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Southwest Regional Council

Focus Area

The Southwest Regional Council continues its focus on youth mental and behavioral health, while expanding its impact on youth well-being more broadly. From 2017-2021, the Council took a multi-year approach with grant partners offering resiliency and life skills programming in all five of the region’s counties, as well as anti-vaping, suicide awareness, and other prevention efforts. Most recently, it has followed a more nimble process, recommending one-time grants to a wider spectrum of organizations supporting youth self-efficacy, confidence, and sense of belonging.
Serving Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, San Juan Counties

Click to enlarge the map.

Region Facts
Population
99,186
Major Cities
Cortez, Dove Creek, Durango, Mancos, Pagosa Springs, Silverton
Median Household Income
$67,590
Unemployment Rate
3.1%
High School Graduation Rate
78.6%
Industries
Health and Wellness; Outdoor Recreation; Energy and Natural Resources; and Transportation and Logistics

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

R. Thayer Tutt Jr. Vice Chair & Chief Investment Officer, El Pomar Foundation
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R. Thayer Tutt, Jr. is Vice Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of El Pomar Foundation. He is Chair of the Investment Committee for the United States Olympic Endowment, and also serves on the investment committees for Colorado College, Geological Society of America, and Fund for American Studies. Tutt is Treasurer of the National Recreation Foundation Board in Chicago, Illinois. He is on the Board of Directors for Broadmoor World Arena, Pikes Peak or Bust Foundation, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Foundation, Colorado Springs Philharmonic Foundation, Pikes Peak Community Foundation, and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Endowment.

Other boards include Garden City Company, UMB Bank of Colorado, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Care and Share Foundation and United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum. In 2009, he received the Business Citizen of the Year Award from the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce.

Tutt is a graduate of Princeton University with a bachelor's degree in geological and geophysical sciences, and earned his master's degree from Duke University in business administration.

Mary Jo Coulehan Executive Director, Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce
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Mary Jo Coulehan is Executive Director for the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. She's been with the Chamber for 15 and a half years. Previously, she spent two years as a manager with Pagosa Verde, LLC, a renewable resource development company focusing on sustainable solutions for economic development in rural communities. Mary Jo has held numerous board positions regionally and in the state including Region 9 Economic Development, Club 20, Colorado Chamber of Commerce Executives, United Way of Southwest Colorado, and 2014 Rural Philanthropy Days Co-Chair.

Born in El Paso, Texas, Mary Jo graduated from Tulane University with a bachelor's degree in biology. She then embarked on a 16-year career with Marriott Hotels. She has been a resident of Pagosa Springs for more than 27 years.

Beth Drum Senior Vice President, Alpine Bank
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Beth Drum currently serves as Senior Vice President for Alpine Bank Durango. She has worked with Alpine Bank for 25 years. During her tenure, she has held numerous positions, though her primary focus has been business and community development as well as bank marketing. She is a Colorado native and grew up in Denver. Since moving to Durango in 2005, she has volunteered and consulted with many local nonprofits. She is past Chairwoman of the Mercy Health Foundation Board, and past Board Member of the Mercy Regional Medical Center. She served as President of the Durango Chamber of Commerce, and as a Board Member for the Women’s Resource Center. In 2014 she was honored with the Morley Ballantine Award for her commitment to the community and exhibiting excellence in business.

Joe Keck SmallBizWorks Consulting
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Joe Keck retired in 2015 from the position of Director of the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College in Durango, serving the five-county area of Region 9 in southwestern Colorado. Joe has been a small-business owner since 1993 and worked in planning and economic development capacities with the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian Tribes for fifteen years. Joe and his wife Susan were owners of Susie’s Gifts on Main (formerly Susie’s Hallmark Shop) and Cortez Catalog Sales (a JC Penney Catalog Merchant). Joe has served in a number of public capacities including eight years of service on the Cortez City Council as Council Member, of which four years were as Mayor, with the Cortez Downtown Association, the Cortez Chamber of Commerce Board, Mesa Verde Country Tourism Board and the Colorado Aeronautical Board. Joe served as a Trustee on the Ballantine Family Fund from 2001 to 2019. In 2013, Joe was recognized as Southwest Colorado Economic Development Leader of the Year by the Region 9 Economic Development District of Southwest Colorado. He was recognized as the Colorado State Star by the Colorado Small Business Development Network in 2004 at the National Association of Small Business Development Centers Conference in New Orleans and received the SBA Excellence in Innovation Award in 2015.

Joe holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and English at Fort Lewis College in Durango, and has completed work toward a master's degree in Planning and Community Development. He has also completed extensive training in business, community and economic development from the Association of Small Business Development Centers and the National Development Council.

