Colorado’s generosity breaks record

Julie Filby
CGD 2013_Master

Some 88,000 Coloradans came together to raise more than $20 million for 1,442 nonprofits during Colorado Gives Day, a 24-hour online fundraiser, held Dec. 10 on the website www.coloradogives.org.

This year’s $20 million display of generosity exceeded last year’s donations of $15.4 million during the 24-hour window. Of that total, more than $144,000 was donated to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver.

“We’re overwhelmed with gratitude for the response,” said Lori Kennedy, vice president of development for Catholic Charities. “Colorado Gives Day is a perfect opportunity for Catholic Charities to connect people with a ‘need to give’ with those with a ‘need to receive.’

“God is good!”

The amount donated to Catholic Charities—which helps fund their 30-plus ministries throughout northern Colorado—has continued to grow each year the agency has participated in Colorado Gives Day: last year’s total was $104,000; in 2011 $50,000; and in 2010, their first year to participate, $20,000 was raised.

Launched by Community First Foundation in 2007, Colorado Gives Day has raised more than $73 million for area charities in the last six years. This year’s campaign included several Catholic nonprofit organizations, as it does each year, such as Dominican Sisters Home Health Agency, Seeds of Hope, Mount St. Vincent Home, St. Vincent de Paul Society and Catholic high schools.

COMING UP: Riding to help those in need

Sign up for a digital subscription to Denver Catholic!

TeamSamaritanHouse_provided (2)

Charity begins in the heart, with putting others before yourself. Our priests, nuns and religious live out that charity by devoting their lives to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed.

How can the rest of us do that, too? By using our God-given talents and efforts to serve our families, parishes and communities. Serving together as a team, focused on a mission greater than ourselves, is a powerful experience.

A great example of that — on behalf of Catholic Charities — is Team Samaritan House, a group of 30 riders who will be biking more than 400 miles, from Carbondale to Fort Collins, over six days beginning June 12 as part of the annual Ride the Rockies event.

It’s the sixth year on the road for Team Samaritan House, which is seeking to raise $150,000 for our shelters, including Samaritan House at 2301 Lawrence St., where we provide a meal for just $1.60 per person. For 30 years, Samaritan House has served women, children and men experiencing homelessness — providing food, shelter, safety and support to regain stability.

Team Samaritan House is more than $60,000 to their goal and I encourage you to go to SamHouseDenver.org to learn more about the team, pick a rider to cheer on and support them with a donation. But the money raised isn’t the most important thing about Team Samaritan House. It’s their dedication to a cause.

Tom Schwein, the team captain and a Catholic Charities board member, had a terrible accident near the finish line of last year’s Ride the Rockies, breaking eight bones in his face.

“The more I thought about the homeless after my crash and the blessing we had as a cycling team to raise (more than $100,000) for the homeless of Colorado last year, the more I realized that God was not yet done with me here on earth, and was calling me to do more,” Schwein, who will once again ride this year, told us.

The team members are preparing to ride 400 miles so that other people have a clean place to sleep, clothes on their back and food to eat.

“Our team is a beacon of light for the homeless and each other,” Leslie Prevish, another Team Samaritan House rider, told us. “I feel like anybody could have a circumstance in their life where they could end up homeless. I think of how important it is to help other people in need and not judge because you don’t know their story.”

If you’d like to meet members of Team Samaritan House in person, I encourage you to attend a send-off for them the evening of Tuesday, June 7, at the Denver Press Club at 1330 Glenarm Place. 70% of the tips that night will be donated to Team Samaritan House fundraising efforts.

Three months after Ride the Rockies, on Saturday, Sept. 10, there’s another great way to support Samaritan House, by attending Sam’s Supper: The Meal that Serves Many, which will be at Mile High Station. All the details, including tickets, are available at SamHouseDenver.org.

I also invite you to take a tour of Samaritan House and perhaps sign up to serve dinner one night to the residents. It is in giving that we receive, and I pray you will find many blessings in whatever ways you choose to serve others.

Larry Smith is the president and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver. Visit online at ccdenver.org or call 303-742-0828 to learn more, volunteer or make a donation.