Boulderites donate stimulus checks to charity

Why and a list of local charities to consider donating to

By Paul Hagey Apr 27 2020

On the morning April 16, Jill Pilon and her husband Mark Hoefer, who live in Boulder’s Melody Heights neighborhood, discussed what they should do with their combined $2,400 federal stimulus checks they recently recieved under the $2 trillion CARES Act.

Should they use it to pay down some debt? Save for a trip? Replace the living room rug?

Mark Hoefer and Jill Pilon

Because Jill, a special ed teacher at Erie’s Red Hawk Elementary, and Mark, an instructor at CU, both continued working from home at full pay, and because they know some families are struggling to pay rent and put food on the table, they discussed donating a portion or all of it to a charity.

That morning Jill went onto a neighborhood social media site, where she considered asking neighbors for suggestions about where to donate, when she saw a post from Rural North Boulder neighborhood residents Jon Rush and his wife Alice Renouf asking for suggestions for where to donate their $2,400 stimulus.

She thanked Jon in a private message and perused the over 70 suggestions neighbors made for charities for Jon and his wife to donate to. Jill and her husband, who have lived in Boulder for approximately two decades, then did their own research, checked with close friends and family members who may be in need, and then selected where they would send their donations.

Jill and Mark ended up giving $400 each to:

And $300 each to:

They then dipped into savings to give $250 to Food Bank of the Rockies.

The whole idea

Jon, who has lived in Boulder since 1949, says Jill’s giving was the whole point of his post: to inspire others to give. Jill says she and her husband were planning to give anyway, as it turns out, but the post helped spur their action.

Jon and Alice

Jon, a retired research administrator at NCAR and CU, and his wife Alice, who has run the Colorado China Council for many years and is also an acrylic painter, both near 70 years old, live off of Social Security and retirement savings.

While the stock market dip has impacted their retirement accounts, Jon says, “The pandemic hasn’t really financially impacted us.” Like all of us, they had ways to use the money: pay down some debt, apply it to future travel expenses, give some to support their pregnant daughter in California.

But when he and Alice saw the $2,400 bump in their bank accounts, they felt the desire to help local families in need. “We know many who are severely hurt by the pandemic,” Jon says.

He and his wife have the charities they donate to. He made the April 16 Nextdoor post not truly to get suggestions, but to inspire fellow neighbors to consider donating their stimulus checks to charities, as well, if they could afford to.

Jon and Alice gave $500 each to:

For the remaining $400, they held back to give to those who reached out to them directly based on the post. As of Saturday, they had received four requests. Jon asked for verification and only heard back from one person, who he gave $150. He and his wife held back $250 for other requests; if none came, they would add to the charities.

List of local charities Nextdoor neighbors suggested on Jon’s post

Header Image: Compilation of a few Boulder charities, with main image sourced from Sister Carmen Community Center.

Paul Hagey

Paul Hagey is BLDRfly’s founder and editor. When not wrangling video, audio and words in the name of story, he’s riding his mountain bike, trail running and hanging with his awesome wife Jen and their young daughter.