“The Heart of Lyons”
Article Appeared in the Redstone Review, December 2015
Lyons knows how to give. This time of year there are many opportunities to share what we have and many groups working hard to help others in our community. The Lyons Elementary PTO, in coordination with Higher Ground Ministries and the Food Pantry/LEAF is organizing a food drive. Students at the Middle/Senior are also collecting food and cash to help those who can use some extra assistance. Our mayor has organized a sock drive for the homeless. There are coat drives, mitten collections, and a whole lot of overall generosity transpiring all around us.
While all of this giving during the holidays is wonderful, are we inspired to give during the rest of the year? The answer in Lyons is YES. Not only do people support local philanthropy through the Lyons Community Foundation and other groups financially throughout the year, but most importantly residents give their time and talents to perform significant work in the community. Artists, musicians, ecologists, educators, and just plain caring citizens work together in our town every day to enhance life and give back.
The spirit of philanthropy and volunteerism in Lyons runs deep and starts young. Kids aspire to not just participate in their parents’ efforts, but to make a difference on their own. In the aftermath of the flood, local kids found that they really wanted to help with service projects and flood recovery work, but legal and logistical restrictions limited their opportunities to do so. Not to be discouraged, a group from Lyons High School founded the Lions Leos in 2014. The students, led by Kate Berreman, Sierra Tucker, Faith Myers, and Mikayla Roth were able to partner with the Lyons Lions, a long- standing service organization for adults, as their sponsors and club advisors. They also partner with groups such as the National Honor Society, the River Church and the CSU collegiate rotary club in delivering on their common missions.
The Leos currently have 25 active youth members and is growing. Last year, they spread holiday cheer in the confluence by hanging up Christmas lights as well as making and distributing ornaments. They have worked with the Saturday deployments of Lyons Volunteers crews painting and landscaping, and also do work for the Lyons Library. Projects they are currently working on include a coat drive for LEAF and other shelters, and coordinating efforts for fundraising to further support their Lyons-centric service projects.
The Lyons Community Foundation is a go-to source for local philanthropy, connecting individuals who want to contribute to causes that are important here in town. Locals recently came out in force to support the LCF’s annual gala. This primary fundraiser of the year is made possible because of volunteers, donations by local businesses and individuals, and the contributions of all those who attend. Money raised is able to go directly towards future grants.
The roughly $42,000 in 2015 Community Support Grants that were recently awarded went to 19 different recipients. The projects are all the result of the creative ideas and hard work that comes to fruition as planned and executed by volunteer citizens. The 9Health Fair for example, is able to provide low or no-cost medical screenings to residents by operating almost entirely on volunteer labor. The event requires a very small amount of overhead as the people planning, organizing, setting up and cleaning up, as well as professionals and non-professionals working the event are all locals who offer hundreds of hours of their time and professional skills.
The Lyons Community Foundation would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the community of supporters and volunteers that make this work possible. We are committed to nurturing local philanthropy and fostering a culture of giving that enhances life in Lyons.
As this year closes, we would like to thank our outgoing Advisory Board members: Holly Beck, Roger Flynn, Jonathan LaCrosse, and Kris Donohoe who have all dedicated their time and talents. We are grateful for their service. It is the mission of the Lyons Community Foundation to improve the quality of life, build a culture of giving and encourage positive change in the greater Lyons area. For more information, to get involved, or to support our work, please visit www.lyonscf.org.
Appeared in the Lyons Recorder
A very chilly, snowy night did not stop Lyons locals from coming out to support home-grown philanthropy. The Lyons Community Foundation’s annual gala upheld the tradition of being one of the best local events of the year. Lyons-ites came out in force in their finest “Lyons formal” attire to eat, drink, dance and give.
The evening’s experience began with a silent auction featuring over 30 one of a kind items available for bidders. Enthusiastic patrons left with event tickets and certificates for local services and restaurants. The menu, provided by A Spice of Life Catering had a decidedly New Orleans twist, featuring okra tempura, a vegan jambalaya and a stuffed smoked pork entrée.
The main presentation of the evening featured testimonies from several of the 2015 grantees. Over $42,000 in Community Support Grants were recently awarded to nineteen different projects. Betsy Hubner, member of the Lyons Arts and Humanities Commission (LAHC) spoke about the value of supporting local arts. LCF awarded LAHC a $4500 grant that will fund the Lyons Art Walk as well as arts-centric education, public installations and special events. The Lyons Film Festival and the Clarifier Community Art Project are also 2015 LCF grantees. Lyons is experiencing a renaissance in locally created art of all kinds that not only enriches the town but generates significant economic return.
Mary Chase, chair of the Town of Lyons (TOL) Parks, Recreation and Cultural Events commission reminded guests that programs such as the Holiday Parade and Fireworks, Sandstone Summer Concert series, Good Old Days and senior/youth enrichment programming would likely not occur without LCF support. With all the work that Parks and Recreation has going on to rebuild our public parks and recreational spaces, the grants make it possible for these beloved traditions to continue. Landscape beautification on Main Street and local ecology projects are other examples of funded work.
Tanya Daty, chair of the Lyons Emergency Assistance Fund (LEAF) gave testimony to the incredible support LEAF has received that allows their critical work with Lyons most needy to continue. LCF recently awarded a $15,000 grant towards the purchase of a vehicle used for the food pantry and community transportation needs.
The live auction and ‘paddle raising’ portion of the evening is what really opened attendees wallets. Bidding guests walked away with not one, but two African Safari excursions, two trips to the Marriott in Vail, a private flight tour of Lyons by local pilot Mike Whipp, and the coveted gourmet dinner by Sue and Steve Wratten. Final numbers are not yet available, but the money raised will be a great launch towards funding next year’s Community Support Grants.
Things really got going with the highlight of the night’s live entertainment with the band Cadillac Grip, featuring Lyons own Steve Beck. While crowds had dwindled due to the snow storm, those who stayed were treated to a great show. The band features its own high-energy interpretations of New Orleans style funk.
LCF would like to thank all those who worked so hard on the gala. Truly a community-wide effort, event chairs Holly Beck and Pam Browning led the charge. Locally owned businesses sponsoring the evening including Lionscrest Manor, A Spice of Life Catering, Oskar Blues, Spirit Hound Distillers, HiKu Graphics, and Woodsongs Lutherie made the entire event possible allowing LCF to raise critical funds.
All the projects supported by LCF are led by resident volunteers working hard to make the greater Lyons area a better place to live and visit. Notably, the foundation also funded over $95,000 in Flood Recovery work in 2015 and $7000 in college scholarships for Lyons area students. If you missed the gala and would like to contribute to LCF’s mission of supporting community based philanthropy or to find out more about our 2015 grantees, please visit www.lyonscf.org.
Lyons Community Foundation