San Juan Region

Counties:  Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel

Cities:  Delta, Gunnison, Montrose, Ouray, Telluride

In the San Juan region and throughout the state of Colorado, there are many valuable causes, but limited resources through which to support them. This presents the San Juan Regional Council with the question of how best to distribute the finite resources at their disposal. As with all Councils, San Juan Council members want to have the greatest impact with the grants they recommend.

The San Juan Council has decided that investing in the educational and behavioral development of children beginning at an early age will provide the greatest returns to the region over time. Studies have shown that investing in early childhood education (ECE) and development does, in fact, bring significant positive returns over time. Children who benefit from ECE programs show higher cognitive ability than those who aren’t enrolled in ECE programs, beginning at toddler age and extending all the way through college. Children who participate in ECE programs are less likely to repeat grades, require special education, or get into future trouble in the legal system. Similarly, these children are more likely to attend a four year college and earn more over a lifetime. Because of the early intervention these children receive, long term health outcomes are improved. 

Grant Highlight The San Juan Council has chosen to direct grants towards programs that focus on early childhood development. The Pyramid Model helps address social and emotional development through targeted intervention in schools. In this program, teachers are coached by Pyramid Model trainers on various activities and phrases they can use to help students learn how to respond to situations in an appropriate way. The program is derived from an evidence-based approach to help drive outcomes. The Council has granted more than $300,000 toward Pyramid since 2012.
Council Member Log In San Juan - Owl Creek Pass iStock_000076004395_Medium.jpg

Meet Our Regional Council Members


William “Bill” Ward is Vice Chair of El Pomar Foundation. He is the retired President of Ward Transport, Inc., a family-owned trucking company, and is a past chairman of the American Trucking Association. Bill’s activity in the nonprofit sector includes serving as chair of the Colorado College board of trustees. In that capacity, he was actively involved in a record-setting capital campaign of $93 million and provided leadership during a successful presidential transition. He has also served on the board of trustees of Denver Seminary, twice serving as its chair.

Bill grew up in Pueblo and attended Colorado College, graduating in 1964 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. He received a juris doctor from the University of Colorado in 1967.

Bill Ward

Vice Chairman and Trustee, El Pomar Foundation

Hap Channell began his teaching career in Fort Worth before he moved to Gunnison County in 1976. After a stint in the lumber business, Hap resumed his teaching career as an eighth-grade science teacher at Gunnison Middle School and earned his Master of Arts in science education at Western State Colorado University. As a community leader in Gunnison, Hap has been on a number of nonprofit boards and was the founding president of the Gunnison Council for the Arts. After retiring from teaching in 2004, he has served two terms as a Gunnison County commissioner.

Hap received his undergraduate degree at Austin College in Texas.

Hap Channell

Retired County Commissioner, Gunnison County

Born and raised in Montrose County on a family farm/ranch operation, Don Coram has a background in ranching, mining, environmental relations and business. Don assumed the office of Colorado State Senator in 2017 for the 6th District, where he serves on the Agriculture, Livestock, & Natural Resources Committee, Water Resources Review Committee, as well as the Judiciary Committee. Prior to joining the Senate, Don served as a state legislator for six years, director and treasurer of School District RE-1J, and as treasurer and president of the Delta-Montrose Vocational Center. He also served as second vice chairman of the Montrose County Central Committee and was selected by CRC Chairman Dick Wadhams to serve on the Colorado Republican Committee Executive Committee.

The Honorable Don Coram

Colorado State Senator, District 6

Linda Gann is a western Colorado native, growing up in Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction and Redstone. She has lived in Montrose since 1978. Linda was co-owner and operator of family farms and ranches in the Montrose area for over 20 years. After a successful career in the Montrose and Olathe school district, including raising over $10 million in grants for capital projects and two school-based health centers, Linda retired in September 2010 as the district’s communications and special project coordinator. She is currently the Western Slope outreach manager for Connect for Health Colorado.

Linda Gann

Senior Manager Western Slope, Connect for Health Colorado

Betsy Marston, a resident of Paonia, Colorado since 1974, works as the Editor of Writers on the Range, an op-ed syndicate of High Country News, which covers public land issues in 10 western states. She also writes a syndicated column called Heard Around the West, about the odd doings of all of us. Locally, she is a member of Rotary, a board member of the Paonia Chamber of Commerce, and part of a group of avid hikers called Women on the Move.

Betsy Marston

Editor, Writers on the Range

Former State Senator Gail Schwartz has resided in Colorado since graduating from the University of Colorado Business School. Gail was Director of Development for the Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority, and a corporate officer and market analyst for Sno-Engineering Inc. She was appointed to serve on the Colorado Commission on Higher Education by Gov. Romer, and elected to the University of Colorado Board of Regents from the 3rd Congressional District in 2000 where she served for six years. In 2006, she was elected to the Colorado State Senate to represent Senate District 5, and was re-elected for a final four-year term in 2010. Formerly, Gail served as the Colorado State Senate caucus majority whip and chaired the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee, the Local Government Committee and the Capital Development Committee. She has a distinguished legislative record of both promoting energy diversification with local renewable energy generation and efficiency, and protecting Colorado’s water and natural resources. Throughout her career she has actively supported rural economic development, access to rural broadband and funding quality rural education including the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Program.

Gail Schwartz

Former Colorado State Senator

Dee Williams’ long list of service activities includes two years on the Ouray City Council and two years as Co-President of Women in Support of Education and three-time member of the Ouray Chamber board. Dee helped launch a ski program for children in Telluride. She has driven the successful campaign to purchase and preserve Ouray’s historic Wright Opera House. She is a founding member of the Ouray County Nordic Council. A longtime member of Ouray’s Community Development Committee, she helped implement the city’s economic development plan. Dee served on Ouray’s Home Rule Charter Commission. Since 2003, she has served as coordinator for the School to Work Alliance Program, which helps high school students with special needs prepare for graduation and transition to the workplace. For 28 years, she and her husband operated a beloved Main Street establishment, V&S Variety Store.

Dee Williams

Coordinator, UnBOCS SWAP

Senior Staff, San Juan Regional Council

Contact Mike:
719-577-7026
mbuth@elpomar.org

Mike Buth

Vice President of Facilities, El Pomar Foundation

Contact Trevor:
719-577-7046
tzalkind@elpomar.org

Trevor Zalkind

Program Associate, El Pomar Foundation

Contact Matt:
719-577-7003
mnunez@elpomar.org

Matt Nunez

Program Associate, El Pomar Foundation