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​Community Engagement Team Unites Grads, Donors

May 26, 2016

For Anna Aranda, giving back to Craig is a given. The spinal cord injury grad joined the Community Engagement Team as a way to serve the place that has given her so much.

“I enjoy being a part of a hard-working group of people who think outside the box and who want to create great experiences for others,” she says.

The Community Engagement Team started in 2014 as a way to involve Craig alumni, staff and community members in the Foundation's work.

“Craig has a dynamic group of friends who are committed to Craig and were asking for ways they could be involved,” says Becky Plunkett, annual giving manager. “The team is a way for us to meet several goals: to keep these folks connected to Craig; to help us steward annual donors in a meaningful way; and to develop a team of individuals who could represent Craig in the community.”

Since its inception, the team of 20 has planned and hosted two block parties for Colorado-area grads, bringing alumni, alumni family members, and staff back to Craig for a reunion and networking. The team also has helped with Foundation activities, including making phone calls to thank Colorado Gives Day donors, writing thank-you notes and filming video messages. Several members also have served as field representatives at Community Health Charities workplace giving fairs and have been featured in Foundation solicitations. The group meets monthly in the Foundation offices.

Some members were referred to the group by their doctors or therapists as a means to meet therapy goals of reengaging in the community following their injury, says Plunkett. “The team members really like each other and are invested in helping each other in their rehabilitation efforts or day-to-day lives.”

Aranda agrees. “I think it's healthy for you mentally and emotionally to have someone understand you on a common ground,” she says. “It has been that way for me when connecting with other alumni who understand the process.”

Plunkett has enjoyed seeing the group bond over the last two years.

“Seeing them build community within the group — all while assisting the Foundation — has been one of the best parts of my job.”

If you are interested in joining the Community Engagement Team, contact Becky Plunkett at 303-789-8166 or

Craig has given me a lot over the years, and the Community Engagement Team allows me to give something back. I like that CET focuses on the Foundation, its purpose and everything it provides to patients and graduates.

Jo Donlin Community Engagement Team member and Craig alumna