National Philanthropy Day in Estes Park is hosted by:
2016 Philanthropy Awards
Enduring Service Award – Jean Austin
Jean saw a need in the community around the holidays, and in 1984 started Bright Christmas. The first few years, she and her husband Jim collected toys and a turkey dinner and handed them out to a couple dozen families in crisis. Things have changed a bit since then! In 2015, Bright Christmas served 130 families, including 450 children, in one day. Boxes include huge amounts of nutritious food, cleaning staples, hygiene supplies, and the occasional treat. Generous donors throughout the community pick up wish lists from children and brightly wrap gifts, clothing and bicycles. Clothing, bedding, and coats are offered for anyone who needs them. Bright Christmas has expanded its services to include a school supply drive that served 80 students this year and provided some additional support for the schools. Bright Christmas also responds to emergencies impacting families with children. Because of Jean and Jim (who volunteer 100% of their time), thousands of children have awoken on Christmas morning and had the bright, magical, carefree day we all want for our kids.
Enduring Service Award – Bill & Sue Pinkham
Bill and Sue have made Estes Park a better place by being role models for all of us. They stand for what community is all about: caring; serving; and going the extra mile. They have spent countless hours working to ensure that all of our citizens are well served by our nonprofits and governmental
agencies. Bill served on the Town Board for four years, served as Mayor for 8, has worked with the Arts community and The Land Trust, is very involved with our Sister Cities program, represents Estes Park to the Platte River Power authority and the Colorado Ethics Commission, and that’s just his retirement resumé! Sue has lent her considerable talents to the Estes Park Police Auxiliary, served graciously as our ‘first lady’ throughout Bill’s tenure as Mayor, teaches wildfire mitigation awareness for the Estes Park Volunteer Fire Department, works with our Sister Cities program, has served the Estes Park Learning Place as Program Director and Interim Executive Director, and is active with the Womens’ Club. These two demonstrate a dedication to our community that is absolutely amazing.
Business Philanthropist of the Year Award – Anthony DeSousa – Antonio’s Pizza
If two nominations didn’t make it clear that Anthony is making a quiet, meaningful difference, the words describing his philanthropy certainly did. Anthony reaches out to organizations serving people in distress offering weekly pizza for everyone being served by these groups. When pressed for the motivation behind this he simply says “I know what it’s like to grow up poor, and I want kids who can’t afford it to have pizza!” One nominator describes the reaction of their clients: “you should see the joy on the faces of the families who stop by on pizza nights to pick up their large, hot pizza for a special family night!” Anthony’s reply? “I hope my ancestors are smiling”. We’re sure they are!
Katie Speer Philanthropist of the Year Award – Kristen Berg
Kristen has been the president of Families for Estes for the past 4 years, volunteers at the elementary school, and works for EVICS. In the past year, Families for Estes has positively impacted almost every young family in the valley. They held two free family events, partnered with the Senior Center for four Families and Seniors Together events, and hosted an annual Teddy Bear Clinic at the hospital to take the fear out of doctor visits. FFE provides baby bags for every baby born in our hospital, containing everything a new family needs. FFE contributed funds to the new bike park. The Pumpkins and Pilsners fundraiser in October is their sole source of funding. Kristen works tirelessly to secure donations and volunteers, plans meetings, keeps the website and Facebook page updated so young families can be aware of all events they might enjoy, and plans events. If you see an event in this valley for young families Kristen and FFE had something to do with it.
Youth Philanthropist of the Year Award – Estes Park High School/Environmental Sciences Class
The Fish Creek Road area is one of the last areas needing attention after the 2013 flood, and the Watershed Coalition challenged the Environmental Sciences class to take on a project to clean up and restore the riparian area. The class accepted the challenge, and began searching for a way to do it. They chose to involve the entire high school as a part of Homecoming Week activities. Ultimately other groups within the school got involved. The ProStart Culinary class partnered with the Egg and I to provide and serve breakfast to the work crew. The Independent Filmmakers class made a documentary of the event. On Wednesday September 28, over 300 high school students chopped and bagged noxious weeds, picked up trash, and planted over 3000 native plants. This project inspired the entire school to use the power of collaboration and social consciousness to accomplish a goal that helps the entire community.
Prior Award Winners:
2015 Enduring Service Award – Bob & Ludie Dickeson
2015 Business Philanthropist of the Year Award – Kris & Gary Hazelton – Estes Park News
2015 Katie Speer Philanthropist of the Year Award – Judi Cunningham
2015 Youth Philanthropist of the Year Award – Will Thomas
2014 Katie Speer Philanthropist of the Year Award – Sherry Davis
2014 Enduring Service Award – Jayne Zmijewski
2014 Business Philanthropist of the Year – Amy Hamrick – Kind Coffee
2013 Individual Philanthropist of the Year – Kathy Littlejohn (Kids Cafe’, Fine Arts Guild)
2013 Business Philanthropist of the Year – Rocky Mountain Park Inn
2013 Lifetime Philanthropist Award – David Krumme
2012 Individual Philanthropist of the Year – Don Widrig
2012 Business Philanthropist of the Year – Jared Andrew, Store Manager at Safeway Food Store #0920
2012 Individual/Business Philanthropists of the Year – Rob and Julie Pieper, owners of Poppy’s and Mama Rosa’s
2011 Philanthropist (donor and/or grantmaker) – Peggy and John Lynch (major gift to EVICS)
2011 Philanthropist Honorable Mention – Estes Park Community Thrift Shop
2011 Outstanding Volunteer – Andi Smith (Elizabeth Guild)
2011 Outstanding Volunteer Honorable Mention – Marilyn Vergoth (Estes Park Medical Center)
2010 Special Recognition – Frank Shavlik (retiring EPNRC board member)