With all the struggles of our current economic times, one amazing fact remains: People are still generous.
According to the Grassroots Funding Journal, more than 70 percent of adults give away money to nonprofit organizations. Considering that well more than 90 percent of the American population makes less than $100,000 a year, most of these donations come from average, working, middle- or lower-class people.
So why do people donate money? Most are not claiming it on tax returns. People generally give because they have a personal connection with an organization or a cause, they want to make a difference in their community or just because it feels good to give.
Community Connections Inc. has been blessed with many such generous donors over the years. The seventh annual Festival of Trees event, which begins Nov. 26, already has attracted a full selection of tree sponsors, cash donors and other donor support. In a year when the agency revenue has been repeatedly slashed by state budget reductions, this support is vital to the continuation of services that ensure the health and safety of some of the community’s most vulnerable individuals.
The wonderful thing about donors is that they come in all shapes and sizes. We have our brilliant gold sponsors, Kroeger’s Ace Hardware and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, that have provided trees and a beautiful location where we host the event.
Then there are the tree sponsors who “adopt” a tree, decorate it lavishly and enter it in a drawing to go home with a lucky family or individual. Coca Cola Bottling Co. of Durango has been one of these tree sponsors from the beginning of the festival – a natural fit with Coca-Cola’s emotional and nostalgic ties to the holiday season. Meredith Maple of Coca-Cola confirms the value for their company.
“What’s good for us is good for the community. We have to work together to support valuable services like those provided by Community Connections,” Maple said.
What these donors see is that their donations do make a direct difference in the community. Donations from Festival of Trees have helped purchase assistive technology for young children and helped families transport their children to medical services in Denver. They’ve supported essential maintenance needs on the homes of people with disabilities. Donations have supported recreational opportunities for adults with disabilities and supported healthy relationship classes.
Without these donations, our community would struggle to ensure that people with severe disabilities and their families receive the support they need to thrive. In this time of Thanksgiving, we send our sincere thanks to the donors of past, present and future who keep us alive.
Join us at the seventh annual Festival of Trees for Community Connections, from 1 to 6 p.m. Nov. 26-28 and Dec. 3-5 at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum.
Entrance is free, and you can enter to win a wreath or tree (with presents) for a $10 donation. Entertainment and giveaways are going on throughout the weekends.
For more information and a schedule, visit our website at www.cci-colorado.org.
Tara Kiene is the director of case management with Community Connections Inc.