Who will be nominated and garner the most votes on November 7, 2022?
8-1-22 Riverside Educational Center $22,000
We are off and running with the start of our 9th year …
With a record breaking 220 kind and thoughtful members we are starting this 9th cycle with the same enthusiasm, interest and excitement we experienced at our first meeting back in 2014.
The first nonprofit out of the gate was presented by Susan Alvillar – GIRL SCOUTS. How many of us were girl scouts? Multiple hands shot up! Reminiscing about cookie sales, proudly wearing our uniforms (Susan wore hers to school her senior year) and those sewing projects. But girl scouts is so much more … it gives girls confidence, decision making skills, poise, and ability to stand tall.
RIVERSIDE EDUCATIONAL CENTER was next on the track and Sue Gormley did an excellent job of sharing her passion. REC has grown from kids in the Riverside neighborhood receiving homework help after school and much needed support to stay in school to being offered in multiple schools and during the summer. REC is extremely proud of the fact that all 15 seniors in the program graduated in May.
Rounding the corner was COLORADO WEST LAND TRUST presented by Nancy Wilson, a proud prior board member. Their mission is to protect and enhance agricultural land, wildlife habitat and scenic lands to benefit the community at large and ensure our connection to land for generations to come. We are lucky to have the trust watching out for our beautiful valley.
Remember you can always write a check to all three nonprofits (which more and more of our members seem to be doing) yet the one check you need to write today is to THE RIVERSIDE EDUCATIONAL CENTER who crossed the finish line just a nose before the others.
5-9-22 Hope of the Grand Valley $21,800
CLAWS, the largest cat rescue on the Western Slope, shared their story of starting in a garage and growing to provide shelter and care for homeless cats. Several heartfelt stories were shared by members who have added a furry family member from CLAWS. You can learn more here: https://www.clawsgj.org
Marillac Health was highlighted for providing primary and preventive health care services to those who are low or middle-income, uninsured, and underinsured. Testimonials were shared by members whose family members have benefited from Marillac’s services. You can learn more here: https://marillachealth.org
Hope of the Grand Valley was lauded as a grass roots organization that began to address people who often fall through the cracks of public assistance. These individuals and families are looking to break the cycle of poverty but need a “hand up”. Check out the work they do here: https://www.hopegv.org
2-7-22 Community Food Bank $21,200
February is historically when members prefer to stay home and be cozy warm. So now add COVID to the mix and we were not sure about attendance (very much appreciated the RSVPs). Last night we blossomed – there were close to 100 members in attendance. With 17 new members already signed up and 15 guests last night things were hopping THANKS to everyone – we are at 210 members! Which means $21,000 being a big surprise donation to …
A well known nonprofit in Mesa County … Community Food Bank. What a difference our donations will make for the hungry.
Also out of the hat was Junior Service League . They are a well know group of talented and involved women who are committed to improve the community by effective volunteerism and fundraising. Since 1983 they they have given out grants totaling more than $1.1 million. I encourage you to click on their name above and see the very long list of the impact they have made.
Lastly Harmony Animal Matchmaker and Sanctuary shared with the group the wonderful work they do by creating a sanctuary for homeless dogs in their no-kill animal shelter. If you have just a couple extra minutes please click on their name and look at all the adorable dogs that are looking for forever homes.
11-8-21 The Latimer House $18,900
So many great nonprofits, doing such needed work!
COVID concerns kept a number of our very committed regular attendees home last night and we missed them (but certainly understood). And while the last minute date change kept even more away we had some members who rarely make it able to attend. So it was a mixed bag evening that got even further shook up by having three organizations pull at all our heartstrings.
Michaelle Smith, a founding member and former supervisor of the entire program, said she had been nominating The Latimer House for seven and a half years now and finally it’s turn was up (Cheryl Wenzinger’s nomination was pulled). Stephanie Rubinstein spoke of how this amazing local organization helps abused women. The domestic violence cycle is a tough one to escape and for some women it takes numerous times leaving to finally stay away. One member highly recommended an excellent new movie to watch on Netflix called “Maid” which really shows what fleeing an abusive relationship is all about.
