Eagle County Gives Day takes months of planning, work

Day of online giving is set for Dec. 10; last year's effort raised more than $1 million

Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley is one of the 55 local nonprofits participating in Eagle County Gives Day.
Daily file photo
Four facts
  • What: Eagle County Gives Day, a part of Colorado Gives Day.
  • When: Dec. 10
  • Nonprofits involved: 55.
  • More information: Go to

EAGLE COUNTY — Success breeds success. But success also takes a lot of work. Just ask all the people involved in this year’s Eagle County Gives Day.

That day, Dec. 10, is an authorized offshoot of Colorado Gives Day. That event, first organized by the state’s Our Community Foundation, is a day of online giving. Since its inception, Colorado Gives Day has raised more than $296 million. In 2018, more than 2,600 nonprofit groups around the state worked on the event.

Participation goes far beyond simply putting a nonprofit’s name on a list. Groups have to provide financial and tax information to the organizers and aren’t accepted until they’ve been vetted.

Locally, 55 nonprofits are participating this year, all of which have had to be vetted by the state organization. While the official day for the campaign is Dec. 10, you can donate anytime in the days leading up it — especially while you’re doing your Black Friday shopping.

Once a group has been approved, people have to work on the Eagle County Gives project.

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Emily Sessler has been on the local organizing committee since 2013, and on the group’s executive board for the past five years.

Sessler has worked for both the Vail Valley Foundation and Vail Health during that time, so she’s been involved as a representative of two of the valley’s big nonprofit groups.

Learning from each other

But, she said, people from both big and small groups learn from each other.

Melissa Wills works for YouthPower365, a division of the Vail Valley Foundation. In her first year on the governing board, Wills said one of the things she’s learned from the smaller groups is the importance of personal attention.

“Smaller nonprofits have the capacity and the intentionality to spend more time with their donors,” Wills said. “We’re always trying to reach out on a more personal level — it’s incredible to hear about the time and attention they spend with donors.”

Virtually everyone involved with the Eagle County Gives effort talks about the collaborative nature of the overall group, and the giving nature of the community.

But those involved with the project also frequently mention the amount of work that goes into preparing for Eagle County Gives Day.

The group effort usually starts in March or April, and those on the organizing committee volunteer their time. No one gets paid for this work.

Mikayla Curtis of Mountain Youth — formerly the Eagle River Youth Coalition — said that work is worth the effort.

Rooting for each other

“Everyone wants to be successful,” Curtis said. “There’s a great spirit.”

In addition to print advertising and public service announcements on radio and TV, Curtis said Eagle County Gives volunteers will also be out on the streets on Dec. 10.

“We’ll be in the coffee shops and out in the community,” Curtis said.

In addition, there will be a Dec. 9 kickoff party at Maya in Avon’s Westin Riverfront Resort.

“Every year we do it we’ve seen it grow,” Curtis said. “More people are aware of it, and more people are giving to multiple organizations.”

The allure of the state and local efforts is the ease with which people can donate. In addition, credit card processing fees are just 2%, which is about as inexpensive as those fees get.

And, in the case of Eagle County Gives Day, all donations stay in the county.

Brooke Skjonsby, the executive director of the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, is in her second year on the executive committee, but has been involved in Eagle County Gives for a few years.

She said all the nonprofits involved over the years are always “challenging ourselves on where we can communicate more cohesively and collectively … The ‘we’ is essential to meet the needs of the community.’”

Nonprofits and their supporters are the “fabric of the community,” Skjonsby added.”I’m humbled and honored to work alongside them, and be among the people in this community who want to take care of this community.”

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at or 970-748-2930.

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