Organization celebrates new headquarters as nonprofit’s summer events kick off
By Jenna Stecker
Photo by Zach Mahone
Caption: The Turntable Review plays at a summer concert presented by the Minturn Community Fund at Little Beach Park in Minturn.
Even if you are unaware of The Minturn Community Fund's existence, you may very well have participated in one of their events without even knowing it – you might have attended a free concert in the park, or stopped to listen to the weekly community jam session, all endeavors of the local nonprofit.
The fund exists to “connect people, enhance lives, and preserve Minturn's authentic community,” as their mission states. Historically, this is something it has done through community events and support of local businesses, and now, after the fund’s office celebrates it’s grand opening on June 25, the fund will serve as a physical meeting place as well.
Long history, new space
The Minturn Community Fund has been around for longer than you may think.
“We incorporated about 10 years ago,” says Andrew Kaufman, president of the board of directors.
The Fund today was born out of a live concert series that is still held in the summer at the Little Beach Park and Amphitheater. These days, alongside those ever-popular concerts, there are a plethora of programs held for the benefit of the entire community.
“People sometimes come up with ideas that, as an individual, are too much for one person to manifest and perhaps not appropriate for government to initiate. This is where we come in. If we can facilitate these ideas, as good additions to the community, we can create a more cohesive community in general,” says Kaufman.
The Minturn Community Fund will be celebrating their new offices, now housed at 291 Main St., site of the old Lift Cafe, with an open house from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on June 25.
Kaufman says they are eager to use all the things that the larger space has to offer. Besides housing the offices, the space allows room for community meetings and programs. Come in on any given afternoon, and you can find out what events are coming up, chat with a neighbor or see local kids drawing on the sidewalks.
While Kaufman says they moved into the new offices in April, it took a few months to get set up, and now the space appears to be ready for business. The friendly looking headquarters has the fund’s calendar of events drawn across the entire floor-to-ceiling front window. Photos hang on the brightly colored walls, and there is plenty of plush seating to sink into.
A goal of the fun is to partner with other business in Minturn to foster that community vibe. One of these programs is the “Mini Music Makers”.
The fund and Minturn Music co-created the Mini Music Makers, a bi-monthly program in its second summer season in which local musicians teach children the importance and fun of music. Each event is held at the Minturn Music store at 10 a.m. every other Tuesday. Shop owner and Minturn resident Shawn McKeown says the fund and Jodi Jahrling, its executive director, for their work and enthusiasm in partnering with local businesses.
“When Jodi took over at the community fund, she seemed to change the focus of the organization,” McKeown says. “She really incorporated some of the ideas that I had and saw them through to execution. I think she did that with other business owners as well, and I believe that the sense of community among us has blossomed because of it.”
Local musician Ellie Gauthier led the first Mini Music Makers of the season last week.
“I had so much fun,” Gauthier says. “The entire Pooh Corner Preschool came over. We had over 20 kids with us. Together we created homemade maracas, and I played them a bunch of Woody Guthrie's children songs. We sang, played the maracas, and danced around.”
Gauthier says she looks forward to possibly participating in future community fund events later this summer. The next Mini Music Makers is scheduled for Tuesday, June 26, and is going to be led by Kevin Heinz.
There are many other programs created and supported by the organization. Every Saturday at 9:30 a.m., residents enjoy free Yoga in the Park with Jill Koellhoffer. There is also a free book exchange for kids, and every other Saturday there is a free movie shown at the Little Beach Park and Amphitheater with a singer/songwriter showcase before the start of each movie. The last Monday of the month, the fund gives away a household staple like milk or toothpaste or eggs.
A recipe for success
The intertwining thread to these activities and events of the Minturn Community Fund is the fact that all are free, supported by donors and fundraisers.
“We try to just raise enough funds to support the programs we hold.” says Kaufman.
The other essential item behind these programs is the volunteer community. Volunteers are the backbone to programs like the new Minturn Community Garden.
“We couldn't create things like this without the aid of our community volunteers. These people work in conjunction with us to create and maintain our programs such as the garden.” says Kaufman.
One of the most effective, but intentionally least touted programs is the Family Emergency Fund. Occasionally the Minturn Community Fund offers up financial assistance to identified Minturn residents in need of some financial help. Organizers are alerted by local law enforcement, medical professionals, social workers, ministers or professional caregivers who can request emergency assistance for families or individuals currently in need. These gifts are confidential and not publicized with the objective of quietly supporting the goal of “strengthening community bonds.”
All in all, business owners and residents alike have the same single word to say when talking about the fund -- community.
The organization works to bring together the people who live and work in the Minturn area and enable them to enjoy and support each other. These people and businesses are the pieces of a whole, and participants all seem to understand that whatever they do to benefit the whole will benefit the pieces. To get more information on the Minturn Community Fund and to find a full calendar of programs and events go to www.minturncommunityfund.org.