Workshops & Speakers

Wednesday, June 13

Past, Present, Future: Community Tours

Session Description: Join the Southeast RPD Steering Committee on these pre-conference tours showcasing some of Southeast Colorado’s most inspiring programs, innovative companies, and captivating historic exhibits! Registrants will have the option to pick one tour from each of the time slots offered to attend a total of two tours.

Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community | 7:30 – 9:00 AM or 10:00 – 11:30 AM | Available to Grantmakers Only

The Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community provides recovery oriented transitional housing to homeless individuals. The program combines housing with peer support, educational, vocational and employment services for up to 300 homeless and formerly homeless persons from across the state of Colorado, with an emphasis on serving homeless veterans. The program is located at the former Fort Lyon VA Hospital in Bent County, Colorado and is part of state and community efforts to re-purpose the facility to meet the needs of homeless individuals across the state and to catalyze the re-use of the facility to meet a variety of community needs.

Colorado Mills | 8:00 – 9:15 AM or 9:45 – 11:15 AM

Colorado Mills, locally owned by four SE Colorado families, is an environmentally-friendly, zero-waste  company dedicated to connecting farmers and customers with value-added sunflower products. They are innovators in the sunflower industry, extracting heart-healthy food grade oil used by snack food companies nationwide.   The sunflower meal is used in high quality livestock feeds that is marketed throughout the country as well. The Organic and Kosher certified refining facility produces 12,000 gallons of heart-healthy, natural, kosher sunflower oil per day. Colorado Mills contracts with over 100 Farmers, 80% of which, are within 100 miles of Lamar, to provide the 50 million pounds of sunflower seeds necessary to fill its annual needs.

Big Timbers Museum | 8:00 – 9:15 AM or 9:45 – 11:15 AM

The Big Timbers Museum building was originally erected by American Telephone & Telegraph Company that housed repeater equipment for the Denver-Kansas City long distance lines. The museum showcases Southeast Colorado history, WWI poster collection, 10-star Confederate flag, Native American, Sand Creek, Bent’s Fort, Fleagle Gang & transportation exhibits.

Lamar Community College Innovate & Make Space | Open House 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

The Innovate & Make Space at Lamar Community College is designed especially for thinkers, hobbyists, and building entrepreneurs who are interested in designing, prototyping, and creating a finished product. Users work alongside Master Certified Volunteers to make their projects come to life using state-of-the-art technology including a laser cutter, vinyl cutter and heat press, 3D printers, a milling machine, a router, and an industrial sewing machine and serger. Many of the makers come to simply make personalized gifts for themselves as well as family and friends, while others have taken advantage of this space to launch their own businesses.

Southeast Regional Town Hall (1:00 - 2:30 PM)

Session Description: Begin the 2018 Southeast RPD conference with an energizing, collaborative conversation about the nonprofit sector in Baca, Bent, Crowley, Huerfano, Kiowa, Las Animas, Otero and Prowers counties. These facilitated, small group dialogues will bring together nonprofit professionals, community leaders, and funders to network and create a collective message of the strengths and assets of the sector. Participants will leave feeling motivated and ready to take full advantage of the RPD conference and leverage their knowledge and passion to establish new partnerships and discover key opportunities.

Maria Fabula, President and CEO of Community Resource Center, brings more than 17 years of experience in nonprofit management, fund development, volunteer engagement, collaboration and business development. Maria has extensive experience delivering training and consulting services to increase nonprofit capacity. Maria earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at San Diego and has spent a majority of her career connecting government agencies, nonprofit organizations and private enterprises to improve community. Her experience includes leadership positions with the Nonprofit Support Center, the Junior Statesmen Foundation and the California State Senate.

"Telling Your Story" Pre-Conference Training Make-Up Session (3:00 - 5:30 PM)

Session Description: The Community Resource Center and Anschutz Family Foundation provide these critical training sessions across the host region prior to the three-day conference. The training sessions are geared to help local organizations and agencies understand how to position their nonprofit to compete with Front Range entities, how to use Philanthropy Days to their best advantage, and how to increase their capacity to compete for grants. We include these trainings in your registration fee, and the training is certain to maximize your organization’s exposure to the right funders at RPD.  This three hour workshop is designed to engage both veteran fundraisers and newcomers to the nonprofit world. Come be inspired, and get prepared to make the most of your Rural Philanthropy Days experience.  This makeup session is available to any conference registrants that did not attend a previously hosted session.

