Friday, January 29, 2016

Good News Friday!

Tonight is the 15th Annual Imagine! Celebration, our major fundraising event. Every year we host this event, I am amazed and awed by the number of people and organizations who step up in many different ways to support Imagine! and the people we serve.

Below are our Gold, Silver, and Table Sponsors for the event. We also have more than 530 people scheduled to attend our event tonight, who will bid on fantastic silent and live auction items, all for the benefit of people with intellectual disabilities living in our community.

My appreciation of the amazing support we get from our community knows no bounds. Thank you!

PS - We’ll be honoring Imagine! supporters extraordinaire Bob and Judy Charles this evening, check out this story about Bob from today’s Daily Camera.

Gold Sponsors

Mark Zentner and

Sally and Sandy Bracken 
Laura and David Braddock 
The Eldridge Family 
Lynda and Bill Johnson 
McElwain Family Foundation 

Silver Sponsors
and the Tebo Family

 Richard Ackerman 
 Della Cava Family 
Lin and Jim Loftus

Table Sponsors

Gale and Tim Boonstra 
Karen and Don Brown 
Virginia and Scott Brown 
Bob and Judy Charles 
Laura and Bill Koch 
Susan LaHoda 
Alice and Pete Madden 
Patti and David Micklin 
Kathy and Jay Montgomery 
Jana and Chris Petersen 
Linda and Walt Pounds 
Beverly and Gene Shaw 
Susan and John Sidwell 
Leona and Bernie Stoecker

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Membership Has Its Privileges


No, I’m not just randomly shuffling letters in my alphabet soup. Listed above are some of the organizations that Imagine! is proud to be counted among their dues paying membership.

The reason for our membership in these organizations is straightforward. They are all organizations that are able to compile and disseminate best practices in their areas of expertise. They keep us informed and provide support and assistance to our endeavors. Our memberships are purposeful. We at Imagine! believe it is absolutely vital that we are able to share, learn, and collaborate with any organization that can help us keep our skills, knowledge, and information up to date.

Let me ask a question. Would you want to go see a doctor who refused to read the latest medical journals? Who didn’t keep up on recent medical advances because he or she was “too busy?”

Of course not.

Well, as an organization with a purpose to help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), we would be doing the people we serve a great disservice if we weren’t committed to staying on top of the latest developments in our field. Our field has changed a great deal over the past few decades. In less time than it has taken the National Football League to host 50 Super Bowls (go Broncos!), we have gone from a model that emphasized isolation and institutionalization to one that emphasizes community interaction and natural supports.

Attitudes and approaches to our services (and other aspects of running our organization) continue to evolve, and we must stay on top of that evolution. So we will continue to utilize our memberships to become better, smarter, and more effective. We will continue to ask ourselves each year if the memberships we have bring value to our organization and the people we serve. We will continue to team up, influence, and absorb so all of us are better at our jobs.

We will continue to stay out in front of what is happening in our world, because what we do is too important to ever fall behind.

Then again, what do I know?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Compensation Education

Imagine! has a long history of adopting best practices when it comes to how we compensate our employees.

 I would like to share with all of my readers Imagine!’s philosophy and approach to salaries.

Every year, Imagine!’s Human Resources team conducts a compensation benchmarking study for pay rates across the board at Imagine! – from front line Direct Support Professionals all the way to the CEO. Compensation benchmarking is the process of matching Imagine! jobs to similar jobs at other organizations to identify the market rate of pay.

As this website points out, establishing market rates for core positions within an organization is important for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it guides decision making for pay decisions including hiring, promotions, internal equity, and budget planning. A solid understanding of the external value of each position allows an organization to develop an approach for setting overall compensation philosophy, or the level at which the organization will set salary levels. The ability to balance the needs to attracting and retaining talent with fiscal responsibility of the organization is a key priority for Imagine!. Compensation benchmarking provides us the information we need to define the costs associated with salaries and other compensation components. 

Imagine! uses a variety of organizations, some for profit, some not for profit, some governmental, and some in the human services field, to establish benchmarks and create salary ranges for the wide variety of positions at Imagine!.

Of course, on the individual level, we need to be flexible and account for experience, tenure, and quality of work. Some employees may find themselves closer to the top of the salary range, while others may find themselves closer to the lower end of the salary range.

We do offer what we consider to be a very generous benefits package. We can’t compete, salary-wise, with the for-profit world, and use our benefits to help to offset the smaller salary an employee (at all levels of the organization) accepts by coming to work here. It is the least we can do for the many dedicated people who work here not because they want to earn the most money they possibly can, but instead want to make a difference in our community and in the lives of others.

