At the Lyons Community Foundation, our love for Lyons runs deep. Through good times and tough times, we are committed to serving the greater Lyons area and the people who call it home. In the good years, we love to connect with our friends and neighbors at our beloved summer concert series in Sandstone Park or enjoy the fireworks after the Holiday Parade. In times of crisis, we are thankful for local agencies such as the Lyons Emergency Assistance Fund for responding to local needs with programs such as the Food Pantry, Meals on Wheels or Mental Wellness & Addiction Recovery.
The Lyons Community Foundation (LCF) was established in 2007 when several area residents saw the need for a locally based philanthropy and began the hard work of setting up the Lyons Community Foundation. John Burke, Gary LaFever, 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.
The reasons for having a local-based nonprofit included the ability to address the unique needs of a small and diverse community. There are projects that otherwise could not occur given the budget and constraints of a small town. Also, it gives local businesses and individuals a go-to centralized resource to help and enhance their community.
In no time was the need for a local foundation more critical than during the 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 (SVM). 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 42 local businesses with $1,000 each.
As a community foundation, LCF’s main purpose is to raise money 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 projects. Thanks to LCF’s Community Support Grants, eight local non-profits received $28,500 in community support grants to put towards 15 separate projects which focus on four key areas: Community Connectivity, Human Services, Youth Investment and Local Ecology.
2020 was an extraordinary year for grants. LCF granted a total of $101,000, which is more than double the amount the non-profit typically grants. Due to the pandemic, an extra $58,000 was awarded for COVID-19 support both for local businesses and individuals. In a typical year, LCF grants $40,000 for Community Support Grants (about $30,000) and Scholarships (about $10,000). Human Services such as LEAF’s programs (Food Pantry, Meals on Wheels, Basic Needs & Resource Matching, Mental Wellness & Addiction Recovery, Lyons Volunteers) received $22,700. Community Connectivity which covers the Holiday Parade of Lights and the Sandstone Concert Series through the Town of Lyons as well as the public art sculptures on display on Main Street and historical exhibits at the Redstone Museum totaled $8,350. Local garden clubs received $2,700 to help beautify our community, one flower at a time. Last but not least, seven senior high school students received $8,500 in grants to attend college.
Unfortunately, all community events and fundraisers were cancelled last year due to the pandemic. This only exacerbated our efforts to increase our revenue to offset expenses. Thank goodness for the generosity of the community. When we appealed to locals to help businesses, they contributed to the Lyons Share Fund. When we made a direct appeal at the end of the year, local residents stepped up again to make sure our grant cycle and scholarship fund were going to be preserved for 2021.
We cannot overstate the importance of the reliability and predictability of a monthly contribution, especially in times of crisis. We call our monthly donors Community Builders because building a better community is at the very heart of our mission and because their ongoing gifts make our work possible.
Please help us meet our goal of adding 25 new monthly donors at $25/month. That’s less than $1/day, but it can make a HUGE difference to this community we all love. Become an LCF Community Builder today, by setting up your monthly donation online at www.lyonscf.org/donate.
Lyons Community Foundation