Pre-conference trainings are required for first-time RPD attendees.

Meet the Funders - Round 1 (3:00 - 4:00 PM)

Session Description: The “Meet the Funders” sessions provide an introduction to a group of Colorado grantmakers and an opportunity for peer-learning and networking. Foundation staff will share information on strategic funding initiatives, giving philosophy, and grantmaking process. Nonprofits will gain valuable insight on potential partnerships with each funder and opportunity for open dialogue and questions.

AmeriCorps Streams of Service: Serve Colorado, Corporation for National and Community Service, AmeriCorps NCCC

Healthy Communities: Caring for Colorado Foundation, Colorado Health Foundation

Government Support: Great Outdoors Colorado, Department of Local Affairs

General Purpose Funders: Anschutz Family Foundation, Buell Foundation, Daniels Fund

General Purpose Funders: Kenneth King Foundation, Adolph Coors Foundation

Meet the Funders - Round 2 (4:30 - 5:30 PM)

Session Description: The “Meet the Funders” sessions provide an introduction to a group of Colorado grantmakers and an opportunity for peer-learning and networking. Foundation staff will share information on strategic funding initiatives, giving philosophy, and grantmaking process. Nonprofits will gain valuable insight on potential partnerships with each funder and opportunity for open dialogue and questions.

AmeriCorps Streams of Service: Serve Colorado, Corporation for National and Community Service, AmeriCorps NCCC

Healthy Communities: Caring for Colorado Foundation, Colorado Health Foundation

Government Support: Great Outdoors Colorado, Department of Local Affairs

General Purpose Funders: Anschutz Family Foundation, Buell Foundation, Daniels Fund

General Purpose Funders: Kenneth King Foundation, Adolph Coors Foundation

Thursday, June 14

Opening Address: “A Conversation on Rural Community Development”

Description: Join the Steering Committee as we kick-off the 2018 Southeast RPD Conference! We will begin the day with an inspiring, motivating conversation on rural community development and how to best leverage opportunities in Southeast Colorado. This engaging plenary session will provide a foundation to motivate continued partnership and collaboration throughout the conference and after RPD. We’ll discuss trends in community development from statewide and regional perspectives, as well as highlight local efforts.

Stephanie Copeland, Executive Director, Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade

Sallie Clark, Colorado Director, USDA Rural Development

Pam Denahy, Tourism Director, City of La Junta, SE RPD Conference Co-Chair

Anne-Marie Crampton, Director, Lamar Community College, SE RPD Conference Co-Chair

Capacity Building Workshops Session 1 (11:00 AM – 12:15 PM)

Grantwriting for Rural Nonprofits

Session Description: Hear directly from a Program Officer in this session and learn what they expect when receiving a grant proposal. Increase your overall understanding of the Colorado Common grant Application and learn what funders are really looking for in an application. As a participant, you will gain an understanding of the basic elements of a grant proposal and learn how to utilize nonprofit best practices to make your grants even more competitive.

Rebecca Gorrell brings more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit management, advocacy, fund development, and community engagement. Most recently, Rebecca served as the Executive Director of the Colorado Participation Project, leading efforts to equip and activate nonprofits in civic engagement and advocacy. She has trained and built the capacity of nonprofits across the country and is a contributor to the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence. Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Nonprofit Management from Regis University.

Transform Your Organization with a Successful Campaign

Session Description: A successful Campaign can transform your organization (and sometimes your entire community) to the next highest level of service. As a result of a successful Campaign, whether for Capital, Endowment, or Programmatic Purposes, you will be able to better fulfill your Mission to all those you serve. Learn a proven model of Campaign success for smaller markets from an expert in rural market major gift Campaigns. Learn how to engage your Board and Volunteers to raise more money, in less time, and at a lower cost, than any other form of fundraising.

