The nominees listed below (and last week) deserve a humble, gracious, and joyful thank you. They give of their time, talents, and treasures by supporting programs, building bridges, and marching tenaciously toward goals that make our city a better place to live. Plus, we can’t help but shout out to the countless other people in the Estes Valley who care about a cause, think of a solution, and take action. This character of service – the level of philanthropy in this community – is inspiring.
Jean Rissmiller is a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club and is very involved in various organizations throughout Estes Park. She has organized the Labor Day Arts & Crafts Festival for the past few years; this year’s funds will exceed $40,000, which funds scholarships for young people and awards grants to local nonprofits.
You never know that Nancy is NOT doing something to support the community, especially vulnerable families and children. Nancy was the visionary behind the Kids Quest Playground and served on the Estes Park School Board. Nancy is perhaps best known for her work with Crossroads as a volunteer, board member and project manager. For the past 8 years, she has run the Bright Christmas program, organizing volunteers, purchasing Christmas gifts and school supplies, and coordinating community distribution of gifts to families in need. Nancy has a heart for people; she works quietly in the background, which has a huge impact.
David has served on numerous boards: Estes Valley Crisis Advocates, Pet Association, the nonprofit Resource Center, Bella Fortuna Center and the Estes Valley Library. He provided accounting services to these organizations as well as Estes Park Learning Place. His work and his wisdom go far beyond the financial support he provides to these organizations and other nonprofits in the city. And, without a doubt, his wife Mary works with David and supports everything he does.
Alice was a board member, then treasurer, then volunteer accountant for 21 years at the Estes Park Art Center. His position as a “work board” is deep and persistent, from insurance policies to writing grant applications. She also collects donations for community-wide projects such as the Women’s Monument. “Go ask Alice!” That’s our mantra here at the Art Center. I cannot imagine a more hardworking and deserving volunteer.
Marlene volunteers with the RMNP Junior Ranger program and oversees the Hidden Valley toboggan run in the winter. She shares her in-depth knowledge of wildflowers by teaching classes at the library. She volunteers at the Cliffhanger Used Book Store and helps deliver food for Meals on Wheels. For the past year and a half, she has chaired the park district trail committee, working to build trails throughout the city for commuters and visitors. Our town has benefited immensely over many years from Marlene’s generosity, her time and her talents.
Dave Thomas is important to recognize his ongoing efforts to help others. He is an inspiration to create a better and stronger community, especially through education. He is currently volunteering with ESL classes and just stepped in to help organize Día de Los Muertos. He cares about each of his students and wants to see them acquire the ability to understand, speak and write the language.
Cynthia has worked passionately on various boards, including EPNRC and The Learning Place, and has given generously of her time, talent and treasure to many causes over the years. Recently, she has devoted considerable effort to improving American Legion Post 119. It’s hard to think of a nonprofit organization that hasn’t received a gift from Cynthia. This is often done quietly and without too much attention. She deserves to be recognized by the whole community.
Frank has been an integral part of the Watershed Coalition since the 2013 floods. His service has included original flood restoration projects, forestry projects, and the formation of the Wandering Wildlife Society (WWS) in 2019. The WWS offers education on the wildlife in the Estes community through educational lectures and offers public outreach activities such as the Elk Ambassador program.
Louise was instrumental in creating a Hispanic-serving organization that supports language learning, finances, and promoting engagement of Spanish-speaking families in the community, including schools. Louise worked on Estes Cares, a program designed to promote better civil discourse and empathy in Estes. His long-standing service extends to the Catholic Church and to Carrefour. That’s not even half of a complete list of his caring mannerisms.
Sally has been volunteering with Partners since 2001. She has mentored 4 youth and engages youth waiting to be matched. Sally has extensive skills in group facilitation, leadership training and fundraising for various non-profit organizations in Estes. Her special work with Salud, The Learning Place, the nonprofit Resource Center, the school system, and Loving Spirit has made this community richer and kinder.
Over the past six years, Mary has donated countless hours, shared her infectious energy, led transformational initiatives and contributed financially to the sustainability of the American Legion Post 119. She is central to propelling the Legion to a more modern vision of service to veterans and the community in which they live. She enthusiastically lends a helping hand to ALL titles through the “Circle 119” initiative to update the facility.
And the Katie Speer Individual Philanthropist of the Year nominees are……
Dr. Cory Workman is our local audiologist and one of those “silent benefactors” who volunteers in various capacities. He is treasurer of an audiology cooperative and volunteers as a medical care provider. He acquires new hearing aids through donations, then reaches out to the underserved community across the state and locally, through the Quota Club, so they can “join the conversation.” You can see him working in dealerships, pulling trailers, holding props at group competitions and much more. Thanks Cory!
Mary Banken (twice nominated)
Mary is the accountant for the American Legion, ext. 119 at Estes Park. That’s what she volunteered to do, but what she actually does is serve as the administrative manager. She runs the entire show, including the tavern, kitchen, and events. She works 8 to 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Before his investment of time and talent, the Legion was an eyesore located at the entrance to our city. Mary’s efforts have enabled the Legion to survive and thrive. I hope she understands the immense value of her role in this community!
Chief David Wolf
The chef has worked hard to organize and organize the 9/11 Memorial 5k and Stair Climb / National Fallen Fire Fighters event in Estes Park, CO. After the 2020 and 2021 fires, the first year of this event has been meaningful to our community and has drawn firefighters from across northern Colorado.
Martha’s contributions have enabled EVICS to support and serve more local families. She covers the office, leads a weekly group of Hispanic women, Mujeres en Conexion, and devotes extra time to Cultivamos, an emerging leaders program for Hispanic people. It models the impact of participation and actively engages other community members, encouraging their voice in decision-making.
Linda has been active for seven years, including as president, in the Estes Park Quota Club loaner (medical equipment) closet. If you’ve ever had an injury or surgery, or know someone who needs a hospital bed, you’ve met Linda. She is cheerful, compassionate and incredibly organized! She uses her experience as a Nurse Practitioner in the Armed Forces to lead a well-maintained and well-used program for our community.
Click on https://www.epnonprofit.org/hall-of-fame–award-winners.html#/ to see past winners.
Winners of the National Philanthropy Day awards will be announced at the November 10 event.