Colorado Gives Day supports local non-profits |

Colorado Gives Day supports local non-profits

The first Tuesday of December is big each year for local nonprofits. Colorado Gives Day, a statewide day of giving with the prospect of matching amounts bolstering individual contributions, began in 2010 as a 24-hour giving event. It has since expanded to allow donations in the weeks leading up to big day.

Last year, Colorado Gives Day raised nearly $55 million for nonprofits across the state, and certainly those organizations hope to raise the same or more this year, Gives Day Communications Director Cindy Matthews said.

Matthews estimated Aspen has 78 non-profits participating this year in Colorado Gives Day, and nearly 2,000 within a 100-mile radius of the city. A list of all Aspen non-profits participating can be found by visiting the Colorado Gives website at and searching “Aspen” in the location filter.

“The thing that’s really cool about Colorado Gives Day is all the money stays in Colorado,” she said. “It’s actually one of the largest giving days in the entire nation.”

Currently, there is a $1.4 million Incentive Fund seeded by Colorado Gives and First Bank. Business partners were invited to help build it from there. Each nonprofit receives a percentage of the fund equal to the percentage they raise on Colorado Gives Day. Matthews said this acts as a motivator for a lot of donors.

“(They) like to know that if they give a little, the organization they’re supporting is going to get a little bit more because of their gift.” she said.

Many nonprofits secure their own matches with partners they work with. The board of directors at Response, an Aspen non-profit, for example, is matching every donation one-to-one up to $10,000.

Response offers a 24-hour crisis line, emergency shelter, legal and medical advocacy, assistance with protection orders and victim’s compensation, referrals for immigration assistance and education about domestic violence and sexual assault.

Response Executive Director Shannon Meyer said the end of the year is typically the biggest giving season.

“It’s when we need to make up for any holes in our budget,” she said.

Response’s annual goal for contributions from the community is $70,000, and Meyer said they are close to hitting that.

“Colorado Gives Day is a big portion of a way we raised those funds,” she said.

Donations to Response go toward all of the different aspects of working with survivors, the biggest being personnel costs.

“Our staff are the primary resource we provide to our clients. Our staff provides crisis intervention, individual advocacy and court and medical accompaniment,” she said.

The next biggest cost they have is the housing assistance they provide through the Housing for Survivors program. They also provide short-term transitional housing and longer term rental assistance to people leaving abusive relationships. Donations are necessary to keep these services available for those who need them.

Aspen Historical Society has been participating in Colorado Gives Day since its inception in 2010.

“It’s part of what we do for our end-of-year giving,” said Kelly Murphy, the society’s president and CEO. “It’s a good way to get the message out. People are very familiar with Colorado Gives Day.”

Although Colorado Gives Day is not the biggest chunk of donations they receive each year, the Historical Society encourages people to renew memberships during this time because of the donation matching associated with it.

Unless someone donates for a very specific cause, the donations go toward annual operating expenses and help keep the Historical Society running.

“When we started (Colorado Gives Day) in 2010, we were hoping to raise maybe a million dollars,” Matthews said. “Nobody knew what to expect. We raised $8 million and since then, we’ve received over $362 million.”