970-260-6140 jjvan6@gmail.com
At each meeting members learn about local organizations and the amazing contributions they make to our community.
Who will be nominated and garner the most votes on August 5, 2024?
5-20-24 Colorado National Monument Association
The Colorado National Monument Association provides financial support to Colorado National Monument through a variety of community engagements and sales from our gift shop. This support fosters knowledge, passion, and dedication to enable stewardship and preservation of Colorado National Monument. By supporting Colorado National Monument and engaging the community, Colorado National Monument Association aims to create a healthier ecosystem within the park boundaries and far beyond.
Thank you to each of our 260+ dedicated members for their continued engagement with The Giving Club. Together we will make a collective $26,000+ donation to Colorado National Monument Association!
Other nominations included Food Bank of the Rockies, nominated by Sue Ellen Rodwick and Junior Service League of Grand Junction, nominated by Patti Chamberlain.
2-5-24 KAFM $25,200

February 5 Nominees Include:

Colorado National Monument Association – nominated by Ginger Mitchell

D51 Foundation – nominated by Angela Christensen

KAFM – nominated by Shawn Foley

11-6-23 MarillacHealth $24,600

November 6 Nominees Include:

MarillacHealth, nominated by Betty Fulton, provides a wide scope of primary health care services to all Mesa County residents regardless of income or insurance status.   Their vision is that Mesa County is a community where every resident has access to quality health care.

Food Bank of the Rockies, nominated by Sue Ellen Roderick, is a very busy organization.    The Food Bank is the largest hunger-relief organization in the Rocky Mountain region.   They distrubte upwards of 178,000 meals every day and that need continues to grow.    

The House, nominated by Carla Haas, iprovides safe and stable housing for vulnerable young people of Mesa County aged 13 to 24.     Current statistics show there are 781 students, grade K – 12th, are without housing.  

8-7-23 Community Hospital Foundation (Child Care Center) $24,600

August 7 Nominees Include:

HopeWest – nominated by Denise Bagg who had recently experienced the wonders and compassion of HopeWest when her mother passed away.   Four other members took the mic to share with us their extremely positive experiences with this incredible, local organization.

Community Hospital Foundation – nominated by Jennifer Brownell, a new (and very lucky) member as of that night, shared with the group the struggles of child care in our community and the decision Community Hospital made to build their own facility for their staff.    Nearing completion and soon to open, this facility will prioritize hospital workers but will offer any left over spots to the public.   This will free up day care spots in our community which is definately a win-win for Mesa County.

Plateau Valley Historical Society – nominated by Judy Vanderleest whose mother-in-law, who recently passed, was very involved with and active in.   This society strives to preserve the history of the valley and recently opened a spot on a Main Street Collbran to display some of their historical pictures and items.   

4-24-23 Grand Valley Resettlement Program $23,800

April 24th Nominees Include:

Marillac Clinic provides a wide scope of primary health care services to all Mesa County residents regardless of income or insurance status. Their vision is: Mesa County is a community where every resident has access to quality health care. Your donation makes medical, dental and behavioral care affordable and available for our community!

Grand Valley Resettlement Program was created in 2021 to establish local community support for Afghan parolees and SIVs in the city of Grand Junction and surrounding areas (referred to as Grand Valley). GVRP’s vision is to develop long-term relationships with new arrivals from Afghanistan by demonstrating love, care, compassion and concern for their lives and needs. The program’s overall mission is to fully integrate Afghan families into society in the Grand Valley within a two-year period. Contributions directed to GVRP go 100% towards assisting Afghan families resettle in the Grand Valley. 

The Art Center Guild supports and promotes The Art Center of Western Colorado through fundraising activities and by providing a reliable, committed volunteer work force. Membership dues enable the Guild to be self-supporting. The Art Center Guild welcomes anyone who supports The Art Center and it exhibitions, programs and children’s education classes. No artistic skills are needed, only a desire to spread the word about The Art Center!

2-6-23 Sleep in Heavenly Peace $22,000

Marillac Clinic has quite the following who both nominated and spoke on their behalf.  Marillac meets the needs of so many in our community …from the unemployed to the working poor to those who find themselves without insurance.   Many members shared stories of those who have had life-changing medical and dental services at Marillac.   As a side note, they are also soon to start construction on a much needed new clinic in Clifton.

KAFM is every nonprofit’s friend.  They devote so much time to supporting nonprofits, The Giving Club included.   About a week prior to our meetings, they interview a member from the Club, along with a representative from the nonprofit we selected at our last meeting.    KAFM provides free advertising for nonprofit events, which truly is priceless (you’ll know if you have recently priced an on-air or newspaper ad)  This is the 4th time KAFM has been pulled from the hat ..so you know they are important to members and the nonprofit community.  

Sleep in Heavenly Peace garnered the most votes and thus will be able to deliver beds to over 100 kids (this was clarified as last night they guessed 20 to 40).  This chapter has been active in Mesa County since October.   They build beds, along with providing mattresses and bedding, for kids who do not have beds in their homes (and surprisingly there are many).  This nonprofit partners with high school kids to build the beds and partners with others to make blankets and quilts.  

11-7-22 Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) $21,800

Roice Hurst was the first selected and new member Karen Wade was up and at the mic.   Not only is Roice Hurst about animals, but it is also about the people.   Having firsthand experience about helping her friend’s mother drop off her beloved dog, Roice Hurst showed the compassion they are known for.  Great volunteers, caring staff, and professionalism, they are there for all.

Niki Hunn was pleasantly surprised when her nomination of CASA was announced.   We’ve got to take care of the children.  They are our future.  CASA provides a volunteer to be the voice of the neglected child when going through the court system.  Kathy Hall, fresh off jury duty involving sexual assault on a child, she said it was heartwarming to see a CASA, right there, with the child victim.    Additionally, it was shared this money would pay off the debt on their recently purchased building.

We build hope … the words shared about the Mesa County Library Clifton Branch that struck us all.   Kendra Rhodes said the services provided by Mesa County Libraries are critical for area residents and the Clifton area has been low on the list for too long.  Libraries provide so much more than books …. computer access for those without, adult learning such as GED classes and testing and English as a second language.  This new library will also include much needed community meeting space.

As is often the case, it was hard to pick which one to vote for and a number of members wrote checks to all three (totaling $3500).   The nonprofit with the most votes, however, was CASA.

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
🌱🌿Many special seeds were planted last night! Seeds of friendship, happiness, connection and impact. 🌱🌿
The GJ Giving Club met at Springhill Suites. The evening kicked off with socializing over delicious food and drinks (special thanks to our caterer, Cowboy and the Rose). Then, the real fun began. Three worthy non-profits were nominated.

🐈 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

Voting was close and our winner for the night was Hope of the Grand Valley. Members wrote a check to this worthy organization (and some people wrote checks to the other two nominees as well).
Desserts were finished and memories were made. It was a fulfilling and worthwhile evening. Thank you to everyone who joined us in giving. We hope you’ll return in August and bring a friend or two!


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 ….


I’m still giddy with excitement …

..maybe it is the wine I drank during our meeting last night (I used three drink tickets) or the wine I drank after the meeting to celebrate.    Regardless of the reason HATS off to Kristen Donahue who made so much of last night happen and to the 58 members who participated!

In lieu of the drinks and appetizers we usually purchase we wanted to support local restaurants so Lindsay Keller braved the streets and bought twenty $50 gift certificates  – all of which were given away last night to members for a variety of fun reasons.*

We also asked three members to highlight the nonprofit they work for and to share how COVID has impacted their organizations

Kristen Stanfield spoke about Kids Aid and how their normal 1800 bags of food per weekend has grown to 2300 bags.   Another challenge has been the volunteer base … many who are older.   They sent those volunteers home to be safe and had to come up with a new volunteer base.

