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San Luis Valley Regional Council

Focus Area

The San Luis Valley Regional Council focuses on youth mental health and emergent regional needs. From a landscape analysis of youth mental health needs and organizations addressing those challenges, the Council recommended funding throughout the region to support a number of needs. In 2022, funding supported training for providers, access to mental health resources in schools, and supplemental behavioral health programing. The Council developed relationships with many of the organizations providing youth mental health support in the region, aiming to understand the long-term impact of its grant making.
Serving Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache Counties

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Region Facts
Major Cities
Alamosa, Creede, Del Norte, Monte Vista, South Fork
Median Household Income
Unemployment Rate
High School Graduation Rate
Food and agriculture, outdoor recreation, tourism, energy, transportation and logistics, financial services, and health and wellness

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

Andrea Aragon Trustee, El Pomar Foundation

Andrea Aragon is Executive Director of the Robert Hoag Rawlings Foundation. Andrea was appointed by Governor Bill Ritter to serve on the Caring for Colorado Board of Trustees and was reappointed for a second term by Governor John Hickenlooper. Prior to this service, she was appointed by Governor Owens to serve on the College Invest Board. Andrea has received honors for her community involvement by the Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation, the YWCA and the Pueblo City/County Library. Andrea received the 2015 Charles W. Crews Business Leader of the Year Award from the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce, and in 2016 Andrea was presented with the President’s Medallion for Distinguished Alumni Achievement from Colorado State University – Pueblo.

She is a member of US Bank Pueblo Community Advisory Board, the GCC Rio Grande Corporate Advisory Board, the Colorado Nonprofit Association Board, and was recently named to the Colorado State University – Pueblo President’s Advisory Board.

Lori G. Dooley Trustee, City of Creede

Born and raised in the Mosca-Hooper area of the San Luis Valley, Lori graduated high school from Sangre de Cristo. Attending the then University of Southern Colorado in Pueblo, she received her bachelor's in sociology, later attending the University of Houston for a master's degree in sociology with an emphasis in medical sociology.
Lori’s working career has always been in business management and she owned a successful business for 12 years. Currently, she manages the Mineral County Dental Clinic. Working part-time allows time to serve the community in a variety of volunteer positions. Lori's volunteer groups include the Victims Assistance and Law Enforcement Board (VALE), Victims Assistance Board, Ladies Aid Society and the Mineral County Action Coalition. Lori is also an elected City Trustee for Creede.

Jason C. Medina Executive Director, Community Foundation of the San Luis Valley

Jason C. Medina is currently the Executive Director of the Community Foundation of the San Luis Valley and is a fourth generation San Luis native. After graduating from Adams State University, Jason moved to Greeley to work with adjudicated youth with the Division of Youth Corrections, and then moved back to Alamosa in 2000. He served as a Youth and Adult Protection Caseworker with Costilla County Department of Social Services for three years, and worked the next six years in public education, was the first Dean of Students for Centennial School District R-1, spent the next 10 years working in public housing, and left there as the Assistant Director for the Costilla County Housing Authority. He also spent six years in local government, including as the Land Use Administrator and Deputy Emergency Manager in Costilla. Most recently, he served as the Director for the San Luis Valley Small Business Development Center. Jason sits on many Board of Directors currently, chairing the San Luis Water and Sanitation District board for about eight years. He also serves as the Treasurer of the Costilla County Fire Protection District Board, on the Board of Directors for the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, and most recently was elected to serve on the TSJC Advisory Council. He is the owner of a small business and continues to advocate for other small businesses.

Karla Shriver Farmer & Former County Commissioner

Karla Shriver served three terms as a Rio Grande County Commissioner. She is a Colorado native, and earned her bachelor’s degree in agriculture business at Colorado State University. She has a background in agriculture finance, farm/ranch real estate brokerage, and farming. Karla raises over 900 acres of potatoes, small grains and hay. She also oversees the management of a ranch along the Rio Grande river. She has served on numerous state and local business and civic boards including Great Outdoors Colorado, San Luis Valley Federal Bank, and numerous water related boards including San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District, Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration, the Commonwealth Irrigation Board, and as legislative representative to the Rio Grande Basin Road Table. She is on the core team of the Rio Grande Water Shed Emergency Action Team (REACT) which was born out of the 2013 West Fork Fire and is a collaborative work-in-progress with those counties impacted by the fire. She also serves as the chair of the economic committee for REACT.

