Page Loader Logo
Close this search box.

High Country Regional Council

Focus Area

The High Country Regional Council is committed to supporting the region’s middle school-aged youth through multi-year grants, totaling $1 million, to five organizations across the region. These organizations provide a variety of programming, from academic support to social emotional development, that aims to promote positive youth development. The Council regularly connects with its grant partners to bolster its support for each organization’s work and to assist organizations in adapting to changing needs.
Serving Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake, Pitkin, Summit Counties

Click to enlarge the map.

Region Facts
Major Cities
Aspen, Frisco, Idaho Springs, Leadville, Vail
Median Household Income
Unemployment Rate
High School Graduation Rate
Recreation and tourism, mining, retail services, real estate

Data is sourced from the KidsCount! Database and the US Census Bureau.

Meet Our Regional Council Members

Along with council members, regional councils are supported by El Pomar Trustees, staff, and Fellows

Dave Palenchar Chair, El Pomar Foundation

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 El Pomar’s program staff. In 2007, Dave was recognized as Colorado Springs Business Citizen of the Year by the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC. He has been a Trustee of the Foundation since 1998 and retired as El Pomar’s Chief Operating Officer in 2013.

He has served in a variety of nonprofit leadership roles throughout Colorado Springs. Most recently he was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Broadmoor World Arena and Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts Board of Directors and Chair of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation.

Eudelia Contreras Chief Executive Officer, Full Circle of Lake County

Eudelia Contreras is the CEO of Full Circle of Lake County, an organization committed to empowering its community through youth development, family supports, immigrant services, and resource connection. Most recently, Eudelia was the Lead Community Organizer for Lake County Build a Generation in which she organized residents in Lake County’s manufactured housing communities to build health and health equity. She was also enormously instrumental in helping the members of Cooperativa Nueva Union purchase their mobile home park for $1.6M. This was a monumental undertaking that had to be accomplished on a tight time frame. Eudelia’s ability to bring community members together—even across culture, background, age, gender, and language—was remarkable, and was key to her success at Lake County Build a Generation.

Eudelia has lived in Lake County for nearly 30 years. She attended Lake County schools and has worked at several county agencies, including Lake County Human Services and Lake County School District. She currently serves as the president of the Lake County School District Board of Education. Eudelia feels that her experience working, living and learning in Lake County is a huge asset as she not only works for the needs of Lake County’s diverse community but also lives within the communities she organizes in. Eudelia’s family includes three daughters, Kayleen, Isabelle, and Sophia, and a Bluenose Pitbull (Benji).

Kristi Ferraro Attorney, Kristi Ferraro, LLC

Kristi Ferraro is a real estate and business lawyer with her own practice in Avon, Colorado. Kristi 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 served on the board of Vail Mountain School, Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority and Bravo! Vail. Kristi also served on the Board Excellence Committee of the Vail Valley Foundation, as Chairman of the Board of the Early Childhood Learning Center in Aspen and as President of the Pitkin County Bar Association.

Kristi graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in business and from the University of California Berkeley with a juris doctor.

Millie Hamner Former State Legislator

Millie Hamner worked in public education serving the communities of Eagle and Summit counties as an elementary and middle school teacher and as a school and district leader. Millie served as the superintendent of schools in Summit County from 2004-2010 and then stepped up to fill a vacancy in the Colorado legislature. She served the rural and resort communities of Eagle, Lake, Summit, Pitkin, Gunnison, and Delta from 2011-2018 as a state representative and held leadership positions on the state’s Education and Joint Budget Committees. She worked as a senior policy director for the Keystone Policy Center for several years and currently serves as an affiliate to this organization. Millie continues her commitment to public service and was appointed by Governor Polis in 2022 to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees for Western Colorado Western University. She also serves on the Board for the Colorado Children’s Campaign and is a proud member of El Pomar’s High Country Regional Council.

Millie Hamner lives in Summit County, Colorado and loves the beauty and outdoor experiences that come with life in the mountains.

