Rally to support Yampa Valley Gives Day brings nonprofits to the table | SteamboatToday.com

Rally to support Yampa Valley Gives Day brings nonprofits to the table

Representatives from Steamboat Springs nonprofits gather on the lawn at the Routt County Courthouse on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, for a rally prior to Yampa Valley Gives Day on Tuesday, Dec. 6.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Leading up to the eighth annual Yampa Valley Gives Day on Tuesday, Dec. 6, members of various nonprofits brought signs to rally for their causes on the lawn of the historic Routt County Courthouse on Thursday, Dec. 1. 

The rally meant a little more this year, as unlike previous years, donations can already be made toward Yampa Valley Gives Day at YVGives.org

Last year, the Yampa Valley Community Foundation saw record-breaking donations with $1.3 million raised in one day from 5,078 individual contributions. 

“Of the 15 regional champions around the state, Yampa Valley Gives ranked fourth in the amount of dollars raised last year,” said Holly Wilson, the office manager of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation and the coordinator of Yampa Valley Gives, to a crowd of nonprofit leaders. 

For a lot of the participating nonprofits, Wilson said, Yampa Valley Gives Day is the biggest day of the year for donations, and small contributions make up much of the money the event brings in. 

“Even from $1 to $10, it doesn’t matter,” Wilson said. “It’s just about giving back to the nonprofits in our community, and everybody can participate.”

The donations are boosted by a $1.4 million statewide incentive provided by sponsors who donate additional money based on the percentage of the total donations that nonprofit receives. While the YVCF accepts donations year-round, donations have to be made through YVGives.org to be boosted. 

Routt County Commisioner Beth Melton reads a proclamation for Yampa Valley Gives Day on the steps of the historic Routt County Courthouse Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

The website underwent an overhaul this year, which Wilson said helps donors contribute to multiple causes through an improved checkout system that puts donations into a digital cart similar to online retailers such as Amazon. 

But for many of the nonprofits in front of the courthouse on Thursday, the event was also a chance to meet with members of other nonprofits and collaborate on strategies.

“Many of us have the chance to collaborate throughout the year, but we don’t get the chance to meet especially the last two years,” said Cary Rentola, director of development and marketing at LiftUp of Routt County. “So, being able to do this and come together this year allows the nonprofits to shake and share stories, and sometimes it opens up new partnerships.”

Over 80 nonprofits are participating in Yampa Valley Gives, representing health, education, environmental conservation, athletics, music and more. 

“The professional level of music we get here is phenomenal,” said Jessica Lane from the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra at the rally. “It is on par with New York and Los Angeles.”

Lane said donations are essential for her organization to provide housing for performers and to fund the high school’s orchestra. 

Jessica Lane, with the Steamboat Springs Symphony Orchestra, visits at a rally for Yampa Valley Gives Day on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. Nonprofits will ask for community support on Yampa Valley Gives Day, which will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 6.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

At the rally, nonprofit representatives talked about how important donations are to their organizations. The Yampa River Botanic Park, for example, is still free to the public thanks to donations. Steamboat Digs Dogs spent tens of thousands of dollars for dispensers of dog poop bags around town, and The Routt County Humane Society relies on donations to help manage the only animal shelter in Routt County.

Meanwhile, demand for food from LiftUp of Routt County has been up this year while donations to the food bank have decreased.

“(Nonprofits) supply a lot of programs that either the government or the private sector doesn’t,” said Robin Schepper, a board member for Integrated Community. “Without these nonprofits, without the funding, we really lose the fabric of what makes Steamboat Steamboat.”

And for anyone who can’t decide on a nonprofit, the Routt County United Way is also participating and directs money to many local programs. 

“We help fund LiftUp, The Cycle Effect, really all of those,” said Sarah Lundahl, who does marketing and communications for Routt County United Way. “I’d say we’re a good one-stop-shop, you know, just to give back to everyone.”

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