Next out of the hat was Laura Bush’s nomination of Riverside Educational Center (REC). You could tell Laura holds REC as a special, local nonprofit close to her heart. She has seen the benefit of tutoring and support these kids receive after school and it is priceless. Joy Hudak, the executive director (and beggar as her daughter calls her), spoke quickly about how REC has grown over the years and is now in 15 schools and serves over 700 kids. Teachers and parents praise the program as being truly a life saver (a very touching story was shared) and really making a huge difference to so many kids.
Lastly came the horses, donkey, alpacas, goats and rabbits … Harmony Acres in Loma. Christi Reece nominated them and shared with the group the magic horse (and animal) therapy can have on humans of all ages and backgrounds. Amber Hodges and Denise Bagg chimed in with their knowledge of the Equestrian Center. Harmony Acres is a win-win for healing both the horse and the person. Horse therapy is a real thing and is making a real difference in the lives of our community members.
Well there you have it. Who would you have voted for? Many of us struggled with voting for just one (in fact a couple of rogue members solved that problem and marked all three – which actually negated their vote). Oh well they tried.
The votes came out in favor of The Latimer House and checks began to be written. As they were sorted out this morning a number of members did write a check to all three nonprofits with one member writing a $1500 check and requested it be split between the three. Amazing generosity, simply WOW and a huge THANK YOU.
8-2-21 Partners - $18,500
A delightful late summer meeting where it was hard to decide how to vote.
Colorado Canyons Association provides educational opportunities, volunteer positions and impacts many of us (and we probably don’t even realize it).
Palisade Marching Band provides not only opportunities for students to play music but opportunities for students to feel wanted and a part of something bigger than them.
Partners has 150 kids on their “waiting for a mentor” list and this past year has been a real struggle – not only for them as a nonprofit but for the kids they work so hard to positively impact.
For those of us in attendance it was hard to vote for just one. Not only did several members say they wish they could vote for all three, several members eventually wrote checks for all three (thanks – that is always an option for any member).
Ultimately PARTNERS received the most votes and when announced there were cheers from the audience!
5-3-21 SummitWest Care - $18,700
Meeting again in person was surreal. Laughter and general gayety still emerge even with masks on. Sixty ladies attended in person while four elected to attend via Zoom. Carol Todd, our newest “behind the scenes” recruit, introduced Sugar Sugar Rabel (a Texas transplant who enjoys remodeling houses) in our get to know you section. One guest and three new members also were in the audience.
First out of the bowl was GJ Mutual Aid a new, grassroots nonprofit which emerged during the pandemic to make a difference. They set up at the Unitarian Church on Tuesdays and work towards meeting anyone’s need – whether a haircut, some food to tide a community member over, or delivering a bouquet of flowers to those lonely in a nursing home.
Next up was SummitWest Care which has been in existence for over 20 years. They help elders age in their own space, provide therapeutic pediatric help to newborns at home, and recently created a tele help program to reach more people in rural areas.
Lastly The Joseph Center was introduced to the group. They try to keep families from becoming homeless. The founder saw a gap in services offered in our community and created this nonprofit to fulfil that need. They work with community members to find homes, help with job applications, and other such needs.
All three organizations are touching individuals in our community and really making a difference. It was a hard vote.
This meeting concluded our 7th cycle so on August 2 we will begin our 8th cycle and if membership doesn’t change we will hit our HALF MILLION mark of donations that day
2-1-21 Foster Alumni Mentors - $18,000 + $3000 (due to no mtg exp)
Our fourth Zoom! meeting was successfully held in lieu of our regular in person due to COVID – 19 and safer at home rules. A summary of the meeting is below:
Foster Alumni Mentors!!
Your votes were all counted and they were close yet this group came out ahead. Can you believe it …due to members like you the Foster Alumni Mentors will receive close to $21,000. Just think of what they will be able to do with such a generous, all at once gift.
As for the Zoom meeting last night … I personally thought it was the best Zoom one yet. If you were not there on the screen to partake you really missed out. Kristen Donahue, magically, moved us into chat rooms where groups or 4 or 5 were able to visit with each other and allow us the opportunity to better get to know a few more members. Now if she could figure out how to magically share a bottle of wine through the screen and provide us with those decadent chocolate brownies life would be near perfect.
Two brand new members joined us last night and that too was fun. We’d love to have a few more new ladies become members in the future so think of friends you could invite as guests. Who knows, by May we might all be vaccinated and able to meet safely in person. What a thought huh?