Alan Sherwood MBA, CFRE, is President of Sherwood Consulting Service. His Firm, now 15 years old, specializes in Feasibility Studies, and Capital and/or Endowment Campaigns. He serves nonprofit clients throughout the Midwest and Rocky Mountain Region. Sherwood also has nonprofit management experience as Chief Development Officer at four large organizations. He has successfully exceeded the agreed upon goal in over 50 Campaigns, ranging from $500,000 to $20 million. He is the Author of the book, Successfully Unemployed: Finding or Creating Your Dream Job found on Amazon. For more information, please go to: www.SherwoodCSI.com and www.SuccessfullyUnempolyed.com  

Logic Models for Government Grants

Session Description: Serve Colorado, the State agency that administers AmeriCorps State programs in Colorado will be providing a Logic Model training for those interested in applying for Federal funding, including AmeriCorps funding, for their organization. Logic Models are visual tools that depict a sequence of events that identify how to achieve a goal. Logic models are required for most Federal grants and serve as the foundation for an effectively written application for funds. This training will build participants’ knowledge and skills for completing a comprehensive Logic Model to submit strong grant proposals.

Paul Brown, Serve Colorado’s Deputy Director, has moved back to the Rocky Mountains for the first time since his first AmeriCorps term as a Crew Leader with the Montana Conservation Corps in 2001. Most recently Paul comes from the Oregon Commission for Voluntary Action & Service (Oregon Volunteers) where he had been the AmeriCorps Program Officer. Paul spent seven years working abroad, initially in Vietnam then five years in Tanzania, first as a Peace Corps Volunteer, then as Program Manager for a USAID-funded nutrition project. Paul is a father, a husband, a hiker, and generally curious.

Messaging that Matters: Crafting Your One Minute Message

Session Description: Tell us what your nonprofit does in under a minute. Many nonprofits “do” so many great things that their messaging suffers as a result—there’s just so much to say, it seems impossible to keep it short and sweet. During this fun and lively session, you will learn the Minute Message ModelTM framework–and start to craft your One Minute Message (or elevator pitch)–so you can make a more powerful connection with donors, volunteers, and staff alike.

Julie Malmberg Grawe is Director of Digital and Senior Brand Strategist for Mission Minded, a branding firm that works exclusively with nonprofits. Julie offers diverse experience working in the nonprofit, foundation and corporate sectors. While at the Nike Foundation, Julie created branding and messaging tools and established a social media presence for The Girl Effect. Julie then led branding, messaging and communications for Friendship Bridge, a nonprofit organization based in Lakewood, Colorado. Julie honed her messaging skills while working and consulting for a variety of organizations including LiveWell Colorado, Energy Outreach Colorado, and The Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation.

Community and Economic Development Strategies in Southeast Colorado

True Collaboration is a Gift to All

Session Description: Learn how to set up collaboratives for success including:

  • How to get clear on roles
  • How to run meetings collaboratively
  • How to handle past conflict in a collaborative
  • How to ensure that the collaborative is democratically led 

Maro Zagoras has served non profits throughout Colorado for the past 28 years as a neutral facilitator, organizational mediator and non profit management trainer. Maro currently leads the Packard Foundation of Pueblo’s Leaders Forum providing non profit management training to Executive Directors in Pueblo, CO. Maro has won national awards for collaboratives she has led including a difficult water issue on the western slope.

Take it Easy, We’re Not That Important

Session Description: We will discuss the impact of secondary trauma on employees in a non-profit environment, ways of building resiliency without losing compassion, and best practices for creating a healthy workplace. This will be an interactive workshop in which participants will be able to share concerns about compassion fatigue and burnout in a safe environment and learn practical skills in self-care and boundary setting. Examples include implementation and proper use of regular supervision, accessing employee benefits such as EAP, and setting realistic expectations around program goals and objectives. Additionally, the workshop will be relevant for non-profit and public sector managers and leaders who are often subject to institutional trauma and subsequent burnout, and find it necessary to understand how to facilitate self care for themselves and their staff.

James Ginsburg is the Director of Veteran Services/Fort Lyon at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. He has worked directly with persons experiencing homelessness, substance dependence and mental illness for over twenty five years. He is the Founder and Director of the Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community, the largest transitional housing and recovery program in the State of Colorado. Mr. Ginsburg has presented at numerous conferences on topics including Housing First, Drug and Alcohol-free Communities, Non-Violent Crisis Intervention and Assertive Community Treatment. He holds a Masters degree in Non Profit Management and is a Level III Certified Addiction Counselor.

