Nonprofit – The Pagosa Springs SUN The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Thu, 12 Mar 2020 15:57:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 New Colorado program allows donations to any eligible nonprofit from state tax refund Wed, 18 Mar 2020 11:00:03 +0000 By Jessie Koerner
Special to The SUN
Starting this tax season, Coloradans can give all or part of their state income tax refund to a local charity in their community, choosing from any one of more than 7,750 eligible nonprofits registered with the state.
Although 41 states have some form of tax checkoff program, this is the first program in the nation to give this breadth of choice to taxpayers who want to make a charitable donation from their state income tax refund.
Through the new Donate to a Colorado Nonprofit program, taxpayers can choose to directly support any eligible Colorado-registered charity with a simple designation on their state income tax return.
Previously, Colorado taxpayers could donate from their state income tax refund to only one of 18 causes approved by the legislature.
In 2018, Colorado returned more than $1 billion in state income tax refunds, averaging $563 each to over 1.9 million individual taxpayers, according to data from the Colorado Department of Revenue. If taxpayers choose to donate a portion of their refunds this tax season, the surge of support will give much-needed funding to community charities across Colorado.
“Philanthropy and the desire to promote the welfare of others doesn’t just come from foundations, grantmaking organizations or exclusively wealthy people. You’re a philanthropist, too, when you support your favorite cause — no matter the amount. There are hundreds of nonprofits in Colorado who offer programs and services to individuals, families and communities that matter to each of us personally. This new program is an opportune way for Coloradans to explore what it means to be a philanthropist, no matter your background, network or income level,” said Karen McNeil-Miller, president and CEO of the Colorado Health Foundation.
In 1977, Colorado became the first state to allow taxpayers to donate from their income tax refund to a charitable cause.
To participate this year, taxpayers should look for the “Donate to a Colorado Nonprofit” line of their tax return or tax software and enter the name and registration number of the organization they want to support. Nonprofit registration numbers can easily be found by searching the database at
Taxpayers can designate the specific amount of their refund they want to give to the nonprofit they choose — up to the full amount of their state income tax refund. These gifts are anonymous and will be distributed to the designated charity.

Aspen Services Tue, 10 Mar 2020 11:00:12 +0000

Photo courtesy Kate Simmons

Aspen Services launched at a recent open house. As the name implies, this branch of the organization will focus on providing services to any adults with developmental disabilities in Archuleta County, while Aspen House will be the name of the home that will house approximately eight adults with developmental disabilities. The open house also served as a welcome party for four new board members. The board and staff are, left to right, back row: Becky Thompson, Nicole Smith, Kate Simmons, Carol Riley, Patty Brown and Cathy Reece. Front row: Nate Mueller, Cyndi Figaro, Warren Brown and volunteer Keena Carstensen.

The clock is ticking in the Pagosa Springs Rotary Ice Melt Contest Thu, 05 Mar 2020 22:00:32 +0000

Photo courtesy Al Myatt

By JoAnn Laird
Special to The PREVIEW
Remember the story of the clock the crocodile swallowed in “Peter Pan”? That ticktock of the clock was a warning to Captain Hook when the croc was near. Seems Captain Hook’s hand had been an appetizer and the croc wanted the entree.
There is another clock on Lake Hatcher that won’t put an end to Captain Hook, but will put an end to the second annual Ice Melt Contest, orchestrated by the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club and Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association.
A barrel, with clock attached, has been set on frozen Lake Hatcher. No easy feat, as it took members from the Pagosa Rotary Club, Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association (PLPOA) and the Pagosa Fire Protection District to do it. These same folks can’t wait for the ice to melt enough for the barrel to sink to the stone-cold depths of the lake, at which time they will retrieve the barrel. Cabin fever affects people differently.
As we head toward the contest entry deadline of March 15, the barrel will fall through the ice and the clock will stop, marking the exact date, hour, minute and second. Whenever the barrel sinks, the contest will end and winners will be awarded.
The top three guesses, closest to the date and time the clock stops, will win $1,000 for first place, $750 for second place and $500 for third place. Tickets for your guesses are $5 each, $20 for 5, $40 for 10 and $100 for 30.
Get your tickets to make your predictions soon, as the ice historically melts before March 15. Contact any Rotarian or get tickets through the PLPOA Administration Office, PLPOA Rec Center, Chamber of Commerce, Choke Cherry Tree, or Ski and Bow Rack. Online purchases can be made at and All tickets must be turned in before the clock stops to be counted.
All proceeds go to awarding higher education scholarships for our graduating seniors.
With or without a crocodile, the clock is ticking. When it stops, will you have the winning guess?