PS Click here to go directly to our website and read a couple of recently received, delightful thank you notes.
PPS Remember you can always write a check to either or both of the other well-deserving nominees – STRiVE or Grand Valley Peace and Justice.
Til we meet again … Happy Valentines Day
11-2-20 The House - $18,000 + $3000 (due to no mtg exp)
Our third Zoom! meeting was successfully held in lieu of our regular in person due to COVID – 19 and safer at home rules.
8-6-20 Colorado Discover Ability - $18,500 + $3000 (due to no mtg exp)
Our second Zoom! meeting was successfully held in lieu of our regular in person due to COVID – 19 and safer at home rules.
5-4-20 Catholic Outreach - $21,000 + $3000 (due to no mtg exp)
Our first Zoom! meeting was successfully held in lieu of our regular in person due to COVID – 19 and safer at home rules. Kristen Donahue did a spectacular job of running the meeting with 58 participants. We received nominations (73 in total) and then voted prior to the meeting (165). Below is a complete summary of the meeting ….
2-3-20 Glade Park Volunteer Fire Department - $20,400
11-4-19 Blood Brothers - $18,500
Other nominations were Grand Valley Peace and Justice which was nominated by and spoken about by Crystal Murphy. A group of volunteers who work towards ending homelessness and promoting peace. Previously they have run the popular Alternative Christmas Fair which many members miss. They do what they can to help where they can. Lastly COPMOBA was nominated by previous board member Nattana Johnson. This very active mountain bike trail group does a tremendous amount of work towards designing, creating, and maintaining the many trails we enjoy in this valley.
Our next meeting is Monday February 3 at 5:15 at SpringHill Suites. Have a fun holiday season and a joyful new year. See you in 2020!
8-5-19 Grand Valley Equine Assisted Learning Center - $19,000
First out of the gate was the Grand Valley Equine Assisted Learning Center. Their mission to provide horse-based therapy to facilitate growth, learning and healing to people of all abilities was demonstrated by a few stories of amazing successes with local children and young adults…. one who went from hiding under a desk to talking in front of a large audience! They are also the group which is in the process of purchasing the historic Moon Farm to use as their facility.
Next we learned a little bit about what Riversedge West does for the health of our rivers and the kids in our community (via Partners kids working for them). Remove some of the water sucking invasive plants and our rivers and their habitat are healthier. They provide education, collaboration and technical assistance.
Lastly the Western Slope Center for Children told us about the amazing difference they are making in the lives of sexually abused children. Do you know 1 out of 10 children with be sexually abused by the time they are 18?
No different from other nights …. all three were deserving. Ultimately the GV Equine Assisted Learning Center garnered the highest number of votes.
5-6-19 Meals on Wheels (fka Gray Gourmet) - $21,500
The meeting room was near capacity when the three nonprofits were pulled from the hat. I might add I noticed the dessert side of the room filling up quickly with the light lemon bars and deep chocolate browning within reach.
Gray Gourmet was the first out of the gate (Kentucky Derby talk) with Betty Fulton sharing her experience of volunteering for them and her compassion for helping seniors who might not otherwise eat nutritiously, if at all. I was touched and saddened by the fact they end up delivering some meals on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
CEC was both the 2nd and 3rd cards selected! Teresa Bou Matar shared the story about how the Counseling Education Center got started and how it helps so many people in need who might not otherwise be helped due to their limited income. Teresa said while she was a school counselor CEC was the only place in town which would accept children to counsel.
Last the Symphony was pulled from the hat. In the beginning our symphony was considered rather mediocre yet today it has turned into an amazing symphony! With the support of the community it has certainly grown and changed over the years. They offer programs of all types to those both young and old.
And as the headline states – The Gray Gourmet received the most votes and thus will be receiving our donations (which included about $1600 in birthday donations for a member who was having her 60th birthday that day!)
2-4-19 HopeWest - $20,050
Most of us have heard of HopeWest while some of us, perhaps, have directly benefited from their services. What struck me personally last night was learning a high number of kiddos benefiting from their children’s grief program had lost a loved one to suicide. I had always thought of that program helping kids who had lost a parent to cancer or something similar. This is one thing I love about The Giving Club, I’m always learning.
