$37K keeps Hopewest hopeful

A $37,357 donation from the Conrado Family Fund was awarded to Hopewest at the end of last year. | SOPHIA GOEDERT PHOTO

MEEKER | Fifth-generation Meeker natives, the Conrado family has always been involved in giving back to the community in various ways. The most known contribution has always been providing construction services for projects in and around the town. Meeker Sand and Gravel, run by siblings Dan and Katie Conrado, has always come through, whether it’s pouring concrete or delivering loads of sand and dirt to various locations. They always seem to make an appearance in the annual Rio Blanco County 4-H Livestock Sale supporting kids and their projects. This year however, the family decided to go above and beyond with a $37,357 donation to HopeWest Meeker.

It was a few years back when Joe Conrado, Katie’s father, joined the board of Western Colorado Community Foundation. The foundation works with donors who are looking to find a way to give back to their communities. While on the board, Joe was able to create a fund of his own to be distributed to different non-profit organizations in Meeker. This fund is set up to perpetually earn money through interest. Each year they get a certain amount of money they are allowed to donate, and this year was by far the biggest donation they were able to give out.

“We wanted to do something for the community that has done so much for us,” said Joe Conrado. A donation to HopeWest was the family’s way of giving back. They aimed to show their gratitude for the program as well as showing that it is very much needed in this community. Their hope with the donation is that HopeWest can continue to operate as usual, even without their annual gala.

“HopeWest offers so much more than what people consider you do. The support you’re giving families and the difference you’re making in the community is amazing. We wanted to help continue that, especially this year,” Katie Conrado explained.

After selecting HopeWest to receive the family fund, Katie called Program Director Solveig Olson to share the news.

“I was writing down the numbers as she was telling me them. I was looking down at the number, thinking ‘Did I write this down correctly?’ I ended up having to read the number back to her,” Olson said. Normally the fundraising galas bring in an average of $35,000-$40,000 a year. So this year they were relying on donations from past sponsors and pop-up fundraisers to help get through the year. The Conrado Family Fund donation matches what HopeWest would make at their annual gala.

“We are so grateful for this extraordinary financial support from the Conrado family, and their commitment. It is so generous, and honors the amazing work of our small but mighty staff and incredible volunteers in Meeker. HopeWest Meeker exists solely due to the commitment of the community through their gifts of time and donations so that no one has to pay for services. It is truly a blessing,” said HopeWest CEO Christy Whitney.

The Conrado family hopes that this donation will inspire others to donate to local organizations if they are able to. “We are fortunate to have a program like HopeWest in our community. We want to keep HopeWest here for as long as possible,” the family said.

By Sophia Goedert – Special to the Herald Times

CORRECTION: In the print edition and original online post, we inadvertently omitted Dan Conrado as co-owner of Meeker Sand & Gravel. The HT regrets the oversight.