Kelli Barker is Ft. Lyon Program Manager for the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, managing the State’s contracts with Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and Bent County to operate the Ft. Lyon Supportive Residential Community. She also serves on the Colorado Continuum of Care Balance of State Governing Board, working to build capacity around ending homelessness throughout 56 rural Colorado counties. Ms. Barker has worked in the field of homelessness since 2001 in multiple capacities.

So You Want to Start A...? Turning Good Ideas into Successful Programs

Session Description: Lots of people in rural Colorado are very talented with big ideas and lofty ambitions towards helping others. This presentation will give a case studies on one person’s successes and failures of creating and implementing new programs in Rural Southeastern Colorado. From the very small idea of starting a yo-yo club to being involvement in large scale projects like starting a residential community corrections facility, no idea is too small or too large. The presentation will also allow for discussions on how to develop and sell a new ideas, approaches towards successful collaboration, motivating participants and volunteers, and building sustainability.

Byron Hall is the Chief Probation Officer of the 15th Judicial District in Southeast Colorado where he has been serving Baca, Cheyenne, Kiowa and Prowers Counties for over 17 years. He has a bachelors degree in psychology from CSU-Pueblo. Byron is passionate about helping the youth in the community find positive and healthy activities, especially youth that feel different or don’t fit the traditional mold. Byron enjoys spending time at home with his wife and 5 kids, cooking, repairing and riding antique bikes, and being outdoors with his family.

Capacity Building Workshops Session 2 (1:45 – 3:00 PM)

How Can You Benefit by Including Online Giving in Your Fundraising Plan Starting With Colorado Gives

Session Description: This session will be an overall introduction to online giving and ColoradoGives in particular. We will talk about best practices in online giving and donor engagement. Key takeaways will include how your community can maximize Colorado Gives Day to grow giving as well as getting you started in participating with the ColoradoGives program.

Dana Rinderknecht joined the Community First Foundation staff in December 2007 and serves the organization as its director of online giving. After she joined Community First Foundation, she helped launch ColoradoGives.org, a year-round, online giving website featuring more than 2,300 Colorado nonprofit organizations. Three years later, she was the driving force behind the introduction of Colorado Gives Day, the state’s largest online giving day. Through these two programs, nearly $250 million has been raised online for Colorado nonprofits..

Transform Your Business Model with Social Enterprise

Session Description: Nonprofits are inherently built to generate revenue through work that creates social good. However, models for revenue generation including earned income and social enterprise create opportunities for nonprofits to take their ideas and assets to the next stage. This session will introduce the basics of social enterprise: what it is, what it isn’t, and what it takes to be successful in this exciting arena.

Maria Fabula, President & CEO of Community Resource Center, brings more than 17 years of experience in nonprofit management, fund development, volunteer engagement, collaboration and business development. Maria has extensive experience delivering training and consulting services to increase nonprofit capacity. Maria earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at San Diego Revelle College and has spent a majority of her career connecting government agencies, nonprofit organizations and private enterprises to improve community. Her experience includes leadership positions with the Nonprofit Support Center, the Junior Statesmen Foundation and the California State Senate. She is the past president of the Nipomo Area Recreation Association and resides in Castle Rock with her husband and three sons.

Engaging Your Community for Sustained Action

Session Description: Revitalizing community conversations and building new momentum for shared vision and action begins with residents’ stories. The process of gathering stories in your community or organization builds social bonds, a better understanding of other people, cultures and ideas, and helps us learn from the past to address the challenges of the future. The Orton Family Foundation has worked alongside small towns and rural communities for over 20 years and has seen the power stories have to shift negative community dynamics and move beyond the same ten volunteers to sustained, long-term broad engagement.

Alexis Halbert joined the Orton Family Foundation from Paonia, Colorado where she was immersed in small-town life, serving as Project Coordinator the North Fork Valley Heart & Soul project. She was also Associate Publisher at High Country News, Chamber of Commerce President, and on the board of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society. Her hometown is Winnetka, Illinois (pop. 12,400). Alexis received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in Globalization and Natural Resource Management, and holds a certification in Project Management from San Francisco State University.

