National Philanthropy Day nominees announced

National Philanthropy Day (NPD) returns to the YMCA of the Rockies on November 10. First, this event is open to anyone interested in or participating in creating a culture of philanthropy in our community. It is free. Please come! You can mix and mingle with friends, meet nonprofits, find new opportunities and get updates on what’s going on in the world of good. You will leave feeling flush with warm fuzzies. RSVP is open now at epnonprofit.org. The event is capped at 250 people.

One of the main events at National Philanthropy Day is Philanthropy Awards. There are five categories. The nominations are divided into two parts in order to honor all the great news and accolades people deserve. This week features the Business, Youth, and Shavlik Nonprofit of the Year categories. Next week will feature Katie Speer Philanthropist of the Year and Enduring Service.

Nominees for Business Philanthropist of the Year

Kep Expeditions

Kep Expeditions brought veterans from the Oscar Mike Rocky Mountain Veterans Clinic to Rocky Mountain National Park. Veterans are provided adaptive access to all that RMNP offers: camping, getting wheelchair users on non-accessible trails, hiking, wilderness therapy, fishing, photography, etc. This program has united Estes Valley locals in grassroots giving, from local tour companies and lodging owners, private individuals, to food and beverage donations from local restaurants and breweries. The impact on the veterans, as well as all the visitors to RMNP met along the way, is rewarding and wonderful.

This is a unique program to RMNP—and Colorado—in that it is built on a foundation of locals who love the area, and strive to bring its offerings to ALL people of ANY abilities. In the first year of the program, there were six five-day sessions, serving approximately 50-60 veterans. This community collaboration would not have been possible without “Chief Expeditionary” Brian Kaepplinger’s passion to serve through his business.

You Need Pie!

Val Thompson, owner of You Need Pie!, is always there to donate to any cause in town. She actively supports the clubs and teams at the school, the Rotary, the Car Club, the Quota Club, the Library, the Rec Center, the American Legion, the Chamber, the Rodeo and likely…more?! She also supports the business sector by organizing the Dine Around Town event every year. She is truly a person who gives selflessly. She rarely self-promotes, preferring to just donate quietly and not expect anything in return. I can’t say what her monetary contributions might be because she doesn’t really talk about it. It just seems to me that she leads her business in a way that exemplifies the spirit of this award.

Kind Coffee

Amy Hamrick epitomizes a truly unique business that not only has fine products, but is known as a strong supporter of their customers. She is an exceptional contributor of many, many nonprofits. She is known for her creative responses to the various disasters we all have been through these last several years. This year marks the 20th Anniversary of Kind Coffee, and although Amy and Kind Coffee have been honored before, this is a good time to celebrate her and her special business yet again.

Estes Park Mountain Shop

In the fall of 2022, The Mountain Shop lent their shop to host the Rocky Mountain Facelift volunteer program, which worked across the Estes Valley to support increasing recreational access, as well as removing over 300 pounds of trash from Lake Estes and the Big Thompson River. Along with helping get volunteers out doing work, they provided a space for volunteers to convene and feel like a part of a community, by providing food and drink for folks that came through.

Estes Park Mountain Shop should be recognized and appreciated as a steward and supporter of Estes Valley’s world-class recreational resources, our locals and visitors alike. They provide ongoing support of the Rocky Mountain Conservancy programs each year, ordering gear and apparel for Corps members to ensure that they are properly equipped and always rise to support the Conservancy’s education, volunteer, and High School Leadership programs.

Macdonald Book Shop

Anastacia “Staci” Galloway Reed and Kevin Reed energize the one-hundred year old tradition of Macdonald Book Shop by saying YES! to serving our community with care, compassion, and an absolute fantastic sense of humor.

Macdonald Book Shop (with additional support from Noon Rotary) supported EVICS Family Resource Center’s early literacy project by acquiring bilingual books—over 1500 bilingual, social-emotional book titles were made available to every family of every kindergartner. Macdonald Book Shop sponsors another literacy program in which local families are able to shop for FREE books, a program Staci initiated to respond to and highlight the real need of families in Estes to help get their kids books. Staci also donates her time, talent and treasure as a nonprofit board member, bringing her business skills, experience in educational settings, and passion to help all Estes families thrive. Macdonald Book Shop is an important part of our Village!

