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History of RMA

“I am looking for a way to give back to my community”

This answer echoed around the meeting space on a chilly winter evening three months ago, where about 26 women in their 20s and 30s gathered at Breckenridge Brewery in Denver for RMA 20-30’s New Member Orientation.

The question: “Why are you here?”

The desire to ‘give back’, to ‘pay it forward’, to ‘support a good cause’, to ‘make a difference’ - whatever you want to call it, people feeling the call to serve is no new phenomenon. While difficult to pinpoint its exact genesis, philanthropy is believed to have evolved from the Greek philanthropia, or “the love of humanity,” and dates back as early as fifth century BC (Bond, 2011). As time passed, the concept of philanthropy spread across cultures, countries, and continents, and has remained a constant, intrinsic human value despite an ever-changing world.

Fast forward 2000 years or so, and that same spirit of service still unites people to work on behalf of the benefit of others. 25.3 percent of US adults volunteered with an organization in 2014, contributing an estimated 8.7 billion hours, the most hours recorded since the Current Population Survey’s volunteer supplement began in 2002 (McKeever, 2015). Whether via monetary support or by donating one’s time, giving back remains on the rise.

The women gathered at RMA’s New Member Orientation earlier this year are further proof that philanthropy pervades time and space, and while they are the newest members to one of Colorado’s many philanthropic organizations, they certainly aren’t the first. Here’s a look back at the history of Rocky Mountain Active 20-30.

Rocky Mountain Active 20-30, the Denver women’s chapter of greater Active 20-30 clubs, got its start as Rocky Mountain Children’s Foundation when a small group of members consecrated the organization at charter night on Saturday, October 25, 2008, under the direction of its first President, Sara Duke. The founding members identified three initiatives the Foundation would aim to serve:

I.) Developing members, by precept and example, into a more compassionate and serviceable citizenship, and creating and/or furthering in them a desire to participate actively in civic and welfare work in Denver community

II.) Raising funds that will be distributed by the corporation to such tax exempt organizations as are selected by the corporation

III.) Holding and promoting events, programs, and social gatherings and engaging in any lawful action in furtherance of or relating to the purposes of RMA 20-30

I. Developing Membership

Developing RMA membership has only improved since its chartering members began in 2008. With one recruitment wave per year, word of mouth has typically drawn in more potential new members with each application season. The newest wave of RMA 20-30 members may be the largest group to-date, with 26 new faces joining the organization in January 2017. It is not without great leadership that RMA 20-30 as it exists today would be so successful, and we are grateful for the past or sitting RMA presidents who have helped build this organization:

2008: Sara Duke

2009: Annie Persson

2010: Carrie Reger

2011: Tera Keatts

2012: Rochelle Rabeler

2013: Jen Derse

2014: Taylor Surroz

2015: Crissy Paulson

2016: Megan Bolding

2017: Amanda Slater

Together, 57 new and returning members will continue RMA 20-30’s work to raise funds on behalf of Denver’s community needs by serving on one of six committees (Fundraising, Gala, Grants, Marketing/PR, Silent Auction, Social), by increasing grant funds for various Colorado nonprofits, and by improving signature RMA 20-30 events, like Back to School Shopping/BTSS Happy Hour and Fall Gala, as well as exploring new social opportunities to further raise awareness of the impact of RMA 20-30.

II. Fundraising

As a founding initiative of RMA 20-30, fundraising has remained an integral piece of RMA’s role in the community. Each year, the group sets a shared collective fundraising goal and an individual fundraising goal to hold one another accountable to. Funds raised through various events and sponsorships accumulate the money eligible for granting back to carefully selected organizations in the community.

RMA 20-30 awarded its first significant grant of $20,000 to Smart-Girl in 2010. Since 2010, RMA 20-30 has awarded $390,000 to over 30 local organizations!

2010 Awardees: Smart-Girl

2011 Awardees: Smart-Girl, Red Line EPOC Arts Program, Girls on the Run, National Jewish Health

2012 Awardees: Girls on the Run, Smart-Girl, Wapiyapi, Colorado Youth at Risk, YESS Institute, Downtown Aurora Visual Arts, Colorado Uplift

2013 Awardees: Colorado Uplift, Colorado Youth at Risk, Denver Family Institute, Zuma’s Rescue Ranch, Downtown Aurora Visual Arts, Girls on the Run, Smart-Girl, Wapiyapi, Denver Kids, Families First, Florence Crittenton Services, Kids in Need of Dentistry, Reading Partners, YESS Institute, Hope House of Colorado

2014 Awardees: Families First, Whiz Kids, Smart-Girl, cityWILD, Girls on the Run, Judi’s House, Hope House of Colorado, Kids in Need of Dentistry, Environmental Learning for Kids, Sun Valley Youth Center, Denver Children’s Advocacy Center

2015 Awardees: Judi's House, cityWILD, Denver CASA, Girls on the Run, Tennyson Center, Florence Crittenton Services, Girls, Inc., Hope House of Colorado, Smart-Girl

2016 Awardees: Florence Crittenton Services, Challenge Foundation, Judi's House, Denver CASA, Tennyson Center, Girls on the Run, Platte Forum, Rocky Mountain Children's Choir, Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation