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The Buena Vista Board of Trustees approved a draft agreement with the Chaffee County Community Foundation to allow them to aid in Buena Vista’s allocation of grant funds.

Trustee Norm Nyberg made the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Michael Hannigan, representing the foundation, spoke to the board during their routine meeting March 26. Hannigan is the founder and former CEO of the Pikes Peak Community Foundation. He came out of retirement last year to help launch the Chaffee County Community Foundation.

Hannigan explained the Chaffee County Community Foundation collaboration saves nonprofits hours of work by requiring only a one-page synopsis of that nonprofit’s needs and desires for funding. The synopsis would be followed by a site visit, and any additional information could be provided after the site visit. Town officials would be included in every step of the process if they wish to be.

After the foundation completes its assessments on behalf of the town of Buena Vista, their recommendations would be brought to the board of trustees for final review.

“We would do all the leg-work. After the site visit, our recommendations would come back to you for your decision,” explained Hannigan. “This is something we would be delighted, and honored, to do for the Town of Buena Vista.”

The Chaffee County Community Foundation would charge, at most, a 2 percent fee for its services. This percentage is capped at 2 percent but can be adjusted lower. The fee would be deducted from the funds the Town of Buena Vista has in its granting fund. According to Town Administrator Phillip Puckett, that number is approaching $30,000.

Hannigan explained that the Chaffee County Community Foundation works with excellent volunteers. This keeps costs low for municipalities using the Community Foundation’s services.

In the broader context, the Chaffee County Community Foundation serves three main roles.

“The first [role] is to broaden and deepen philanthropy and charitable giving in Chaffee County. This includes things like scholarship funds, project funds that allow big projects to move forward in the county,” said Hannigan.

The Community Foundation’s second goal is aiding nonprofits and enabling them to grow, thrive and carry out their missions.

“We’ve had about seven workshops now. We’ve attracted almost 300 folks from nonprofits in Chaffee County to those workshops.” Hannigan said. “Our last one, a grant writing workshop in Salida, attracted almost 60 people.”

Hannigan explained that aid for nonprofits will include more than technical training and workshops. In the future, the Chaffee County Community Foundation will bring additional resources to the table. This may include financial planning, finding board members and strategic planning.

“One of the things we are committed to is help nonprofits do a great job for the county,” Hannigan said.

Third, the Community Foundation offers to provide services to support quality grant-making and writing. This is the service Hannigan presented to the board of trustees during the March 26 meeting. Hannigan said that using the resources offered by the Community Foundation could improve Buena Vista’s ability to disperse funds to local nonprofits.

“We [will] try to take all of the administrative burdens off of your staff,” Hannigan told the board. “We want all the nonprofits to be successful. They’re doing a lot of great work.”

Hannigan pointed to a few instances where the Community Foundation could relieve the board of unnecessary complications. This could be especially true during the process of deciding which non-profit to award the funds.

“This is always a tough one for us. [Deciding] how to distribute (funds).” Trustee Mark Jenkins acknowledged.

Hannigan was quick to empathize with the board and their role in decision making. He acknowledged they are every day citizens who want the best for the community.

“It gets emotional, it gets sensitive, and it gets political from time to time,” said Hannigan. “It’s difficult for you folks (the trustees) because you represent all of us.”

Mayor Duff Lacy supported the agreement between Buena Vista and the Chaffee County Community Foundation.

“I think it’s an excellent idea, and I think it can really open doors [for nonprofits],” said Lacy.