Now more than ever rural leaders and philanthropy need to connect to ensure that rural communities have access to the resources needed to respond and begin recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. CRC is committed to creating a space where rural organizations, funders, and civic leaders can connect, learn, collaborate, and access critical resources through ongoing virtual programming. To meet the evolving needs of rural communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, CRC launched the Rural Action Network. Rural Action Network programming includes: a State of Rural Funding aimed to inform rural nonprofits of what is currently happening in the state in regards to rural funding; a Rural Action Network Convening, bringing together rural nonprofits, funders, and government representatives to discuss needs and ways to support; Rural Funder Development Roundtables, giving nonprofits an opportunity to hear from and ask questions directly to Funders in their field; Regional Resources Workshops, connecting nonprofits within each region to resources and funding opportunities, as well as a space to network with each other; and a Statewide Rural Forum, bringing stakeholders together in a virtual "town-hall" conversation.
State of Rural Funding
• 90% of respondents agreed that they have more knowledge of the current state of funding for rural CO.
• 82% of respondents agreed that they will utilize the resources they learned about during this session.
• 82% of respondents agreed that they learned helpful information on how other rural nonprofits are responding during this time.
Rural Action Network Convening
• 86% of respondents agreed that they built new connections with other nonprofits and community leaders.
• 94% of respondents agreed that they have a better understanding of the challenges nonprofits are facing during this pandemic.
Rural Funder Development Roundtables
• 93% of respondents agreed that they felt empowered to follow-up with foundation staff.
• 90% of respondents agreed that they have a better understanding of foundations' funding priorities.
Community Resource Center (CRC) has partnered with rural communities throughout Colorado for the Rural Philanthropy Days (RPD) program for 28 years. This program engages regional nonprofit, government, business, and other community leaders in bridging the resource gap between rural and urban communities. The most significant component of this program is two, three day regional conferences, which provide rural nonprofit professionals with numerous opportunities to increase their access to funding, network building, and professional development opportunities. For each conference, Front Range funders and resource providers travel to rural Colorado to meet with nonprofits and community leaders to identify and leverage opportunities to increase support of rural organizations across the region.
Through RPD, CRC serves 52 rural counties in Colorado which are divided into eight rural regions. Between RPD conferences, local leaders provide continued professional development and skill- building opportunities with support from CRC.
The 12 core funders of the program award nearly 20% of their grant dollars to rural nonprofits, totaling nearly $160 million over the last 7 years. The 2019, RPD conferences were held in Hotchkiss (Western Slope) in June and in Del Norte (San Luis Valley) in September. Over 600 community leaders were served through these events. The 2021, RPD conference will be held in Hugo and Limon (Northeast) in June and Canon City (Heart of Colorado) in September.
• 92% of survey responding grantseekers learned new skills at RPD that will increase their professional capacity
• 97% of respondents built new relationships with funders
• 92% of survey responding grantmakers agreed that as a result of RPD, they have a better understanding of the challenges faced by the regional nonprofit sector
• 97% of funders agreed that they built new relationships with nonprofit organizations in the region
• 100% of Steering Committee members felt RPD helped create benefits for their community
CRC's Nonprofit Management & Leadership Program enhances the capacity of nonprofit Executive Directors to lead their organizations. With over 700 participants to date, this year-long program empowers between a cohort of leaders from across the state to expand leadership capabilities, master new management techniques, and cultivate meaningful professional relationships. The 2020 Leadership Cohort, comprised of 14 Executive Directors have been convening in a virtual environment due to the pandemic. The cohort meets 10 times between April and September for various trainings such as Nonprofit Financial Leadership, Board and Governance, Advocacy for Nonprofits, and many more. "I think you all are doing a great job given the circumstances to adapt this program to a remote-learning environment, and I am very grateful to be able to attend". - 2020 Participant
- 98% of participants said they were more confident in their ability to lead their organizations
-100% of participants said they were very likely to recommend this program to someone else.
"I have gained confidence in myself knowing that my leadership style can be and is effective. I understand more why I was selected to be Executive Director, and my feelings of "impostor syndrome" have lessened."
CRC's Leadership Program gave me the confidence boost to become a leader vs a manager. I have the background from CRC to make better informed decisions as well as know how to better ask question for guidance.
"This program was such a blessing to me and by extension to my agency."
CRC presents workshops, locally, and regionally throughout Colorado, covering a wide variety of nonprofit management topics designed to provide each participant the strategies and skills needed to reach their organization's goals. Each year, CRC convenes and delivers between 90-120 trainings with more than 1,000 individuals working for nonprofits across Colorado. Due to COVID-19, CRC has adapted the in-person trainings into an interactive webinar format for free or low cost. "The trainer and other staff members of CRC were very organized and did an excellent job with the workshop. I don't feel that I lost out on a thing by doing this via Zoom. It was excellent!" Training participants generally represent small- to mid-sized organizations (74% have a budget of less than $1 million), and most often work in the mission areas of health and human services (39%), education (23%), and youth services (19%).
