Original story in Give Magazine
Growing up in Colorado Springs, Renny Fagan accompanied his father when he delivered local history talks to service groups and his mother when she taught after school religious classes.
During her childhood in Ohio, Michele Majeune participated with her family in community theatre productions and learned from her mother who was active in civil rights.
They continue to value service to individuals and making a difference for communities. Renny served as a state legislator, department director and deputy attorney general. He now leads Colorado Nonprofit Association. Michele’s path included public relations work on behalf of parks and air quality agencies, a public works engineering firm and now the Developmental Disabilities Resource Center.
“We have been involved with nonprofits over the years and established a donor advised fund at The Denver Foundation to make select larger donations,” Michele said. “We are looking for opportunities that create system change and long-term impacts,” Renny added. This year, they plan to use their fund to support the launch of an innovative new system of charitable giving unique to Colorado.
When income tax filing starts in January 2020, Coloradans will be able to directly donate all or part their state refund to any nonprofit of their choice from among 5,000 eligible organizations through “Donate to a Colorado Nonprofit Fund.” Last year, the state issued $1 billion in refunds to almost two million households. The program provides nonprofits with a new fundraising tool during the spring.
Now the challenge is to inform nonprofits and taxpayers statewide. Colorado Nonprofit Association is mounting a public action campaign called ReFUND Colorado that includes research-tested messages that nonprofits can use when appealing to their donors and paid media advertising directed at taxpayers who receive refunds.
Foundations, nonprofits and individuals have contributed to ReFUND CO’s start-up costs, but more funding is needed for a robust campaign. Renny and Michele have decided to help with their fund. “This is an incredible opportunity for individuals to support a community nonprofit that they know and trust,” said Renny. “Our research shows taxpayers just need to know about it.”
“How often does a person get to support the creation of a game-changer?” Michele said. “We see this as a perfect use of our fund to leverage charitable giving and generate community change. We hope other fundholders will join us!”