#Celebrating80Years: 2017 marked 80 years of working with Colorado’s nonprofits as they seek to strengthen their communities. Throughout 2018, we will be looking back on this history of the outstanding organizations and the people the Trustees have had the opportunity to support. On the blog you will find a history of the Foundation’s grant making and a representative organization from every year since our founding in 1937.
Lake County is known as the home to Mount Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado and the entire Rocky Mountain range. Over the years, the well-being of the county and its communities has been a priority of the work of El Pomar’s High Country Regional Council, including grants to Advocates of Lake County and Lake County Build A Generation. The Council has been proud to support organizations working hard to improve the well-being of this uniquely beautiful and resilient part of the state.
Grantee Spotlight: Advocates of Lake County & Lake County Build A Generation
Advocates of Lake County was established in 1982 when a group of concerned community members decided to address the high incidence of domestic violence and sexual assault in the county. What started out as a crisis line and office hours in donated space within City Hall has since grown into an organization that provides comprehensive services for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other violent crimes. The organization now provides diverse resources including crisis support, legal advocacy, and referrals to additional resource agencies.
In 2010, Advocates of Lake County noted the housing and transportation difficulties faced by many victims of domestic violence or child abuse, which led El Pomar’s High Country Regional Council to recommend a $50,000 grant to be used for housing or transportation services for the organization’s clients.
Lake County remained a focus of the Council in subsequent years due to below-average youth outcomes across multiple indicators, especially when compared with other counties in the region. Because the Council had already identified youth development as a priority, in 2013 it decided to focus its resources and attention on Lake County by supporting the completion of its Youth Master Plan. At that time, the Lake County Youth Master Plan was a project of Lake County Human Services and the Council provided a $10,000 seed grant toward the completion of the project. The Council later provided initial funds to hire a coordinator for implementation of the Youth Master Plan. Through collaboration with a diverse group of partners including Lake County School District, nonprofits, governmental agencies and other local organizations, the Youth Master Plan aimed to implement programs to improve youth outcomes in five focus areas: education, programs and activities, health prevention, community development and family economics.
As the program moved forward, Lake County Build a Generation (LCBAG)— a continuing project of the Lake County Public Health Agency—became the backbone organization for implementation of the Youth Master Plan. LCBAG tasked itself with “building a movement for health and well-being in Leadville and Lake County” and the High Country Council continued to support its great work through strategic, multi-year funding. Today, LCBAG works to improve the health and well-being of the people of Lake County. In June, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Health Equity Commission awarded LCBAG a total of $750,000 in grant funds as part of an upcoming three-year funding cycle. LCBAG will coordinate the “Resilient Lake County” project, a collaboration between Full Circle of Lake County, Lake County Department of Human Services, Advocates of Lake County, St. Vincent General Hospital District, Lake County School District, and SolVista Health.
LCBAG and the “Resilient Lake County” collaborative plan to address two key concerns: first, the project aims to remove barriers to seeking health and social services by funding self-assessment, staff training and the implementation of trauma-informed policies; second, the project aims to increase the community’s capacity to address issues of housing and safety, particularly among low-income and Latino populations. Almost five years after the initial seed grant was made toward completion of the Youth Master Plan, LCBAG has now submitted the application for its own 501(c)(3) status as an independent nonprofit organization and will continue to provide needed services and leadership within Lake County.
El Pomar in 2010
The Foundation provided 732 grants totaling $8.9 million, as the United States continued to experience the effects of the great recession. The largest grants of the year were provided as capital support for the United States Space Foundation in Colorado Springs. A new addition to El Pomar’s grant making was the establishment of the Freda Hambrick Fund, which supports nonprofit organizations that prevent cruelty to animals, provide direct care and medical assistance, and offer educational programs for the proper care of and attention to animals within the state of Colorado. The Fund granted $157,400 in its first year, to organizations in seven of the state’s eleven regions.
Spotlight by Andrew Schwartz and Haley Ballenger
Images courtesy of Lake County Build A Generation