La Plata County residents pride themselves on their generosity, whether it’s volunteering or writing a check.
That generosity was on show Dec. 8, Colorado Gives Day, when 13 local nonprofits raised $75,360, up from $29,900 in 2014. The number of La Plata County nonprofits involved in the Community First Foundation’s push for giving statewide almost doubled in 2015, with six more joining the effort this year.
“We had some donors tell us they were pleased to see us there, because it means we’ve arrived at a certain point,” said Cristie Scott, executive director of the Durango Arts Center. “They recognize it’s hard to get into; it’s competitive, and it’s a lot of work.”
DAC wasn’t accepted for the 2015 Colorado Gives until November, so the center didn’t have a lot of time to pull together its campaign.
“We sent out an email every week, because it really sneaks up after Thanksgiving,” Scott said, adding that the center also sent out a reminder postcard. “We did get some feedback from people who were annoyed, but then some told us that on the day, it was a reminder, and they realized they needed to give.”
Colorado Gives provides a platform for giving year round, not just on the second Tuesday in December. The arts center, Scott said, continued to receive donations the rest of December, and has decided to make this its annual yearend campaign. DAC received 58 donations Dec. 8, for a total of $6,760, but by continuing to promote the donor platform, it brought in $8,576 by the end of the month.
The Durango Adaptive Sports Association saw its donations go up by 57 percent compared with 2014, Executive Director Tim Kroes said.
“We were pleased with the number of people who donated that way who have not supported us in the past,” he said, “plus there were a lot of people from the Front Range who donated. The site is so comprehensive; I think people just go on and research nonprofits to find the ones that fit their passion.”
The 247 donors who made 298 donations to La Plata County charities on Colorado Gives Day were among the 47,806 Coloradans who donated Dec. 9, said Kayla Arnesen, the spokeswoman for Community First Foundation. Those donors raised more than $28.5 million for 1,884 nonprofits. That was up from $26.2 million in 2014. Since Colorado Gives day began in 2010, it has raised more than $111 million for Colorado nonprofits.
Any newly registered nonprofit that received donations from at least 30 unique donors on Colorado Gives Day was put in a drawing for a $5,000 bonus from sponsor FirstBank of Denver. No La Plata County charities earned the bonus, Arnesen said.
Last year was a good year for giving in the state. The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office reported that Coloradans donated more than $4.2 billion. Of that total, $3.29 billion came from individual donors, $803 million was donated by foundations and $107 million was left to charities in bequests.
The Colorado Association of Funders, which includes the Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado, reported a record year of giving in 2015 with that $803-million mark. It was an increase of 11 percent compared with 2014, and a 150 percent increase compared with the amount received 10 years ago, in 2005, the association said. Funders outside the state gave Colorado nonprofits grants worth $240 million, with more than $44 million of that from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.