Thinking of getting the local real estate pros involved
by Anika Pepper
A new non-profit organization in the valley is geared toward helping local kids in need, while also providing assistance to domestic animals in the area that are struggling.
The Crested Butte Fund aims to provide financial support and assistance to those most vulnerable in the Gunnison Valley. Their two primary objectives are to provide financial support to children in need so that they may access services that will improve their well being, and to offer assistance for pets and stray animals so they may live a long healthy and meaningful life with their owners.
Through its close connection with local schools, churches, doctors, veterinarians, and animal shelters, the Crested Butte Fund connects with those in need of assistance and will offer financial support whenever possible. The Crested Butte Fund intends to provide assistance whether or not applicants qualify for other services or are already receiving services. Examples of aid include, but are not limited to, paying for food for families who are traveling for medical care, helping a family fix their car so their children can ride safely to school, and paying for vet bills after an unexpected accident.
The Crested Butte Fund was started in 2016 by Rob Harper, owner of Toad Property Management Company. In the last two years Harper has single-handedly built the Crested Butte Fund from the ground up by putting together a board of directors and building a relationship with local vets and the Crested Butte Community School in order to connect with people in the valley who might need assistance
Harper’s goal is to provide assistance to those in need without the hassle of red tape that going through the state requires. “We want people to call us when there is an event in their life that could really affect them,” says Harper. “We don’t want a small inconvenience to turn into a life-changing event.”
Harper also stresses that requesting assistance from the fund remains entirely anonymous. “Our goal is not to broadcast that we are helping people. We want it to be a quick turnaround. You need help? We’re here for you.”
The fund is unique in that, unlike other local assistance groups, there is no overhead, so donations made to the fund go directly to helping those in need. “A dollar in is a dollar out,” says Harper. “If someone gives us $500 we can give $500 to people who need it. We operate 100 percent on donations and the time myself and our wonderful board of directors put in.”
The Crested Butte Fund has not been around very long and, admittedly, Harper brings up the idea that operating solely off of donations alone could prove to be challenging. While there has been discussion of doing a fundraising event for the non-profit, Harper’s long-term goal is to involve local real estate professionals in continuing fundraising. Harper says if local real estate professionals and closing companies donated even $20 with each house that closes in the valley, the fund could be set up to help an incredible amount of people in the Gunnison Valley.
“My goal is that when property changes hands, the Crested Butte Fund gets a tiny amount of money donated,” says Harper. “I want it to be so that mechanically, we always have money coming in. Even a small amount of money donated each time could make a huge impact.”
The Crested Butte Fund’s aim is to provide assistance in as short a turnaround time as possible. “We are trying to improve people’s lives even if it is just a marginal amount,” says Harper. “We get back to people within 48 hours of their request if we are going to be able to help them. We don’t want anyone to be wondering what is going to happen.”
The Crested Butte Fund makes providing and receiving assistance in the Gunnison Valley easygoing and anonymous. “This is not an easy place to live. It is expensive to live here. The weather is hard. Life gets hard,” says Harper. “We just want to help those who need it most. We want to help people who found themselves in a tight financial position by no fault of their own.”
Dozens of people have received assistance from the fund since its inception, and Harper hopes that with more awareness of the program, they will be able to help many more in the future. Harper warmly reflects on the Crested Butte Fund’s long-term goal. “What we are offering, if I can steal a phrase, is a hand up—not a hand-out.”
Those who are looking for assistance or who are interested in donating to the Crested Butte Fund can find further information at www.crestedbuttefund.org.