The United Way of Southwest Colorado will receive a $20,000 grant as part of the $1 million Colorado Assistance Fund II established by El Pomar Foundation to address the continuing emergency needs of Colorado residents as a result of the widespread economic crisis. El Pomar created the first installment of the Colorado Assistance Fund last year, distributing $1 million in November 2008 to more than 90 nonprofit organizations throughout Colorado. For this second round of funding through CAF II, an additional $1 million is being distributed to more than 120 nonprofits statewide. Colorado Springs-based El Pomar Foundation worked with local advisory councils in rural areas of the state to determine which organizations could help provide immediate support in two categories: emergency human services (food, clothing, shelter, rental and utilities assistance, etc.) and abuse prevention services (domestic violence, child abuse and substance abuse). The latter category represents an expansion of the fund’s scope to address an area of need that is growing due to the economic crisis.
Mary Jo Coulehan, executive director 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 southwest Colorado. El Pomar’s Southwest Regional Council regularly advises El Pomar trustees on community needs and provided recommendations for CAF II grants. On behalf of the foundation, the Council will give a check to the United Way of Southwest Colorado for $20,000. Of this amount, $5,000 will be distributed to nonprofits providing direct human service and prevention programs in Archuleta County.
“The need for basic services in Archuleta County has increased significantly in 2009,” said Coulehan. “Organizations such as Loaves and Fishes have seen recipient numbers skyrocket over 60 percent from 2008. Food baskets issued in the community have also increased by more than 50 percent since 2008. With assistance from El Pomar Foundation, organizations such as these will be able to continue serving residents of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County.”
United Way of Southwest Colorado received a $15,000 grant through CAF I in November.
The United Way of Southwest Colorado raises funds throughout Archuleta, La Plata, Dolores, Montezuma and San Juan counties, and through volunteers determines which nonprofit organizations are best meeting local needs throughout the region. “More people than ever are asking for help,” said Tim Walsworth, executive director of United Way of Southwest Colorado. “Many of these are individuals and families who have not asked for assistance previously.”
El Pomar Foundation plans to distribute the entire $1 million Colorado Assistance Fund before Aug. 31.