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News: Features & Opinions Archive (2014)

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Date: January 2014

Jeffco Outdoors Foundation

The Jeffco Open Space Foundation, Inc. (JOSF) changed its official name to the Jeffco Outdoors Foundation (JOF) at the beginning of 2014. JOSF was started in 1998. The specific purposes for which JOSF was organized were to receive, solicit, administer and disburse gifts, grants, devises, bequests or other conveyances of real and personal property or the income derived therefrom for the benefit of the Jefferson County Open Space Division (JCOS) upon a request from the director of JCOS. JOSF received 501(c)3 status as a private foundation. The attorney that handled the IRS application believed that some potential donors would favor a private foundation over a public charitable foundation. During the past 15 years we have found that not to be the case. Also it has restricted JOSF's ability to receive grants.

Late in 2012, JCOS Director Tom Hoby suggested that the role of JOSF be increased to include programs to get children and families into the outdoors. The JOSF Board agreed that this would be a good way to energize contributions and activities of the Foundation. Early in 2012, JOSF had provided some funds for a study to look at means of celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Open Space program. In early 2013, the JOSF Board, working with Open Space staff, decided to have a celebratory event that also would celebrate the 100th anniversary of Denver Mountain Parks and the 20th anniversary of Great Outdoors Colorado. JOF was registered as a DBA of JOSF and the Party-4-Parks event was planned, sponsors were found, and a great time was had by those who attended the April 5th gathering at the Red Rocks Visitor Center.

JOF was incorporated in late 2013. The JOF purposes listed in the articles of incorporation include: to receive, solicit, administer and disburse gifts, grants, devises, bequests or other conveyances of real and personal property or the income derived therefrom for the benefit of citizens to actively enjoy open space, parks, trails, outdoor recreational facilities and programs in and adjacent to Jefferson County. These purposes do not preclude receiving property donations for transfer to JCOS and put the power on how the funds are spent in the hands of the JOF Board rather than the JCOS Director.

Structure of JOF will consist of at least four committees:

1. The Executive Committee. Between the meetings of the Board, the day-to-day affairs of the Corporation shall be conducted by an Executive Committee, the members of which shall be the officers of the Corporation and any additional directors as may be appointed by the Board.

2. Governance Committee. The Governance Committee shall prepare, review and approve all persons nominated to serve on the Board and/or as officers, recommend and prepare a ballot of qualified candidates, and send, collect and count the ballots for elections.

3. Finance Committee. The Treasurer shall chair the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee shall be responsible to monitor the finances of the Corporation, report on such finances at each regular Board meeting, and to perform such other duties as are set forth in the Finance Committee mandate.

4. Development Committee. The Development Committee shall provide guidance and counsel on revenuegenerating plans, review, discuss, evaluate and help to implement financial development and marketing strategies for the Corporation, and shall perform such other duties as are set forth in the Development Committee mandate. Initially the Development Committee also will serve as the Grants Committee to solicit proposals for and award grants.

In late 2013 JOF applied to the IRS to have the 501 (c) 3 status changed to a public charitable foundation. The board is hoping that our application clearly demonstrates that JOSF really had operated as a public charitable foundation for its 15 years.

JOF conducted a survey in the fall of 2013 to rank potential activities and to suggest activities for JOF. Some of these include:

Land conservation/donation;

Supporting the delivery of outdoor recreation/education/activities on public land;

Outreach to the public on the importance of open spaces and nature for a high quality of life;

Nature and history education (imparting history of places/structures/stories related to parks and open space);

Conservation education, promoting appreciation of and participation in the outdoors as part of a healthy lifestyle;

Providing financial support for access/transportation for educational opportunities;

Provide access for low income and under-served audiences;

Providing financial support for outdoor/recreation programs delivered by third party organizations;

Affordable camps, expanding programs, 4-H youth development support;

Local financial support for programs outside of Jeffco;

Connecting young people to outdoor recreation experiences and public lands;

Joint promotion of outdoor activities, places and spaces for an active lifestyle;

Funding support to help organizations/agencies with the same goals as Open Space;

Finding innovative ways to finance open space acquisitions including cooperation with local land trusts;

Promotion of facilities with environmental education programs;

Partnering; Such as links to the facility's web page from the JOF website.

Learn more about the Jeffco Outdoors Foundation at www.jeffcooutdoors.org

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