funders

I’m pretty sure Rick Cohen was posing a rhetorical question in his recent post about why Colorado’s “Rural Philanthropy Days” works. In his Nonprofit Quarterly  blog, Cohen referred to the mountain region’s version of the event, which took place in Edwards last week.

“Since the last Rural Philanthropy Days [in the mountain region] four years ago, 14 donors increased their grant support to rural areas by 202 percent,” Cohen wrote. “Someone should talk to those 14 grantmakers and ask them what it is that got them to up their rural nonprofit grantmaking.”

You can read the complete Cohen post here.

And here’s an excerpt from the comment I posted in response:

I think a big part of the answer is that this is a year-in and year-out effort aimed at strengthening relationships between funders and nonprofits in the far reaches of the state. The Denver funders know these folks because they keep returning to see and hear about the good work they’re all doing.
Here’s a link to something we wrote about it in our report, “Seeing Potential, Creating Change: The Reach and Impact of Colorado Philanthropy.”

Colorado foundations are headed next to the San Luis Valley in September.

Here’s a blurb from the invite:

“This year’s event will be held in the town of Saguache, listed as one of Colorado’s most endangered places by Colorado Preservation Inc. in 2009. The event location gives attendees a view of the rustic beauty of the Valley and some of the challenges rural isolation poses.”

By the way, Rural Philanthropy Days has worked so well that we realized we could do an even better job of building relationships in the metro areas, too. We launched what we call the “C3 Forum” last year in partnership with the Colorado Nonprofit Association and Community Resource Center, the nonprofit that organizes Rural Philanthropy Days. The C3 Forum is a full day of small group discussions between funders and nonprofits. We’ll be in Loveland on July 12 and expect about 75 funders and 350 nonprofits to spend the day connecting and networking. Come out and join us!

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About coloradogivingvoice

Colorado Giving Voice is a blog created by the Colorado Association of Funders for sharing, storytelling, and raising awareness about Colorado philanthropy.
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