What would happen if you lived in a town that didn’t care about people in need?

Community involvement and collaboration are the hallmark characteristics for those of us who are privileged to call Fort Collins home. We have a history of responding to crises, natural or otherwise, and the one before us today is no exception.

A worldwide pandemic, a significant downturn in the economy, layoffs, furloughs, families and kids at risk, closed or limited day care options, evictions, bankruptcies, homelessness, unmet food needs and general social unrest. These are sad events that happen in the lives of good people even during the best of times but today, they are even more pronounced.

The Foothills Rotary Club is no stranger to being a part of solutions to meet the needs of the Fort Collins Community. In that spirit, we are excited to announce, in conjunction with a variety of nonprofit partners, the Bring Hope in Times of Crisis fundraising campaign. Our collective goal is to raise and have distributed by July 31, 2020, $52,000 to the following nonprofits organizations:

  • Food Bank of Larimer County
  • Neighbor to Neighbor
  • Rescue Mission of Fort Collins
  • Teaching Tree Early Childhood Education Center
  • La Familia Early Childhood Education Center
  • Putnam Elementary School

$7,000 has already been collected from Foothills Rotary Club members for grants to the Food Bank, Neighbor to Neighbor and the Rescue Mission. We have made a big impact helping clients with those three organizations so we are now excited to be expanding and make a larger impact for children specifically.

Going forward the fundraising plan calls for Teaching Tree and La Familia to each raise $10,000 from their donors and stakeholders, which will then be matched by $20,000 from the Foothills Rotary Club. The Evening Foothills Rotary Satellite has committed to raising $5,000 to be earmarked for Putnam Elementary School.

Why a focus on childcare and elementary school children and how will the funds raised be used?

Early childhood agencies and elementary schools provide young children with supportive environments that develop confidence, creativity and critical thinking skills. Before COVID-19, childcare was finally being recognized as a classic market failure. Parents' ability to pay the high cost of care (due to licensing ratios, teacher qualifications, space limitations, etc.) was waning. With the average cost of infant care in Larimer County surpassing the cost of undergraduate tuition at CSU (and far less subsidy/scholarships available) at $1200-$1400/month per child, the community was beginning to address barriers and solutions to the crisis.

Larimer County's government supported Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP)'s waiting list was closed for more than three years, leaving an incredible burden for fundraising on the county's few nonprofit providers who offer sliding scale tuition assistance to families who need financial support. And if all of those obstacles wasn’t enough for those agencies to face, the Covid 19 crisis has totally upended their whole method of operations:

“With having to close for 7 weeks and opening on May 11th at 20% capacity to our current 70% capacity, we are having to be very creative with everything we do. During COVID,  Teaching Tree has had to change the way we support children and families. From daily temperature and health screenings to lower class sizes, Teaching Tree continues to handle the pandemic with as much grace and determination as possible”.

Teaching Tree will use the funds to improve the pay of those child-care workers who are part of the front line troops trying to cope with the impact of the virus. They make very close to minimum wage right now. Retention of dedicated staff is always important and now more than ever this needs to be the case.

And it must be working because here is what some parents are saying:

"We are so very grateful to get scholarship assistance after being laid off of work and trying to pick up the pieces after COVID turned our world upside down. We appreciate this help as we go back to work and the stability my child feels going to school each day, we all needed this.”

“I am grateful to have a safe environment for my little boy to go back to during this pandemic. I feel good knowing that Teaching Tree is going above and beyond to keep my son safe at school. I am very impressed with all of the extra health precautions that are in place. Thank you.”

The same scenario can be said of La Familia but in addition, they provide a truly unique, multi-cultural, bi-lingual experience for children and their families. The funds collected will provide employee assistance benefits for their early childhood teachers and staff; improve quality of instruction and classroom support for children who have increased risk for learning difficulties and social/emotional challenges; and help cover necessary physical space improvements such as shade sails for playground, classroom supplies.