Kristen Lynch from the Western Slope Community Foundation spoke about how the foundation listened to the community and to their supporters and focused on how they saw the needs in our community.    A variety of funds they oversee are going to help hunger issues.

Mistalynn Meyeraan of the Western Slope Center for Children saw an unusual spike when the shelter in place order went into place.    Pretty much for two weeks solid they had a daily call from dispatch asking for a sexual assault nurse exam (SANE).   Thankfully that has now tapered off.  The child abuse referrals, unfortunately, are coming in as a steady stream.

Now what you were really waiting for ….Drum roll please ….Catholic Outreach garnered the most votes (although I have to say it was really pretty close so every single vote really mattered).

It is also membership renewal time (covering our August 2020 meeting through May 2021 meeting) so her are some options for writing your check today:

$80 to The Giving Club for dues and $100 to Catholic Outreach
$180 to The Giving Club for dues and then I’ll turn around and write your Catholic Outreach check for you
$480 to The Giving Club for dues and then I’ll turn around and write all four of your donation checks for the year
$100 to Catholic Outreach and pay your dues in August
Lastly $100 to Catholic Outreach and let us know you are not planning to renew your membership.

Remember you can always write donation checks to either or both of our other nominees this month – Colorado Canyons Association and Latimer House AND for that matter, you could write them to any of the three nonprofits highlighted during the meeting.

Checks should be sent to The Giving Club, P.O. Box 1382,  Grand Junction, CO  81502   (we will forward any checks you write to other organizations too).

*Some members want short, sweet, get the point emails while others want a feel of the meeting.    So here are the lucky recipients of gift certificates:

In the nominating email we asked members to let us know of members they admire –

Elaine Johnson-Craig – submitted by Julie Butherus and Betty Fulton – Elaine has a huge heart and is very thoughtful and has been generous with many non-profits in GJ

Joy Hudak submitted by Sherry Schreiner – She is always positive, thoughtful, creative and giving and just plain fun!

Jessica Silva submitted by Debe Colby – She is part of the professional medical community and right now she is in the thick of what is going on.  She is still upbeat, positive, contributing to the various organizations she supports ..

Kristen Stanfield submitted by Karen Hatfield – She is working for KidsAid organizing volunteers and coordinating with schools to take care of the kids.   She is funny, positive and the person you can turn to if you need help with anything.

Debe Colby – submitted by Melinda Veatch  – She is out in the community 24/7 and is always looking for ways to impact lives for the good.  She sees connections that others might miss, and she works to connect people together for the greatest positive results.

Gift cards also went to Carol Todd who types 116 WPM;   to Mary Beth Buscher who has been a member since day 2 yet has never attended a meeting (last night was her first);  to Dessa Hand, Sandy Bates and Evie Copel for having cute, creative email addresses (Mom of Hand; Bates Motel 5; Miles ‘o Sun);  To Kate Denning for her sweet, positive email to us earlier this week; to Barb Butler who consistently writes a check each meeting to each of the three nonprofits drawn; and to Stephanie Rubinstein, Linda Robinson and Carol Todd for making their videos!

Lastly our new members were recognized, the early birds to the meeting were rewarded and through a way cool (and very colorful) Wheel of Fortune (with every member’s name listed) the remainder of our gift cards were distributed.

2-3-20 Glade Park Volunteer Fire Department - $20,400
As little icy snowflakes fell and the wind whipped up an icy breeze,  members started arriving bundled up yet ready for a meeting which ultimately had them leaving with a warm, fuzzy and giving feeling…not because of the drinks, because of the way we all know our $100 checks, when combined together, make a HUGE difference.

The Glade Park Volunteer Fire Department was the first nomination out of the hat and besides the passionate presentation by Bert Nieslanik regarding their needs (who also pointed out the department is 30% female) two of those firefighters are members and they spoke.   In addition to the dire need for better fire fighting bunker gear (who knew there are two types of gear they wear – lighter for brush fires and heavier for structural fires), they also pay for their own training out of pocket.