The Honorable Pattie Swift Senior Judge, 12th Judicial District

Until her recent retirement, Pattie Swift served as a judge in the San Luis Valley for thirty-one years.She served as Costilla County Judge for fourteen years beginning in 1989 and then was appointed as a District Judge for the 12th Judicial District (which encompasses the six counties of the San Luis Valley). In 2011, she was appointed Chief Judge for the Judicial District as well as Water Judge for Colorado's Water Division No. 3. She was instrumental in creating the 12th Judicial District's original Family Drug Treatment Court in 2006 and presided over that court until 2012. She served on the Colorado Judicial Department Bail and Pretrial Committee and on the 12th Judicial District Best Practices Court Team. She was chair of the Colorado Judicial Ethics Advisory Board for eight years and served on the Colorado Panel on Multi-District Litigation for over six years. She also served as a member of the Executive Oversight Committee for the Colorado Dependency and Neglect Statewide System Reform effort. She is currently a part time senior judge and vice-chair of the San Luis Valley Community Corrections Board on which she has served for more than thirty years.

Kathy Woods Economic Development Director, City of Alamosa

Kathy Woods is the former Mayor for the City of Alamosa, serving the community for 12 years as an elected official. She has served on many boards and commissions including the Colorado Municipal League Policy Board, Governors Rural Health Care Grants Council, American Red Cross (State and Local), Victims Compensation, and Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance. She currently serves on the Adams State University Board of Trustees as Vice Chairman and on its Foundation Board, Alamosa Chamber of Commerce, and Executive Committee for the San Luis Valley US Veterans Coalition. After previous service on the Board of Directors for RGS & L, Kathy was invited to serve as President and Chief Executive Officer. After spending a good part of her career in health care including nursing and as a hospital administrator for San Luis Valley Health, Kathy now serves as the Economic Development Director for the City of Alamosa.

Larry Zaragoza Town Manager, La Jara

Larry Zaragoza is currently serving as the Town Manager of La Jara. He has been involved in civic government since 2007, serving as the Mayor of La Jara for eight years. Larry is a retired educator and after 32 years of teaching and 45 years of coaching. Larry serves on the Board of Trustees for the San Luis Valley Development Resources Group, the chairman for the Northerner’s Senior Citizen Board, and has been an active member of the La Jara Glory Day’s committee. For his service and dedication to the youth of the San Luis Valley, Larry was awarded the Colorado Education Association’s John and Gladys Bates Humanitarian Award in 1992. In 2003, Larry was inducted into the Adams State University Athletic Hall of Fame; in 2008, he was inducted into the Colorado High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame and most recently in 2016 into the Adams State University Educators Hall of Fame.

Chris Sohn Vice President and Board Liason, El Pomar Foundation

Chris Sohn began working at El Pomar in 2015 and currently serves as Vice President and Board Liaison. She also directs the Foundation’s Awards for Excellence program. Chris is the senior staff member for the Southeast Regional Council.

Chris serves on the Board of the American Red Cross of Southeastern Colorado and is the Executive Deputy Director of The Hundred Club of Colorado Springs.

An Air Force veteran, Chris served as an information management specialist during Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Ben Garfield Senior Program Associate, El Pomar Foundation

Ben Garfield joined El Pomar Foundation as a member of the Internship class of 2021 and returned to the Foundation in as a member of the Fellowship class of 2022. As a 2nd Year Fellow, Ben serves as a Senior Program Associate for American Council for Young Political Leaders, Communications, the Internship and Fellowship Round Up. In addition, Ben supports the San Luis Valley and Southeast regions.

Ben was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, and graduated from Wesleyan University in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in the College of Social Studies. At Wesleyan, Ben served four terms as a senator on the Wesleyan Student Assembly, including two terms as the chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, where he advocated for increased academic resources and new policies to support students in their academic journeys. Prior to attending Wesleyan, Ben was a member of the first graduating class of the Denver School of Science and Technology: Cole, where his leadership within the campus community helped inspire his interest in community service, civic engagement, and leadership development. Ben currently serves as a board members at Tri-Lakes Cares. In his free time, Ben enjoys watching hockey, enjoying Colorado’s outdoors, and spending time with family.

Erin Huggins Program Associate, El Pomar Foundation

Erin Huggins joined El Pomar Foundation as a Fellow in July 2023. As a 1st Year Fellow, Erin works as a Program Associate for Elevating Leadership Development, Investment Challenge, and Western Leadership Academy. She also supports the Metro and San Luis Valley regions.

Erin grew up in Newark, New Jersey and graduated from Colorado College with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in Education. During her time at CC, Erin worked at the Butler Center, the center for antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus and as a student assistant at the Registrar’s office. Additionally, she was a member of the Cutthroat Rugby team, was the co-president of an affinity group for Black women on campus, and was involved with the Outdoor Education program as a trip leader. While studying Sociology, Erin deepened her understanding of the world around her and became fascinated by the social structures and systems that shape our society. These systems are far from perfect, which inspired her to get involved in nonprofit work and community service.

In her free time Erin likes to spend time with friends and family, mountain bike, journal, and play card games.

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.