Peak & Prairie
August / September 1999
ICO Forms Unique Alliance
By Hank Lamport, Denver ICO
The Denver Inner City Outings (ICO) has teamed with four other non-profits agencies in the metropolitan area along with a for-profit car rental company to form an innovative transportation collective. The collective, which is composed of the Sierra Club, Earth Links, the Front Range Earth Force, the Denver Waldorf School and the Archdiocese of Denver’s Samaritan House, will collaborate with the Front Range Auto Rental to solve the persistent problem of bringing the outdoor experience to the youth of Denver. The W. M. B. Berger Foundation of Denver, the financial sponsor, recognized the innovative tone of the collective’s proposal by awarding the fiscal contribution earlier this year. By directing the foundation’s money to Front Range Auto Rental, the collective’s members will be able to significantly subsidize their transportation budgets.
How does it work? Front Range Auto Rental will use the foundation’s money to purchase a 15-passenger vehicle to supplement its existing fleet. Additionally, each collective member will be assessed a $20.00 usage fee each time a vehicle is used. The revenue from those activities will allow the rental company to exchange a used vehicle for a new one every nine months thus allowing the collective members to be driving low- mileage vans throughout the life of the accord. Insurance, maintenance and storage are all responsibilities of the rental company. The result of this activity allows the Sierra Club to legally circumvent the club’s proscription against special vehicle ownership. Members of the collective will be entitled to 250 days of use of 15 passenger vans or their equivalent throughout a 12-month period.
This arrangement is a win/win situation for everyone. In the short run, it appears that the non-profit agencies have solved the structural problem of devoting a substantial portion of their operating budgets to transportation. The rental company is satisfied because it is providing valuable community support to the non-profits groups and will be able to realize a reasonable return on their investment. The sponsoring foundation is protected should the agreement falter due to the self-renewing fund and a regulating contract which allows the foundation to have a claim on resources equal to its’ donation.
There are numerous potential long-term benefits for the members of the collective. The local subsidy to the local ICO’s operating budget is $6,000.00. In addition, there is a viable possibility for smoother cooperation in operations and development between the four groups. The foundation has expressed an interest in modeling this program with other non-profit organizations in the metropolitan area. Also, the collective’s members are in the gratifying situation of being able to expand their programs significantly. Finally, the ICO will investigate whether the program is applicable to any of the other 45 ICO cities.
Please try to show your support for this creative effort by patronizing Front Range Auto Rental whenever possible. You can find a discount coupon in this issue that can be claimed when reserving a vehicle at any of Front Range’s metropolitan locations.
If you have any questions about the project, or if you are interested to work in bringing ICO youngsters into a new relationship, please contact Hank Lamport via the club on 303-861-8819 or at home on 303-388-1199.
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