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Tech Gives Back Colorado: Backbone Lends a Helping Hand

This past Thursday, October 7, Backbone PLM participated in Tech Gives Back Colorado. This half-day of service brought together local tech professionals and partners from the surrounding Denver and Boulder regions to give back to the communities in which they live and work. This year’s event saw virtual and in-person volunteering events focusing on diversity, equity, & access.

In conjunction with the national Tech Gives Back initiative, Silicon Valley Bank’s Colorado office partnered with Google, Bolster, Techstars, Foundry Group, and Pledge 1% Colorado to sponsor Tech Gives Back Colorado.

MASA Seed Foundation 

Members of the Backbone team were joined by other local tech startups to visit the MASA Seed Foundation in Boulder, Colorado to help harvest produce in support of immediate needs at local food banks and increase food security for future generations. 

A 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization, the MASA Seed Foundation’s mission is to enable a vibrant, local food community through the implementation of strategic farm and garden designs, organic seed production, and a bio-regional seed bank supported by small-scale production of produce.

The organization focuses on breeding regional and heritage seed varieties, while growing food for the Front Range using sustainable growing practices. In addition to growing and selling organic, locally-grown seeds, MASA offers a community supported agriculture program and farmstand to sell its organic produce throughout the local region. 

In what was a rewarding (and exhausting) day of service, our participants from Backbone were busy planting, weeding, harvesting, landscaping, preparing soil, getting a good sweat on, and sharing lots of laughs with one another. 

They were divided into groups to help other farmhands cover crops in preparation for the fast-approaching chilly temperatures — putting large sheets of fabric over tender greens such as arugula, bok choy, Italian parsley, and spinach, securing them down with bags of dirt. 

After that, the team transitioned to harvest mode, splitting time harvesting potatoes in the field and collecting seeds to be sorted for various crops around the farm. 

Backbone was fortunate enough to sit down for a quick debrief with MASA Seed Foundation founder, Richard Pecoraro, while he spoke about the impact of the great work being done that day by our volunteers. 

“It’s very important for the future that we grow more seeds for the food we’re eating here and build our food system based around the fabric of good seed stocks,” Pecoraro said. “We take everything into consideration when it comes to the plants … how much we can produce, how much we can learn from what we’re growing, and what we can teach to ultimately secure a future.”

Pecoraro went on to discuss the importance of sustainable farming from a social perspective and encouraged anyone and everyone to get involved. “That’s the future, not only the farmers, but the common people — the gardeners, as well. Seeds should become a personal, household item, just like your favorite cereal.” 

Best Buddies Friendship Walk 

For Denver-area residents, volunteers had the chance to participate in a fundraising walk at Sloan’s Lake to support the Best Buddies Rocky Mountain Chapter. Best Buddies is dedicated to creating opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

The Best Buddies community includes, but is not limited to, people with Down syndrome, autism, Fragile X, Williams syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, and other undiagnosed disabilities. Beyond ending the social and physical isolation of individuals living with IDD, the Best Buddies program empowers each member to form meaningful friendships with their peers, secure successful jobs, live independently; improve public speaking, self-advocacy and communication skills; and feel valued by society.

The 2021 friendship walk included an informative info session on Best Buddies and their mission, a walk around the park in support of their fundraising goal, and the opportunity to increase the programmatic impact in Colorado. 

And if you weren’t able to join in person, you could still meet a new buddy virtually and participate in the livestream of the walk, hosted by one of Colorado’s Best Buddies. 

And what’s more, donations are ongoing. If you would like to help bridge the gap between people with and without IDD, you can contribute here.

The Giving Continues

Our local team is proud to give back to the community and take part in volunteer events that truly make a difference in the lives of those around us. The strength and resilience showcased at these events are a reminder of what you can accomplish with a little determination and a foundation #BuiltwithBackbone. 

If you have questions or would like more information on these great organizations and what you can do to get involved, check out their websites listed below, or reach out to Sarah McCarthy.

Best Buddies Rocky Mountain Chapter

MASA Seed Foundation