The Community Food Bank was also pulled out of the hat and Marsha Kosteva stressed hunger can be found in our community.   This organization has been helping feed the hungry for almost 40 years.   Anyone who shows up, regardless of income, receives food for 3 days.    Many clients have indicated it was down to a choice between paying their rent or feeding their family.   Community Food Bank makes a difference.

Lastly Teri Cardell spoke about the RSVP handyman project and how it helps those who income qualify and are either over 55 or who are disabled.    Volunteers often build wheelchair ramps or bathroom grab bars yet also can perform minor repairs. Their oldest volunteer is a spry 90 years young.

As always, all deserving groups.    And remember  DON’T PROCRASTINATE!   Write and send your check today.

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11-4-19 Blood Brothers - $18,500
The beautiful fall evening ended with making the nonprofit BLOOD BROTHERS one happy group and  approximately $18,500 richer.    Member Janette Rickard nominated them and then her guest Chloe Bourdon spoke of their mission to transform the lives of individuals living with a physical disability by restoring freedom, mobility, and independence.   Although founded in 2013 the nonprofit was a new one to many of us .. I know for me the name sounded like a gang name … however it comes from the founder’s last name Blood and his reference to Brothers is from the brotherhood of linemen … his paralyzing injury was a result of a fall from a power pole (which had rotted in the inside).

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
Last night, for the first time ever, the number of cocktails exceeded the number of wines ordered.   For me that says … many of us were ready for a refreshing gin and tonic to celebrate the start of our sixth year.    The only thing really missing from the evening was YOU.

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 last meeting of our FIFTH year in existence and a time to celebrate the impact we have made in Mesa County.   After tonight’s meeting we have impacted 20 different non-profits by donating over $333,000 to them.    And remember it is always donated with no strings attached nor any reports to write!   A nonprofit director’s dream!








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
The crowd was lively, the food was amazing (we will be talking about the bacon for meetings to come – it was seriously that good) and the vote count was extremely close.







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
Close your eyes and picture the lobby of SpringHill Suites … hear the loud chatter of women catching up with old friends and being introduced to new ones?   Smell the aroma of something delicious in the air?   Taste the sweetness of a chilled local Riesling?   See the two huge dogs a hotel guest is walking in?   What is missing?   Only those of you who did not attend.

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
AUGUST 7, 2017 meeting notes:

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
May 1, 2017 meeting notes …
One of those beautiful spring evenings in the Grand Valley with many members sipping their drinks while sitting outside on the patio area of SpringHill Suites or standing at cocktail tables adorned with bright yellow tulips.  Talk, as always, is all over the place – upcoming vacations, kids graduating, weddings planned or even what nonprofit did you nominate.    These meetings bring together old friends who spend time catching up on their busy lives and new friends who have only recently met.    Always a few new people join – often as a guest of someone or maybe they heard about it from friends.    D51 Foundation brought a beautiful arrangement of white lilies and roses as a thank you to the club for the donation they received in February.   A member was randomly picked to take the big bouquet home with them to enjoy.      The meeting was, as always, on task and energetic.    First up to bat was the Colorado Canyon Association who is trying to obtain a grant to revise the park in Riverside and surrounding bike access.    They need a 10% match to make this a reality and were hoping members would vote for their organization.    KAFM was the lucky second pick from the hat.   A very dynamic local community radio station which might just lose federal funding in the coming months if Washington continues to talk like they are talking.    We need this radio station, nonprofits certainly benefit in many ways from their support and it is just the right thing to keep the programs airing.    Last up was Grant-a-Wish (not to be confused with the national outfit Make-a-Wish).    It was fun learning about this community start up which supports kids in need with scholarships to participate in programs and be around strong adult role models and mentors.      The decision was tough and the vote was close yet Grant-a-Wish came out ahead and received the evening’s donations of $20,200.
2-6-17 D51 Foundation - $19,500
February 6, 2017 meeting notes ….
I’m trying to find different words to describe the atmosphere of club meetings but can’t seem to come up with anything besides high energy, amazing enthusiasm, totally engaged, and a ton of fun.  Add rewarding and motivating to the list and I think I just about have it down.    The appetizers and desserts were provided by Spoons (the eating establishment of Hope West).    I admit to having more than one chocolate mousse for dessert.   Wanda Putnam was declared the woman with a magical touch.   Her nomination for The Symphony Foundation was drawn for a fourth time and she reiterated to the members the real need for funding to go to music in our community.    Karen Hilderbrandt, a new member, had her nomination for The Symphony pulled too.    Both ladies provided compelling reasons for both their organizations to be chosen (and they also educated the group on the TWO DIFFERENT, independent organizations they are).   Also chosen was the D51 Foundation.   Angela Christensen, also a new member that night, spoke about how the foundation supports technology for students and professional development for teachers … things the school district doesn’t always have the funds to accomplish.    When the votes were all counted and the desserts tasted, D51 garnered the most votes and thus will receive $19,500 from club members.
11-7-16 Suicide Prevention Foundation - $18,500
November 7, 2016 meeting notes …
The meeting was very close to being standing room only… a record 110 woman came out on a beautiful fall evening to eat, drink, laugh, learn, nominate and vote.   As always the energy was high and the talk of politics was refreshingly absent.   The Symphony Foundation was randomly selected from the hat for the third time … as Wanda said “Perhaps the third times a charm”.    The arts in our community seem to have a difficult time receiving support and funding.   Wanda shared the new Symphony Conductor was thrilled to learn not only was the symphony in the black financially but that we had a foundation too.   Pretty impressive.     The Western Slope Center for Children was also pulled out of the hat and Giving Club members chimed in on what a great job they do with making the entire process comfortable for victims.      Lastly the Suicide Prevention Foundation was pulled from the hat.   With the recent 15 year old suicide at GJHS parking lot this subject was on a lot of member’s minds.    What can we do to stop such loss of lives?   The Prevention Foundation offers hour long classes letting us know what we should look for and what we can do to possibly prevent suicide.    The Suicide Foundation garnered the most vote and will be receiving $17,000 (plus an additional $1,500 due to excess hospitality fees in our bank account) this month.    Additionally another $1000 in checks were written to either the Symphony Foundation or the Western Slope Center.    A sure sign we are all touched by what we learn.   
8-1-16 Ariel - $16,800
August 1, 2016 meeting notes …
So many deserving organizations serving our community.   I’ve lived here over 25 years and I continually learn about resources I never knew existed.    Nadine, a rather new member, spoke about her and her husbands passion about the John McConnell Math and Science Center​.   Especially about the lack of girls interested in math and how this center is making a huge difference.   Pam, a board member of Suicide Prevention, spoke about the high suicide rate in Mesa County and how that organization is working to stamp out suicide (Lisa, a teacher, spoke about losing a student to suicide last year and how important this organization is to our community).  Lastly supporters of Ariel spoke about how they serve the needs of foster children and provide the heart.   There have been nine child abuse fatalities in Mesa County so far this year.    Heartbreaking.     Ariel garnered the most votes and walked away with over $16,000 to provide support and services in this community.
5-2-16 Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) - $16,500
May 2, 2016 meeting notes …
What I remember … CASA, KAFM, and Girls on the Run were the three randomly selected nonprofits of the evening.   CASA ended up with the most votes.    I failed to update this part of the website timely so besides the above I remember a great group of women, a fair number of new members, and an awesome meeting.   Oh an a toast of champagne to celebrate the amazing milestone of over $100,000 given away to local nonprofits!
2-1-16 Fruita Monument High School Band - $15,600
February 1, 2016 meeting notes ….
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
November 2, 2015 meeting notes …
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
August 3, 2015 meeting notes …
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
May 4 2015 meeting notes …
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
February 3, 2015 meeting notes ….
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
November 3, 2014 meeting notes …
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
August 4, 2014 meeting notes ….
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.