Pagosa Springs will host 2014 Rural Philanthropy Days

SUN Columnist

Have you ever needed food from one of the local food banks? Has your child attended Seeds of Learning, after school programs or camps? Have you received your GED?

Have you ever adopted an animal, needed help with a domestic violence situation, been to the Pagosa hospital or been involved in building a house for yourself or a friend?

How about participating in or attending a theatrical or musical production or having your child involved in an arts camp, or visiting one of our museums?

The list of community organizations and involvement is extensive here in Pagosa Springs. Without the support of Colorado funding agencies such as the Colorado Health Foundation, Daniels Fund, El Pomar, Boettcher, Buell, Anschutz Family and Gates Family foundations, financial resources to assist rural communities such as ours would be very hard to come by.

In 1991, the Colorado Resource Center and Anschutz Family Foundation joined forces to make grantmakers (most on the Front Range) more available to Colorado rural nonprofits by creating Rural Philanthropy Days. The location for the 2 1/2-day program rotates through eight rural regions in Colorado and returns to southwest Colorado every four years.

Goals of the conference are to increase the organizational capacity of local nonprofits by providing professional development; increase the number of grants and total dollar amount of grants by providing face-to-face access to the funders; offer the grantmakers an opportunity to build relationships and create funding opportunities; improve regional collaboration between nonprofits and public/government entities; and build relationships and facilitate networking between nonprofit professionals.

Rural Philanthropy Days has been held in Durango several times, in Mancos in 2010 and now Pagosa Springs will have an opportunity to host the event in June 2014. Approximately 40-50 individuals representing Colorado funding entities will attend the RPD Conference, in addition to hundreds of people representing nonprofit agencies in southwest Colorado.

Hosting this event is not just beneficial for the nonprofit agencies — it benefits our community in multiple ways. This conference will bring hundreds of people to Pagosa Springs for 2 1/2 days, creating lodging and dining opportunities. There is also the possibility of stay-over room nights. There will be time for attendees to explore Pagosa Springs and there will be special events with catering opportunities. Most important of all, the relationships and funding options developed will assist residents of Pagosa Springs through new programs or a continuation of existing community programs. Oftentimes, the grantmakers will wander around a community and ask someone in a retail store, “What is all this Rural Philanthropy Days about?,” seeking to determine the level of community involvement. By June of 2014, we want everyone in Pagosa to know about Rural Philanthropy Days (RPD) and the impact and exposure that this event has on our community.

Congratulations to all those who participated in designing and delivering the presentation that brought the event to Pagosa Springs. Thanks to Pagosa Springs High School, the Ross Aragon Community Center, the Town of Pagosa Springs, the Pagosa Springs SUN (for re-creating the cover of the 2013 Summer Guide to reflect an invitation to the 2014 Rural Philanthropy Days event), the nonprofit agencies and the county commissioners, who have attended several meetings and presentations. It does take a village and this event will be a prime example of a community executing that phrase.

During the next year, you will find out much more about Rural Philanthropy Days, how it affects you as an individual and our community and what you can do to help with the event. There will be many volunteer opportunities available — from planning to execution of the event and there will be many ways you and your organization can participate. When the date has been finalized, we will announce the plan and start working on the development process. As hosts, we will showcase Pagosa Springs and our ability to execute a complicated event. Some of the reasons we were awarded this event are the availability of our lodging and dining facilities, our selection of venues, the cooperation of our nonprofit agencies and past event experience. We know we will produce a fantastic event, due to the involvement of our community. We will incorporate all our county partners and show off all of southwest Colorado, our diverse culture, our farming and ranching communities, our youth and our cohesiveness.

We look forward to the success of the conference resulting from participation of our community.

Renaissance & Pirate Festival

The Chamber of Commerce will revert to medieval days and ways July 19-21 when we host the fifth annual Renaissance and Pirate Festival. Please refer to the PREVIEW for more information.

This event is family-oriented, educational and filled with fun, games, food and music.

Environmental Film Festival

On Friday and Saturday, July 26-27, the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership will host the first Colorado Environmental Film Festival Caravan.

The two days will be filled with informative, internationally recognized films. The list of awards for films being shown includes the Sundance 2013 Best Animated Documentary for “Irish Folk Furniture,” a 2012 Emmy Award for Best Historical Documentary for “Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time,” a 2013 Best Feature Award Colorado Environmental Film Festival and numerous international awards for “Watershed: Exploring a New Ethic for a New West” produced by Robert Redford, and 2013 Best of Fest Award Colorado Environmental Film Festival and numerous international awards for “Waking the Green Tiger: A Green Movement Rises in China.”

The films will play at the Liberty Theatre in downtown Pagosa. The festival will also include receptions and an art exhibit.

You can purchase a two-day pass for $100 and become a VEP (Very Environmental Person) if you are one of the first 100 persons to get this type of pass. This pass includes the film sessions, receptions, gift bags and coupons. There are also one-day passes available for $50 per day and individual session passes for $12 per film session.

You can purchase tickets online at All proceeds from this event will benefit the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership project planned for Centennial Park. We hope to see Pagosa Springs as a permanent stop for the Environmental Film Festival Caravan in future years.


This is a reminder that the July SunDowner will be held at Village Interiors Carpet One on Trinity Lane on Wednesday, July 24, from 5-7 p.m. There will be a Hawaiian beach theme, so wear your best tropical outfit. If you did not receive your invitation by e-mail, please check with the Chamber.

On Monday, July 29, Jan Santopietro, membership coordinator for the Chamber, will host the monthly Maximize Your Membership class. This two-hour training is free to Chamber members and prospective members to highlight the advantages of being a member and how best to utilize your membership benefits. The class is held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and includes a free lunch. Please R.S.V.P. to the Chamber so we can ensure there is enough food.

We have quite a few new members this week to celebrate.

We begin with Wayne Schumaker Construction who has been in business building quality homes in Pagosa and the surrounding area for over 20 years. Wayne Schumaker can build log and timber frame homes, custom cabinets and fire places. Emphasizing quality and attention to detail are some of the traits that Wayne is known for. To find out more about homes by Wayne Schumaker, call (970) 759-8137.

We also have Mary Hunt with Team Pagosa joining the Chamber. Mary specializes in real estate in southwest Colorado. Team Pagosa is located at 2839 Cornerstone Drive, in the Aspen Village Center. Find out more about Mary and Team Pagosa by checking out her website at

Elongated Coins also is a new member this week. Spinning off of the Coin Crafter penny press machines, Charles Jackson now sells and services the used penny press machines. You can still get a quality penny press or have your existing machine serviced by Charles. And speaking of penny press machines, great article in the latest “Colorado Life” magazine that just came out in July. Unfortunately, our Chamber location could not compete with Pikes Peak, the Royal Gorge, Rocky Mt. National Park and other Colorado areas to make the top 13 locations in Colorado for Penny Press machines. But, read the article.

Our last new member this week is the Durango Magazine, with Julianne Schultz. Durango Magazine is a quarterly publication about Durango activities, lifestyles and people, and also includes information about locations near Durango areas such as Pagosa Springs. To expand your advertising reach, contact Julianne at

Our renewals this week include the Pagosa Ranger District, San Juan National Forest, Chato’s Mexican Restaurant, Edward Jones Investments, Smithco Enterprises, Bugle’em Up Outfitting, and Quantum Travel Groups. From the non-profit area, we welcome back Tara Mandala Buddhist Retreat Center, Reach for the Peaks Balloon Rally and the Archuleta County Democratic Party. Thanks to all of our renewals this week.

This story was posted on July 18, 2013.