How donors help the community – in their words

The holidays are a time for giving and receiving. As any nonprofit in Durango will tell you, we are lucky to live in a town that has such generous, community-minded businesses that make sure we not only survive but thrive.

This month, I am taking off my naturalist hat and putting on my nonprofit hat to recognize some of the many creative ways that businesses give back to our community.

Andy Corra, owner of 4Corners Riversports, annually sponsors our Mountain Film Festival and generously gives to our annual online auction.

Corra said: “It is special to be part of this great community and something we shouldn’t take for granted as this connectedness becomes more rare in the world. This means doing what we can to support our many worthy organizations.

“Owning a seasonal business with fluctuating cash flow means that monetary contributions are not always possible, but we feel it is important to be creative in how we support the community that supports us. Product donations, labor hours or opening our store for fundraisers, events and meetings are some of the ways we strengthen our ties to the community.”

Tom Bridge, owner of Durango Nursery and Supply, hosted a fundraiser for Durango Nature Studies this summer at which he donated a percentage of his sales for the day.

“We at Durango Nursery and Supply feel the need to balance the overabundance of virtual information that we all derive from books and Internet knowledge with the real, tactile and intimate understanding of our world that can only come from touching the soil, rocks, plants and animals of the natural world around us,” Bridge said. “Durango Nature Studies provides the curriculum for our youths to make the connection from modernism to naturalism and optimistically to cultural sustainability.”

Kristi Streiffert, owner of For the Birds, sells coffee and hosts monthly bird walks for donations to Durango Nature Studies. She also steps in to donate auction items and birdseed. Streiffert said: “For the Birds has a mission statement that is very straightforward: to help people connect with nature. When we can walk alongside DNS (literally in the case of the bird walk), we can see both of us directly fulfilling our mission. It makes us feel good!”

Alpine Bank asks its customers to give back through its “give back” program. It also sponsors all of our events and provides radio ads to promote them.

“Alpine and all its employees share in the common vision and goal to support our local nonprofit organizations. Our success has been built on the desire to make our communities a better place for all who live there,” said Vice President Brian Rose.

Maria’s Bookshop pairs authors with nonprofits to help raise awareness and money.

Libby Cowles, community-relations manager for Maria’s, said: “One of the most important things we can do as a locally owned community bookstore is to find ways to support local nonprofits, since it’s their work that keeps our community thriving. I love finding ways to pair up with community organizations in our author events.”

To sum it up, I’ll quote from Jim Carver, co-owner of Carver Brewing Co. and local philanthropist. Carver donates beer for groups to sell at events, hosts many dine-outs for charity at the restaurant and, most recently, has put in time and resources to maintain our Nature Center.

“I can do a little, and it helps other people a lot. Everything you do through giving becomes magnified,” Carver said.

The aforementioned businesses provide only a handful of the generosity we and many nonprofits experience. From the folks I talked about to Backcountry Experience donating tents for our summer camp, Mercury sponsoring scholarships for summer camp, Kohler’s Printing & Copying printing all our Nature Club fliers, and many more, the one thing all these businesses have in common is a love for our community and the understanding that we all are connected.

So, this holiday season, show your support by shopping locally and say thank you for making Durango a wonderful place to live while you’re at it.

sallydurangonature-studies.org or 382-9244. Sally Shuffield is executive director of Durango Nature Studies.

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