Rocky Mountain Chapter

RMC volunteer fundraises to ‘delight, inspire and ignite’

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team

Every organization has to find a way to bring in money to meet its goals. Not everyone, however, can or wants to face or lead the myriad challenges of raising money, not even for a cause near and dear to one’s heart. One of those special people in the Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) who enjoys facing this type of challenge is Dave Read, our hard-working and dedicated Fundraising Chair.

Dave Read Deer Creek
Dave's favorite activities include hiking and

“In keeping with the Sierra Club motto to enjoy, explore and protect the environment, it is clear that what we need are solid opportunities to come together to have fun and share our common interest,” Dave, a West Centennial resident who joined Sierra Club in late 2011, says. “To do that, I am mostly focused on fundraising events that delight, inspire and ignite that which drew us to Sierra in the first place.”

These events, he believes, are not just a way to raise money for the Club's continuity and to help fight its battles─though that is certainly the impetus for hosting them─they also provide opportunities for all members and friends to build the Club and live its mission.

In assessing which fundraising events will be the most successful, Dave tries to discern what things might motivate people the most. His next goal is to “create and present offerings in a way that will activate their ‘get-up-and-do-it’ bone.”

One of Dave’s most personally rewarding fundraising events was last summer’s first annual Step Strong Hike-A-Thon at Roxborough State Park. Working with other members of the Fundraising Team to make it a success, he considers it an event that “puts participants into the very thing─the natural world─that we all want to preserve in a fun, active way and that makes them feel they have truly and tangibly done something to advance the cause and projects of the Club.”

Dave would like to see the hike-a-thon become a successful annual mainstay and promising public relations opportunity in RMC’s fundraising repertoire that would not just rally members, but also attract people outside the Club in increasing numbers. “I see it as a way to attract the attention of the greater population to our Club and our mission,” he says. “Larger numbers means more funding, which means more campaigns, education, lobbying efforts, and other things we can do.”

Other ways to fundraise

Dave realizes, of course, that hiking is not something everyone can or wants to do. That’s why in December he and the team held an indoor event: the John Fielder presentation, book signing and auction that focused on the many successes of Great Outdoors Colorado, which is funded with state lottery income.

 Dave Read Deer Creek 2
Dave enjoys getting outside in Colorado.

“The event inspired us with beauty (of Fielder’s outdoors photos, slides and books) and gave us a time to celebrate in the midst of all the serious business of conservation,” Dave says. “Without celebration and a means to connect to the passion of the mission, our Club could quickly turn into just being about meetings and ‘to-do's.’"

Fundraising is not Dave’s only, or even main reason, to belong to Sierra Club. “My draw to Sierra Club is the mindset of the organization, succinctly stated in its motto to explore, enjoy and protect the planet,” he says. “I specifically chose Sierra Club because it is about getting people outside, and I am often out in the hills connecting with nature.”

One of the key ways anyone can enjoy the outdoors is taking part in Sierra Club outings with other like-minded members, and Dave encourages everyone to do just that. “Mike Whiteley, our esteemed chapter Outings leader, heads a great group that schedules hikes and other activities, including a group river canoe trip that’s coming up in June. There are lots of ways to have fun and stay connected to what you love about Sierra Club, Colorado, and all things outdoors.”

There are many other opportunities, along with outings, to become actively involved in Sierra Club. “We've had some successes and some failures in this area, but the key is to let the challenges motivate you into finding more successful ways of doing things to attract people. It's a learning process, although I would sometimes rather have the ‘right’ answers right now.”

Caring for the planet

Sierra Club’s mission, he emphasizes, attracted his attention because it fosters an attitude of care and wonder about the Earth, which creates a ripple effect in how humans make crucial decisions about the environment. “If we don’t make our planet ‘priority one,’ we will continue to follow the ‘take-make-waste’ consumerism and ‘profit-at-all-cost’ path that is making things not just unbearable for our ecosystems, but increasingly unworkable and intolerable for every human being on every level: economically, socially, politically, physically, emotionally and mentally,” he says.

Fielder and Read.jpg
Dave welcomed photographer John Fielder, left, at a recent Sierra Club fundraiser.

“Furthermore, if humans do not care for the health of the planet, we cannot adequately care for or successfully sustain the progress of our species. We will either perish or live in a world so harsh and unfriendly as to not be worth living in by our standards today.”

The good news, Dave believes, is that if humans focus on the planet and their inherent connection to it, there will be an abundance of ideas and work that will be accomplished to create a place that is more secure, fair and just. “Our progress will be ensured as it will be tied to the progress and sound stewardship of our natural world. It starts with people seeing, breathing and touching the beauty of life and that, for me, is what Sierra stands for.”

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