This year the North Fork Valley will be hosting the Rural Philanthropy Days (RPD) conference from June 12-14. The RPD operates in partnership with the Community Resource Center, the Anschutz Family foundation and statewide grant makers. This is RPD's 28th year as an organization but this is its first visit to Delta County.
The RPD consortium brings together nonprofit organizations, local government officials and key community and business leaders to network with funders. The focused three-day event creates a platform for the participants to receive guidance for community projects and for informed dialogue between funders and rural entities. As well as exposing North Fork movers and shakers to funding options and practices, the conference will also showcase the North Fork's strengths and potential.
The organizers are expecting about 350 participants, including about 60 from funding agencies. There will be over 30 Colorado foundations participating in the three-day event. The conference will kick off in Hotchkiss on Wednesday, June 12, with Hotchkiss mayor, Larry Wilkening welcoming the organizers to Hotchkiss. Paonia's mayor, Charles Stewart, will welcome the group to Paonia for Thursday and Friday events.
Activities include up to 20 trainings, workshops and panel discussions offering professional development. Discussions and networking focus on regional issues and challenges. Receptions and activities offer informal settings to extend the days' activities. Representatives of rural nonprofits are matched with statewide grant makers in small groups so they can describe their communities' needs and to learn more about access to grants.
While in Hotchkiss the participants will tour Crossroads Park, the developing sports facility adjacent to the North Fork Pool and Hotchkiss High. Crossroads Park is a prime example of what is possible for rural areas from exposure to funding streams. Earlier in the year Lenore Cambria, District Administrator of North Fork Recreation, attested to the value of RPD at a Hotchkiss Town Council meeting. Her connections at an earlier conference yielded a grant of $869,000 from various funders. These endowments are being realized in the baseball park under construction behind the Hotchkiss high school and the on-going construction of the pump and bike trails located there as well.
Organizers have made a point to direct visitors to local restaurants and businesses. Local wines, ciders, food and accommodations will be part of the bounty on display to those new to the North Fork. Both towns will be busy over the three days, so locals can expect more foot and car traffic over the three days of the conference, but the opportunity to show off our area can result in added prominence and tangible rewards.