Giving locally to various nonprofits is just as important as shopping locally during the holiday season. The Herald Democrat will provide information on these organizations as well as 2022 updates in the coming weeks leading up to Colorado Gives Day on Dec. 6. 

In most cases, the organizations mentioned are participating in Colorado Gives Day and will be accepting donations through the platform up until Dec. 6. 

To make a contribution, simply visit coloradogives.org/lakecountygives and peruse the complete list of Lake County’s nonprofits. Interested parties can read more about each organization and leave a donation that will directly benefit them. 

Every dollar counts, and these groups are well worth every dollar out there.

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The Advocates of Lake County provide trauma-informed services and promote a community where individuals experiencing domestic violence or housing insecurity may achieve personal autonomy. 

Services provided to the community include crisis support for victims of violence, emergency food, clothing and toiletries, personal and court advocacy, referrals and general community education. Next year the group hopes to expand offerings to help address homelessness in Lake County, an effort for which they are actively seeking funding. 

In 2021, the Advocates helped nearly 250 survivors of violence achieve safety and stability through emergency shelter, emergency financial assistance and safety planning. The group also added free counseling and mental health services to its range of offerings last year and expanded its list of complimentary legal services. 

The Advocates are participating in Colorado Gives Day, and donations are always accepted at advocatesoflakecounty.org/donate. The group is also accepting gently used items. Readers interested in donating items or volunteering with the Advocates should contact Amanda Fitzpatrick at 719-917-8599. 

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Cloud City Conservation Center (C4) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to foster pathways to a healthier planet and community through initiatives that inspire the conservation of the natural environment. 

With a vision of “Healthy Planet, Healthy People,” C4 offers a wide variety of services to the community including utility bill assistance, a popular compost program and waste diversion operations during impactful events like the Leadville Race Series, not to mention C4’s Cloud City Farm, which offers fresh produce to the community at a weekly market each season.

So far this year, C4 has helped over 130 Lake County households through the group’s Energy Resource Center, including distributing over $60,000 to assist with past due utility bills as well as address home health, safety and energy issues. 

The free community compost program has also diverted over 37,000 pounds of food scraps from the local landfill this year, and Cloud City Farm engaged nearly 18 percent of Lake County residents. Additionally, C4’s environmental education programs have reached over 50 percent of students in the Lake County School District. 

Next year C4 plans to add a second high tunnel at Cloud City Farm to expand growing capacities. The group is also looking to take its compost program commercial as well as expand offerings through the Energy Resource Center. 

Supporters of C4 can donate on Colorado Gives Day or through the group’s website, c4leadville.org.

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Friends of Twin Lakes, Inc. works to improve life for residents of and visitors to southern Lake County while working with government agencies to accomplish a number of goals. Donations to Friends of Twin Lakes (FOTL) can be designated to different funds: the group’s general fund, Fire Station II, and heritage projects including the Clarion Hotel and the Dexter House. 

This year, in addition to receiving a Visit Leadville-Twin Lakes grant to provide free Wi-Fi at the Twin Lakes Visitor Center from Memorial Day to the end of September, FOTL obtained a second grant to pay for Wi-Fi installation at the Twin Lakes Schoolhouse. 

Additionally, as part of a partnership with the Pike-San Isabel National Forest, Leadville Ranger District and Department of Agriculture, volunteers with FOTL worked more than 1,200 hours to staff the visitor center, which serves thousands each year. 

Volunteers also spread road base to improve the Willis Gulch trailhead parking entrance and cleaned Heritage Park in Twin Lakes and the Dexter House at Interlaken, as well as performing annual beach cleanups and trail work.

FOTL’s fundraising for Fire Station II has also raised more than $100,000. That money will be used to furnish the new facility. 

FOTL is participating in Colorado Gives Day, but donations can also be made through the group’s website, friendsoftwinlakes.com, or sent to 231 Lang Rd., Twin Lakes. 

Email friendsoftwinlakes@gmail.com to express interest in volunteering for area trail work, heritage work, work at the visitor center, or for more information about the organization.

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Project Dream is a Lake County School District (LCSD) nonprofit that focuses on student time spent outside of school. 

The group has a mission of challenging students to reach their fullest potential through personal, engaged and rigorous learning. 

Through Project Dream, LCSD engages families, school staff and the Lake County community to provide students with a variety of enriching activities, positive relationships and tools for greater social-emotional and academic success. 