Nominees for Youth Philanthropist of the Year

Estes Library Teen Summer Volunteers

It is worth recognizing the teens in our community who took time over the summer to volunteer at the Estes Valley Library. The Teen Summer Volunteers ran the summer reading programs, assembling prizes for young readers, and make kits for those that could not attend the programs. They communicated with their supervisors and took accountability; they produced a well-run program that shows younger kids that older kids like to read!

Valentyna (Valya) Trydukh

Valya, who is from Ukraine, wanted to do something last year that would have an impact on the many families and friends trying to survive the conflict. In talking with folks back home, she found two immediate needs; medical supplies and money. From there, Valya created beautifully decorated boxes for both collecting money and medical supplies. She promoted the collection of supplies and money through Schoology (our district’s Learning Management System), morning announcements at the high school, and awareness/fundraiser through the high school’s BAM (Business and Management) class. Student and staff across the district were very supportive of the idea! She quickly discovered that it was easier to send money than medical supplies. She switched gears to fundraising through Venmo and Western Union. Valya’s godmother in Ukraine helped run a large food packing center where the donations from students and staff made an immediate impact. Her godmother sent a video which was shared with staff. Valya should be recognized for taking action, adapting along the way, and letting her heart lead the pursuit of positive impact.

Youth In Action

Youth in Action has been an active youth-led club in Estes Park for the past eight years. Students develop fundraising activities that benefit the needs of the youth of the Estes Valley. Their largest annual contribution to our community is Shark Tank. This started with about $500 to give away to local nonprofit programs that benefit youth. Last year the group was able, through the generosity of the Bohemian Foundation’s Give Next Program and the fundraising of Youth in Action to give almost $6,000 back to the community. Students often realize, for the first time, the need of some of our community members. Shark Tank requires students to learn the grant process and how to decide what funds should be allocated according to their mission, but it also teaches them empathy.

This year, YIA set up a locker full of personal supplies for students. Students do not have to go without simple items such as toothpaste or deodorant, they can take what they need from the locker without question. The students of Youth in Action are diverse and accepting, which makes the organization a positive in our school.

Nominations for Shavlik Nonprofit of the Year

Crossroads Ministry of Estes Park

Crossroads is the safety net for those who need it the most in the Estes Valley. In the last two years alone, it has assisted 1,296 adults and 616 children (962 families–433 of which were new to Crossroads) in meeting urgent needs. Some highlights of assistance include 296 mortgage payments, 139 utility bills, 12,535 meals on wheels delivered, 255,155 pounds of food distributed, and 360 Thanksgiving dinner boxes. And Crossroads collaborates whenever beneficial to “make the magic happen”. They have partnered with Bright Christmas, providing 225 Christmases to families, and 240 backpacks of school supplies to local kids. Their partnership with Village Thrift Shop has provided 914 coats. These vital needs of our community were met only through the efforts of nearly 15,000 volunteer hours, demonstrating the widespread support of this vital mission. This organization helps those who need it most in our community, through our floods, fires, the pandemic, and our individual times of need.

Crossroads not only serves clients from its location, but it also took over and operates the local Meals on Wheels program, delivering meals to those who are unable to come and pick them up. Bilingual services are available on-site and are frequently utilized, with other multi-lingual capacities available when needed.

EVICS Family Resource Center

EVICS serves the community through event planning, cultural celebrations, volunteering, providing resources such as bilingual reading materials, etc. EVICS consists of volunteers who demonstrate genuine care and passion; they make a positive and lasting impact throughout the community. One example of impact and partnership is with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County. Together, they work closely to provide resources (after-school programs and summer camps) and opportunities to the youth and families in the Estes Park community.

EVICS reaches everyone in the community through cultural celebrations, providing bilingual (Eng/Spa) reading materials and resources for families, and translation services to aid in annual school registration, connecting with public health providers, and connecting new families to the greater Estes Park community.

The Estes Park Nonprofit Resource Center works to connect, support, and inspire our nonprofit community. Together, we create a Culture of Philanthropy in Estes Park. RSVP to attend National Philanthropy Day via epnonprofit.org.

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About Pep Dekekr

Pep loves Estes Park, he lives here with his family and hopes to bring people to Estes Park and Estes Park to the people. Along with his wife Paige, they own EstesPark.com.

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