Friday, February 22, 2008

Corporate contributions rise

Corporate contributions among 189 major corporations and corporate foundations in the U.S. and abroad amounted to $10.2 billion in 2006, up from $9.8 billion in 2005, the Conference Board reported in a recent survey of corporate giving to worthy causes.

Total U.S. giving among the 189 corporations polled was $7.9 billion, which represents 62 percent of the overall estimated $12.72 billion in corporate charitable giving in the nation in 2006. Median U.S. contributions were $10.7 million, up from $8.7 million in 2005.

Reflecting the increased global reach of business operations, international grantmaking is becoming more significant to large companies, with overseas charitable contributions at $2.3 billion in 2006.

Health and human services continue to be the top-ranking recipient of corporate support in 2006, with education gaining as a beneficiary category for companies. For the first time since 1999, survey participants reported an upturn in the share of U.S. contributions to education, up 7.1 percent from 2005, to 17.8 percent.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Advice on home selling and open houses

Selling a house can be a challenge because so many sellers are competing for buyers in a soft market. Open houses are one tried-and-true technique for helping to promote homes on the market. Here's a link to some suggestions from a real estate veteran on how to get the most out of your open house:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Liquor store independent of Costco

When is Costco Liquor not Costco Liquor? When it’s with Colorado Springs’ first Costco membership warehouse. The Springs Costco can’t carry liquor because of Colorado law. (A bill that would have allowed grocery and convenience stores to sell wine and full-strength beer failed last week in the Senate Judiciary Committee.) There is a liquor store adjoining the new Costco, but it is not part of Costco. “It’s a third party completely independent of Costco,” said Springs Costco manager John Wynns.

Springs firm chosen to design downtown arts district

Fennell Group of Colorado Springs will serve as the architectural firm for Springs developer Chuck Murphy's proposed $18 million arts district, which is envisioned to be built as part of the southwest downtown urban renewal project. The district is planned north of Colorado Avenue and west of Sierra Madre Street.

“Fennell Group’s lead architect, Jim Fennell, is a longtime advocate of ‘green’ building and the principles of smart growth and he has utilized forward-thinking New Urban principles of neighborhood development in this project,” Murphy said.

The Downtown Arts District will include live-work lofts for 25 to 40 artists who will live, create and sell their work on site. The district also will be promoted as an artist’s market and tourist attraction. Fennell Group’s design focused on the theme of Colorado’s bull elk and proposes a pedestrian-oriented “festival” street as the central artery.
The district will be designed to include an observation tower with mountain and city views, a water/fountain entry, spaces for mixed uses such as a restaurant, bar, cafĂ©, arts and educational organizations, green space and a seasonal vendor’s park. It will also include a foundry for artists producing metal sculpture.
"Chuck and I want to give our area artists the type of support they often feel they don’t receive here locally, and to establish Colorado Springs as a major player in the state and national art market," said Steven Mullens, Murphy's partner in the development. “As a tourist attraction we see this rising to the level of our finest attractions, such as the Air Force Academy and Garden of the Gods.”
Members of an architectural selection committee that selected Fennell Group included Chuck Miller and Jim Rees, Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority consultants; longtime downtown activist, business owner and authority member Judy Noyes; Beth Kosley, executive director of the Downtown Partnership advocacy group; and Tim Siebert, a member of N.E.S. Inc. a Springs planning firm.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Budget opens new vehicle rental facility

Budget Rent A Car System Inc. has opened a new rental location at 384 Garden of the Gods Road. The expansion is part of a nationwide effort to move into neighborhoods.

The facility offers free pickup and drop-off services within a five-mile radius, unlimited mileage, free roadside assistance and a selection of vehicles to rent, including minivans, sport-utility vehicles and 12-passenger vans.

The store is open Sundays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mondays through Fridays 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The phone number is 598-3344.

Budget Rent a Car System Inc. has 1,800 car rental locations. The company also operates Budget Truck Rental and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Avis Budget Group.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Costco memberships

Colorado Springs’ first Costco opens Wednesday morning, but if you’re a Costco newcomer you don’t have to wait until then to buy a membership card. You can sign up now at the front of the building at the southeast corner of Barnes Road and Powers Boulevard. A steady stream of people were joining Saturday afternoon. Membership costs range from $50 for individual (Gold Star) and business, and $100 for executive.