High Country Region

Counties:  Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake, Pitkin, Summit 

Cities:  Aspen, Frisco, Idaho Springs, Leadville, Vail

At the start of 2013, the High Country Regional Council partnered with El Pomar’s Youth Development Project to identify the regional assets and needs within its five-county area. Based on a 2010 risk assessment and information gathered from the Colorado Department of Education, Lake County fell behind its regional peers in terms of positive youth outcomes for kids, CSAP and graduation scores as well as the prevalence of alcohol and substance abuse. The 2013 Lake County Youth Master Plan (YMP) was a project of Lake County Human Services (LCHS) and the Council provided a seed grant to LCHS for its completion. Following the completion of the plan the Council provided initial funds to hire a coordinator for implementation of the YMP.  Subsequently, Lake County Build a Generation (LCBAG), a continuing program of LCHS, became the backbone organization for implementation of the Youth Master Plan. Since 2013, the Council has focused its support towards this community-wide collaborative spearheaded by LCBAG.  Four years later, LCBAG has submitted an application for its own 501c3 status.

After implementing this successful multi-year grant with LCBAG, the Council began transitioning to a new focus area in 2017: out of school time programming for underserved youth.The strategy is to engage elementary and middle school age children and encourage postsecondary education. The goal is to achieve increased tendency to remain in school, educational success, and employment in the region.

Grant Highlight Since 2013, the High Country Council has provided over $500,000 in support of the launch and implementation of the Youth Master Plan through Lake County Build a Generation (LCBAG). The Council’s funding has provided support to: hire a Youth Master Plan Coordinator, grow and implement the Youth Master Plan, and develop LCBAG’s multi-year strategic plan for sustainability with the services of a consultant. This multi-year funding has supported LCBAG in achieving key outcomes surrounding complex challenges in Lake County, including: facilitating the work of the Safe Routes to Schools Coalition, conducting a housing needs assessment, launching Lake County High School’s Pre-Collegiate Program, convening the Get Outdoors Leadville Coalition to develop a $5 million proposal for connecting youth to nature, developing Lake County’s first fruit and vegetable prescription program, among other successes. Transitioning to an out of school time focus area, in 2017 the Council provided six $25,000 relationship-building grants with six separate organizations totaling $150,000. The organizations help increase and expand the benefits of after-school and summer enrichment programs that increase the likelihood of students remaining in school and encourage post-secondary education.
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Meet Our Regional Council Members


Dave Palenchar was raised in southern California and first came to Colorado to attend the United States Air Force Academy. After a career in the Air Force, he returned to Colorado and joined the El Pomar program staff. In 2007, Dave was recognized as the Colorado Springs Business Citizen of the Year by the (then) Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. He retired as El Pomar’s chief operating officer in 2013.

He currently serves as president and chief executive officer of the Broadmoor World Arena and the Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts, chairman of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation, president of the Air Force Academy Foundation, and is a board member for the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Hall of Fame.

Dave Palenchar

Trustee, El Pomar Foundation

Mike Bordogna lives in Leadville and is Executive Director of the Lake County Economic Development Corporation. Previously, he served two terms as Lake County Commissioner. He serves on several volunteer boards and has focused on addressing victims’ rights, bringing public transportation, solar power, and recreation facilities to Lake County.

Mike Bordogna

Executive Director, Lake County Economic Development Corporation

Kristi Ferraro is a real estate and business lawyer with her own practice in Avon, Colorado. Kristi serves on the board of excellence committee of the Vail Valley Foundation. Kristi was a member of the board of trustees of the Vail Mountain School from 2010 to 2017. She was elected to the Avon Town Council in 2004 and 2008, and served as mayor pro tem of Avon from 2010 to 2012. Kristi has previously served on the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority and Bravo! Vail. Kristi also served as chairman of the board of the Early Childhood Learning Center and as president of the Pitkin County Bar Association.

Kristi graduated from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Science in Business and from the University of California Berkeley with a juris doctor.

Kristi Ferraro

Attorney, Kristi Ferraro, LLC

Dr. Millie Hamner is currently the State Representative for House District 61 representing Lake, Summit, Pitkin, Delta and Gunnison counties. Prior to being elected to the Colorado Legislature, Millie enjoyed a 35-year career as a public school educator serving in the capacities of elementary and middle school teacher, school and district leadership, and most recently, superintendent of schools in Summit County. Millie has lived and worked in Colorado since 1978 and earned her doctorate in education leadership from the University of Denver.

The Honorable Millie Hamner

Colorado State Representative, District #61

As President and CEO, Christine is responsible for the overall management and policy work of the Keystone Policy Center. Her primary responsibilities include developing new policy and program work, fundraising, and working with the senior management team and Board of Trustees on the overall operations and management of the organization. Christine is a well-respected leader in education policy and a seasoned facilitator with extensive public policy experience at the state and national levels. Her work includes broad-based and widely respected projects, including the Colorado Oil and Gas Task Force’s work from 2014 to 2015 finding collaborative ways to balance oil and gas development — one of the most important economic drivers in Colorado — and private mineral right holders’ interests with local residents, public health officials, and conservationists’ concerns. Christine also has led projects aimed at helping states better prepare teachers for success in the classroom, the Licensing Educators for Academic Development (LEAD) Compact, and worked with the states of Massachusetts and Louisiana on teacher licensure and preparation.

Christine Scanlan

President and CEO, Keystone Policy Center

Tamara Tormohlen has served as Executive Director of Aspen Community Foundation since 2005 having joined the organization in 2001. Aspen Community Foundation is in its 38th year of building philanthropy and supporting nonprofits in the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys, an 80-mile corridor connected by 12 communities from Aspen to Parachute, Colorado. Tamara launched the Aspen to Parachute Cradle to Career Initiative which gathers nonprofits, schools, governments, civic groups, businesses and philanthropy to implement collaborative and innovative ways of working together to measurably increase youth success across our region. She lives in Basalt.

Tamara Tormohlen

Executive Director, Aspen Community Foundation

Associate Vice President of Regional Partnerships, High Country Regional Council

Contact Kaitlin:
719-577-7024
kjohnson@elpomar.org

Kaitlin Johnson

Associate Vice President of Regional Partnerships, El Pomar Foundation

Contact Haley:
719-577-7012
hballenger@elpomar.org

Haley Ballenger

Program Associate, El Pomar Foundation

Contact Andrew:
719-577-7033
aschwartz@elpomar.org

Andrew Schwartz

Program Associate