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Donations to Dark Skies

As an IRS 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization, donations to us are tax-deductible. Donations can be sent to our mailing address: Dark Skies, P.O. Box 634, Westcliffe, CO 81252, and they will be acknowledged in writing shortly thereafter. Donations other than monetary should be discussed with the president, see Members page link button to the left.

Note: the annual opportunity below is usually from about mid-November
to December 31 each year, during other times follow instructions above.

Special Opportunity to Magnify Your Donation

The Wet Mountain Valley Community Foundation will announce the launch of the 2016 Spirit Campaign on November 17, 2016. The Spirit Campaign is a program of matching gifts awarded by the Community Foundation based on individual donations to non-profit organizations (including Dark Skies) in Custer County. Founded in 2004, the Spirit Campaign has generated over $2,000,000 in private donations and matching funds provided by the Community Foundation. The Spirit Campaign allows residents to focus their donations on non-profits of their choosing while knowing a matching gift will be awarded by the Community Foundation.

Donors wishing to take advantage of matching funds for their favorite local organizations should make use the donor form available on the Community Foundation website at <www.wmvcf.org>in a downloadable .pdf file format.

Checks should be made out to the Wet Mountain Valley Community Foundation, not the non-profit organization and the amount gifted should be noted on the donor form. All checks MUST be received no later than December 31 to receive matching gifts from the Community Foundation. Any checks received after December 31 will be accepted and credited to the non-profit organization, but no matching gift will be applied. Also see the note in red above to be sure of the time period to verify that the Spirit Campaign in open for donations.

The maximum amount that will be matched is $1000 per family and/or business. If the Foundation receives total contributions of more than $30,000 or less, the private donations will be matched dollar-to-dollar. If the total exceeds $30,000, then the matching portion will be pro-rated.Donations may also be made directly to the Community Foundation Spirit Campaign to increase the matching fund and further stretch the community’s charitable dollars. Donations to churches through the Spirit Campaign are not allowed under IRS regulations. For more information, call 719-783-2361.

To view the Dark Skies page on the Foundation website, click here.

Donations Built the Observatory at The Bluff Park

Dark Skies has been given permission to build an astronomical observatory at The Bluff Park on the west end of Main Street. It has been named the Smokey Jack Observatory (SJO) in honor of the founder of Dark Skies in 1998. The location is over the west edge below the sightline from Adams Blvd. and down about twenty feet on the southwest side (near the bank building). It is 12'x12' with a roll-off metal roof. With the roof on, it appears as a low, small rustic cabin. With the roof rolled off, it will expose the telescope and occupants to the full sky. The telescope, which has been donated, is a Celestron 14" Schmidt-Cassigrain reflector with a mount that can track the stars. Around the SJO will be a graded area for folks to set up their own telescopes temporarily, especially during public star parties.
   Due to the generosity of local merchants (Paul Wenke from Ace Hardware, Frank Oberlin from Critical Path Metal Works, Kent Beach from Beach Ready Mix Concrete, and DD Wireless), all the construction materials and Internet access have been donated-in-kind! Plus volunteers John Peleaux, construction leader, with Mike Liebman, Bob Remington, Bob Tobin, Bob Huestis, and Jack Naff did all the construction work. Dedication of the SJO was on November 13, 2015.

Smokey Jack Observatory under construction-4
The SJO was operational for the lunar eclipse viewing party on September 27, 2015.