C.L.A.W.S. gives hope, help and homes to stray cats in the valley. And there is a lot of work which goes into the care, feeding, and attention needed by these homeless cats and kitties. We are lucky to have such a dedicated group of volunteers watching out for our feline friends.
Lastly the Symphony Foundation was pulled from the hat. Just sit back and picture your day without the sound or beat of music. Can you even imagine no music in the world? Supporting music starts locally. The Foundation does an incredible job keeping music alive in our lives and hearts.
11-5-18 Pro Bono Project - $19,350
Ninety five women, 46 nominations, 11 new members, nine guests and out of the hat, as always, three nonprofits were pulled. Two out of the three nominations were made by brand new members too! Sheryl Shicora, a dedicated volunteer to CLAWS, told us about how a little Siamese kitten ultimately brought her to the cat shelter and what an amazing service they do for our feline friends in need. Elaine Johnson-Craig shared with us the great work The Western Slope Center for Children does in our community. Not only do they provide sexually abused children a place to start healing, they reach out to educate children about inappropriate touching and the safety to tell. Lastly Amanda Bernal, their executive director and sole paid employee, shared with us what the Pro Bono Project is all about….how she helps educate those facing domestic or landlord issues and helps match eligible clients with no-cost attorneys.
Now imagine Pro Bono Project’s delight when it was announced they garnered the most votes? And their thrill at receiving approximately $19,350 to use at their discretion … no reports to complete, just surprise money! I believe that is why this club is so rewarding. You walk away from the meeting feeling very good about how your $100 is going to make an impact.
8-6-18 HOPE of the Grand Valley - $19,500
Meeting Notes August 6, 2018 ….
Our Fifth Cycle started fabulously with 91 lovely ladies enjoying fine food, drink, fellowship and Giving! Eighteen nonprofits were nominated in total, with the following three selected for consideration…
Grand Junction Symphony Foundation – Improving our community through the beauty of music. Did you know they also support numerous children’s programs, including Concerts in the Classroom, Crystal Baton Composition Competition, Instrument Petting Zoo, and Symphony Storytime?
HOPE of the Grand Valley – Our friends at HOPE tell us, “We provide a hand up, not a hand out, by fostering and encouraging independence for hardworking, low-income families.” Their programs include budgeting how-tos, job/interview preparation, and family support services.
The Pro Bono Project of Mesa County – Provides a full range of needed civil legal services and education for Mesa County residents through volunteer attorneys. They assist with domestic violence, family law, and landlord tenant and consumer law issues.
And drum roll, please…….
HOPE of the Grand Valley was our lucky winner (close vote again)! Thanks to all the worthy organizations nominated and the great work you do to make our comunity a better place to live, work and play.
5-7-18 Dinosaur Journey - $ 19,150
Meeting notes May 2018 …
Sharpies, tape, protective eyewear ….
who knew Dinosaur Journey, which is enjoyed by so many, is in need of so much?
who knew KAFM lets kids be DJs? or music helps bring back memories in Alzheimer’s patients?
who knew 4-H isn’t just for farm kids? Responsibility, plus much more, is taught in a way that captivates the passions of both farm and city kids alike?
who knew “All The Light We Cannot See” is a favorite book of many members?
Well you would have been in the know about these and other questions and curiosities had you been able to attend our meeting last night. One where we heard about “the entry drug into science”, learned where radio connects groups to volunteers, and how a 4-H project turned a young girls life around!
The vote was extremely close (enough where your vote might have made a difference) …. and Dinosaur Journey came out ahead. So write your $100 check TODAY to Dinosaur Journey and mail it to P.O. Box 1382, Grd Jct, CO 81502.
2-5-18 The Good Samaritan Clinic - $20,000
Meeting Notes February 5, 2018 ….
The roses were festive, the food scrumptious, the crowd chatty and the air springlike. Only you were missing!
Twenty Two different nonprofits were nominated – four for the very first time. And two of those were pulled from the hat. Claudia Waterman nominated the 4H Foundation and shared with the crowd her experience as a 4H member for 10 years, her children each having been a member, and now her grandchildren. 4H isn’t just about animals and home economics … it is about leadership, citizenship, and much more. Many members are farm kids who can’t always afford to participate in everything offered and these funds would be put to good use and go far. https://www.mesacounty4-hfoundation.org/
Joy Huduk was thrilled to see the Riverside Education Center pulled from the hat. This is the first time it was eligible to be nominated again having received our donations three years ago. The need is still great and the kids at the center receive so much more than tutoring … they are surrounded by a support system and people who believe in them. http://www.rec4kids.com/
Lastly we were introduced to the Good Samaritan Clinic which takes appointments on Saturdays for uninsured and underinsured community members for basic medical and mental health needs. It is totally staffed and runned by volunteers.
