Arula Staff (present and former) at Founded in FoCo 2024


Founded in FoCo has done it again! This year the event expanded across the entire week of March 4th – 8th was hosted at the spacious Fort Collins Senior Center off of Raintree Drive and offered four different tracks throughout the week for attendees to participate in along with a variety of workshops, networking opportunities and social engagements. Overall, there were one hundred plus sessions and speakers to pick and choose from for all business professionals ranging from solopreneurs/ freelancers, nonprofits, small businesses to builders and more.

One of the new things that stood out to me about this year’s Founded in FoCo were the different and optional ways you could register to attend:

  • General Admission – $20: Included 3 days of sessions, coffee and networking and access to the closing party
  • Community Champion – $35: Full event access included, along with special recognition for choosing this option since it’s also a “buy one, give one” where this ticket choice would offset another attendee that may be unable to pay
  • Pay What You Can – $0-$20: This was the option that Community Champions and Sponsors helped with and used a sliding scale to eliminate barriers in attending and participating in Founded in FoCo

This was a really great addition to Founded in FoCo as I can imagine the costs for something of this magnitude isn’t cheap, and helps to build toward community enhancement by providing this conference each year.

While our blog last year focused on a few staff members’ favorite sessions, this year we’ll be focusing on the sessions that Arula staff participated in specifically, as well as hearing what their experiences were like. So let’s get started with Kendra!

For-profit panel at Founded in FoCo 2024

Building Strong Partnerships for Business Growth

Session Speakers: Kendra Kellogg, Robert Crow, Michelle Vance, and Rina Bindi
Moderated by: Eric McClure 

Kendra Kellogg, CEO of Arula Consulting, shared this about her experience this year: 

“This year’s Founded in FoCo was the best yet! The expanded nonprofit track attracted many more people and allowed for a much richer networking experience. The overlap with the for-profit track also allowed for networking crossover that doesn’t typically happen!

This year, I participated in a panel discussion in the for-profit track called “Building Strong Partnerships for Business Growth.” This panel focused on practical strategies for identifying potential partners, nurturing relationships, and maximizing the benefits of partnerships as well as some of the risks that need to be carefully managed. I was joined by 3 other panelists, each with their own diverse backgrounds and areas of business. I was very excited to bring the perspectives of nonprofits to this discussion and further encourage collaboration between nonprofits and for-profit businesses for the good of the whole community.


The panel really highlighted that partnerships are ubiquitous in businesses, the community, and everyday life – whether they are formal contractual agreements or just two parties working together for a common purpose. At the end of the day, they are a relationship between people and many times are guided by human emotions and opinions. All the panelists agreed that understanding and accepting this is the first step in starting a successful partnership. I hope that this panel can be expanded on in the future and bring in more discussion about nonprofit/for-profit partnerships!”

Arula staff presenting Innovative Grants session at Founded in FoCo 2024

Innovative Grant Strategies: Writing & Literature

Session Speakers: Shannon Stutzman and Alex Koenigsberg

Alex Koenigsberg, Founder of Arula Consulting, shared this about his session presenting:

“Founded in FoCo, an event dedicated to fostering growth and collaboration within our community, once again proved to be a worthwhile experience, especially during the Nonprofit track day on Tuesday, March 5th. This year, I had the privilege of leading a Grant Writing class alongside my co-presenter Shannon Stutzman. Our session aimed to demystify the grant writing process, offering both broad themes and specific strategies to enhance the effectiveness of grant proposals.

The class was a vibrant exchange of ideas, underscored by the remarkable projects participants are spearheading within our community. Shannon’s adeptness at navigating unexpected questions contributed significantly to the richness of our discussion, making the session both informative and engaging. This wasn’t my first presentation at Founded in FoCo, but the unique energy and collective ambition of this year’s attendees left a notable impression.

Reflecting on our session, I believe the format could evolve into an even more dynamic, interactive workshop. This change would allow for real-time application of the principles we discuss, fostering a more hands-on learning environment. 

Given the opportunity, I will eagerly contribute to Founded in FoCo again, possibly exploring new topics that align with the community’s evolving interests and needs. The spirit of collaboration and the drive for community improvement that Founded in FoCo encapsulates are truly inspiring, making it an event I look forward to being part of in the future.”

Shannon Stutzman, Nonprofit Strategist with Arula, added on: “This year at Founded in FoCo was an actively engaging and thought provoking experience for me. I was able to attend a few sessions that discussed topics through new lenses and provided an opportunity for discussion with professionals in their specific fields. I had the privilege to present with Alex Koenigsberg, which led to a dynamic discussion and interactive workshop on the grants process and revamping the traditional grant experience. The community oriented nature of the event led to a warmly engaging environment that welcomes everyone. I would love the opportunity to attend future Founded in FoCo events and collaborations.”

Events Panel for Founded in FoCo 2024

Fundraising Events Panel: Don’t Throw Just “Another” Gala

Session Speakers: Kerry Riley, Elise Carver, and Nathan Scott
Moderator: Alex Koenigsberg


This session was moderated by Arula Consulting’s Founder, Alex Koenigsberg, and focused on the changes in the fundraising sector of nonprofits with key session speakers Kerry Riley (Special Events Contractor, Arula), Elise Carver (Executive Director, Hope Lives!), and Nathan Scott (Community Relations Specialist, Foothills Gateway). This dynamic group of panelists dove into the art of event planning, and offered some really invaluable tips on how to level up gatherings meant for fundraising that weren’t just one and the same.

Some great examples came from Kerry on her work with FoCo TopDog which is an innovative charity fundraiser for the Northern Colorado Wildlife Center. They involve man’s best friends and their owners in a series of fun competitions (and social engagement for their fur babies) for the chance to win FoCo’s TopDog prize–being featured on a can of beer from our town’s own beloved Odell’s Brewery! This is a great example of taking something that’s been done before (dog competitions and beer) and utilizing it in a way that’s new and creative. You can learn more about FoCo TopDog and how you and your pooch can participate here.

Elise and Nathan also had some amazing stories of their experiences with events and fundraising that had the audience hooked and nodding along. One story Nathan shared could only ever come from the adventures that an event coordinator experiences in their career, and that had to do with kites, a local park, police tape, and still ensuring that the show must go on! I know for a fact that I couldn’t recite it in the same engaging way Nathan did, so I’ll let your imagination fill in the blanks (or better yet, contact him and ask!), but it was a learning experience for him that I think resonated with the rest of the listeners in the room. 

So whether you’re aiming to engage new donors, bring in business sponsors, or celebrating the achievements of your organization, this panel helped attendees with a starting point to expand their strategies in order to design memorable experiences that will surely leave a lasting impact for their supporters.

In a Nutshell

Just from an experience standpoint as an attendee, this being my (Christina’s) second Founded in FoCo, it was a resounding success! It has grown so much since the 2023 event and I am so excited to see what Founded in FoCo’s plans will be for their future conferences!

To end this blog, I want to share a special “guest”, former Arula employee Kaila Bryner and her experience this year:

“This was my second time at Founded in FoCo, and it’s always such a great experience because it’s an opportunity to be surrounded with entrepreneurs and key decision makers in the Fort Collins community. The organizers and volunteers of this event do a great job curating a fun, informative event, and the speakers offer a wide variety of education and thought provoking discussion surrounding their area of expertise. When I attended the event this year, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride and gratitude for the diverse and close-knit community that we have cultivated in our City.”