As we reflect on the past year and the magnitude of loss…lives, milestones, revenue, etc. we are grateful for this community. Not only are we grateful for the health care workers, emergency responders and teachers who have worked tirelessly this past year, we are grateful to those of you who stayed home, cancelled events, closed businesses, etc to keep our community safe during this pandemic. We are grateful for local non-profits such as Lyon Emergency Assistance Fund (LEAF) for recognizing people’s needs and meeting them. We are grateful for business leaders such as Neil Sullivan of the St.Vrain Market who decided early on to share profits (as the only local supermarket) with other independently-owned businesses by donating $10,000 as seed money to the Lyons Share Fund. We are grateful for our local school district, state and local governments who were forced to make some very difficult decisions to keep everyone safe.
At the Lyons Community Foundation, we are extremely grateful for the community’s response to our call for help. When we realized that local businesses were going to have to shut down for 6-8 weeks, you were quick to respond to our appeal raising $14,623 in individual donations for the Lyons Share Fund. After we realized that we were not going to be able to hold our planned fundraiser “The Lyons COLORado FUN Walk/Run/Roll (May 3rd), we appealed to you to help us rebuild our reserves with our year-end appeal, to which you responded with $34,617 in donations. Without the generosity of this community, we would not be able to sustain our regular funds such as Community Support Grants and Senior Scholarships this year. What a great reminder of how philanthropy is at the heart of the greater Lyons area!
As a community foundation, LCF is fortunate to be able to respond to the community’s needs as quickly as they appear. When Neil Sullivan of the St.Vrain Market reached out to LCF (March 20th) to help support local businesses affected by the state mandated lockdown, LCF worked with its parent organization, the Community Foundation serving Boulder County (TCF) to establish the “Lyons COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund” on April 7th. By the end of April, Kristen Bruckner, LCF’s Communications Specialist and Jeanne Moore, Chair of LCF had set up an application process as well as a volunteer advisory group to manage the fund. Two rounds of grants were awarded.
The first round raised and granted $30,000 ($10,000 from St.Vrain Market, $10,000 from LCF and $10,000 from individual donations) by May 1st. The second round raised another $13,000 ($5,000 from the Town of Lyons Goodwill Fund, $5,000 from LCF and $3,000 from individual donations). In total, the Lyons Share Fund granted $1,000 each to 43 locally owned businesses in the form of immediate economic aid. Again, LCF was able to respond quickly to a request from the Executive Director of LEAF on April 11th. LCF granted LEAF $10,000 outside of its normal granting cycle for the Basic Needs & Resource Matching program at a time of extraordinary need. Thanks to Claudia Kean, LCF requested an extra $5,000 in grant money from The Community Foundation serving Boulder County (TCF). In total, LCF granted $15,000 to LEAF in order to meet individual needs at a time when residents were struggling with the loss of income from the state lockdown, with aid like the Food Pantry.
Obviously, no one could have predicted the pandemic at the beginning of 2020. LCF’s budget had not accounted for an extra $58,000 in funding for COVID-19 related expenses. In fact, the LCF Advisory Board had spent several months planning a community event/fundraiser to replace the gala event historically held in the fall of every year. With Lori Stott at the helm as chairperson, the Lyons COLORado FUN Run/Walk/Roll committee had raised over $15,000 in business sponsorships. All but $2,250 was refunded as these small local businesses needed this revenue to stay afloat during lockdown. Early bird registration fees were also returned. In addition, the revenue from the Sandstone Concert Summer Series that LCF sponsors through a Community Support Grant to the Town of Lyons was also lost as all concerts were cancelled. Typically, LCF raises between $300-$500 per concert from donations. Ultimately, LCF lost all of its planned revenue for 2020.
Like many businesses in town, LCF had to quickly pivot to meet the needs of the community. The board’s focus had to switch from fundraising mode to granting mode in just a couple of week’s time. As an all volunteer board with one part-time staff member, LCF has, once again, met the community’s needs during a time of crisis. Thank you to all who have supported our efforts during these extraordinary times. Together, we rose to the challenge of the health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19.