At Putnam Elementary, they have some unique challenges and have some creative ways to help meet those challenges:

  • “Every student has been provided a computer to download lessons on their off days but at least half the Putnam population does not have Internet. So PSD is installing mobile hotspots in many of the larger trailer parks and low-income housing developments.
  • They are looking for a sponsor PSD is asking each parent to set up a workspace in their homes. However, many of these kids are in tough living situation with no room or money for a desk. Putnam would like to provide each student with an “art bin”. This is basically a box about the size of a clipboard that is about 1-2 inches deep to hold their papers and pencils.
  • All the water fountains will be turned off, only 1 kid will be allowed in a bathroom at a time and they must all be chaperoned when out of the classroom to ensure they don’t touch things and wash their hands. No parents or volunteers will be allowed in the school so the teachers will be the chaperones, which will cut down on class time.
  • What they need is to provide every kid a reusable water bottle since there will be no fountains. They are willing to let a company put their logo on the bottles in return for this donation as long as the company is "kid-friendly”.
As you see, we have raised and given away money already but now we need your support to complete the campaign by our deadline of July 31, 2020. We ask you to join us today, make your financial contribution, and continue to make the Foothills Rotary Club proud of its tradition to step up and Bring Hope in Times of Crisis.
Our beneficiaries
The Family Center /
La Familia
Teaching Tree Putnam Elementary
  • Assistance for amazing bilingual staff
  • Quality of instruction and classroom support
  • Physical space improvements and supplies
  • Improve pay for child-care workers on the front line
  • Adjusting to physical limitations during the pandemic
  • Health screenings
  • Internet access for students learning from home
  • Setting up appropriate home workspaces for students
  • Reusable water bottles
 
Great progress, but a lot more to go!
We appreciate the generosity of our donors!
 
Foothills Rotary "Five for Meals" $7,000
Foothills Rotary Board $2,000
Foothills Rotary Evening Group $2,000
Wynn & Karen Washle $1,000
Jon & Judith Liebman $2,000
Ruth and Frank Lutes $1,000
Plante Moran $1,000
Anonymous sponsor $1,000
Rich & Karen Cress $1000
Lyn Pring $700
Anonymous donor $500
Pete & Judy Bullard $500
Peter Kast $500
Bruce Hottman $500
Dale & Cherlyn Gorsky $500
Denise Juliana $400
Anonymous donor $300
Anonymous donor $250
Scott & Jacque Niedringhaus $250
 
La Familia and Teaching Tree have both committed to raising at least $10,000 from their donors as well.
 
Plus additional generous people: Erica Siemers, Monty Weymouth, Barb Larkin, Karen Morgan and several more anonymous donors!
 

You can help by donating, we still need more people to complete these levels:

6 donors at $1,000 each
8 donors at $500 each
15 donors at $250 each
20 donors at $150 each
Many donors at $50 each
   

Who among your friends and colleagues can help us address this critical need?

What companies and organizations can you connect with?

How to donate

You can help today, it's very simple.

  1. Press this button:
    which will send an email to sponsorships@fcfoothillsrotary.com.
    Let us know your name, the amount, and whether we should list you as a named supporter of the campaign.
  2. You will be invoiced via email.
  3. You can pay online!

It's that simple!

Important Child Care Facts to Know

Childcare in Colorado is expensive:

  • Average annual cost of infant care in Colorado is $15,325 or $1277 per month
  • Average childcare for a 4 year old costs $12,390 or $1032 per month
  • Colorado ranks 8th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia for most expensive infant care.

Childcare is one of the biggest expenses families face:

  • Infant care in CO costs $5785 (60.6%) more per year than in-state tuition for four-year public college
  • This makes CO one of 33 states and DC where infant care is more expensive than college
  • In CO, infant care costs 9.8% more than average rent

Childcare is unaffordable for typical families in CO

  • Infant care for one child would take up 21% of a family's median income in CO
  • HHS claims that childcare is affordable if it costs no more than 7% of a family’s income. By this standard, only 6.2% of Colorado families can afford infant care.
  • Families with 2 children face larger burdens.
  • Childcare for two children - infant and 4 years old could cost $27,715 a year. That is 50.1% more than average rent in CO. This is 37.9% of a family’s income

Childcare is out of reach for low-wage workers

  • A minimum wage worker in CO would need to work full time for 35 weeks or from January to August just to pay for childcare for one infant.