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Building Leaders, Changing Lives

The Story of NoCo Unify

Article by Dana Olson

Photography by Photos by Diandra

Originally published in Greeley Lifestyle

What do you call a group of fun-loving, young, professional men dedicated to building business leaders in the spirit of philanthropy? Northern Colorado United for Youth (NoCo Unify). Having diverged from another similar organization, NoCo Unify was established in 2007 and comprises of men from various professions in their twenties and thirties. Bound together by a philanthropic spirit to support at-risk youth in Larimer and Weld counties, it boasts an all-volunteer membership of 40-45 men and a ten-seat board of directors.

NoCo Unify’s leadership changes annually in alignment with its mission to cultivate leaders, and it has no paid staff members. Every dollar of the $200,000 to $400,000 annually raised funds is invested into the community through grants focusing on underprivileged youth. Funds are raised through three annual events – the Down and Derby Party, the Kids Classic Golf Tournament and their flagship event, the Suitcase Party, to which attendees arrive with bags packed for a three-day getaway via private plane awarded to the raffle winners! NoCo Unify's fundraising events are eagerly anticipated gatherings known for providing maximum entertainment, contributing to their consistently high attendance. The running cost of these events is kept low due to sponsorships and merchant donations.

More important than these events is their mission – “to impact the lives of kids that are at risk who wouldn't have the same chance that other kids in our community have,” says Brent Duggar. “But even beyond that is what we're doing to help build leadership attributes and quality amongst our members and ourselves, the relationships created,” Josh Dollard shares.

The charity review committee meets at the end of each year to assess grant application submissions. Funds raised in a given year support the previous year's grant recipients. Two grant types exist: Impact grants surpass $25,000 for one-time capital improvements and sustaining grants that are below this threshold. The committee prioritizes applications demonstrating sustained impact, potentially benefitting more youth. Smaller sustaining grants target singular investments, excluding operational expenses like salaries. Both grant types directly benefit youth under 20 in Larimer and/or Weld County, requiring recipients to be 501(c)(3) organizations. NoCo Unify strives for equitable grant distribution to both counties.

Allocation considerations include housing, food insecurity, child development and mental and physical health needs. Respite Care, Inc., Realities for Children, KidsPak of Loveland, the United Way of Larimer County, La Familia Child Development Center and the Boys and Girls Club are among the list of grant recipients.

Some of NoCo Unify’s favorite accomplishments include the purchase of a food truck bearing NoCo Unify branding for the Weld County Food Bank and the partnership with Habitat for Humanity and Jefferson High School to teach students home-building and other skills, which helps raise the graduation rate of these students from 50% to 100%, even encouraging them onto college.

While each membership story differs, they share a common theme. Being part of NoCo Unify enriches lives beyond measure not only through their charitable achievements but also through the lasting relationships built among members. Individual growth is experienced by members as they become aware of community needs, are exposed to the lives of those less fortunate and as men of influence, humble themselves to perform menial tasks in service to the community.

Punctuated by the fun demeanor of NoCo Unify and the comradery established through planning and executing fundraising events and their meaningful outcomes, the organization provides a win-win situation for all. Cultivating business leadership and a philanthropic mindset lies at the center of NoCo Unify’s mission. That coupled with their charitable success stories qualifies NoCo Unify as a vital organization to assist the disadvantaged youth of Northern Colorado.

"Our mission is to positively impact the lives of at-risk kids." - Brent Duggar

  • NoCo Unify Board Members- Joshua Dollard, Erik Hegstad, Shane Redman, Reed Miller, Nick Galuzzo, Blas Estrada, David Finkelstein, and Brent Duggar
  • Discussing upcoming charitable events at The Grainhouse in Windsor
  • Board Member, Reed Miller
  • Board Member, David "Fink" Finkelstein
  • Always productive, always fun!
  • 2023 Down & Derby Party