The Rural Philanthropy Days (RPD) in Colorado works to connect those living in isolate rural areas to philanthropic grant makers at the Western Slope RPD conference in mid-June. The largest philanthropic organizations and local government chapters in Colorado participate in the conference, which focuses on a schedule of interactive events aimed at promoting relationships and helping those in need of grants to connect with funders. The conference takes place once every four years, and includes free pre-conference promotional training for attendees to help sell their cause to donors, as well as youth and government official tracks.
The goals of the conference include helping local nonprofits improve their fundraising skills, educating grant makers on the needs of the area, promoting collaboration between businesses and nonprofits, and demonstrating the impacts made by participating organizations in local communities. Nonprofit delegates get training, networking opportunities and one-on-one time with community leaders in a roundtable discussion. Grant makers get valuable insight on how the local people feel about current and potential projects, meet government officials to partner with, and find the best project match for their funds. Government officials will be able to see a wide range of community development solutions from the nonprofits attending. The schedule of events includes a vendor showcase, community workshops, forums, round tables and networking events. The conference will span three days and provide multiple tracks and options for attendees.
Conferences like the RPD are an innovative way to promote collaboration between nonprofits, funders and local governments to create the best possible community development projects. Over 400 participants representing arts, education, environmental conservation, economic justice and other causes are expected, along with 70 confirmed funders. The conference was started by a group that felt their region of Colorado was underfunded by foundations in the state, and has since grown to an inclusive, innovative event, expected to drive millions of dollars in donations to the Western Slope.