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$50,000 Can Do A lot of Good!

By John Gardner Post Independent Staff Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado GLENWOOD SPRINGS - Kirsten Petre McDaniel was excitedly preparing for a trip to Colorado Springs Wednesday morning. Computers for Kids Foundation (C4K), where McDaniel is the executive director, was a finalist in this year's Awards for Excellence program presented by the El Pomar Foundation based in Colorado Springs. McDaniel and board member, Patrick Curry, attended the annual Awards for Excellence program, representing the C4K foundation. "It's really exciting," McDaniel said. "I feel very fortunate. It's very rewarding to see the programs and the difference that they make for the kids in the community." But as exited as McDaniel was, she had no idea exactly what was in store for her by the end of the night. Each year the El Pomar Foundation recognizes 33 outstanding Colorado non-profit organizations, singling out the very best nonprofits in the state. Each finalist is rewarded with a $7,500 grant for their program. Winners in each of the 11 categories ranging from youth development to self sufficiency receives a $15,000 grant. However, what McDaniel didn't know prior to the banquet, was that C4K would be presented with the Spencer and Julie Penrose Award as the outstanding nonprofit of the year. This is the most distinguished award given out each year, and in the past, it has come with a $25,000 grant. This year, however, the award was doubled to $50,000. That was not expected. "No one knew about the award getting bigger," said El Pomar director of communications Josie Burke before the banquet. "It's going to be a surprise." After the banquet, McDaniel was still in awe of winning the award. "It's still sinking in," she said. "I was just honored to be nominated, and then to find out that we received this award is really great." She could hardly wait to get back home and show it to the kids she works with in the program. And the


additional $50,000 will be a lot of help for the center expenses. "This will really help the center for the people and the kids in the community even better," McDaniel said. "The kids are going to be really happy, I can't wait to show them." C4K was recognized for the impact they have on the Roaring Fork Valley community. The organization has been around for six years, helping youth in the valley build their own computers and develop skills working on computer refurbishment, customer service, accounting and marketing projects alongside local business through their Partnering for Success program. In 2006, C4K provided more than 300 lowincome students with computers. That number is expected to be over 400 for this year. "To be recognized for the job we've done in the community is really fantastic," McDaniel said. "It's really exciting for the kids as well because they are being recognized for the work they do in the program." Hilltop Community Resources Inc. in Grand Junction in the Self Sufficiency category, and Neighbor to Neighbor in Montrose for the Seniors category, were both awarded $15,000 grants. McDaniel said the $50,000 will go toward the new Partnering for Success Center in Carbondale. She has been working to raise $200,000 for the new facility and has already reached $85,000. The added grant will be a big help for the future success of the program. "It's one thing for us to know that we are doing the right thing," McDaniel said. "But to have others pick us as a model is pretty neat." Plans for moving the C4K Partnering for Success program to move into the old Carbondale Middle School facility has been put on temporary hold. The program was scheduled to move into the new facility in January but renovations at the old Roaring Fork High School delayed moving students from the old middle school. But McDaniel and C4K will continue to do the work they were recognized for, helping students and families in the valley get computers and education. Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.com Post Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO


Penrose Award