Nonprofit Impact Award: A huge honor

I recently received a tremendous honor, as the Colorado Nonprofit Association (CNA) named me as the recipient of its Nonprofit Impact Award during its well-attended annual Awards Luncheon at the Marriott City Center in downtown Denver.

Rollie Heath receives Nonprofit Award

Receiving the Nonprofit Impact Award from Bruce Atchison, co-chair of the Colorado Nonprofit Association's Public Policy Committee. (Photo courtesy of the Colorado Nonprofit Association)

The CNA honored me for my work on Proposition 103, a 2011 ballot initiative that would have helped Colorado better fund public education. But while I certainly did lots of work on 103, the CNA also lent invaluable support to our campaign. According to the Awards Luncheon program, the CNA noted that nonprofits rely on public education to "support an exemplary workforce and create economic opportunity for the people they serve." Its assistance on 103 helped spread the word about the value of education in 2011, and I valued our partnership immensely.

It's always great to win an award, but I also enjoyed learning more about others who were honored at the luncheon. David DeLay of Bayaud Enterprises won a William Funk Award for Building Stronger Communities, which was awarded for his work with employment programs for people with disabilities or other barriers to employment. Mary Anne Harvey with the Legal Center for People with Disabilities also won a William Funk Award for her work on legal and educational matters for the disabled.

Lance Cheslock of La Puente Home won the Steve Graham Award for Building Nonprofit Capacity, for his work on establishing creative solutions to the problems of homelessness and hunger in the San Luis Valley. My colleagues Sen. Bob Bacon and Rep. Ken Summers won Legislator of the Year Awards for their support of the nonprofit sector. Finally, Rocky Mountain PBS won the Excellence in Media Award for its partnerships with nonprofits and its programs highlighting issues that are essential to Colorado's nonprofits.

I've long believed that the nonprofit sector should be considered one of three equal legs of our societal "three-legged stool," with the private and public sectors being the other two legs. Nonprofits handle a wide variety of responsibilities, but among the most important to me is that they provide key services to some of our neediest members of society - often helping our taxpayers and governments save money in the process. I was heartened to be among such a group of caring individuals that afternoon, and I hope all Coloradans will continue to support our nonprofit sector.

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