Pagosa Valor Academy Thu, 05 Mar 2020 11:53:16 +0000

Photo courtesy Lynell Wiggers

Pagosa Valor Academy students were awarded a $200 mini-grant from Pagosa Springs Rotary Club to make and ship dresses/britches for children in need through the nonprofit Little Dresses for Africa. Their goal is to make 60 dresses/britches by the end of the school year.

Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership awarded grant for solar project Tue, 03 Mar 2020 12:00:56 +0000 By Hillary Knox
Special to The SUN
The La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) Board of Directors voted at its meeting last week to award the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership (GGP) $13,000 from its Renewable Generation Funds Grant program to support a solar installation to generate electricity for the GGP site in Centennial Park.
Projects were selected based on visibility to the local community, level of innovation, and the potential to blend renewable technologies with educational elements and community engagement.
Grant monies are sourced from LPEA’s Local Renewable Generation Fund — an opt-in fund to which LPEA members can contribute to support the development of renewable energy generation projects in the service territory.
For more information on the program, LPEA members should call 382-3505.

Volunteering: Engage with the community Thu, 27 Feb 2020 22:00:57 +0000 By Mary Jo Coulehan
Special to The SUN
Summer is typically when we think of volunteering because so many events are taking place. However, many nonprofit organizations have events in the winter. We just finished WinterFest with the Penguin Plunge, Sledz on Rez, Skijoring and more. There are also events such as murder mysteries, flying to the moon, and musical and theatrical performances, all of which take volunteers to produce a fabulous event.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

Archuleta County Housing Authority donation to Aspen House Thu, 27 Feb 2020 22:00:42 +0000

Photo courtesy Anissa Lucero

Archuleta County Housing Authority (ACHA) board of directors and staff present a donation to Aspen House in support of its housing efforts on Feb. 19. Last summer, the ACHA held a small fundraiser. From the $500 that was collected, half of the proceeds were donated to Aspen House. ACHA will be donating the other half, as well as future funds, to other nonprofit organizations in the community as resources become available. Please visit for more information or to donate to support future affordable housing efforts.

Earth Day celebration being planned Mon, 24 Feb 2020 12:00:34 +0000

Photos courtesy Jonathan Dobson
The Bear Cubs and one Girl Scout (third-graders) and leader Jonathan Dobson canvassed town recently, walking 2 miles and inviting businesses to be part of the Earth Day celebration being planned for April 19 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership site. The event will be outdoors, rain or shine, and will feature music, arts and more.

By Jonathan Dobson
Special to The PREVIEW
This year’s Earth Day celebration will be held at the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership’s (GGP) Geodesic Dome Greenhouse site along the San Juan River on April 19 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
It will include live music, featured speakers, a one-hour town forum on the global climate crisis, food and craft vendors, craft activities for children and, hopefully, a presence contributed to by important members of our community like you.
We are all in this together. Please consider erecting a booth, free of charge, at our event this year, to be held at the GGP and adjoining Centennial Park grounds. This will be an alcohol-free event, held rain or shine.
Contact Jonathan Dobson at 507-0754 or with questions and to arrange how you can help make this a memorable event.

BWI returning to border to aid asylum seekers Mon, 24 Feb 2020 12:00:31 +0000

Photo courtesy Paula Jo Miller
A team from Beyond Words International is planning to return to Matamoros, Mexico, to provide humanitarian aid, legal aid, and education and healing arts programming to asylum seekers at the U.S./Mexico border.

