Courier receives Excellence in Media Award


DENVER—The Valley Courier received the Excellence in Media Award on Monday during the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s annual Colorado Nonprofit Week Awards Luncheon in downtown Denver.

Nearly 700 guests attended the March 6 luncheon honoring the award winners for their lifelong commitment to strengthening Colorado nonprofits.

“Colorado communities thrive when individuals, nonprofits, for-profits and government work together,” said Renny Fagan, President & CEO of Colorado Nonprofit Association. “This year’s honorees exemplify the spirit of cross-sector collaboration, and we are honored to showcase the passion and dedication of each of these individuals.”

Sponsored by the Denver Foundation, the Colorado Non-Profit Association Excellence in Media Award recognizes media outlets and professionals who have shown support of the Colorado nonprofit sector.

Valley Courier Publisher Keith Cerny accepted the award during Monday’s luncheon.

Also present for the event were Keith’s wife Debbie, Courier advertising manager, and La Puente Home Executive Director Lance Cheslock, who nominated Cerny and the Courier for the award.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and several other state officials were also on hand for the event.

“It is an extreme honor to receive this award from the Colorado Non-Profits Association on behalf of the Valley Courier and the 400-plus non-profits in the San Luis Valley,” Cerny said as he accepted the Excellence in Media Award.

“Four of our six counties are among the poorest in the state of Colorado and with roughly 45,000 residents and that type of economics it is amazing that 400 non-profits can survive.”

Many of the local non-profits serve some of the state’s poorest people, and the newspaper and staff promote the needs and events of these providers, Cerny added.

He said he and his wife Debbie have also personally volunteered their time, services and finances to support local non-profits and have served on numerous non-profit boards and committees. For example, Debbie served as the president of the local domestic violence and child abuse agency for five years and currently serves on committees for the Center for Restorative Programs.

Keith Cerny is a 12-year charter member of the San Luis Valley Council for the El Pomar Foundation that annually supports a number of non-profits in the community. In addition to six years on the Creede Repertory Theatre board, he serves on the Adams State University foundation board and the Grizzly Club athletic boosters board, among others, and currently serve as chairman of the local economic development council.

“Sponsored by the Community Resource Center, El Pomar and regional councils in the SLV and Southeast Colorado, we plan to provide technical assistance to eight regionally based nonprofits to support the growth of organizational best practices in fund development,” he said.

The “Nonprofit Resilience Program” will assist strong nonprofits that provide critical resources to local residents by supporting those organizations with grant writing and development efforts.

“Our newspaper will continue to promote such efforts going forward,” Cerny concluded.

Cheslock nominated Cerny “for the commitment he and his team have for comprehensive, over-the-top reporting that highlights everything non-profit in the San Luis Valley.”

Citing Cerny’s willingness to donate the publication of an insert for the annual collaborative “Share the Magic” event, Cheslock stated, “Neither Keith, nor his staff wants anything back, other than a healthy, thriving community that works together.”

He added, “Environmental groups, youth development services, art programs, human services, animal programs…. every cause gets their story told, with inspiration and heart-felt support. Over 600 articles and photo blasts a year reach their 5,000+ subscribers.  Nearly every edition, on and on, has something to inspire, educate, and enlighten our Valley community about the work of non-profit organizations.”  

Cheslock also specifically mentioned the Cernys’ involvement in the community, as they have both served on nonprofit boards and attended “everyone’s fundraiser and make each one of us feel like we are exclusively wonderful in our work for the community.”

Keith Cerny is also a popular emcee at nonprofit events, Cheslock noted.

“I believe the Valley Courier to be un-paralleled in the quality of voice they give to our non-profit community,” Cheslock concluded in his nomination of the Courier for the Excellence in Media award.