Nonprofits in Durango often go to local businesses with an ask: Will you please donate? Now, those organizations have an opportunity to turn the tables, asking not what businesses can do for them, but rather what they can do for businesses.
The Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado raised $410,000 in the wake of this summer’s 416 Fire in an effort to infuse that money into the community. About $85,000 of that money was used to help displaced families, and another $85,000 went to employees whose jobs were interrupted. Then there’s the $100,000 earmarked for the Community Emergency Relief Fund, or CERF – a bucket of money that has been disbursed to nonprofits to be spent at local businesses.
Forty nonprofit executives and board members gathered at TBK Bank on Tuesday morning to get that grant money from the Community Foundation. The nonprofit is asking that the funding be spent at local businesses by Oct. 31.
“You have the money to pay for things that you usually ask for,” said Susan Lander, a nonprofit consultant who presented at the meeting.
Of the money made available to nonprofits, 20 percent is earmarked for businesses in Silverton. Nonprofits may use that money for auction packages or off-site retreats or outings, Community Foundation members suggested at the meeting. Eighteen Silverton businesses, including San Juan Backcountry and Silverton Lakes RV Resort, have said they would benefit from business prompted by the Community Foundation grant.
Ashley Hein, executive director of 4 the Children, a nonprofit that advocates for and supports abused children, said her organization got $1,000 from the Community Foundation as part of the CERF grant, money she already has plans for.
As for the $200 she has to spend in Silverton, Hein said she plans to take her staff to a restaurant there to meet and develop relationships with people in the 22nd Judicial District. She also said she believes self-care is important for everyone, so she wants to give volunteers and staff a wellness certificate for a massage at a local business, something she would purchase with Community Foundation money. She could also use that money to pay for a staff and volunteer appreciation dinner at a local restaurant.
“These are all ideas, that’s what’s so wonderful about this opportunity,” Hein said. “As someone who’s been that person asking for donations, it’s going to be really good to be able to go to them (businesses) without an ask and more of an attitude of gratitude.”