We are open with what we pay executives at Imagine!. You can easily get that information yourself. Clicking on this link will take you to a page on Imagine!’s website, which in turn includes a link to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Official Search for Registered Charities and Fundraisers. Charities that solicit contributions in Colorado and their professional fundraisers are required to register online with the Secretary of State. The Charities and Fundraisers Registration program provides complete public access to these registration documents. The purpose of publicizing this information is to help donors make informed decisions regarding which charitable causes should be supported, to help maintain public trust in charities, and to help charities make informed decisions about contracting with paid solicitors.

From those pages, you can find links to Imagine!’s and the Imagine! Foundation’s Form 990s. These are the federal annual information returns Imagine! and the Imagine! Foundation file with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The 990s also include salary (including benefits) information for the highest compensated employees at Imagine!.

I consider our approach to compensation at Imagine! to be wise, fair, appropriate, and yet another example of our commitment both to our bottom line and especially to the people we serve.

Finally, I want to state emphatically that Imagine! is committed to fiscal responsibility and good stewardship of the funding we receive from all of our many sources, and strive to ensure that the funding is directed as much as possible to serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This commitment is fundamental to all of our staffing and compensation decisions, and is demonstrated by our low administrative costs (around 10% of our overall budget), and even more so by the fact that annual independent audits of our organization (which can be found on our website) indicate Imagine! remains financially sound despite the uncertain environment in which we work.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Technology Tuesday

Recently, a team of University of Colorado Engineering students dropped off a remote-controlled train that can be controlled with a head switch for our friend Toby, who lives at the Charles Family SmartHome. Not only can Toby control it remotely with a head switch, but here's the coolest part: track? There is no track. The train uses line sensors in its nose that allows it to simply follow along a strip of black electrical tape. Easy to set up, easy to break down. All aboard!

PS – learn more about the CU/Imagine! collaboration here.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Good News Friday!

January 29 is just a week away, which means The Imagine! Celebration is rapidly approaching! To get you excited about this spectacular event, I thought I’d share a sneak peek at the amazing items that will be up for bid during the event’s Live Auction. Watch the short video below to get started, then scroll down to learn more about the items.

Can’t see the video? Click here

1. Wine-A-Month Special Selection 
Value: $100 

You will benefit as Liquor Mart's Fine Wine Manager personally selects one bottle of wine each month for one year for top-notch value and quality. 12 bottle total. 

Expires 1/31/2017. 

Donated by: Liquor Mart 

2. California Wine Tour 
Value: $1,650 

Envision rolling hills, towering oaks and lush vineyards. Nestled at the gateway to wine country is La Bellasera luxury boutique hotel in Paso Robles, CA, offering guests an indescribable Central Coast travel experience with 80 world class wineries within ten miles. Includes one King Deluxe room for two people for three nights, a three-day car rental, and $400 in airfare credit. Restrictions apply, and space is subject to availability. 

Expires 11/15/2016. 

Donated by: Cain Travel Group 

3. Gorgeous Greek Island Villa
Value: $8,000 

Enjoy a magical week at a deluxe villa on Lefkas island off the west coast of Greece. Villa sleeps six in three bedrooms with tennis courts, a pool, and breathtaking ocean views. Cross the swing bridge to the mainland where you can explore ancient archeological sites or settle in at your villa and enjoy the island's many offerings including sailing, diving, and windsurfing, or simply soaking up the sun. 

Redeemable in 2017, and timing is flexible but needs to be confirmed with owner as available. Airfare not included. 

Donated by: The Palmos Family 

4 VIP Longmont Brewery Tour 
Value: $2,500 

Your party of eight will start your night off right in the Left Hand Brewing Limo that will take you to four award-winning Longmont breweries for tours, brews, and tasty treats. Breweries include Left Hand Brewing, 300 Suns Brewery & Tasting Room, Grossen Bart Brewery, and Wibby Brewing, who will also provide pizza from Rosalee’s Pizzaria for the party. 

Holidays are excluded and dates are flexible but subject to availability. Expires 1/29/2017

Donated by: Left Hand Brewery, 300 Suns Brewery, Grossen Bart Brewery, Wibby Brewing, Rosalee's Pizzeria 

5. Beach Daycation
Value: $2,000 

Escape to the beach for a day! Whether you prefer to lounge on the beach and build sandcastles, or go boating, water skiing, tubing, or fishing, you will find all this and more at your private Beach Daycation in Longmont at Pelican Shores. You will also be treated to a cookout and beverages and it is sure to be a summer day to remember! 

For up to 10 guests, redeemable in 2016 with flexible dates arranged with donor. 

Donated by: Dale Charles, Katie Hawkins 

6. Buff VIP Experience
Value: Priceless 

You and three of your favorite Buffs fans will receive four premium seats to a Pac 12 Conference game with a parking pass for the 2017 basketball season. You will also be invited to an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the basketball facility and be able to watch the basketball team practice for their next big win! But wait! There's more. Enjoy lunch with Coach Tad Boyle. 

