The January 2012 Nonprofit Gold Nonprofit of the Month is the Colorado Chautauqua Assoication.
Preservation of Site and Spirit of Programming
Based at the foothills of the flatirons in Boulder, Colorado, the Colorado Chautauqua Association maintains and continues the spirit of the Chautauqua movement which was started in the late 1800s. From a humble beginning with two permanent structures (which still stand today) to over 40 acres of green space, cottages, the original dining hall, the original auditorium and many other programs, the Colorado Chautauqua Association is continuing the great and meaningful work started in 1898.
The Chautauqua movement was founded with the idea of bringing arts and education to the middle class through “summer schools.” These summer schools were set up either as temporary sites or permanent locations where people would gather for a summer of art, music and learning as a community.
The Colorado Chautauqua Association has maintained this spirit of programming by providing a six week summer series of concerts, classical music, theater, authors and silent films. Additionally, the location hosts 4-5 monthly intimate concerts, authors and lecturers during the rest of the year. In 2011, the Colorado Chautauqua National Landmark had 200,000 participants attend one of the many programs.
Preservation and Sustainability
In addition to preserving the spirit of the programming of Chautauqua, the Colorado Chautauqua Association is working to become the “Greenest National Landmark” in the United States. With most of the buildings built from 1899-1920, the organization has done a great job restoring and maintaining the early 1900 feel while also bringing the cottages up to speed with being “green.”
In recent years, the organization has turned five of the cottages into energy star cottages improving the energy efficiency of these buildings. Additionally, the organization has brought composting to each of the 66 cottages and has numerous recycling, compost and trash receptacles around the 40 acres of the property to help with the goal of becoming “green.”
The Colorado Chautauqua Association has been recognized by the Colorado Preservation Inc. and the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association for their work toward becoming the “Greenest National Landmark.”
A Slice of Colorado from 100 Years Ago
The Colorado Chautauqua Association isn’t just a place for performing arts and lectures but also serves as a unique opportunity to see Colorado how it was 100 years ago. By maintaining the original buildings and restoring the interior look of the cottages to encompass the feel of the early 1900s, this organization has developed an amazing experience where you can feel the history and heritage of the Chautauqua movement while also giving you leaders in the modern day. The organization has taken the mission of 100 years ago and made it relevant and meaningful to thousands of people every year while maintaining the natural beauty and serenity of this gem in the foothills.
If you are interested in learning more about the Colorado Chautauqua Association or would like to spend the weekend “seeing a slice of Colorado from 100 years ago,” visit www.chautauqua.com.
If you are interested in submitting an organization for the Nonprofit of the Month, please email email@example.com. I am always interested in visiting with organizations to learn about the “hidden gems” in the nonprofit sector.