By Michael Morgan and
Casey Crow
Special to The SUN
Beyond Words International (BWI), a locally based nonprofit providing humanitarian aid, psychosocial support and healing arts programming, is returning in early March to Matamoros, Mexico. This will be its third trip to the border.
BWI is working to serve asylum seekers who are awaiting processing along the U.S./Mexico border. The three primary goals are to provide comprehensive support through humanitarian aid, legal aid, and education and healing arts programming.

What is the current
When BWI first sent a team to Matamoros, Mexico, in October 2019, there were more than 1,500 asylum seekers stranded at the border. Very few aid organizations were present to provide support for hundreds of families. At that time, BWI partnered with Team Brownsville, a local volunteer organization situated just across the border in Brownsville, Texas, to provide food, clothing for the upcoming winter, art supplies and a medical tent established in the camp to serve the needs of the asylum seekers 24/7.
Since that initial trip, the number of asylum seekers in Matamoros has grown. At this time, there are more than 2,500 in the camp. Hundreds of cases of kidnapping, extortion and sexual assault have been reported in the settlement. Families struggle to afford food when it is not provided by volunteers. Conditions continue to be unhygienic and dangerous, with many forced to bathe in the filthy Rio Grande.
According to BWI President Casey Crow, “At BWI, we realize that immigration and asylum are incredibly polarized, complex topics we are struggling with as a nation; however, from a humanitarian standpoint, we don’t believe anyone should be forced to live in such inhumane conditions. The stories in Matamoros are absolutely heartbreaking — children drowning in the river, families fleeing brutal gang violence and dashed hopes of a safe home. Our goal is to lessen the suffering of men, women and children who are no different than you and I.”
International awareness has grown in recent months and there are now a number of organizations present on the ground attempting to provide basic needs to the growing camp population. However, much more assistance is needed.

What is BWI’s purpose for this trip?
BWI’s primary focus is providing humanitarian aid, legal aid, and education and healing arts programming.
Humanitarian aid: BWI is fundraising to purchase emergency supplies for asylum seeker families, including warm clothing, medicine, diapers, baby formula and other desperately needed items.
Legal aid: Currently, less than 1 percent of asylum cases are successful. Many asylum seekers are unaware of their chances of being approved or what is required of them. Confusion and misinformation regarding the asylum process is a significant problem. Our goal is to work with immigration advocates, attorneys and translators to ensure that asylum seekers have access to important information such as application requirements, information on court dates and hearings, legal representation and translation services in their area.
Education and healing arts: BWI is collaborating with a variety of organizations and individuals to support education and healing arts programming for asylum seeker children who currently have limited access to regular schooling and extracurricular activities. Our team will partner with local organizations to provide healing art, dance and educational programming. Giving children a safe space to learn and express themselves can make a tremendous impact on their development as they navigate such a traumatic experience in their young lives.

How can you help?
In order to support our work, we are looking for volunteers to help with our projects at home and abroad. We need assistance with organizational development, fundraising, grant writing and advocacy. We also need artists, teachers, mental health professionals, Spanish speakers, and anyone willing to jump in and lend a hand.
If you are interested in being involved, attend our meeting on Saturday, Feb. 22, from 4 to 6 p.m. at 31 Shooting Star Drive in Timber Ridge or contact us at
We are also welcoming donations in the form of monetary contributions to be used for all aforementioned projects. If you would like your donation to go toward a specific need, please designate it accordingly. All humanitarian aid and supplies will be purchased in Brownsville and transported across the border. Donate by sending a check to P.O. Box 2503 in Pagosa Springs, or through our website at Thank you for your support.

Aspire’s Fly Me to the Moon mystery box party Fri, 21 Feb 2020 15:53:13 +0000

Photos courtesy Jeff Laydon

Scene … Valentine’s Day at Aspire’s Fly Me to the Moon mystery box party. The evening offered live music by Bob Hemenger, dancing, dining and the chance to purchase mystery boxes. One mystery box contained an all-expenses-paid trip worth $6,000.