Each December, we go through a flurry of gift giving with friends, family and coworkers. We also give to the numerous charitable organizations who depend upon contributions to fulfill their mission. …
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Each December, we go through a flurry of gift giving with friends, family and coworkers. We also give to the numerous charitable organizations who depend upon contributions to fulfill their mission. Just last month, more than $36 million was raised for 2,309 non-profits on Colorado Gives Day, demonstrating the generosity of Coloradans to support our neighbors.
This month, we’re featuring a few local organizations we think you might want to know about. Not as part of a huge campaign, or to leverage the end-of-year tax deduction, although those are still valid ways to contribute to issues important to us. But with so many issues to address, and so many organizations working on them, we want to provide a spotlight outside the normal holiday fuss and these are some you can support year-round.
PawsCo is an entirely volunteer-run organization which utilizes a foster approach to find good homes for needy pets. “PawsCo was founded with the idea that a non-profit can achieve its mission and, in our case, help more animals, when we run efficiently and professionally,” says Tiana Nelson, President & COO. “As a volunteer-run organization, we rely on 300+ volunteers, and we are all working to make a difference for animals because we believe in our mission entirely. We are always looking to improve and are always open to innovation, because when we do our part better, we can help more animals.” Instead of a centralized shelter, PawsCo places adoptable pets in foster homes until a permanent home can be found.
In addition to foster and adoption, PawsCo partners with Food Bank of the Rockies to provide pet food to families in need. Their regular donors and frequent pet food drives assist with this effort. The organization also manages a spay/neuter program to help reduce the number of new litters and works within communities to ensure spay/neuter programs can become self sustaining. ”There are many ways to support PawsCo, and we always note that people should do what they can, when they can.” says Nelson, who cares for four pets herself and began PawsCo’s adoptions division in July 2013. “We're always looking for great volunteers and foster homes; we rely on donations, so having a reliable donor base is so important for us. Even sharing photos of our work on social media or telling people about PawsCo is incredible to our success, so ‘do what you can, when you can,’ and join us however makes the most sense to you.”
Find out more about PawsCo and how to support their work on their website, at pawsco.org.
Have you seen the signs around Denver mentioning Vision Zero? This plan to increase pedestrian safety and end traffic deaths by 2030 was adopted in October by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. In addition, Denverites recently approved $431 million in funding for transportation improvements, including sidewalk and bike infrastructure, via the General Obligation Bond package and Measure 2A. The primary organization behind this progress is WalkDenver, a local advocacy organization which started in 2011 with the primary belief that “humans are pedestrians by design.” Anyone who has lived in Denver long enough has come to understand our need for better pedestrian infrastructure and especially for basic sidewalks, bike lanes and better crosswalks in many of our historically underserved neighborhoods. On Federal Boulevard alone, more than 10 people were killed in 2017, at least six of them pedestrians.
“Walkable cities are designed first and foremost for people.” says Jill Locantore, Associate Director of WalkDenver. “No matter who you are—old, young, rich, poor, able-bodied or not—in a walkable city you can be safe, healthy, happy and connected to your community. WalkDenver is working hard to help Denver become a great city for people, for today's residents and for future generations.”
WalkDenver has made significant progress in just six years. The organization uses various strategies, including “tactical urbanism” to engage residents in experiencing first-hand the many gaps in our city’s pedestrian infrastructure and to demonstrate possible solutions to these gaps. With just a three-person staff (and many committed volunteers), the group hosts regular interactive events rooted in various neighborhoods, such as a temporary “bulb-out” project using hay bales and pumpkins in Five Points this fall.
WalkDenver hosts a Tumblr entitled, “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” an opportunity for local pedestrians to snap a photo of broken, missing or otherwise unsafe sidewalks. These photos are just one way Walk Denver collects data on pedestrian needs, which helps inform their advocacy work. Check out walkscope.org to share information about the walkability of your neighborhood.
There are numerous ways to get involved in WalkDenver. Besides the monetary donations the 501(c)3 depends on to operate, Locantore recommends subscribing to their weekly newsletter. “We regularly announce opportunities to volunteer on projects, participate in events, or provide input on city plans and projects,” she explains. “While the GO Bond is a substantial down payment on Denver's transportation needs, there is still much work to be done to make Denver the country's most walkable city.” Learn more at walkdenver.org.
Other organizations you may enjoy learning more about and supporting include: the Denver Open Media Foundation, Colorado Circles of Change, the Transformative Freedom Fund and the Colorado Black Arts Festival.
Whichever cause or organization you choose, know that your efforts to be involved with local organizations make a positive impact on our city.
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