Partners in Routt County fundraiser benefits at-risk youths
Steamboat Springs — Andy Pratt was told that being a senior partner with Partners in Routt County would change his life and that of his junior partner.
He found it to be true.
For about 12 hours a month for almost four years, Pratt could put his own worries aside.
“Getting me out of whatever I think my problem is that day to spend some time with somebody else is a good thing,” Pratt said. “I’m very positive on the whole thing. I feel like it’s probably one of the bigger impacts I can make.”
Pratt moved to Boulder in August but still maintains a connection to the program as a performing musician at the Partners in Routt County benefit, Java & Jazz.
The fifth annual event takes place at 5:30 p.m. Friday at a new location, the Larson Barn on Colorado Highway 131.
The event is known for its mellow vibe, extensive silent auction, heavy hors d’oeuvres, coffee, wine and jazz music, which this year will come from the Andy Pratt Jazz Quartet.
“It’s very fun,” Pratt said. “We do swing and straight-ahead and funk and blues. We’re kind of background, but really the center of attention is the auction.”
Partners in Routt County Executive Director Libby Foster said even though this has been a difficult year financially for many nonprofit organizations, Partners secured about $30,000 worth of items for the silent auction.
Ranging from the practical — Dumpster rentals and propane — to the luxurious — football tickets and high-end sports gear — all of the items will help the nonprofit agency continue to offer services for at-risk local youths.
Partners started in 1996 as a one-on-one mentoring organization and launched a school-based mentoring program five years later.
Foster said Partners has 40 one-to-one community partnerships and maintains seven AmeriCorps volunteer school-based mentors in Routt County public schools.
But continuing to offer those services will be an uphill climb as Partners fights the funding hit that all nonprofits have seen since the economic recession.
“It’s been the toughest year financially,” Foster said. “We were weathering the storm fairly well until 2011.”
As of July, the state of Colorado cut funding to a grant that would have provided Partners with $120,000, or about 10 percent of the program’s total budget, over three years.
“It’s impossible to fill a hole like that,” Foster said. “We’re doing more with less. It’s extra critical that (Java & Jazz) is successful.
“We’re working hard to maintain our services for 2011. We don’t know what the future holds.”
But support at the Java & Jazz fundraiser could help chip away at the funding losses, and Foster said the community always has rallied behind the event.
“It’s mellow, but it has a great energy; it has a great vibe,” Foster said. “It’s an event that, of course, benefits Partners, but the icing on the cake is it also is an enjoyable community function.”
— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com
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