Challenge Aspen grateful for support | AspenTimes.com

Challenge Aspen grateful for support

Dear Editor:

How do you measure the success of a nonprofit fundraiser? The recent Vince Gill/Amy Grant Golf Gala, held at St. Regis Aspen and Aspen Golf Club to benefit Challenge Aspen, makes a great case study to explore the true value of a fundraiser. The simplest measurement for the success of this event came in the fact that more than 1,000 participants with disabilities and their families can attend a Challenge Aspen program for a week. Included in this number are our nation’s wounded warriors who have given so much for this country.

Is any philanthropic venture strictly measured by the number of people who came to the event and/or the total dollars raised? Can some measure of success be affixed to the unselfish army of volunteers and staff who gave countless man-hours to create the event? Possibly success could be measured by the number of gifts, auction items and in-kind services that local businesses generously donated to the event? What about the undeniable economic impact on our business community due to the influx of out-of-town guests who were drawn to the event and purchased many local goods and services?

Conventional wisdom would answer the above four questions with a resounding “yes, yes, yes and yes!”

Certainly, without the many generous patrons, dedicated volunteers, community leaders, visitors and local businesses that truly believe in the “cause,” any fundraiser has a high probability of failure. Additionally, the cost of putting on such a program combined with massive manpower needs can be a daunting task. No question, all of these factors come into play when working in the nonprofit world.

Every auction gift is a godsend, and every on-task volunteer is a true blessing. Rather than measuring our success in dollars, we measure the tangibly immeasurable. Our reward is how well we can guide and nurture an individual with a disability toward living a more fulfilling and capable life; when a mother whose child has an incurable disease says, “I’ve not seen my family smile together so much in my life”; or when a military wounded warrior, who has given so much of himself or herself to our country, says, “I’m not having nightmares anymore.”

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For our staff, volunteers and business partners, this is the true measure of our collective profit. Helping one person – one family – one day at a time to transform their lives for the better through recreational, educational and cultural adaptive programs is indeed a simple measurement but the most remarkable dimension of success for Challenge Aspen.

From the entire Challenge Aspen family, a sincere thank-you goes out to each and every volunteer and the many businesses that participated in our recent event, and we hope you know that your actions have impacted many lives of others with disabilities who you will probably never meet.

Houston Cowan

Co-founder and CEO, Challenge Aspen