During the 2021-2022 school year, Project Dream served over 700 students, hosted 228 days of programming and sponsored 46 different clubs and academic offerings. The group also welcomed the Mobile Learning Center or El Camioncito to its list of offerings as a way of helping students learn outside of the classroom. 

Project Dream is participating in Colorado Gives Day. 

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The Lake County Community Fund (LCCF)envisions a Lake County that has an abundance of sustainable philanthropic resources to support a thriving community. To arrive at that vision, LCCF provides a means to expand the capacity of local organizations, promotes and facilitates giving opportunities and inspires investment in Lake County. The nonprofit is focused on digging a deeper and wider well of resources for the community to draw from in times of need.

So far this year, LCCF has awarded $65,000 in grants to 23 community nonprofits and organizations. Since 2017, the group has awarded 92 grants totaling more than $303,000 to Lake County nonprofit organizations.

The group also became the fiscal agent for an additional 13 organizations in Lake County, providing accounting services, tax-deductible receipts to donors and a convenient method of donating. LCCF currently serves a total of 19 organizations in this capacity. 

LCCF is currently planning a community nonprofit fair in January where each of Lake County’s nonprofits will host an information table and give a presentation. The group also plans on additional education events during the first half of 2023. 

LCCF is participating in Colorado Gives Day this year and will also accept donations through lakecountycommunityfund.org

Several volunteer opportunities exist throughout the year. Email director@lakecountycommunityfund.org or call 719-286-3396 to learn more about volunteering or joining a committee.

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The Lake County Public Library (LCPL) works to be a partner in building a community by fostering lifelong learning, providing equal access to information and promoting diversity of ideas. 

LCPL has worked on several projects this year, including the installation of a StoryWalk along the Mineral Belt Trail near the library. The feature takes users on a literary adventure as they travel along the trail, reading pages of a book at intervaled stations. 

Through a grant from the Elks Lodge, LCPL secured eight robots and iPads for youth to practice building and programming. The library also launched its Tool Library this year, which offers construction tools to the community at no cost. 

Early this year, LCPL invited New York Times bestselling author Nic Stone to Leadville for an event during Banned Books Week. Next year, the group hopes to host George Johnson, another banned author. 

Finally, LCPL is working to make its digital collection of archives more accessible. 

LCPL is participating in Colorado Gives Day. Funds raised through the event will go towards next year’s event with Johnson. 

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The Tabor Opera House Preservation Foundation (TOHPF) is a nonprofit that manages programming at the Tabor Opera House and is leading the building’s rehabilitation effort. 

In 2022, the nonprofit hired an executive director and administrative assistant to continue the momentum of restoring the historic opera house to its former glory. 

Phase Two of the rehabilitation project kicked off this year with masonry repair on the east facade and portions of the west now complete. That work will continue in 2023. Historic ghost signs on the southern exterior facade were also completed this year.

Thanks to efforts by TOHPF, the Tabor also opened its doors to live performances and programming this summer for this first time in three years. Over 800 people participated in the entertainment and programming, and more than 1,800 visited the opera house this year. 

TOHPF needs to raise $30,900 by the end of the year to continue their preservation and activation work. Any donation over $250 through the end of this year is eligible for another 25 percent State of Colorado tax credit through the enterprise zone tax program.

TOHPF is participating in Colorado Gives Day. The group can also accept direct checks mailed to P.O. Box 1004, Leadville. 

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Get Outdoors Leadville! (GOL!)has the mission of deepening Lake County’s connection to the natural world by expanding equitable access to culturally informed and enriching outdoor experiences. GOL! works towards a vision where people of all backgrounds, abilities and identities can experience safety, wellness and a sense of belonging in the natural world. 

GOL! operates the community gear library and partners with different organizations in the community on programming and events centered around the outdoors. 

In 2022, with the expansion of the group’s child care license GOL! was able to welcome 140 campers to  Rockies Rock Adventure Camp, up from 108 last year. 

GOL! also worked extensively with the LCSD to expand opportunities in outdoor field work for students in grades kindergarten through 12. 

Finally, GOL! hosted several new events this year for the community, including the Latino Conservation Festival at Mountain View Village, a Spanish-language film festival at FREIGHT on Dec. 3 and the Pumpkin Patch.

The best way to donate to GOL! is through Colorado Gives Day.

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