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March 18, 2013
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Vail Valley business briefs, March 19

LAKEWOOD - FirstBank Holding Company, the Lakewood-based holding company for the largest locally owned banking organization in Colorado, has announced the results of its annual community investment program. In 2012, FirstBank contributed cash donations totaling more than $4.6 million to more than 1,000 nonprofit organizations across the state.

-FirstBank has donated more than $40 million to area nonprofits since 2000, making it the most charitable financial institution in Colorado and among the five most charitable corporations in the state by annual cash donations, according to the most recent Denver Business Journal "Giving Guide."

"Community involvement has been a hallmark of this company," said John A. Ikard, CEO of FirstBank Holding Company. "We believe philanthropy benefits not only the individuals touched by these organizations, but it also contributes to creating a healthy business climate and economy. Supporting local residents and organizations is just the right thing to do and it will remain among our top priorities."

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A recent staple in FirstBank's annual giving program is Colorado Gives Day, a one-day online initiative aimed at increasing philanthropy in Colorado. Since the effort's inception in 2010, FirstBank has been the lead sponsor, donating $1.4 million over the last three years, including $600,000 in 2012. The initiative has raised more than $35 million for Colorado nonprofits. In addition to Colorado Gives Day, FirstBank supports a variety of organizations and initiatives in Colorado with a focus on nonprofit organizations that promote affordable housing, education and economic development.

EDWARDS - Can Do Multiple Sclerosis's sound fiscal management practices and commitment to accountability and transparency has earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America's largest independent charity evaluator. This is the sixth consecutive year that Can Do MS has earned this top distinction.

"Only 3 percent of charities we rate have received at least six consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Can Do MS outperforms most other charities in America," said Ken Berger, President and CEO of Charity Navigator. "Can Do MS's supporters should feel much more confident that their hard-earned dollars are being used efficiently and responsibly when it acquires such a high rating."

"We are honored to receive this 4-star rating for our philanthropic efforts. Over 80 percent of the dollars we receive are committed to our programs and services," said Heidi A. Heltzel, President and CEO of Can Do MS. "Over the years, we have gone to great lengths to meet our fiscal responsibility, and we are pleased Charity Navigator has recognized our diligence in adhering to strict financial accountability. We will strive to maintain the high standards set forth by Charity Navigator, and continue to earn the trust and respect of our donors"

Since 2002, Charity Navigator has awarded only the most fiscally responsible organizations a 4-star rating. In 2011, Charity Navigator added a second dimension of "Accountability and Transparency" to its rating methodology, and now reviews 17 governance and ethical practices as well as measures of openness, providing information on its website for each of the charities it evaluates.

To view the Can Do Multiple Sclerosis rating page, go to www.charitynavigator.org. To learn more about Can Do Multiple Sclerosis, go to www.mscando.org.

VAIL - Daric Harvey, a commander with the Town of Vail police department for the past 10 months, has been named a member of the personnel committee on the board of directors for the valley's Bright Future Foundation, a nonprofit that supports individuals and families affected by domestic violence and abuse.

Harvey replaces Joe Ribeiro, who moved to Manitou Springs earlier this year. Harvey was an active advocate of a similar organization in Orlando, Fla. called, "Help Now."

"I think partnerships between law enforcement and the communities are critical for building community success," Harvey said. "BBF's goal is to foster and maintain a relationship between advocates of victims of domestic abuse and law enforcement that supports the victim and helps them transition to a healthy and stable environment."

"Victims might need shelter, child care or financial assistance as they work back to fully functioning in the community. Often times, counseling is part of it. And certainly, focus on prevention and law enforcement are elements of the continuum," Harvey explained. "I look forward to doing what I can to improve on the already great job that BFF does."

Another law enforcement program Harvey strongly supports is Crime Stoppers, which allows citizens to help solve crimes by calling anonymously to law enforcement. Should their tips or leads result in an arrest, they may qualify for financial rewards.

He is also actively involved in the Police Explorer program which allows kids, ages 14 - 21 to participate in police activities as understudies. They work on defensive driving, watch law enforcement activities, including arrests, and are able to volunteer within the community.

"This program, like BFF, is meant to serve in building bridges within the community," Harvey explained. "The program involves partnerships between the law enforcement agencies in Eagle, Avon and Vail."

To learn more about the Bright Future Foundation, go to www.brightfuturefoundation-ec.org.


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The VailDaily Updated Mar 18, 2013 08:02PM Published Mar 18, 2013 07:59PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.