Cindy Vong recently completed her master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Colorado, Denver. She joined the Orton Family Foundation from an internship with Clarion Associates in Denver, gaining experience in zoning and land use analysis and code writing. She holds a bachelor’s from Binghamton University, State University of New York. Projects she worked on as a student include walkability analysis, a neighborhood plan update, a redevelopment proposal, and charrette design and presentation. Her hometown is Gunnison, Colorado, (pop. 5,900). She enjoys hiking and traveling with her fiancé.

Suffering from Herding Cats Syndrome? Effective Facilitation Skills May Be for You!

Session Description: Facilitation is quickly becoming a required skill everyone can use. It is impossible today to be part of an organization without having to attend a meeting. The problem is that some of these meetings are poorly run and waste valuable time. It is extremely difficult to build a team, solve problems, or run a decision-making meeting without highly developed facilitation skills. Because of the amount time spent in meetings and the requirement to accomplish a variety of things within teams, there is a growing need for skilled facilitation in organizations and communities. This workshop will introduce the importance of facilitation and provide an overview of the following topics: introduction to understanding facilitation and who can facilitate, stages of facilitation, knowing your participants and creating participation, effective decision making, facilitating conflict, managing meetings, and a brief introduction to process tools for facilitators. Participants will be asked to share experiences they have had with effective and non-effective facilitation in the context of the material presented.

Tobin Wright has served as the Chief Probation Officer in the 16th Judicial District since 2006. He helped develop and implement the Sexual Predator Treatment Program in Kansas as the Forensic Counselor, and he has been a Psychologist at a juvenile correctional facility. Tobin also has numerous years of experience in probation and community corrections. In addition to serving on various local collaborative and statewide committees, Tobin has played a role in the development and implementation of several collaborative court initiatives and has served as an adjunct faculty member at two community colleges.

Closing the Gap – Local Government, Philanthropy, and Essential Community Services

Session Description: What does it look like when essential community services are provided by a local government agency, rather than a nonprofit? In Southeast Colorado, communities have used this unique approach to fill the gap. Join us for a conversation with regional governmental agencies, county and local governments, funders and nonprofits to better understand how services are being delivered, how philanthropy can be a better partner, and the challenges and opportunities for meeting community needs.

Abel Wurmnest has been with the Anschutz Family Foundation since 2011, having started as a program officer and later took over the reigns as executive director in May 2017. The Foundation supports Colorado human service organizations with approximately half of its annual grants supporting rural nonprofits. In his role as Executive Director, Abel works with grantseekers and grantees to understand and champion their work, in addition to providing leadership in many of the Foundation’s initiatives, including Rural Philanthropy Days. Abel currently serves on the board of the Colorado Association of Funders, where he previously worked as its Associate Director prior to joining the Foundation. He completed a master’s degree in post-secondary educational leadership from San Diego State University and a bachelor’s in agricultural education from the University of Illinois. Prior to this, he had the honor of serving as president of the Illinois Association FFA and as a Trustee of the Illinois FFA Foundation. Rural philanthropy holds a special place in Abel’s heart, having grown up in east central Illinois on a small family farm spending many years walking beans, milking cows and being a volunteer firefighter/EMT.

Civic Engagement for Community Change

Session Description: The challenges facing our communities are complex, and nonprofits are trusted messengers and leaders in addressing those challenges. Advocating for our missions and communities is a powerful way that our organizations can cut across political lines and create lasting and impactful change. This session will demystify advocacy, clarify the rules and regulations, and introduce some of the direct and meaningful ways our sector can influence and shape outcomes in the long-term.

Emily Shamsid-Deen has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 14 years. She has worked in HIV/AIDS education and prevention as a direct service provider, managed a statewide training program supporting domestic violence organizations, and ran a statewide leadership development program for those working to advance social justice issues in Colorado. Most recently, she was an Adjunct Faculty at Denver University in the Graduate School of Social Work teaching social welfare policy analysis and practice. Emily holds a BA in Political Science and Black Studies from Colorado College and a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management from Regis University.

Youth Engagement: The Role of Tomorrow‘s Generation in Building Today’s Community

Session Description: In Southeast Colorado, we, like most other communities across the high plains, face a declining population challenge which exacerbates other economic and community challenges present in our communities. For multiple generations, we have encouraged our best and brightest to prepare and to “launch” out of our communities and be “successful” in the broader world. This workshop will explore the research around why our youth are THE critical element to rebuilding strong communities and economies, how we as community builders and nonprofits can engage them, and how they will help shape our present not just our future.

