There are a lot of “C” words that can make a difference in our lives – sometimes for worse and many times for good.  Of course the big bad “c” word is cancer.  Others are crack and cocaine.  And then there are the ones I personally don’t say and would never write.  Those, I hope you don’t even know.

Think about some of the positive “c” words – creative, culture, compassion, collaboration and change. These are words nonprofits may not intentionally think about when planning their programs.  Interestingly, though, the words all work together.

All those wonderful words are inherent in our nonprofits and their programming. Nonprofits exist to meet specific needs and are typically governed by boards that have a culture of a “can-do” attitude.  Program folks are creative when it comes to how to address the various needs. Folks who deliver the services have compassion for their patients, clients or audiences. Ultimately, change is what is sought. Whether that change is for a single person or a community. For today, collaboration is my favorite – because sometimes it’s easier to effect change when you do it together. We are “better together”.

I had the good fortune to read the twelve mini-grant applications for CFGV’s One Valley Prosperity-connected invitational grant process. I’m struck by how much collaboration is a big part of those applications. Creative collaboration at that!

Let me share three examples.

Gunnison Trails is expanding their work crews to include incoming Western freshmen, the youth of the Mustang Bike Club and Gunnison Mentors.

Crested Butte School Enrichment Program is linking the Creede Repertory Company’s production of “Seed” to the curriculum and activities of the Kids’ Garden Club and the Science Club – both of which are led by folks from Mountain Roots.

The Center for Adult and Family Education, part of our Library District, has a program to build relationships between local law enforcement and our immigrant community.  To do that, they are collaborating with Gunnison Police, Gunnison County Sheriff’s office, the Hispanic Affairs Project, Multicultural Resource Services and leaders in our immigrant community.

In each of those examples, coming together for a cause increases communication, compassion and community. Making a difference together increases the reach of the program and the potential outcomes.

These are not isolated examples in the nonprofit world. Look around you and see how many collaborations you can count. It’s part of what makes this Valley unique. We don’t agree on everything, but when we come together to work for a positive outcome, positive change can happen faster. Congratulations to all our collaborating organizations!

Change is going to happen anyway, we might as well do it together for the good of all.

Donors:  Take a risk and support a new program for your favorite nonprofit – and encourage collaboration.

Nonprofits:  Keep working together on the goals you have in common.

Community:  Let’s learn the lesson of “positive problem solving through collaboration” from our compassionate, creative nonprofits.

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