A couple months ago now, I attended the Respite Ball on invitation from a former colleague in the banking industry. Though still limited in attendance by covid restrictions, there were hundreds of people at the event and it raised well over $250,000 in donations and pledges - and I don’t know how much in sponsorships! The event is the major annual fundraiser for Respite Care, which provides short term, quality care to families of children with developmental disabilities in our region.
For most of the attendees, it was our first large event in many months, and for me, the first since the Project Self Sufficiency Luncheon on March 12, 2020. PSS helps single parent families chart and navigate a course to sustainable income through education and career development. Good causes both, serving demographics who desperately require support, and who are often overlooked by national or state programs.
One thing that both events had in common is that they were like reunions of sorts for me - I ran into dozens of friends and acquaintances, some of whom I hadn’t seen in 5 or 10 years or more. After 15 years serving the small business community as a banker, and now this month celebrating 8 years of supporting small business owners in their role as an enterprise - I know a lot of small business leaders. And one thing that’s constant is that these leaders show up to support good causes.
Our motto at LoCo Think Tank is “Ask of Your Needs and Share of Your Abundance” - and the holding of these events, and people showing up are great examples of both. I’m proud to be a business member of Realities for Children - a very unique organization developed here in Fort Collins, which serves thousands of children facing abuse or neglect in our region through direct service and a network of partner agencies. I don’t have space to describe all that Realities does in this article, but I would have you know that they have over 200 small business members like me that pay $150/month or more to be a member. In return, members get marketing and networking opportunities, and to know that they are making a difference in the lives of children for whom there are often no other safety nets.
Beyond all these fundraisers and memberships, however, the core of what small businesses do is to serve our goods and services needs at the ground level. Need your house painted, a cup of coffee, your taxes done? - most likely you are relying on a small business. Small businesses don’t launch satellites into orbit, and they don’t build many houses anymore, and they don’t build planes, trains and automobiles - those are all things that big businesses have always done or have taken over. Do you know what those big businesses don’t do? - they don’t sponsor the Respite Ball, or become members at Realities for Children, and they usually don’t give your kid his or her first job.
Small businesses serve the direct needs of others, and in so doing they create enterprises that provide jobs and sometimes create wealth and abundance to share. That sharing of abundance reveals the heart of a community! By thinking locally and acting locally - with intention, you can support the local businesses that support our community in so many amazing ways. Want to save the planet? - think local, act local. Want to ensure vibrant communities and support local nonprofits? - think local, act local. Want to help the Fort Collins Breakfast Rotary Club serve our community through health, literacy, and development projects? Act local and love our community by purchasing a ticket for the $10K Raffle. Please go to rotaryfcbreakfast.org for more information and tickets.
Think Local + Act Local = Love Local! Make it a motto and a lifestyle and we all win.
Curt Bear is the Founder of LoCo Think Tank, and host of the LoCo Experience Podcast. He makes his home in Old Town Fort Collins with his wife Jill, plus one dog, two cats, one thousand squirrels and six chickens.