John Wittler is the founder, chief strategist and lead consultant at Vanguard Strategic, a strategic consulting firm that helps small organizations launch, stabilize and achieve sustainable growth. Beyond the office, John is a husband, father, a student of strategy, and baseball fan. Born and raised in Baca County in the south-east corner of Colorado, John and his wife Trina relocated their family and business to Baca County after more than a decade on the Colorado Front Range. They currently reside in Vilas, CO with their three children, where John pursues his passions through business and nonprofit service.

Volunteer Engagement Essentials

Session Description: This workshop explores the fundamentals of creating and running an effective, efficient and sustainable volunteer program including: identifying and documenting potential volunteer roles, determining appropriate intake and screening processes, developing necessary orientation and training components, managing and tracking volunteer assignments, and recognizing and retaining your vital volunteers. This is a skill-building workshop in which participants are encouraged to reflect upon and share ideas about practical applications in their own organizations, and takeaways will be concrete plans for volunteer program enhancements.

Traci Lato-Smith, a Certified Volunteer Administrator, has spent her career developing systems for engaging volunteers to support mission-focused work. Traci has created vibrant volunteer programs for organizations in the fields of social justice, senior advocacy and education, and consults on building infrastructure for effective volunteer programs across all sectors. In addition to her professional work in the field of volunteer engagement, Traci volunteers her own time in a variety of ways. She is a former member of the Board of Directors for Denver DOVIA (Directors of Volunteers In Agencies) and volunteers weekly at a local nursing home.

Capacity Building Workshops Session 3 (3:15 – 4:30 PM)

Grassroots Fundraising: Mobilizing Diverse Community Networks

Session Description: Finding funding sources for rural organizing efforts can be a challenge. However, by tapping into local communities, rural organizations can build diverse, more sustainable support for their work. This workshop will directly address some of the assumptions that can keep volunteers and organizations from raising funds. We’ll discuss best practices for working with volunteers as fundraisers and explicitly address working with folks from diverse racial backgrounds and income-levels. We will draw from case studies related to Chinook Fund’s Giving Project, an intentionally diverse volunteer community that raises and distributes grant funds for grassroots community organizing efforts throughout Colorado. Chinook Fund has over 30 years of institutional expertise working closely with communities across race and class lines..

Juliette Lee, Chinook Fund’s Program Director, directs The Giving Project, a transformative community leadership program in social justice philanthropy. Giving Project members work together to deepen their understanding of social justice principles so they can support grassroots organizations that build power for social change in Colorado. Juliette earned a BA in English and Masters in Teaching from the University of Virginia, and an MFA in Poetry with an Advanced Feminist Studies Certificate from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Juliette’s training includes critical pedagogy and intersectional feminist praxis from an ethnic studies standpoint. She has extensive experience mobilizing communities through grassroots fundraising tactics and community dialogue.

Community Driven Solutions: The Highest From of Collaboration

Session Description: This workshop will explore the meaning and practice of engaging a community in the design and implementation of solutions for the community itself. This structure for providing solutions in a community has its own unique challenges, sometimes messier and sometimes time intensive but ultimately can drive innovative, deep impacting and long-lasting sustainable changes. We will address best practices and possible pitfalls as well as highlighting some case studies from rural communities.

John Wittler is the founder, chief strategist and lead consultant at Vanguard Strategic, a strategic consulting firm that helps small organizations launch, stabilize and achieve sustainable growth. Beyond the office, John is a husband, father, a student of strategy, and baseball fan. Born and raised in Baca County in the south-east corner of Colorado, John and his wife Trina relocated their family and business to Baca County after more than a decade on the Colorado Front Range. They currently reside in Vilas, CO with their three children, where John pursues his passions through business and nonprofit service.