While votes were counted I was happily taste testing every dessert!!! The Good Samaritan Clinic received the most votes and thus were selected to receive our donations – 174 members @ $100 each makes a HUGE impact. Thanks for being a part of that impact.
11-6-17 Partners $18,050
November 11, 2017 meeting notes …
Last night couldn’t have felt more “Grand Junction” fallish. Leaves still falling, sun starting to set, local wines poured! November has historically seen the most members attend. Not record breaking yet but there were nearly 100 high energy ladies chatting, laughing, and enjoying themselves.
The first first …. our very newest member Cary Atwood had her favorite organization “Grand Valley Audubon Society” pulled from the hat right off the bat. Having never witnessed a presentation she did a great job in sharing with the group that the Audubon Society is “More Than Just Birds”. As a retired teacher she is passionate about exposing youth to the outdoors, birds, and science.
The second first ….. our very first member Anna Stout has been nominating her favorite nonprofit since attending her first meeting in 2014. Finally it was picked from the hat … Foundation for Cultural Exchange. She admitted she didn’t expect to garner many votes but for her it was an opportunity to bring awareness to members about our sister city in El Salvador and its needs. Over 100 local residents have traveled there; each having life changing experiences. Anna is very passionate about an upcoming trip where cats and dogs will be spayed or neutered.
The third first, which was the last of the firsts (I’m just having fun now) … PARTNERS was pulled from the hat for the first time. As Jill Derrieux said “Surely everyone knows PARTNERS.” Many of the programs offered to youth needing an extra shoulder in life were shared with members. She also shared the unfortunate reality of having funding recently cut.
Desserts were plentiful (and tasty) and visiting continued while the votes were tallied. PARTNERS garnered the most votes!
8-7-17 Search and Rescue of Mesa County - $ 18,170
Another Awesome Evening!!! There were close to 100 women attending. Although we found the gathering area was perhaps a bit warm as we caught up on each others lives there definitely was enough food for everyone (strawberries and brie – my new fav) and for sure some new friendships were being formed.
When it came time to vote on which randomly selected nonprofit was to receive the evenings checks it was hard to not vote for all three. A newer member sitting next to me said “How does one even begin to decide?”
Diabetes Counts dedicates their time to children who take insulin every day. They are a support group, an educational outlet, and a place where kids with this horrible disease can just be kids. After the two minute overview a member stood up and emotionally told us about her son who was diagnosed at age 12 and she “didn’t have anyone”. He was told he’d never have kids. She then shared he is now 34 and expecting his first child.
Next up was Colorado Discover Ability whose mission is to increase the independence, self-confidence, self worth and education of people with disabilities, their family and friends, through outdoor recreation. From skiing to cycling to river rafting and beyond this great community based organization touches so many lives. They are also in the midst of a capital campaign to build their own building near Los Colinas park and the Botanical Gardens.
Mesa County Search and Rescue was the last nonprofit to be pulled from the basket. SARC is a totally volunteer cross section of our community – from water to ropes to snow – they are there when someone is lost or hurt. SARC primarily depends on donations with some reimbursement from rescued parties if they happen to have a fishing or hunting license or have registered their ATV or snowmobile. These funds would go toward training and updated technology. Getting lost can happen to anyone – don’t let it happen to you.
…. now you can see how hard it was to vote.
Search and Rescue ended up receiving the most votes! I overheard many women comment on how they learned so much about all three nonprofits and were planning to donate to all three. We live in a generous community.
