Southeast Region

Counties:  Baca, Bent, Crowley, Huerfano, Kiowa, Las Animas, Otero, Prowers, Pueblo

Cities:  La Junta, Lamar, Pueblo, Trinidad, Walsenburg

The Southeast Council supports quality afterschool programs to provide literacy, numeracy, and enrichment based opportunities to at-risk youth. Since 2014, the Council has funded an afterschool program through Project HOPE in Lamar.

The HOPE Center provides healthy active living classes, opportunities for students to restore donated bikes, and a safe and fun place for an average of 150 youth per day, with almost 50 of those students electing to stay until 8:00p.m. In an effort to expand beyond an afterschool tutoring program to a center serving the entire community, the HOPE Center provides adult ESL classes, hosts a youth leadership program, offers a diabetes class facilitated by High Plains Community Health Center for Spanish speaking families, and teaches a Fit Family Challenge class.

The success of the HOPE Center is illustrated by the inspiring anecdotes told by students. One youth captures the true essence of what this place means: “The HOPE Center is the best. It helps me with my homework. I get to be with my friends and spend time with them. The people who work here care about our future. Trust me, these people really, and I mean really, care about us.

Additionally, the Council is exploring behavioral/mental health and career technical education as focus areas for future funding opportunities.

Grant Highlight Since 2014, El Pomar has made 6 grants totaling over $260,000 to Lamar School District RE-2 in support of the HOPE (Health, Opportunity, Prevention, Education) Center. In doing so, the Council has supported critical after-school programming efforts for Lamar’s youth in 3rd – 12th grade. In 2017, the HOPE Center participated in the Pen to Paper workshop, a capacity building program in partnership with Community Resource Center. The HOPE Center has moved forward with Phase II of the program, individualized coaching and support from a nonprofit consultant. The HOPE Center is working to build their organizational sophistication and has focused heavily on fundraising efforts.
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Meet Our Regional Council Members


William J. Hybl is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of El Pomar Foundation. Hybl has also been engaged in a variety of public service activities. He is a civilian aide to the secretary of the Army (Senior). In 2008, Hybl was confirmed by the United States Senate as chairman of the U.S. Commission on Public Diplomacy, a position he was appointed to by President George W. Bush. He was reappointed by President Barack Obama June 1, 2011, and currently serves as vice chairman.

In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Hybl as U.S. Representative to the 56th General Assembly of the United Nations. In addition, Hybl was chairman of the Board of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) from 2003-2009 and currently serves as chairman emeritus. He is chairman of the United States Olympic Endowment having served as president during four Olympic Games. He was named Citizen of the West by the National Western Stock Show of Denver in 2003.

Hybl is a Graduate of Colorado College and earned his juris doctor at the University of Colorado School of Law. He was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 1972 and was special counsel to President Ronald Reagan in 1981. He is married to Kathleen Horrigan and they have two sons, B.J and Kyle, and six grandchildren.

William J. Hybl

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, El Pomar Foundation

Dennis Maes is the former Chief Judge of the 10th Judicial District. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he was director of the Pueblo County Legal Services and a Deputy State Public Defender. He was a past member of the Pueblo Regional Planning Commission and the board of directors for Eastside Child Care Center.

Dennis received his undergraduate degree from Southern Colorado State College and his law degree from the University of Colorado.

The Honorable Dennis Maes

Trustee Emeritus, El Pomar Foundation

Melanie Bravo joined Caring for Colorado Foundation as senior program officer in September 2018. Before joining the Foundation, Melanie worked as director of organizational development for Boys & Girls Clubs of America where she provided consultative services and partnered with member organizations to build their organizational capacity and sustainability. She was president & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Pueblo County prior to working for the national organization. Previously, Melanie served as director of programs at El Pomar Foundation. In this role, she worked on the foundation’s regional grant making and leadership development programs.

Melanie was born and raised in Pueblo, Colo., and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico

Melanie Bravo

Senior program officer, Caring for Colorado Foundation

Gina M. Cimino is President and broker for Kip Hampden Properties. She also serves as president and treasurer of the board Mt. Carmel Center of Excellence, which serves Las Animas County and El Paso County. Gina spent 18 years in the advertising industry as a media buyer, account executive and was later appointed vice president of Graham Advertising. She has served various organizations including the National Charity League, Newborn Hope, Boys & Girls Club, Care and Share, National Cancer Society, St. Paul Catholic Church, Pauline Memorial Catholic School, and St. Mary’s High School. Gina is a Colorado native and is a graduate of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

Gina Cimino

President Mt. Carmel Health, Wellness and Community Center

Kim MacDonnell was elected as a Bent County Commissioner in November of 2016. Prior to her service as a Commissioner, Kim served as the Executive Director of the Bent County Development Foundation from 1998-2001, and again from 2013-2016. In the twelve years in between, Kim managed her husband's law office; and in addition served for eight years on the Las Animas School Board. Kim was born and raised in Las Animas, her home for all but fifteen years.

Kim MacDonnell

Bent County Commissioner

Rachel Patrick is a Colorado native and the Southeast Colorado Small Business Development Center Director with a background and passion for working with small businesses. In addition, Rachel is a member of El Pomar Foundation's Awards for Excellence Commission, Colorado State Fair Foundation Board, Colorado Workforce Development Council, La Junta Rotary, and Rocky Ford City Council.

Rachel Patrick

Southeast Colorado Small Business Development Center Director

Rod Slyhoff is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce and currently resides in Pueblo. Prior to becoming president and chief executive officer in 1994, he held the positions of vice president of membership, small business development membership director, and account representative. Rod has also served as president of the Colorado Chamber of Commerce Executives.

Rod Slyhoff

President and CEO, Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce

Senior Staff, Southeast Region

Contact Peter:
719-577-7080
pmaiurro@elpomar.org

Peter Maiurro

Senior Vice President of Programs, El Pomar Foundation

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

Haley Ballenger

Program Associate, El Pomar Foundation

Contact MacKenzie:
719-577-7071
mmantsch@elpomar.org

MacKenzie Mantsch

Program Associate, El Pomar Foundation