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Friday, September 24, 2021

El Pomar Foundation distributes an additional $175,000 in COVID-19 aid to nonprofits

By Megan Sanders
El Pomar Foundation

Since March, 26 organizations in southwestern Colorado have received grants from El Pomar Foundation’s Colorado Assistance Fund (CAF). 

Now entering into its third phase, the fund was activated in March to provide immediate aid to nonprofit organizations and government entities meeting basic human needs and supporting access to appropriate health care for individuals and communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initial $1 million CAF funding was established by the foundation’s trustees on March 9, within a week of Colorado’s first confirmed case of COVID-19, and supported 175 unique organizations in 48 counties of Colorado with grant amounts ranging from $1,000 to $25,000. 

Grants supported a range of emergency services such as food banks, rent and utility assistance, and medical supplies. Organizations for this initial deployment of funding, CAF Phase I, were nominated for funding by public health departments or members of El Pomar Foundation’s regional councils. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Colorado, regional council members have been in regular contact with El Pomar staff and Trustees to provide firsthand insight regarding their communities’ most critical and emergent needs. In CAF Phase I, 17 organizations in the Southwest region (Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan counties) received grants totaling $73,500.

In May, with the original $1 million disbursed, El Pomar trustees approved another $1.1 million for a second phase of the CAF. Each of El Pomar’s 11 regional councils recommended strategies for the allocation of $100,000 in their multicounty regions of Colorado. The focus of these CAF Phase II dollars was to encourage and support the eventual return of healthy, functioning communities across Colorado as they emerge from the COVID-19 crisis. In CAF Phase II, 13 organizations in the Southwest region received grants totaling $100,000. 

Local organizations receiving grants include the following:

• Archuleta County School District 50JT — $10,000 — teacher pay and technology support.

• Pagosa Peak Open School — $10,000 — academic remediation due to COVID-19.

Now, in December, with the continued surge of COVID-19 infections, El Pomar has activated a third phase of its CAF to grant an additional $1 million statewide. CAF Phase III is distributing funds across Colorado in support of nonprofits, counties and communities that are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases and increased public health restrictions resulting in financial hardship. 

One of the most pressing needs continues to be food assistance throughout the state of Colorado, so the focus of this third phase of funding is food insecurity and support for organizations that provide food assistance to those in need.

Fourteen organizations in the southwest region are receiving grants totaling $75,000 through CAF Phase III. Grant checks were mailed on Dec. 8.

Local organizations receiving grants include the following:

Archuleta Seniors Inc. — Pagosa Springs — $5,000 — food assistance for seniors.

Community Foundation serving Southwest Colorado — Durango — $2,500 — food assistance through Pine River Shares in Bayfield.

Community United Methodist Church — Pagosa Springs — $7,500 — food assistance through five food pantry partners.

Loaves and Fishes of Archuleta County — Pagosa Springs — $5,000 — food assistance.

These second and third phases of El Pomar’s 2020 COVID-19 Colorado Assistance Fund now bring the total funding this year for statewide assistance to $3.1 million, and mark the seventh and eighth times El Pomar Foundation has dedicated a Colorado Assistance Fund. 

Prior to the activation of three phases this year for COVID-19 support, the five previous funds were activated during and in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and distributed more than $5 million between 2008 and 2012. 

To view a full listing of El Pomar’s funds and grant-making areas, please visit our website at https://www.elpomar.org/grant-making/.

El Pomar Foundation is one of the largest and oldest private foundations in Colorado. 

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