When we make the effort to support those in need, and take care of our community in the ways our government can't (and probably shouldn't) we build stronger communities. Non-profit organizations are often formed because someone, some group of people, sees a need in the community that is overlooked. They strive to do good work, and good work requires funding. There has to be a way to support the work. Community First Foundation has answered that call. It began as the foundation for the Lutheran Medical Center, and has transitioned through the years to a community foundation. This year, Denver Business Journal boosted Community First Foundation's rankings from #17 to #7 in terms of assets. With increased assets of $275 million, due to a separation from, and settlement with the Sisters of Charity of Levenworth, the foundation is now poised with an asset base that allows them to serve the community with the knowledge of a secure future. They can be sure of of their impact, and their ability to grow.
On our show this week, Emily Haggstrom, ICOSA's Director of Marketing talks with Marla Williams, President and CEO of Community First Foundation. Together they discuss the mission of philanthropy and the creation of a nationally-recognized model for giving.
Marla points out that as a community foundation, it's their responsibility to keep a finger on the pulse on the community, to help people inspire philanthropy and connect people to causes that are meaningful for them. In doing so, you build a stronger community together.
One incredible way that they accomplish this mission is with the Colorado Gives website which catalogs hundreds of non profits. Each non-profit is reviewed to ensure they are legitimate organizations. ColoradoGives.org then creates a secure place to give online. Then, on Colorado Gives Day, they rally the city of Denver and all of Colorado to support those non-profits with a blast of generous giving.
Each year on Colorado Gives Day, the media pushes the message, driving everyone to the website to donate to their favorite non-profits. First Bank contributes an incentive fund to defray the cost of credit card fees, ensuring that every dollar donated goes straight to the organizations. In the first year, they surprised themselves by raising $8.4 million, far exceeding their anticipated goal. The response grows each year, to $12.4 million in 2o11, and$15.4 million in 2012.
Gives Day is so successful, that it's being copied in other cities and states around the country, and Community First Foundation has a hand in teaching them the model.
This year, Colorado Gives Day is on December 10th. Go ahead and check out www.ColoradoGives.org right now to search the organziations, choose a charity that speaks to you and prepare to give.
Be sure to listen to the full interview Saturday at 10:00 AM on KNUS 710 – Please let us know what you think of our program, either by commenting here or on Facebook at Connect & Collaborate with ICOSA or join the discussion on Twitter @ICOSAMagazine.