Thursday, December 17, 2015 began as any other day in the RMFI office. We were all buckling down to finalize and submit the last of our final project reports, and excitedly anticipating the holiday break, time with friends and family, too much food, and some well-deserved rest and relaxation. What began as a normal day became anything but by mid-afternoon when an inconspicuous FedEx package was delivered to our office. Inside the FedEx box was a green and red gift box with a perfectly wrapped bow around it. Inside the gift box was a stack of envelopes. On the top envelope were the following words:
“A Present for your Presence in Our Community. You may not know me, but I know you – and I’m aware of the good work you do. Please accept this check, no strings attached, to move the needle on your stated task. These special funds are yours to spend…for you from me, your mystery friend. Spread the joy and let me know, how you use this dough.”
Grinning from ear to ear and admittedly shaking a bit, we opened the envelope to see a $10,000 check written out to the Rocky Mountain Field Institute. If that weren’t enough, also included in the package were ten $50 gift certificates for each of the RMFI staff that read:
“You don’t know me, but I know you. I see the good work you do. You make our community brighter, oh boy! Please accept this gift and #COSSpreadJoy.”
The final touch was a beautifully written cover letter printed on silver paper that read:
“Why all the mystery? Because I’m not looking for notoriety or attention – I’m just looking for a way to say happy holidays and thank you for a job well done…I hope you will accept these gifts as a token of my appreciation for the tireless work (which oftentimes goes unnoticed) that you and your colleagues do to make our community a better place.”
Nearly 3 weeks have passed since we received the gift box and our overwhelming sense of gratitude, appreciation, and amazement haven’t diminished in the least. In fact, there hasn’t been a day that we haven’t discussed it in the office, the conversation inevitably ending with big smiles on our faces, and our heads shaking in pure disbelief that RMFI was one of the lucky recipients of this remarkable gift.
As a nonprofit, we operate in a unique environment with regard to funding and support. We are dependent upon the generosity of donors, grant makers, volunteers, and others passionate about our mission to make the work we do possible. Our staff works tirelessly every single day because we firmly believe the work we are doing is positively impacting our community and the world in which we live. The simple fact is that this works costs, and without the generous support from those who also believe in our mission and in giving back, our community and our natural landscapes would suffer.
The words “thank you” simply do not seem to fully convey our feelings of immense gratitude and appreciation, but they’re all we know to say. So, to our “mystery friend” – from the bottom of our hearts, we say THANK YOU. Your gift has become a part of our legacy and your story a part of our history. We take your words to heart and will do our part to keep spreading joy in the wonderful City of Colorado Springs and beyond.