5280’s earliest days were accompanied by plenty of dark nights, nights when I lay awake, knowing that the bank account was empty and there was no way we could produce another issue unless some already overdue advertisers paid their bills, pronto. On the darkest of those nights, I consoled myself with a simple refrain: Even if it all falls apart, even if the naysayers get the last laugh, I know we’ve done a little bit of good in our small corner of the world.
Sure, I hoped our readers had gotten use out of the few stories we’d published. But I took even more solace from the involvement we’d begun with Denver’s many great nonprofits. In one of our first issues, we invited readers to donate travel shampoos to The Gathering Place, a daycenter for homeless women and children. From there, we began supporting a variety of arts, community, and charitable organizations, initially not with cash—which we didn’t have—but most often with free advertising that they used to promote their causes and fund-raisers. This community involvement became a central part of our mission. The other night I tried to add it all up. Our records from those early issues are, as my accountant used to say, “a bit imprecise.” But the tally easily tops 1,000 pages, which translates to a value of more than $7 million.
It wasn’t entirely altruistic. Community sponsorships were the best way for a tiny, underfunded company to get its name known. Frankly, it’s one of the bigger reasons we’re now able to look back and have a story to tell. And it’s also been a powerful motivator for everyone on our team. It’s a strategy I’d recommend to any business, new or old.
This month, we’ll continue that tradition by hosting our popular Single in the City party, which promises to be a great evening. But the best part is that we’ll be donating proceeds from ticket sales to Brandon Center, a Volunteers of America emergency shelter for battered women and children. You can meet our picks for Denver’s most eligible singles (see page 48 of this issue) at Exdo Event Center at 7 p.m. on February 15; find all the details on the party by visiting 5280.com/singles. We hope to see you there.