Shining a Light on Mental Health: Celebrating Two of Northern Colorado’s Champions of Mental Wellness

May is Mental Health Month and to celebrate, we are pleased to highlight two amazing nonprofits we work with in the mental health sector, as well as a few donor advised fundholders who have supported these organizations and made an impact in our communities.

While Mental Health Month has been observed in the United States since 1949, the past decade has led to a more open and less stigmatized narrative around mental health. With this change, more and more organizations have put a focus on becoming a resource for those who need it most. The Alliance for Suicide Prevention and SummitStone Health Partners are two nonprofits in our community that have been able to accomplish a lot in our community and help those in need.

Alliance for Suicide Prevention

The Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s innovative approaches led them to become a leader in suicide prevention for the entire country. Larimer County is one of six original, now 15 counties in Colorado, piloting a national comprehensive public health initiative called the Colorado National Collaborative (CNC). Since its inception, Larimer County has been the only county in the CNC to see a consistent reduction in its suicide rate. As of 2018, there has been a 16.6% reduction.

In 2023, the Alliance for Suicide Prevention hosted a Teen Self-Care Fair thanks to a grant from the Fort Collins Community Fund Committee (CFC), a volunteer-based committee at the NoCo Foundation. At this fair, 625 people learned self-care through experiential learning including yoga, hip hop, horticulture therapy, collaborative art projects, and many more.

“The numbers of youth considering, attempting, or successfully taking their lives is staggering in our community, both youths at large and specifically LGBTQ+ youth. These thoughts as a young person are real and difficult to deal with, especially without a clear place to turn to for help. Events like this, focusing on suicide prevention, seem critical in our Northern Colorado community,” said Kelly McBartlett, committee member of the Fort Collins CFC.

To learn more about what the Alliance for Suicide Prevention does in our community and the programs they offer, visit

SummitStone Health Partners

SummitStone Health Partners has been transforming lives for more than 65 years. They offer more than 50 services dedicated to treating mental health and addiction disorders. They are the largest behavioral health provider in Larimer County, serving more the 10,000 clients annually. Recently, SummitStone received a federal grant to become a nationally Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic.

SummitStone offers crisis services, peer support services, vocational support, group therapy, and more to provide Northern Colorado residents with the care they need and deserve. They also provide resources for addiction, depression, bipolar disorder, and a variety of other mental health conditions, allowing people to learn more about what they may be experiencing.

“Our family became aware of SummitStone through the Community Foundation. We were interested in mental health services, particularly in areas such as Estes Park. Our family is aware of the challenges related to mental health assistance and SummitStone provides that,” said Sam Beeler, a donor advised fundholder at the NoCo Foundation.

Both organizations are critical for our community’s well-being. We extend our gratitude to them for helping those who need it most. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, know that there is help available. Reach out to one of these organizations, Alliance for Suicide Prevention or SummitStone Health Partners, or call 988 to reach the Behavioral Health Administration. This is a free service for Coloradoans experiencing a mental health, substance use, or emotional crisis.

A Night to Remember: The Celebration of Philanthropy Recap

On May 9th, we hosted our annual Celebration of Philanthropy event to say thank you to the generous donors, community partners, nonprofit organizations, and businesses who help make our community shine.

We had an incredible turnout at the event and spent the evening networking, celebrating impactful leaders and organizations in our community, and taking the time to highlight what makes Northern Colorado so special.

During the event, we presented three awards. These awards included the Community Legacy Award, the Outstanding Professional Advisor Award, and the first-ever Regional Nonprofit Grant Award.

The Community Legacy Award recognizes a Northern Colorado family business that has demonstrated philanthropy and community leadership through multiple generations. The Community Legacy Award went to Earl and Lisbeth Sethre, Hans and Kathy Jorgensen, and Norm and Ann Jorgensen.

Loveland-based Jorgensen Laboratories (Jorvet) is a maker and supplier of instruments for large and small animal medicine. The company began in the basement of Dr. Irvin Jorgensen’s home in 1965. His son-in-law, Earl Sethre, joined the business in 1974 with Dr. Jorgensen’s sons, Hans and Norm, later joining the business. Today, Jorvet employs over 100 people and is known worldwide for high-quality veterinary surgical instruments and equipment. The company is a generous partner in the community and the Jorgensen Foundation supports numerous nonprofits annually.

The Outstanding Professional Advisor Award recognizes someone who is committed to philanthropy through their dedication to charitable causes and their professional contributions in encouraging philanthropy.

This year’s Outstanding Professional Advisor Award went to Lisa A. Larsen. Lisa provides a broad range of estate planning services from drafting wills and trusts to assisting clients with complex and sophisticated approaches such as qualified personal residence trusts, grantor-retained annuity trusts, and more. Her practice also includes helping clients implement lifetime gifting programs, including charitable giving.

The Regional Nonprofit Grant Award is given to a nonprofit in the region that is focused on solving a key issue within our communities. Our Community Fund Committees in Berthoud, Estes Valley, Fort Collins, and Loveland came together to identify challenges impacting our region and collaboratively chose a nonprofit whose work is focused on solving these issues through policy and systems.

The first-ever Regional Nonprofit Grant Award was given to Neighbor to Neighbor! Neighbor to Neighbor strives to prevent homelessness, help families find affordable housing, and work with families to maintain homeownership. They provide housing opportunities to over 8,000 people in Larimer County each year.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this wonderful night of celebrating all the good happening in our community. And thank you to all our sponsors who helped make this celebration possible.

We will see you next year at the Celebration of Philanthropy, which will double as the NoCo Foundation’s 50th Anniversary celebration! You won’t want to miss it! Stay tuned for details later this year!

Stitching Comfort: The Dream Quilters’ Warm Embrace for Hospice Patients in Northern Colorado

Pathways Hospice does a lot to help members of the community and their families. From offering a variety of care services based on specific needs to providing grief and loss support, Pathways has created an impactful presence in the Larimer and Weld County communities.

While Pathways Hospice has been making an impact in people’s lives through its services, a group of volunteers has also been providing something special to those being served by Pathways.

The Dream Quilters, a group of nearly 60 volunteers, have been making a loving impact at the new Pathways Inpatient Care Center. Volunteering their skills, time, and energy, this group has been making quilts for every patient who is cared for at the center.

While this group seems large now, it started with a single person. Lauri Dykstra was a retired manager from Safeway in Fort Collins and was looking to keep busy in her retirement. She discovered that her love for sewing could be turned into a meaningful hobby. The group quickly grew to five friends who started out making smaller quilts for Poudre Valley Hospital.

Soon, Lauri started sewing at Quilters Dream in Loveland, which led to more connections with people in the community who wanted to help make quilts for donations. As the word spread about what this small but mighty group of volunteers was doing, more and more people started donating fabrics. This included the Northern Colorado Quilters Guild, who donated an entire truckload of fabric to the cause, which the Quilters Dream owner helped to store for the group.

It wasn’t long before Nancy Cole began helping with quilts at Quilters Dream one day a month, which quickly grew to several hours per week. She would help by putting together quilt “kits” for others to take home and do on their own.

“My mother had recently passed away and I know how much her final quilt meant to her. I saw this volunteer opportunity in the Quilter’s Dream newsletter. I was looking for a volunteer opportunity in retirement. I knew my skills could be put to work and do what I loved, a perfect match,” said Nancy.

Before long, the Dream Quilters grew to what it is now. The group of selfless volunteers, led by Lauri Dykstra and Nancy Cole, creates about 30 to 40 quilts per month. Every time a patient comes to the Care Center, they find a new 60 by 75-inch quilt covering their bed when they arrive. After the patient has passed, the quilt is given to the family and friends as a memory of their loved one.

“We do what we do for the pleasure we gain knowing we bring comfort to others in their time of grief,” said Lauri.

The volunteers support all their work through donations and selling quilts to raise funds. They often only make the quilt tops. Lauri, Nancy, and the team then purchase batting with donations and sales of other quilts. The batting needed for the number of quilts this group creates adds up to approximately $1,500 per year.

Each quilt created represents a $250 donation to Pathways.

This group of volunteers is doing something incredible in the lives of those being cared for by Pathways. While it may seem like a small gesture, it has a mighty impact.

