Carrie Andrew told Norwood officials this month that the 2022 San Juan Rural Philanthropy Days conference will be hosted by Ridgway in Ouray County June 7-9, and Norwood is included in the event.

Rural Philanthropy Days (RPD) is a statewide program that provides nonprofit leaders the resources they need to lead effective and sustainable organizations. RPD conferences convene nonprofits, funders and local governments to share ideas and develop collaborative opportunities to build the capacity of local organizations and communities to address regional issues.

The Community Resource Center, along with committees of local volunteers, coordinate RPD conferences in eight rural regions throughout Colorado. The San Juan region consists of Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel counties. RPD conferences are hosted in each rural region every four years, with the location varying depending on the interest of host communities each cycle. 

The conference would have been slated for 2021, but was delayed by one year due to the impacts of COVID-19.

Andrew shared with Norwood officials the opportunity is big. Because she wants to see Norwood well represented, she stepped up as co-chair for the steering committee for RPD, along with Danelle Hughes Norman of Ridgway. 

Although the RPD officials involved will be staying in Ridgway, Andrew plans to lead approximately 200 people through Norwood on a tour. She said it’s about more than just showing off the town. The goal is for locals to meet grant-makers and other participants. 

“It’s a great opportunity for us to be involved and have our projects seen,” she said.  

Now, Andrew wants committee members to join her. She said her voice alone cannot ensure that the grant-making guests get a well-rounded picture of the town. She asked town officials to consider joining her committee. She said they can work on hospitality planning or something else. 

“We need more voices,” she said. “I want to make sure Norwood is fully represented.” So far, Candy Meehan, trustee and mayor pro-tem, has volunteered, along with District 3 Commissioner Kris Holstrom. 

She said monthly meetings in preparation for Rural Philanthropy Days will take place the next six months. 

At some point, she will be fundraising to seek donations for the Norwood tour. She said Montrose raised more than $40,000 when they hosted the event. 

She added that Norwood may have to share some time with West End communities, Nucla and Naturita. 

Maria Fabula, the Community Resource Center’s CEO, said in a news release the outcome could be impressive for local communities. 

“In the year after the last San Juan RPD, from 2016 to 2017, funding to nonprofits in (that) region increased by 48 percent. The scale of the impact is immense,” she said. “We know that 12 of the foundations who participate in RPD alone gave more than $36,000,000 directly to San Juan nonprofits from 2009-19.”

The next Rural Philanthropy Days meeting will be held Thursday, Jan. 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Ridgway. Anyone who is interested in joining should reach out to Nellie Stagg at stagg@crcamerica.org