Dr. Elaine Belansky is the Executive Director of the Center for Rural School Health & Education at the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education. She studies how university and community partners can work together to translate evidence-based research into practice in school settings. Currently, she is working with rural, low income schools in the San Luis Valley and southeastern Colorado to create comprehensive health and wellness plans that ensure students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged. Her team developed a strategic planning process called “Assess. Identify. Make it Happen” (AIM) which helps schools implement school-based environment and policy changes that support physical activity, healthy eating, mental health, and school engagement and decrease bullying, high risk sexual behavior, and drug use. Dr. Belansky has received funding from the CDC, NIH, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and The Colorado Health Foundation.

What Development Staff Need to Know about Evaluation

Session Description: How often have you sat down to write a grant proposal and had no idea what to write in the evaluation plan section of the grant? Grant application questions about evaluation can be a nightmare. It’s hard to figure out what they are asking overall, let alone what the differences between each question are. Want to know the dirty little secret? Few funders understand evaluation better than you do. Everyone is just trying to figure it out and doing the best they can. The bad news is that the result of funders’ best evaluation efforts can be confusing and burdensome for you. The good news is that if you provide high-quality, substantive responses – even if they are not quite answering the question that was asked – it can go a long way to setting your application apart. In this session, you will participate in a facilitated discussion about what development staff need to know about evaluation in order to better understand the ways in which development staff touch evaluation, effectively communicate with and motivate funders and donors around evaluation, and support staff in meeting evaluation requirements.

Elena Harman is the founder of Vantage Evaluation, helping purpose-driven organizations implement meaningful evaluation strategies that generate actionable information. Prior to launching Vantage Evaluation in 2013, Elena was an internal evaluator at the Colorado Health Foundation, where she helped launch the Foundation’s Measurable Results model, a nationally recognized approach to collective impact and shared measurement. Elena holds a B.S. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences, with a minor in Political Science, from M.I.T. and a Ph.D. in Evaluation in Applied Research Methods from Claremont Graduate University.

Federal and State Policy Impacting Your Nonprofit: Advocacy in Action

Session Description: Federal tax reform will impact individual charitable giving and contains other provisions affecting nonprofit organizations. Colorado’s legislature also considered laws to increase charitable giving, such as broadening the state income tax checkoff option and establishing a state income tax credit for donations to endowments. Learn about how these policies could impact your nonprofit. In addition, the workshop will provide tools and tips for your organization to successfully influence elected officials while observing applicable rules.

Renny Fagan is the President and CEO of Colorado Nonprofit Association. With 1,300 member nonprofit organizations statewide, the Association provides knowledge resources and advocates for the entire nonprofit sector. Renny is a former state legislator, director Colorado Department of Revenue, deputy attorney general, and state director for U.S. Senator Ken Salazar. He serves on Colorado Commission on Higher Education (Vice-Chair), and the boards of National Council of Nonprofits (chair), Mile High United Way, Colorado Channel Authority and Metro Denver Leadership Foundation. A Colorado native, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and a J.D. from Northwestern University.

Demystifying Financial Attachments: An Inside Look at How and Why Funders Use Them

Session Description: Ever wonder why grant applications require so many financial attachments? Or question how this information is used to make funding decisions? If so, this session was designed just for you! It is an opportunity to engage directly with funders in a fun and relaxed setting and to learn how they use these documents to assess an organization’s financial health and make grant recommendations. Participants will have a safe space to ask any and all questions – big or small – and will leave with a much clearer understanding of what foundations are looking for and how to more effectively use these critical management tools.

Kumella Aiu is a Senior Program Officer with the Anschutz Family Foundation. With roots in rural Colorado, she feels lucky to work with nonprofits across the state, using her background as a former business owner and co-founder of a local nonprofit. Kumella is a first generation collage graduate with a BA in Social Enterprise from Metropolitan State University of Denver and is an active member of the Colorado Funders for Inclusiveness and Equity (COFIE). When not exploring the state, working with grantees, Kumella can be found working in her garden, spending time with family and/or driving her teenagers to one of their many activities.

Dara Hessee is a Senior Program Officer at the Colorado Health Foundation. In this role, she develops strategic initiatives and manages a portfolio of grants that support the Foundation’s Food Access and Security priority area and Healthy Schools signature initiative. Prior to joining the Foundation, Dara served as the Chief of Staff for the Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology where she provided strategic direction and managed the legislative and communications functions. She brings over 17 years of public and nonprofit experience, having worked at a variety of non-profit organizations and governmental agencies, including the poverty-fighting HOPE Program in Brooklyn, the City of New York Office of Management and Budget, and the Colorado Office of the State Auditor. Dara served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Poland from 1999 to 2001 and earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado Boulder and a Master of Public Administration from New York University.

