#CottonwoodConnected centralizes cash, donations in Cottonwood area

Greater Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce CEO Christian Oliva del Rio hosts a short YouTube video promoting and explaining the #CottonwoodConnected theme and promotion of a new organization. Cottonwood Connected is a newly formed 501(c)(3) nonprofit devoted to taking in monetary donations for Cottonwood-area organizations and helping route donated goods to the best destinations. YouTube.com screenshot

Greater Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce CEO Christian Oliva del Rio hosts a short YouTube video promoting and explaining the #CottonwoodConnected theme and promotion of a new organization. Cottonwood Connected is a newly formed 501(c)(3) nonprofit devoted to taking in monetary donations for Cottonwood-area organizations and helping route donated goods to the best destinations. YouTube.com screenshot

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Cottonwood Connected is a newly formed 501(c)(3) nonprofit devoted to taking in monetary donations for Cottonwood-area organizations and helping route donated goods to the best destinations. Courtesy image

COTTONWOOD — Needing both an online space to help centralize donations of cash and goods during the COVID-19 pandemic and something to infuse positive energy into the community, members of a Cottonwood-area task force came up with unique concept.

Cottonwood Connected is a newly formed 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that’s serving as a hub for people who want to donate to a charitable cause in the community, but can’t or don’t want to decide on which one to support. Its website serves as both an online portal to make monetary donations to the organization and to arrange to donate goods through the City of Cottonwood’s Community Resources Program.

Its objective is to help move funds and goods to a variety of area nonprofits efficiently — and there’s already a social media program and prizes being offered to help spur donations.

“We want to see some good news shared,” said Christian Oliva del Rio, the CEO of the Greater Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce who appears in a YouTube video promoting a Cottonwood Connected social media campaign. youtube.com/watch?v=-CjQ7dUbKBo&t=3s

Using the hashtag “#CottonwoodConnected,” social media users are asked to create videos in which they share something positive that happened that day. Those users who create videos and tag at least two of their friends will be entered into a drawing to win a #CottonwoodConnected T-shirt.

Also, anyone who makes a cash donation to the organization of $25 or more will automatically receive a T-shirt.

Oliva del Rio said the organization was formed with the Cottonwood Economic Development Foundation as its fiduciary, but plans will be in motion this week to not only set up a board, but to also add a grant application process through which Cottonwood nonprofits can apply for funds.

“Several people were discussing effective ways to donate funds from their stimulus checks in ways that would really help the community,” Oliva del Rio said. “One of the board’s first steps will be to establish grant criteria.”

Isaac Dudley is a Cottonwood native who happens to be the business development coordinator for the Friends of the Verde River. As a citizen, he asked Cottonwood Mayor Tim Elinski how he could help out during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dudley began serving on the Cottonwood Community Task Force — a group of city, economic, medical, education and faith community leaders dealing with the pandemic on the local level.

“In talking with the mayor, he suggested a campaign like this to get some positive energy going,” Dudley said. “After work-shopping the idea a little bit, some ideas were presented that he liked. And we’ve come up with something that both the city and the Chamber could really buy into — something that reminds us we’re all in this together.”

Dudley said he’s pleased how the video and the campaign has turned out so far.

“It has already generated some positive conversations,” Dudley said.


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