My work though the Colorado Institute of Historical Geography is entirely self-funded. Though donations to non-profit organizations enjoy benefits of tax deduction, that is not an element in the business model I follow. I have not sought outside funding, neither through donations nor through external grants.
Reliance on my own resources allows me to maintain my personal balance, free of all commercial restraints. The limits imposed by this model are welcome; modesty of expectations is life-sustaining. I have long welcomed the opportunity to be free of all need for "monetization." Simple priorities, though not always easy.
Within that context, there are two sources of financial support I have long been open to: honoraria for speaking/conference/presentations, to cover out-of-pocket expenses; and proceeds of occasional publications and graphic arts projects. As I look ahead, I envision increased usage of these media to share my discoveries and insights. Yet this will require more focus on financial realities, and my life is not yet ready for this step.
Guide this work.
Within that context, my projects and activities through COIHG are determined by the needs of the communities I serve. While overall perspectives, values, and methods remain constant, there's a necessary fluidity to where they are marshalled and employed. Use of my limited resources is always a responses to observed dynamics in our communities. There's always a local element to them.
Key to this all my ability to develop the trust of the people in the communities I'm part of. I listen carefully to sense the heartbeat of the Place, and venture into offering support without preconceived notions of what the outcomes may be--those are always developed organically, over the course of time, as events unfold.
The chronicle of our work is in the blogs and social media sites we regularly use as our working journals. Communities are complex, living entities. Our learning never stops. Nor does our commitment to service.
The history and roots of the mountain west in America are still being explored, uncovered, and documented. We are a young culture; our story even now being told. You can recognize the importance of this work by following the stories as we discover them.
Do you have a book club, neighborhood group, coffee klatsch, study session you'd like me to share my work with? In my lifetime of serving communities, I've shared with hundreds of gatherings, large and small.
Here's my goal.
In these days of polarization, we need reminders of our shared stories. With so many forces that keep us apart, our history binds us as one people.
For today and for our children and grandchildren, the hope I carry is of making a record of our unique western culture, capturing what remains of our early settlement history before the stories disappear forever.
The stories are timeless. They carry the essence of universal places.
Information to share with us?
Questions about what we do?
Wondering how you can be a part of our work?
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Colorado Institute of Historical Geography
PO Box N
Fort Collins CO 80522 USA
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Michael O'Neill, PhD