Thanks to Pathways Hospice for sharing this amazing story with us. You can experience the incredible story of these dedicated volunteers in their YouTube video showcasing their remarkable contributions!

Loveland and Windsor’s Pact for Water Prosperity

Water is a scarce resource that has always been a concern for Northern Colorado communities. But as Larimer and Weld Counties continue to grow, the concern over the water resources has become even greater.

This growing concern led to the realization that there was a need to begin a conversation around water resource management between the public officials and community leaders in Northern Colorado. But that may have been easier said than done.

According to the Town Manager of Windsor, Shane Hale, the conversation around water has historically been very self-serving. Public officials have been concerned with the needs of their own communities and haven’t been open to collaboration in any substantive ways. But that all changed recently when Loveland and Windsor entered into a water agreement.

“I broached the topic with Steve Adams, who was City Manager of Loveland at the time. Once we were able to agree on a rough framework, the water resources staff from each municipality worked together on the agreement. From start to finish, I think that we had it done in under a year, which is breakneck speed in the water world,” said Shane Hale.

According to an article from the Loveland Report-Herald, Loveland has enough water to supply its community for decades to come, Windsor on the other hand, does not have as much to spare. This 10-year agreement says that Loveland will give Windsor up to 500 acre-feet of water per year in exchange for an annual cash payment.

Loveland gets about half of its water from the Colorado-Big Thompson project (C-BT), which is a transmountain diversion system that deposits water from the Colorado River into the Big Thompson. The other half comes from sources in the Big Thompson watershed. This adds up to about 25,000 acre-feet per year, allowing Loveland to rely on this amount, even in times of drought.

This amount will increase with the completion of the Chimney Hollow and Great Western Reservoir, giving Loveland access to 30,000 acre-feet. While this won’t be a reality until about 2060, Loveland still has a surplus of water that can help their neighbor to the east.

The agreement, which began in 2024, states that Loveland will transfer the water from the Colorado-Big Thompson project (C-BT) to Windsor. The Town of Windsor will be able to use it as an emergency backup supply. In a dire emergency, Loveland can choose to keep the water instead or only fulfill a portion of Windsor’s order.

“This lease was precisely the lifeline that Windsor was looking for,” Hale said.

Hale mentioned that the town of Windsor has been participating in the NISP ( Northern Integrated Supply Project) for 20 years and anticipates that it will meet the future needs of Windsor once it is operational. Their current challenge is that the town needs to save money now from developers to help pay for NISP. However, if they don’t acquire additional water the town could experience water shortages if Northern Colorado has a period of extended drought.  This lease will help them with that gap.

The conversation that led to this agreement didn’t happen by chance. It happened thanks to the Northern Colorado Water Alliance.

The Northern Colorado Water Alliance was started four years ago by the NoCo Foundation, and the bimonthly meetings to keep the conversation going among community leaders and decision-makers are still facilitated by the NoCo Foundation team.

This community-wide conversation has been a necessary step in finding solutions to provide new developments with water rights and ensuring different towns and cities can provide their residents with the water they need.

“Through the efforts of the Alliance, people who have historically maintained an adversarial position around this topic are finally coming to the table to explore ways to collaborate.  I am certain that we would not have come to this agreement a decade ago—and possibly not even 5 years ago,” said Hale.

Northern Colorado may be broken up into various growing cities and towns, but we are all one big community, and this is a beautiful example of what it looks like when we look out for our neighbors and become better together.

“I hope that we continue to have visionary leaders who can look beyond narrow self-interests and instead see a larger win-win for the region as a whole. It would have been easier for Loveland to simply tell us no—the willingness to come to the table and look for benefits in collaboration is groundbreaking in many ways,” Hale said.

Celebrate Variety: Many Assets Make Great Gifts to Charity

When your client is getting ready to make a contribution to a fund at the NoCo Foundation or to another charitable organization, remind them not to automatically reach for the checkbook! There are many other (and typically more tax-savvy) options to consider.

Marketable Securities

Gifts of long-term appreciated stock to a donor advised or other type of fund at the NoCo Foundation is always one of the most tax-savvy ways to support favorite charitable causes because capital gains tax can be avoided. Gifts of publicly traded stock, for example, are easy to transfer to a fund. The Foundation team can provide you and your clients with transfer instructions to make the process simple.

As with a cash gift, the NoCo Foundation will provide a receipt for tax purposes, and the gift of stock will be valued at the shares’ fair market value on the date of transfer. When the Foundation sells the shares, the proceeds flow into the client’s fund without any reduction for capital gains taxes. This is because the NoCo Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and therefore does not pay income tax. That would not have been the case, however, if the client had sold the stock first and then transferred the proceeds to a fund at the Foundation; the client would owe capital gains tax on the sale. Especially in cases where the client has held the stock a long time and it’s significantly increased in value, the capital gains hit can be major.

Closely-Held Business Interests

The NoCo Foundation team is happy to work with you and your client to explore how the client might give shares of a closely-held business to a fund at the NoCo Foundation to benefit any eligible nonprofit of their choice. Not only will transfers be eligible for a charitable deduction during the year of transfer (and at fair market value if the shares are held for more than one year), but also these gifts could potentially reduce income tax burdens triggered upon a future sale of the business. Be sure to talk with our team well before any potential sale is in the works; otherwise, your clients might lose out on tax benefits. Gifts of closely-held business interests are powerful but can be tricky to administer.

QCDs from IRAs

As always, keep in mind the Qualified Charitable Distribution (“QCD”) is a financially smart way to support charitable causes. If your client is over the age of 70 ½, the client can direct up to $105,000 (in 2024) from an IRA to certain charities, including a field-of-interest, designated, unrestricted, or scholarship fund at the NoCo Foundation. If your client is subject to the rules for Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs), QCDs count toward those RMDs. That means your client avoids income tax on the funds distributed to charity. Our team can work with you and your client to go over the rules for QCDs and evaluate whether the QCD is a good fit.

Real Estate

Your client’s fund at the NoCo Foundation can receive a tax-deductible gift of real estate, such as farmland or commercial property, in a variety of ways. An outright gift is an option; lifetime gifts of real estate held by the client for more than one year are deductible for income tax purposes at 100% of the fair market value of the property on the date of the gift, which also avoids capital gains tax and reduces the value of your client’s taxable estate. Other ways to give real estate include a bargain sale or a transfer to a charitable remainder trust, providing lifetime income for the client and the client’s family.

Life Insurance

Don’t overlook life insurance as an effective charitable giving tool, whether by naming a client’s fund at the Foundation as a beneficiary or, in the case of whole life policies, naming the fund as beneficiary and transferring the policy itself. If your client transfers a policy, the client may be able to make annual, tax-deductible contributions to the Foundation to cover the premiums.

Other “Alternative” Assets

The NoCo Foundation is happy to work with you and your clients to explore options for giving other non-cash assets to funds at the Foundation, including:

  • Oil and gas interests
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Artwork
  • Collectibles

We look forward to working with you to explore your options!

Introducing the Giving Catalog

If there weren’t enough perks to being a donor advised fundholder or an agency fundholder at the NoCo Foundation, we just added one more to the list! To help connect donors to nonprofits, and allow nonprofits to get funds for specific projects, we created the Giving Opportunities Catalog!

This tool allows our agency fundholders to submit grant requests for specific projects quarterly. Donors who have DAFs then get to sort through these requests and choose to fund a portion of a project or an entire project. Donors can search requests by location, interest areas, organization, or dollar amount!

The new Giving Catalog provides fundholders with an easier and more specific way to make an impact in our communities. If you are a donor advised fundholder at the NoCo Foundation, you can review funding requests and choose projects to fund until May 31, 2024. If you are an agency fundholder with us, be sure to keep an eye out for our emails for the next round of request submissions! If you are not a fundholder with us but want to learn more, reach out to our team at!

Nonprofit Planned Giving Workshop

The NoCo Foundation is hosting a how-to workshop for nonprofits to help them establish or reinvigorate their planned giving program. This session will provide you with tangible tactics that you can implement instantly to boost your organization’s program.

We are proud to support nonprofit partners on an ongoing basis to help make planned giving easy! You don’t want to miss this! Join us on Thursday, June 13, 2024, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Warehouse Business Accelerator. Mark your calendars and register today to reserve your spot!