In 2019, CRC served over 3,500 individuals via training workshops and convenings throughout Colorado "Our small town/county has SO many needs. It is great to know there are funds available to meet those needs. Plus knowledge of resources."
On average, 93% of survey respondents felt they were better able to help meet their organizations mission and goals, "This (training) will allow me to be able to be more efficient in helping my organization prepare and maintain grants. As a program that is largely grant funded this is invaluable." An additional 91% felt they had a better understanding of the nonprofit sector and the topic which they were learning. "I am excited to take advantage of the resources available. I feel like I have a better idea of where to begin!"
Since 2013, The Colorado Nonprofit Social Enterprise Exchange (The Exchange) has worked to create a resourced ecosystem of social enterprise nonprofits, venture philanthropists, and foundations to support Colorado communities.
The Exchange supports nonprofits in building more sustainable, unrestricted sources of funding and supporting economic opportunity in low-income communities through the creation of businesses that train and employ clients.
The Exchange's Social Enterprise Cohort has graduated 25 organizations that have successfully launched 14 social enterprises, with another 4 in development.
Participating organizations have raised over $1.8 million in startup and initial capital, and created over 40 jobs in the community
Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy
Ethnic/Racial Minorities - General
The Participation Project was founded to address the gaps in advocacy and civic engagement capacity within Colorado's nonprofit sector. The need to mobilize nonprofit human service agencies and the communities they serve in policy, elections, and political decision-making is recognized across Colorado's nonprofit sector, and The Participation Project is the only program that provides the ongoing supports these agencies need to be successful. We have adapted our program this year to support nonprofits as they navigate the impacts of COVID-19 and provide new ways for engagement including a digital communications toolkit and adapted in-person outreach that follows all health and safety guideline. We are running the largest program is our history with a goal of supporting 30 nonprofit partners to reach 10,000 individuals with voter engagement activities.
Since 2010, the Participation Project has directly engaged over 24,000 low income and diverse individuals and more than 50 Colorado human service nonprofits in elections work, including voter registration, voter education, and Get out the Vote efforts. In 2019, 49% of our list was identifiable as individuals of color, and 71% were women. Our list is 90% unique, meaning that nearly all of these individuals were not reached, registered, or engaged by any other C3 effort in the state. In 2020, we are currently partnering with 25 nonprofits across 20 counties and have trained over 75 nonprofit staff and volunteers with additional trainings scheduled.
In partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service, CRC utilizes AmeriCorps VISTA members to assist rural nonprofits by providing internal capacity to alleviate poverty in rural Colorado communities. In 2020-21, VISTA members will serve with CRC in Denver and over 25 rural-based nonprofit organizations. VISTA members serving within CRC's statewide cohort have continued to support their host sites throughout the COVID-19 pandemic through remote work and shifted activities (I.e. emergency funding research).
Rural Partner Sites (Host Sites):
- Bright Futures: San Miguel County
-Hispanic Affairs Project: Montrose County
-San Luis Valley Great Outdoors: Alamosa County
-Education Foundation of Eagle County: Eagle County
-La Puente Home: Alamosa County
-Chaffee Housing Trust: Chaffee County
-Montezuma Cortez RE-1 School District: Montezuma County
-CSU 4H Extension: Larimer County
-Alpine Achievers Initiative: Saguache County
-Two Peaks Fitness and La Veta/Cuchara Chamber: Huerfano County
-The Good Food Collective: La Plata County
-Boys and Girls Club of SLV: Alamosa County
-Headwaters Alliance: Mineral County
-Eureka! McConnell Science Museum: Mesa County
-High Country RSVP: Lake County
-Grand Futures Prevention Coalition: Grand County
-La Plata Youth Services: La Plata County
-Haven House: Montrose County
-Lake County Build a Generation: Lake County
-Summit County School District Pre-Collegiate Program: Summit County
-Colorado Coalition for the Homeless: Denver County
-Rio Grande Farm Park: Alamosa County
-SLV Local Food Coalition: Alamosa County
Colorado Grants Guide® is Colorado's leading online tool for funding research for nonprofit and community-based organizations. This comprehensive resource guide contains over 780 profiles of local foundations and trusts, corporations, national funders, government agencies and religious organizations that support Colorado nonprofit organizations. The searchable online database allows grantseekers to research funders that support a specific area of interest, geographic location or type of grant.
Available as a 3-month and 12-month organizational subscription, the Colorado Grants Guide® is continually researched and updated to ensure the most up-to-date and accurate information possible. Since COVID-19 hit, the Colorado Grants Guide® has been updated with information on rapid response and emergency funding initiatives as well as recovery funding initiatives on an ongoing basis.
Each profile details the funder's:
- Purpose and mission
- Areas of interest and geographic focus
- Board of trustees
- Application guidelines and restrictions
- Recent grants and financial information
- Link to funder's website and most recent 990 (as available)
Research management features like Favorite Funders lists and Notes allow you to search and save your personal criteria and comments. Functional enhancements make this guide extremely user-friendly and CRC provides comprehensive technical and non-technical support to all users.