Julie Lerudis is the Director of the Grants Program at the Boettcher Foundation and is also a certified public accountant. She has over 20 years experience in project management and accounting in nonprofit, healthcare, and real estate sectors. She began her career with Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Prior to joining the Boettcher Foundation in 2007, Julie was an auditor at Kundinger, Corder & Engle, P.C. in Denver, which specialized in nonprofit accounting.

Collective Impact in Southeast Colorado

Rapport and Effective Communication: Connecting Resources to Your Organization Requires Connections to Others

Session Description: Have you ever met someone who connects immediately with almost anyone they meet? There’s an underlying skill to establishing this connection – called rapport – and this skill is natural or practiced – and maybe both. Some do this naturally and it’s something the rest of us can develop…and quickly. Connecting with others and being “like” others reduces resistance and can be employed in fundraising, volunteer recruitment, board relationships and it’s worth saying twice – fundraising! So how do you establish rapport and communicate effectively? Participants will: – Realize communication is more than just words – 57% of communication is non-verbal. – Use their senses to establish and maintain rapport. Was your message well-received? -Learn to read non-verbal clues and stay connected. – Learn mirroring and matching the person across from you – be “like” them and be liked by them. People like people who are like them. This workshop is interactive and full of tools and techniques to help advance effective communication and improve your connection to people and the resources your organization needs to further its mission.

Anthony Poponi, a resident of Gunnison Valley, CO, loves being a part of the social fabric of the community and he’s been called the “unofficial mayor of Gunnison.” Anthony loves lending his skills and experience to the community in diverse ways through service to non-profits, the needy and to the business community. The lens through which Anthony views life may be slightly cracked and warped, but it sure is funny, and he has a passion for laughter, life, community, connections and philanthropy and it shows in his career and yes, antics. 

Stories to Data: Using What Matters Most to Drive Change

Session Description: In addition to increasing trust and commitment, community conversations are a rich reservoir of information with data about your town about what matters most to the people that live there. Using the Community Heart & Soul© model, this session will discuss how to turn stories into data and use community engagement to guide long-term vision and action in your community or non-profit organization. Using Orton’s Change Over Time tool, participants will learn how to take community priorities and move beyond fear of change to embrace actions that will both honor historic community assets and build upon them for future success. This workshop builds off the first session, Engaging Your Community for Sustained Action. You do not need to attend the first session to benefit from this workshop.

Alexis Halbert joined the Orton Family Foundation from Paonia, Colorado where she was immersed in small-town life, serving as Project Coordinator the North Fork Valley Heart & Soul project. She was also Associate Publisher at High Country News, Chamber of Commerce President, and on the board of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society. Her hometown is Winnetka, Illinois (pop. 12,400). Alexis received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in Globalization and Natural Resource Management, and holds a certification in Project Management from San Francisco State University.

Cindy Vong recently completed her master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Colorado, Denver. She joined the Orton Family Foundation from an internship with Clarion Associates in Denver, gaining experience in zoning and land use analysis and code writing. She holds a bachelor’s from Binghamton University, State University of New York. Projects she worked on as a student include walkability analysis, a neighborhood plan update, a redevelopment proposal, and charrette design and presentation. Her hometown is Gunnison, Colorado, (pop. 5,900). She enjoys hiking and traveling with her fiancé.

Friday, June 15

Funder Roundtables (9:00 AM – 12:00 PM)

This is an opportunity for grantseekers to get immediate feedback from potential grantmakers on their nonprofit funding needs. Each grantskeer will have two minutes to give their pitch in “speed-dating” style conversations with grantmakers. Grantmakers will then provide immediate feedback to grantseekers as to whether or not that grantseeker is a good match with their particular grantmaking entity. We ask that each grantseeking organization send no more than two representatives to Friday’s Funder Roundtables. This ensures all organizations have the opportunity to visit with participating funders. Only grantseekers headquartered within the eight counties of the Southeast region will be permitted to participate in roundtables.

For more information, please contact:

Kaye Kasza, Event Coordinator
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