Tim Mauck Deputy Director, Colorado Department of Natural Resources

Tim Mauck has been serving as the Deputy Director for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources since 2019. Previously, Tim served two terms as Clear Creek County Commissioner from 2010 – 2019. As commissioner, he focused on health care, enhancing Clear Creek’s recreation and tourism, and working to bring about sensible transportation improvements along the Interstate 70 Mountain Corridor.

A Denver native, Tim received a bachelor’s in political science from Catholic University of America in Washington, DC and has worked in various capacities of federal, state and local governments. A resident of Idaho Springs, Tim is passionate about the outdoors and spends his free time hunting and angling, and generally roaming the backcountry of Clear Creek County with his wife, Laura, and labrador, Moxie.

Christine Scanlan President & CEO, Keystone Policy Center

Christine Scanlan is President and CEO of the Keystone Policy Center, a nonprofit organization which over the past 40 years, has built a portfolio of substantive work in energy, environment, education, health, and agriculture. Keystone has accomplished this work with a series of complementary approaches that reflect the diverse strategies utilized in leadership and successful issue resolution.

Christine joined the Keystone Policy Center from her role as Director of Legislative Affairs and Strategic Initiatives and Senior Education Policy Advisor to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. Prior to her senior staff role in the Governor’s Office, Christine was a Colorado State Representative for House District 56 and served in leadership as Majority Whip.

In earlier years, Christine had previously been at Keystone as Senior Vice President and COO. Christine has extensive public policy experience as a seasoned facilitator, negotiator and policy expert and is a respected leader in finding policy solutions through collaborative dialogue to complicated issues of urgency and import. Christine received both her MA Nonprofit Management and BA History from Regis University, Denver, Colorado.

Shelby Pauka Program Manager, Regional Partnerships, El Pomar Foundation

Shelby Pauka joined El Pomar Foundation as permanent staff in May 2022 as the Program Manager of the Regional Partnerships program. In this role, she supports the strategic planning of the Regional Partnerships program as well as oversees the day-to-day operations of annual projects that impact all regions. Shelby first joined the Foundation as an intern in 2017 and 2018, and then again in 2019 as a member of the Fellowship. Prior to joining the Foundation in her current role, Shelby worked as program coordinator for a military serving organization supporting military families in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, and Idaho. She graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in strategic communication with an emphasis in media design, a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing, and a certificate in operations and information management.

Riley Cronin Program Associate, El Pomar Foundation

Riley Cronin joined El Pomar Foundation as a member of the 2023 Fellowship class. As a 1st Year Fellow, Riley serves as a Program Associate for American Council for Young Political Leaders, Awards for Excellence, Communications, and Fellowship Recruiting. She also supports the High Country Region.

Riley is from Zionsville, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis. She graduated from University of Dayton’s School of Business Administration with a Bachelor of Science in International Business Management with a minor in Spanish. During her time at University of Dayton, Riley participated in many extracurricular activities, volunteer programs, and internship experiences. Of note was her work for Flyer Consulting, a student run, pro-bono, non-profit consulting firm. Working her way up from Intern to Project Lead, Riley managed both marketing and business development projects involving social media marketing solutions, integrated donor management systems, feasibility studies, and capital campaigns. She also served on the Christmas on Campus committee, organizing this beloved Flyer tradition and one of the nation’s largest single-day, on-campus, service events. Riley received the Spirit of Community Award for her contributions to the 59 annual Christmas on Campus. Riley also studied abroad in Madrid, Spain for a semester and volunteered for WWOOF Portugal post-graduation. In her free time, Riley enjoys spending time outside, running, going to her favorite coffee shops, and planning new adventures.

More on grant making

Grant Making

Beyond Regional Partnerships, El Pomar contributes over $25 million to nonprofits and government equivalents across Colorado through our grant making efforts each year. We have a broad grant making scope with greatest focus in the areas of arts & culture, civic and community initiatives, education, health, and human services.

Regional Partnerships

More than 70 leaders from across Colorado serve on El Pomar’s 11 regional councils, which identify and address local needs in their communities. Since 2003, the councils have recommended grants totaling more than $25 million.