5-1-17 Grant a Wish - $20,200
2-6-17 D51 Foundation - $19,500
11-7-16 Suicide Prevention Foundation - $18,500
8-1-16 Ariel - $16,800
5-2-16 Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) - $16,500
2-1-16 Fruita Monument High School Band - $15,600
Six new members, five inches of snow, three nominations, one excited member screaming in glee as the final vote was announced and … you have yet another successful meeting. Although the snow definitely kept many members away, 45 ladies stayed warm with the electricity our gatherings tend to naturally spark and we all left with that familiar warm and fuzzy feeling one always gets by giving! Mosaic, Fruita Monument High School Band, and the Western Slope Center for the Arts were the three nominations randomly selected out of the basket. A very moving presentation regarding band director Ryan Crabtree’s commitment to teaching not only music but the life skills of hard work, integrity, compassion, and the makings of inspired and worthwhile citizens placed it with the most votes for the evening. The band program (a 501 (c)(3) receives a mere $2000 a year so we know this windfall will be immensely appreciated.
11-2-15 Mesa County Land Trust $15,000
A beautiful warm fall night downtown and the place was buzzing. Our meetings always seem so full of energy. When it is time to start the meeting we always hate to break up the party in the lobby! Mesa Land Trust, West CAP, and Steadfast Steads were the three lucky nonprofits to be pulled randomly from the bucket. When all was said and done Mesa Land Trust came out with the most votes and received $15,000 in donations from our generous members.
8-3-15 KidsAid - $14,200
So fun to think back a year ago and see how much the Club has grown. We celebrating our success (as of tonight we’ve donated close to $60,000 to five different local nonprofits) and grown from 70 members to 150 members. The Suicide Prevention Foundation, Kids Aid and the Grand Junction Symphony Foundation were the three lucky nonprofits to be selected from the hat. It seemed somewhat fitting that Kids Aid was chosen on this first day back to school (although the votes were once again quite close). Two of the gentlemen from the newly formed Guy’s Giving Club attended our meeting to see how things worked and smoothly came together – they were meeting for the first time the next night. We’ve been challenged to stay ahead of them in member numbers! Time will tell but we feel pretty confident women will rule.
5-4-15 Imagination Library - $13,700
Once again all were worthwhile nonprofits … in fact a few members went ahead and wrote checks to all three organizations. Catholic Outreach continues to touch the lives of many people who find themselves struggling while WestCAP (Western Colorado AIDS Project) is part of our community whether or not we wish to acknowledge it. Members learned this project works with kids as young as 3. WestCAP is our community-based referral, advocacy, and service provider offering non-judgmental, confidential and compassionate assistance to HIV-affected persons, families, and loved ones. Lastly GJ Imagination Library is totally run by volunteers. This program sends a FREE book, every month, to any child five or younger who signs up. The book comes with tips for parents to encourage kids to read. Parents, who reside in local zip codes listed on-line, can sign up their children for this wonderful gift of literacy and reading.
2-3-15 Riverside Education Center - $12,300
Information about their nominated nonprofit was reported by the lucky member and numerous enthusiastic endorsements for each were shared from the audience. We learned Catholic Outreach stretches the value of each dollar received by 12 fold and are making a huge impact in our community by reducing homelessness; we learned there are lonely, home bound seniors among us who rely on visits and help from volunteer senior companions; and we heard about the dropout rate of Latino boys and how the Riverside Education Center has positively impacted and transformed so many lives. Once the votes were in it was announced we should make our individual $100 checks out to the Riverside Education Center … a total of $12,300 collected in less than two hours and provided, no strings attached nor any reporting to be made, to a very deserving nonprofit.
11-3-14 Roice Hurst Humane Society - $9,900
Eighty amazing and spirited women met and enjoyed another meeting of The Giving Club. Three local nonprofits were randomly chosen from the bucket. They were Catholic Outreach, HopeWest and Roice Hurst. Once again, the ladies who nominated these organizations gave heart felt reasons why the organizations are important to the community, what impact they are making, and how donations from The Giving Club members would be welcomed. Ultimately Roice Hurst was voted on as the organization to receive the evenings donations.
8-4-14 Western Slope Center for the Children - $6,400
Our first meeting was held the evening of August 4, 2014 and it was fun, energetic, rewarding, and amazing!!! These organizations were nominated Grand Junction Symphony Foundation, Mind Springs Health, and the Western Slope Center for Children. The ladies who nominated these organizations each spent about 3 minutes sharing with the group of 50 about why their nominated nonprofit should receive the evening’s donations. Each presenter did an excellent job and the audience chimed in with other great reasons to support those nonprofits. The Western Slope Center for Children received the most votes and thus will receive this evenings donations.