Two local businesses, based in Bayfield and Durango, are among a select group chosen to be honored on National Philanthropy Day in 2020.

The local honorees are Bayfield’s Power to Act, a nonprofit which supports women who are unhoused or who have experienced domestic violence, and The Riber Co. Inc., a remodeling business based in Durango. The awards help affirm that philanthropic efforts, particularly in a tough economic year because of the coronavirus pandemic, make a difference.

“I was floored,” said Kristen Carico, director of Power to Act. She didn’t expect the small, mostly volunteer nonprofit to be chosen for state recognition. “I was blown over that our little organization was selected.”

The annual national philanthropic celebration began as a grassroots effort to honor philanthropic people and organizations in the 1980s. President Ronald Reagan designated Nov. 15 as National Philanthropy Day in 1986.

Every year in November, Association of Fundraising Professionals chapters around the country recognize philanthropic efforts in their own communities.

The Colorado AFP chapter chose 33 people or organizations across 14 counties to honor this year. Power to Act and The Riber Co. are two of five organizations located in rural counties to be selected as honorees.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, they won’t be traveling to Denver to receive their awards. Instead, AFP Colorado is broadcasting virtually at 11 a.m. Friday to celebrate honorees and youth award winners.

Power to Act, based in Bayfield, donates handbags filled with practical items to women in need. For those who might be leaving an abusive situation or entering a shelter, the nonprofit creates daily hygiene bags. For women who are entering more secure housing, Power to Act creates home handbags with toilet paper, kitchen utensils and other household items, Carico said.

“My hope and my prayer is that they know there is a community who cares for them,” she said.

Power to Act has donated 718 handbags with 9,334 items to women since 2010 through local and global partnerships, AFP Colorado said.

The Riber Co. did a complete renovation overhaul of the Durango Community Shelter, which serves more than 300 unhoused people each year, without displacing any guests during the coronavirus pandemic, AFP Colorado said.

The company helped get donations and discounts in the process, saving about $90,000 in total costs.

“It was a surprise to us. We did nothing special in the way we run our business,” said Wes Riber, co-owner. “There’s just no words. It was an absolute honor. We would do it again that way in a heartbeat.”

This year has been tough financially on nonprofits, businesses and people because of the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Southwest Colorado nonprofits alone expect to face $8 million in revenue losses, based on a survey of 92 respondents this summer.

“We hold true to our mission, no matter how big or small the effort may seem,” Carico said. “Just to be honored for that was very reassuring that our work mattered, that our work was making a difference.”

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