Any long-time Lyons resident will tell you that the town has changed a lot since 2007, the year Lyons Community Foundation (LCF) was founded. Businesses have come and others have (sadly) gone, new houses have risen from what once were open fields, property values have increased exponentially, and the flood of 2013 brought devastation followed by a vast rebuilding effort.
One thing that hasn’t changed? Lyons is still a small town with a big heart. Evidence for that can be found in the commitment of our citizens to improving the community and giving back to others.
The Lyons Community Foundation was established in 2007 when several generous and caring area residents saw the need for a locally-based philanthropy and began the hard work of setting up the organization. John Burke, Gary LaFever, and Rick England, among others, were key in laying this groundwork. Connie Eyster and Christy Crosser were the first Advisory Board co-chairs. LCF was established under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of Boulder County and remains one of their funds.
In the 15 years since LCF was started, nearly 60 area residents have served on its Advisory Board, volunteering their time to help the community. Those same board members have collectively donated approximately $300,000 to LCF! In fact, many of LCF’s original board members continue to support the organization to this day, funding grants to nonprofits and scholarships for local students.
One reason for having a community foundation is the ability to address the unique needs of a small and diverse community. There are events, projects, and programs that otherwise would not occur, given the budget and constraints of a small town.
Accordingly, LCF focuses on raising funds to support a diverse range of projects and populations in order to improve the quality of life, build a culture of giving and encourage positive change in the greater Lyons area. By offering a centralized source for fundraising, nonprofits can focus on their programs, and individuals and businesses have a way to easily support all the good work happening in the community.
Since 2008, the first year LCF gave out grants, more than $500,000 has been awarded to a variety of local nonprofit organizations such as the Lyons Emergency Assistance Fund, the Town of Lyons, the Lyons Historical Society, Rocky Mountain Botanic Gardens, the Lyons Elementary School PTO, and the Lyons Middle/Senior High School Booster Club. These community support grants help these organizations and others fulfill their missions.
The 15 years since LCF was founded have also seen nearly $75,000 distributed to local graduating seniors to further their education. In all, approximately 70 students have benefitted from these scholarships.
In no time was the need for a local foundation more critical than during the 2013 flood. Because LCF existed, the “Rebuild Lyons One life at Time” grant program was able to spring into action, awarding over $1M to local residents and businesses when they needed it most. Funds were given out within three months of the flood to address critical needs.
In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, the Lyons Community Foundation launched “The Lyons Share - a small business economic relief fund” in partnership with the St. Vrain Market. The fund, seeded with proceeds from the market and matched by LCF, was designed to help local businesses survive the impact of COVID-19’s forced business closures. With the added donations from the Town of Lyons and area residents, the Lyons Share Fund provided $43,000 to local businesses in 2020.
As you can see, it’s been a busy and productive 15 years since our founding! Thank you to everyone who has donated and volunteered over the years. All of us at LCF are inspired by your dedication and commitment to this town we call home. We can’t wait to see what the next 15 years will bring, and we’re committed to keep making a difference in the lives of all who live here.
Lyons Community Foundation