Hundreds of individual donors stepped up to meet and surpass an inspiring challenge issued by Bohemian Foundation to raise $1.5 million for flood relief and recovery efforts in Larimer County. Bohemian Foundation pledged $750,000 to match dollar-for-dollar donations by individuals to three flood relief funds set up by the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado.
The six-week matching challenge, issued by Bohemian Foundation on Sept. 19 and covering all donations received or postmarked by midnight on Oct. 31, raised $1.567 million for flood relief funds serving the Loveland, Estes Park and Poudre River communities. In addition, unmatched contributions by companies and other foundations raised an additional $158,000, totaling more than $1.725 million in donations to the Community Foundation funds.
For Bohemian Foundation’s matching gift challenge, donors had to be individuals but did not need to be residents of Larimer County and there was an outpouring of contributions from all over the country. More than 200 zip codes were represented by donors reaching out to support the recovery needs in Larimer County.
“Compassion has no geographical limits,” said Pat Stryker, founder of Bohemian Foundation. “In the past, Larimer County has been extremely generous to those whose lives were disrupted by disasters elsewhere. This time we turned our spirit of giving to those at home, and people from across the nation joined us. Our community seems to have no limit on its willingness to give. Despite numerous requests to help, our generosity has yet to be exhausted.”
Community Foundation President Ray Caraway said gifts poured in from school groups, elementary students, community groups, and donors of all kinds, including an anonymous Larimer County couple who sent in a check for $200,000.
“In the final 24 hours before the matching challenge deadline, we sat within $150,000 of our goal. We were thrilled with the overwhelmingly positive response to our final call to action, and met the challenge by the end of the day on Oct. 31,” said Caraway. “We’re very fortunate to live in a region that so many people care about.”
Flood relief funds will help with recovery in Estes Park and its canyon communities (Drake and above), Loveland and its canyon communities (below Drake and including damage along the Little Thompson), and Poudre River communities. Grants from the funds will support local nonprofit agencies and governmental entities in their work to meet the needs of those impacted. The Community Foundation is not charging an administrative fee on donations made to these funds.
“Although the Community Foundation is still accepting donations, our primary focus has shifted to getting dollars out to the impacted communities,” said Caraway. “We are encouraging nonprofits and governmental entities who are working to address intermediate and long-term recovery needs to go to our website and apply for a grant, if they meet the criteria.”
The first grant recipient is SERVE 6.8, a Fort Collins-based nonprofit that became engaged in disaster relief and recovery efforts in response to last summer’s High Park fires. SERVE 6.8 is now leading a Disaster Recovery Coordination Program to manage flood recovery efforts across Northern Colorado. The program will work collaboratively with national and local partners to provide direct assistance to households facing long-term hardships. In the nine days following the floods, the organization mobilized its deep volunteer base to operate an emergency evacuation center and shelter, serving over 1,200 people displaced by the disaster.
Fund requests are reviewed by local committees in the affected areas and a minimum of two funding cycles remain with application deadlines set for 5 p.m. on Nov. 12 and Dec. 17. Programs and projects should be completed in their entirety in less than nine months; those designed to either meet human needs or rebuild communities will be given priority.
To apply for a grant or make a donation, visit the Community Foundation’s website (www.NoCoFoundation.org). Those wishing to donate by check can make their check payable to the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, with “Flood Relief” and the specific fund they would like to support in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to 4745 Wheaton Dr., Fort Collins, CO 80525.
Those with questions can contact the Community Foundation at info@NoCoFoundation.org or 970-224-3462.