SOUTH METRO PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS FOUNDATION is one of seven local charities nominated in Citywide Banks’ Charity Hand-Up Contest taking place October 1-14, 2013. The Denver/Boulder community is invited to vote for a nominee and enter prize drawings. The charity receiving the most contest votes will receive a $5,000 donation, while the other nominees will split $2,500 in donations based on the voting results.
For 16-year firefighter veteran Jon Adams, the work he does as treasurer of the South Metro Professional Firefighters Foundation (a.k.a. The 2164 Foundation) is personal. “I’ve got a wife and three kids and I always think, if something happened to me I would hope that there would be someone there to help my family.”
The foundation provides financial support to firefighters, as well as emergency medical service workers and police officers, and their families, in the state of Colorado and, when possible, nationwide, who have been injured or killed on, or off, duty.
Their primary program is their Benevolent Fund that helps those who have been killed or injured, but they also have a Hardship Fund that is designated for those suffering from cancer or a life threatening illness. “It’s been proven in Colorado that firefighters are more likely to get cancer,” explained Adams.
The Foundation also funds the Michelle Vanek Scholarship program that awards $1,000 every year to a single mother who wants to go back to school. The story behind the scholarship is that Michelle Vanek, the sister in law of one of the South Metro firefighters, put herself through college as a single mother and always had this dream of starting a fund for struggling single moms. Unfortunately, Vanek died while hiking in the mountains. But the Foundation fulfilled her dream by starting the fund in her honor. The moms don’t have to be affiliated with firefighters, EMS workers or police officers; they just have to have the desire to further their education.
Although the South Metro Professional Firefighters Association first formed the foundation in 2005, it wasn’t until 2008 that they really focused on fundraising, defining their mission and making a difference. Unfortunately, it was because they had a tragedy to rally around. One of their firefighters was snowmobiling in the mountains when he witnessed an avalanche. While attempting to assist the avalanche victims, Brian Kopp was killed, leaving behind a wife and 11-year-old twins.
That year the Foundation hosted what would become their annual fundraising golf tournament and were able to raise $50,000 for the Kopp family.
“Brian’s death spurred us to become a bigger foundation,” explained Adams. “But we also realized that if it could happen to one of us, it could happen to a neighboring agency and we decided to help [EMS workers and police officers] as well.”
In addition to their annual golf tournament they also have an annual auction dinner the night before the tournament.
In the past they’ve donated all their proceeds to one cause but now they feel it’s better to spread the funds around. “We may hear of something in the paper or on the news about a firefighter or EMS worker or police officer that’s been killed and we’ll seek out his memorial fund and make a donation, other times we get solicited by someone who knows of someone that needs our help,” Adams said.
“We don’t have a lot of money but it’s amazing the difference just a little bit of money can make in their lives,” Adams said. After an Aurora firefighter was killed in a traffic accident on his way to work, the Foundation gave $5,000 to his family. When another firefighter tragically lost his 6-year-old son, the Foundation stepped forward to help pay for the funeral and continue to help pay for grief counseling for the family.
A $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks would go right back into the Denver community, says Adams. “We’d find a family in the community that has suffered a tragedy and we’d help them.”
Financial donations, of any amount, are always greatly appreciated as well as referrals for local businesses that might want to donate an auction item. And participation in next year’s golf tournament and dinner auction at the Inverness Hotel in June is a great way to support their cause.
For more information on ways to donate your time or money, please visit www.the2164foundation.org.
Vote to Give the Firefighters Foundation a $5,000 Hand-Up
As a Colorado owned bank focused entirely on the Front Range, Citywide Banks shares a commitment to our local community with the South Metro Professional Firefighters Foundation. Through our Charity Hand-Up Contest, we are proud to spotlight the great work and ongoing needs of local nonprofits. Based on the results of a 14-day Facebook vote, the local community will determine how $7,500 is split among seven Colorado charities nominated by Citywide Banks employees. The charity receiving the most votes will receive $5,000 and the runner-up will receive $1,000. The remaining donation amounts will correspond to the voting results for each nominated charity. The voting public can also enter to win great prizes, including dinner for two at some of Denver’s top restaurants. Official prize drawing rules are available by clicking here. Full contest details are at www.CitywideBanks.com/charity/.
How to Cast Your Vote – October 1 -14
The contest is open to the general public within the Denver/Boulder community (non-customers welcome to participate; no purchase necessary). The easiest way to vote is online by clicking the “Charity Contest” tab on the Citywide Banks Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/citywidebanks. Users will need to “like” the bank’s Facebook page to cast a vote/entry online. One vote/entry is permitted during the 14-day contest. After voting on Facebook, users can use the sharing buttons to easily invite their Facebook friends to vote for their favorite charity.
Spread the Word about the Firefighters Foundation
Tell your coworkers, friends, and family in Colorado to cast their vote for your favorite nonprofit. Use the sharing buttons above this article, on the Facebook voting page, or throughout Citywide Banks’ social media pages to help spread the word.