Pagosa nonprofit receives El Pomar grant

Pagosa Outreach Connection received a grant last week as part of a $1 million fund established by El Pomar Foundation to address the mounting emergency needs of Colorado residents as a result of the widespread economic crisis.

El Pomar created the Colorado Assistance Fund last month, then worked with local advisory councils in rural areas of the state to determine which organizations could help provide the kind of immediate assistance for food, clothing, shelter and emergency services that is in increasing demand throughout the state.

Mary Jo Coulehan, of the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce, serves on El Pomar’s Southwest Regional Council, which is made up of community leaders representing five counties in southwestern Colorado. The Southwest Regional Council regularly advises El Pomar trustees on community needs and provided recommendations for Colorado Assistance Fund grants. On behalf of the foundation, Coulehan delivered a $5,000 check from El Pomar to United Way of Southwest Colorado, which will then pass the funds along to Pagosa Outreach Connection.

Pagosa Outreach Connection is an alliance between faith based groups, community organizations, and government agencies in Archuleta County. The coalition provides emergency assistance with rent and utility payments. Pagosa Outreach Connection is a partner organization of United Way of Southwest Colorado.

“We feel very fortunate to have a strong network of advisers throughout the state,” said El Pomar Foundation Chairman and CEO William J. Hybl. “Their expertise and local knowledge enabled us to not only make quick decisions, but also the kind of decisions that will truly have an impact.”

In addition to the grant made to Pagosa Outreach Connection, Archuleta County will also benefit from a Colorado Assistance Fund grant of $220,000 awarded to Colorado Springs-based Care and Share Food Bank. At least $25,000 of the Care and Share grant is earmarked for soup kitchens and food pantries in southwestern Colorado.

El Pomar Foundation plans to distribute the entire $1 million Colorado Assistance Fund before Thanksgiving. More than 90 different nonprofit organizations throughout the state are slated to receive grants through the Fund.

For more information about Pagosa Outreach Connection contact the Department of Human Services in Pagosa Springs at 264-2182. For more information about the Colorado Assistance Fund, contact Josie Burke, El Pomar Foundation director of communications at (719) 577-5750 or