Foundation reaches $2 million mark |

Foundation reaches $2 million mark

In increments of $2,000 and $3,000, the Yampa Valley Community Foundation has given away $2 million in Routt and Moffat counties, with almost $10 million waiting in the wings to be given away in the distant future.

The YVCF is a private philanthropy organization designed to distribute individual donations to the community.

“Reaching the $2 million mark, for a community our size and a foundation our size, is evidence that the community is generous — that we are interested in taking care of each other,” said YVCF president and CEO Dianna Sutton.

YVCF was formed in 1979 by a group of Steamboat residents to save the community college, which at the time was in danger of being sold for real estate development.

The college survived, and the foundation continued. It was volunteer-run until 1996 when Sutton was hired full time, and an office was established at 701 Yampa Ave.

Most of the foundation’s grants are the result of individual donors giving between $25 and $1,000. The money is then put into an endowment to build what Sutton calls “a savings account for the future.”

“This is the community’s personal savings account,” she said. “It’s today’s money set aside for the future.

“An endowment operates on that concept of philanthropy that you pay yourself first, putting money into a savings account, then you pay for current living expenses.”

YVCF has $10 million to give away during the next several years.

“But not all that is cash. Some of it is part of a legacy plan left to us through wills and estates,” Sutton said.

Individual donors can designate how they want their funds to be spent.

YVCF operates on a January-to-January fiscal year. In the third-quarter granting cycle, it awarded funding to Hayden’s Totally Kids to begin an after-school art enrichment program and Yoga For Kids to teach yoga to children who are developmentally disabled. Money also was granted to the Colorado Northwestern Community College Foundation to begin a nursing classroom development project, an effort to address the area’s nursing shortage.

The Steamboat Ballet Theatre received funding to establish a scholarship program and the Steamboat Springs Arts Council received money for the Community Orchestra.

Grant applications are being accepted for the next funding cycle. The final deadline for 2003 is Nov. 1.

Any nonprofit or charitable group is eligible for funding from the YVCF as long as its program benefits Routt or Moffat counties.

“All our funding comes from local residents, so we feel that all our grants should stay in the area,” Sutton said. Typical grant amounts range from $500 to $5,000.

For more information, call 879-8632.

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