Organizers hope to top 2020’s record $1.1M on Tuesday’s Yampa Valley Gives Day |

Organizers hope to top 2020’s record $1.1M on Tuesday’s Yampa Valley Gives Day

While the 24-hour donating window hasn’t opened yet, the folks at Yampatika already know they will have at least $5 in their coffers by the end of Tuesday.

The donor, kindergartener Clark Melton, started getting an allowance recently and his mom, Routt County Commissioner Beth Melton, said the pair went through a list of local nonprofits to see which he might support on Yampa Valley Gives Day.

“I took him online to the Yampa Valley Gives site so he could choose who he might like to donate some money to, and the winner was Yampatika,” Melton said, at a rally for Yampa Valley Gives Day held last Thursday. “Yampatika had made such an impact on him, even at six years old that he wanted to donate and give back to you guys.”

Born out of a Leadership Steamboat group project, Yampa Valley Gives has far exceeded the expectations its creators expected and has become an essential fundraising source for more than 80 local nonprofit organizations. The initial goal was to be able to raise at least $1 million in a year by the tenth year — a mark first eclipsed last year.

“In five years, they hit $1 million bucks,” said Glen Traylor, a member of that initial leadership group and a current board member of Yampa Valley Gives. “It’s rewarding when you can see that much impact happening in 24 hours — it’s pretty awesome.”

A regional champion of the statewide Colorado Gives Day, Yampa Valley Gives Day starts at midnight on Tuesday and continues for 24-hours. This year it will feature the most nonprofits in Routt and Moffat counties it ever has and hopes to top the record $1.1 million collected last year.

In the first year Traylor said they hoped to raise $100,000. They smashed that goal, raising more than $400,000. After eventually connecting it with Colorado Gives Day, Traylor said it has continued to grow to include more nonprofits, more individual donors and more money.

Joe Haines, executive director of Yampatika, said Yampa Valley Gives Day is a huge part of their year-end fundraising push.

“In many ways, this is the difference between whether we’re in the black of the red in terms of what we are able to do,” Haines said. “What we are able to do today, with more than half of it coming from Colorado Gives day, will carry us until we start getting summer camp registrations in, and that is in February and March.”

For Kate Nowak, executive director of Routt County United Way, it is a day for the community to come together and support all the local nonprofits in one place.

“There’s many nonprofits in all different sectors and the community comes out strong to support us, and we are so appreciative and grateful,” Nowak said. “It’s very important that people who have not already given this year consider giving on this day. It really helps us have a good chunk going into the end of year giving.”

Since it started five years ago, Holly Wilson, office manager for the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, which now runs Yampa Valley Gives Day, says the amount of money raised in a year has doubled.

“The number of donations has tripled in this time,” Wilson said during Thursday’s rally. “The goal of this program is to increase philanthropy through online giving, and I think we’ve done an excellent job of that.”

Last year’s total exceeded the amount raised in 2019 by more than $300,000 and organizers hope to set another giving record this year. Still, Traylor said there isn’t a fundraising goal for Tuesday — just to raise as much money as they can.

“You never want to hit that number, because then people say, ‘Well, they have what they wanted,’” Traylor said. “It’s all necessary. If you hit $1.4 (million), you want to go to that $1.5 (million).”

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