Game date and lunch to be arranged with donor. 

Donated by: University of Colorado Athletic Department 

7. Playa Viva Eco Trip
Value: $2,000 

Get away for a four night stay for up to two adults and two children in a luxury EcoCasita at beautiful Playa Viva - a sustainable boutique hotel located 30 minutes from Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa (ZIH) in Mexico. Enjoy 200 acres of private reserve with close to a mile of pristine beach, a turtle sanctuary, archeological sites and much more. Your stay includes airport transfers, all meals and non-alcoholic beverages. Playa Viva is committed to preserving the cultures, traditions, communities, species and habitats that make this planet worth exploring. You will find out more about yourself, and the world, at Playa Viva. 

Holiday weeks excluded and valid through 1/29/2017. Airfare not included. 

Donated by: Playa Viva 

8. Cape Cod Getaway
Value: $3,500 

Make memories in this spacious 5-bedroom Cape Cod cottage with inviting deck and beautiful gardens located in Orleans, MA. Every activity – beaches, the bay, restaurants and shopping – is within 5 minutes, including one of the best beaches in the country – Nauset Beach. This picturesque home can comfortably accommodate 10 people and is fully equipped with beach chairs, boogie boards, toys, umbrellas, and all you need to enjoy lobster dinners and entertain inside and out. 

Available for one week in September or October 2016. Airfare not included. 

Donated by: George & Kristin Karakehian 

9. African Safari
Value: $3,500 

Your unforgettable adventure starts with five days and nights for two people at the beautiful four star Manyatta Rock Camp in the Kwa Madwala private game reserve. You will be nestled amongst boulders and trees that form a kopje overlooking the private Kwa Madwala Reserve, with magnificent views from the dining deck, bar and private lookout deck of each chalet. All rooms are air conditioned and your stay will include three delicious meals prepared daily by South African chefs and High Tea with cake in the afternoons. Included is one professional ranger guided safari each day and a two hour walking safari with the opportunity to add Microlight air tours, elephant back and horseback safaris and so much more. You are sure to have an unforgettable experience viewing animals, birds, plants and culture unique to this diverse ecological region. Relax in the outdoor swimming pool or schedule a spa treatment – you can tailor your stay to your whims and are sure to make memories to last a lifetime! 

Valid through 1/23/2018. Airfare not included. 

Donated by: African Eyes Travel 

10. Aruba Beach Resort Stay
Value: $3,500 

Spend a luxurious week relaxing at the beautiful four-star Caribbean beachfront resort, Divi Aruba Phoenix Resort. The spacious one-bedroom Master Suite with Jacuzzi sleeps four with a full kitchen, washer & dryer, picture windows, queen sleeper/couch and a private balcony overlooking the azure water. There is something for everyone with beautiful beaches at your doorstep, snorkeling in the pristine waters, two fresh water pools with a swim-up bar, spa and local golf courses. The area is beautiful, the people are friendly and welcoming, and the food is amazing. You can walk to just about everything or easily take a cab and you will find Concierge service available 24/7. This is an ideal spot for a family vacation or a romantic get-away! 

Available February 18-25, 2017. Airfare not included. 

Donated by: Jeff & Judy Gass 

11. Spectacular Snowmass
Value: $15,000 

Stay for seven days in this spectacular Snowmass Village Mountain home with a King Master Suite, two queen masters, and a bunk room with four beds - easily accommodating up to 10 people. Located across from Two Creeks lift with a private ski-run groomed right to your back door. Two 2nd level decks and an outdoor hot tub and patio afford stunning views of the mountains. A fully equipped kitchen, fireplace, and media room ensures the perfect spot for everyone in your group to unwind.

Redeemable for one week in March 2016, including spring break! 

Book Saturday to Sunday from one of the following weeks available: 

Donated by: Mike & Mikhy Ritter 

12. Celebrity Chefs Dinner for 12
Value: Priceless 

Tempt your palate on Sunday, May 15, in Boulder Brands’ Innovation Kitchen. You and your guests will enjoy a lavish meal with wine pairings prepared by not one, but two, celebrity chefs. Chef Hosea Rosenberg, season 5 Top Chef winner and owner of Boulder’s Blackbelly Market, learned from some of the finest including Wolfgang Puck, Kevin Taylor, and Dave Query. Kelly Whitaker, owner of Boulder’s Basta and Denver’s Cart-Driver, sharpened his culinary skills in Switzerland, Italy, and in some of L.A.’s Michelin Star restaurants. They will prepare a scrumptious feast before your eyes in Boulder Brands’ Innovation Kitchen located on Pearl and 16th in Boulder. 

Date is set for Sunday, May 15, 2016, and cannot be changed. 

Donated by: Boulder Brands, Chef Hosea Rosenberg, Chef Kelly Whitaker