Nonprofits launch program to share various resources

The old City Market warehouse at First Street and Colorado Avenue may become the home to a number of non-profit organizations.

Mesa County nonprofit organizations hope by sharing office space, computers and other resources with one another, they’ll have more money to share with those they serve.

A couple of those groups have taken the reins of a new program, tentatively known as the Mesa County Co-location Project, intended to help nonprofits spend their money more efficiently and reduce duplication of expenditures.

Program organizers are considering purchasing the former City Market warehouse, a 50,000-square-foot building on North First Street, and using it as a headquarters for a number of organizations. Nonprofits would pay a deposit and rent to obtain space and access to meeting rooms, Internet and office personnel and equipment.

Sheila Linwood, executive director of the Mesa County Suicide Prevention Coalition, one of the groups that spearheaded the creation of the program, said she sent out a survey last fall to local nonprofits inquiring about resource outsourcing. She expected to receive only seven or eight back, but instead heard from more than 40 nonprofits.

Rebecca Saltman, the founder of Mission First Solutions, a Denver-based firm that helps bridge the needs of nonprofits, said groups that work independent of one another engage in “turf wars where there is no turf.”

“This whole sector has been brainwashed to compete with each other,” said Saltman, who spoke Tuesday during a meeting intended to identify potential project partners. “The reality is that mindset will undermine nonprofits, particularly in this economy.”

Saltman said interviews she conducted several years ago with 150 nonprofit executives, most of whom operated in Colorado, revealed they were spending only 15 to 40 percent of their funding on their groups’ mission. The rest, she said, was spent on human resources, information technology and other ancillary expenses.

Linwood said those involved in the program hope to obtain office space later this year.


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