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July 27, 2018
Since its inception, United Way has partnered with local individuals, businesses and agencies to drive important community change. We are proud of our participation in critical initiatives, including the Long Term and Small Business Recovery funds and disaster response for the fire and floods in 2012 and 2013 and the formation of the Sister Mary Alice Murphy Center for Hope. As we celebrate our 60th anniversary this year, we are pleased to be expanding our grant-making programs, awarding our first two Innovation Grants to Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County and Big Green.
United Way launched this new type of grant to encourage nonprofits to look for leveraged funds, explore pilot projects, fill pressing community needs and consider innovative partnerships to solve complex social issues. This funding is made possible through generous donors, business partners and the Bohemian Foundation and provides us with the opportunity to increase investments in the community without decreasing support for currently funded collaborative groups.
Innovation Grants allow United Way to be responsive to community needs in “real time.” The grant to Boys & Girls Club is a great example. The clubs in Larimer County experience greater demand in the summer as working parents seek care for their children during the summer recess. Last summer, the wait list was more than 500 children. This year, with United Way’s support, Boys & Girls Club was able to open an additional Club, providing high quality care and summer enrichment to up to 60 additional children each day.
"We are extremely grateful to have been one of the first Innovation Grant recipients,” said Kaycee Headrick, Executive Director of Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County. “This grant allowed us to expand and enhance our summer program so that more youth in our community can access a safe and enriching environment. These Innovation Grants provide an opportunity to fill immediate gaps; they are a great demonstration of being responsive to community needs."
Click here to learn more about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County partnership with United Way.
Beyond responsiveness, the Innovation Grant application prioritizes opportunities to leverage additional funds and increase community investment in local projects. Big Green, the second recipient of a United Way of Larimer County Innovation Grant, submitted a strong application to increase access to school gardens and nutritious food to local students. The City of Fort Collins provided Big Green with a challenge to complete gardens in the four remaining low-income schools in the Poudre School District without gardens. They pledged fifty percent of the cost and United Way’s Innovation Grant provided half of the remaining cost, with a challenge to the business community and individual donors to fill the remaining gap to complete the challenge.
This combination of funds will provide dynamic outdoor classrooms and productive edible gardens at O'Dea Elementary School, Lincoln IB World Middle School, Tavelli Elementary School and Laurel Elementary School. These gardens will be operational this fall and are expected to serve 2,000 students annually.
"We're thrilled that the community has come together to build these last four Learning Gardens in PSD and bring real food and experiential education to 2,000 additional Northern Colorado kids!” said Kristin Kirkpatrick, Regional Director for Colorado at Big Green. “United Way's Innovation Grant funding, combined with their matching challenge to the community, and the generous support of entities like the City of Fort Collins' Nature In the City program, assure that kids will return to school this fall to find their schoolyards transformed to improve their access to nature and real food."
Moving forward, United Way of Larimer County will seek out exceptional projects in Estes Park and Loveland for Innovation Grant funding. Our goal is to provide at least eight Innovation Grants during the 2018 - 2019 fiscal year, or more if funding allows.
In addition to Innovation Grants, United Way will continue to fund collaborative groups through its annual grant process. We are proud to be investing more than $3.6 million in our community this fiscal year.
If you are interested in learning more about Innovation Grants, please contact me or our new Vice President of Community Impact, Claire Bouchard. If you are interested in supporting additional Innovation Grants, please consider donating to United Way and attending our 60th anniversary event. Every $10,000 in net proceeds for this event will fund an additional Innovation Grant and attendees at the 60th anniversary will get a say on their choice of project, from applications submitted.
Annie Davies, President / CEO
United Way of Larimer County
One of the best ways Executive Directors can serve their organization, mission, Board, staff, volunteers, and customers is to be constantly challenging themselves and learning. To help do so, United Way of Larimer County is offering this low cost, high impact executive-level training and coaching this winter at The Community Impact Center.
Our trainer, Maro Zagoras, has trained some of the largest nonprofits in the country in her 30 years of professional experience. As a Fort Collins resident, she is excited about offering this premier training to organizational leaders making a difference in our community.
There are 25 spots for highly motivated nonprofit Executive Directors.
The total investment of 3 half-day trainings and peer support: $75 per E.D. to cover refreshments, lunch, and course materials. United Way of Larimer County is underwriting this training.
“I found myself looking at my calendar each month for when I got to go to the next training. The support for me personally was critical.” - Donna
"Maro translates complex theory down to practical, usable examples that are critically important to NPO leadership. She does it with humor, patience, and on neutral ground." - Cheryl
"This training program provided an incredible framework and support structure for better understanding my own leadership skills and potential. Maro's facilitation skills, sense of humor, and obvious depth of knowledge encouraged me to move forward with renewed enthusiasm and a strong sense of my abilities. What I learned from Maro, formally and informally, has aided me in both my work and career decisions. Thumbs up for Maro." - John
"'Working with Maro is an enriching, productive and fun experience. She is a true pro that keeps groups on task to achieve outcomes while creating space, energy and an atmosphere of inspiration and comfort that promotes growth. She has a real talent at making each and every person she works with feel important, worthy and talented and uses their strengths to help them find solutions." - Abbie
“When I was selected last year to be part of the Leaders Forum, I did not know what it was all about nor was I sure what benefit I would have from attending. Once selected, I got many surveys asking about what I knew and what I’d like to learn about. I met with Maro who is such a genuine person and showed true interest in helping not only my organization but myself as its leader. As the months went by, our group grew in knowledge and also a bond formed with the other attendees. Maro started empowering us to teach, share and practice within the safety of our group. Now a year later, I look back at the Leaders Forum as a huge success. I not only gained skills and knowledge but I gained friendship, accountability partners, other ED’s I can call on and call on me!” - Jon
“This training is incredibly valuable…
Add to that, I have made friends and become more open and comfortable where I wasn’t before. I remember looking around the room my first day and thinking, ‘I don’t belong here, all these folks have it together and I don’t have any idea what I am doing’ however, now I think ‘I have no idea what I’m doing, but at least no one else does either!’ Kidding aside, this will be one of the best personal and professional experiences you will ever have.” - Ashleigh
"Maro is always willing to better understand the needs and challenges that this community’s non-profit leaders have and she finds ways to help them! Maro's passion for what she does clearly shows in the quality of her work and in her efforts to help strengthen the local non- profit community and their leaders."- Kristi
“The incredible experience and expertise of Maro Zagoras in our meetings is beyond anything I could have expected. Maro is one of the most influential actors in my new career. Maro created a judgement-free zone where E.D.s can share their challenges and get support.” - David
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