Bruce LeClaire CEO, Boys & Girls Club of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe
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Bruce LeClaire is Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. He has worked with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe for eight years. Previously Bruce worked five years with the Durango School District as the first Title VII Coordinator, now Title VI. Bruce provided support and helped Native American students and families develop a sense of belonging/community. Bruce also worked as an Independent Living Specialist for five years providing independent living skills training and support for Native American Youth in NW New Mexico who had “aged out” of foster care. Bruce was a Project Director for fifteen years of a Residential Behavioral Treatment Program for Native American Adolescents. Bruce serves on the Durango Adult Education Center and KSUT Four Corners Public Radio Board of Directors. He is Treasurer of the Southern Ute Veterans Association. Bruce has served on various community committees to include: two terms on the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Native Advisory Committee, the La Plata County Suicide Prevention Steering Committee, Albuquerque Area Indian Health Native Connections Advisory Committee, Ignacio School District Multi-Cultural Committee, and was a key leader for the La Plata County Communities that Care program. Bruce is also a member of the Ignacio Chamber of Commerce.
Bruce was born and raised in South Dakota. He moved to Durango, Colorado in 1982, where he graduated from high school. Bruce served in the United States Army as a Combat Engineer, he obtained the rank of Sergeant. He then attended Ft. Lewis College before beginning his 30+ years working with youth, 25 of those years with Native American youth.

Lisa Scott Community Leader
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Lisa Scott is a community volunteer in Pagosa Springs and has been a resident since 1998. She has been involved with a variety of nonprofit organizations and has held numerous leadership positions with the United Way of Southwest Colorado, Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Foundation and Archuleta County Education Center. Prior to moving to Pagosa Springs, she lived in San Francisco and Denver, and her volunteer affiliations were with the Junior League, Women’s Foundation of Colorado and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Lisa has a bachelor's degree in business from the University of Colorado and had a career in investment banking in San Francisco.

Gus Westerman Dolores County Extension Agent Director, Colorado State University
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Gus Westerman grew up in Dolores Colorado where he resides today. Gus received a Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Biology and Agriculture Science Minor from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO in 2011. He received a Master of Agriculture from Colorado State University in 2018 with concentrations in rangeland science, animal science, and agricultural business. Upon completing his bachelor of science Gus was employed by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe as a Rangeland Technician where he assisted the SUIT Department of Natural Resources to manage grazing allotments and to ensure environmental compliance with all surface disturbing activities such as energy development on Tribal Lands. In 2014 Gus was employed by Colorado State University Extension as the County Extension Director and Agent based in Dolores County, CO. Gus is responsible for providing research based information to the Dolores County Communities in the focus areas of agriculture, community and economic development, and 4-H youth development. Gus is currently Chairperson for the Dolores County Development Corporation, a member of the Axis Health System Board of Directors, a technical advisor to the Dove Creek Mandatory Weed District, and 4-H liaison for the Dolores County Fair Board.

Kim White Superintendent, Silverton School District
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Kim White has been Superintendent of Silverton School District for the past 18 years. She has overseen and administered a number of initiatives including the rehabilitation and historical restoration of the Silverton School building, the successful implementation of multiple 21st Century Community Learning Center grants and the Comprehensive School Reform efforts to implement the Expeditionary Learning Educational Model in a rural school district. As a longtime resident of Silverton, she has been involved with the San Juan County Economic Development Board, affordable housing efforts in San Juan County and efforts to bring reliable health care to San Juan County. In addition, she currently sits on the Silverton Family Learning Center and Preschool Board as well as on the Silverton Youth Center Board.

Erin Hannan Senior Vice President of Communications, El Pomar Foundation
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Erin Hannan serves as Senior Vice President of Communications for El Pomar Foundation, overseeing the strategic communication initiatives that tell the stories of the Foundation’s mission to enhance, encourage and promote the current and future well-being of the people of Colorado. This includes management of web, digital and social media; print and video collateral and assets; press relations; brand management and virtual program development. She also serves as the senior staff member for the Southwest region. Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as Executive Director of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, and held leadership positions at the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Vladimir Jones Advertising Agency, and Guess?, Inc. in Los Angeles, California.

She has served on a number of community nonprofit boards, and currently serves as president of the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR) board of directors and on the Broadmoor World Arena board. An early recipient of the Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 recognition (now Rising Stars), she has also been awarded the Pikes Peak Advertising Federation’s Silver Medal Award and recognized as a Colorado Springs Woman of Influence, and is a graduate of both Leadership Pikes Peak and Colorado Springs Leadership Institute.

Carlos Buendia Sevilla Program Associate, El Pomar Foundation
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Carlos Buendia Sevilla joined El Pomar Foundation as a member of the Fellowship class of 2023. As a 1st Year Fellow, Carlos serves as a program associate for Pikes Peak Heritage Series, Alumni Relations, Fellowship Recruiting, and Western Legislative Academy. He also supports the Pikes Peak and Southwest regions.

Carlos grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He graduated from Georgetown University in May 2023 with a degree in Government and Philosophy.

Carlos has greatly enjoyed service-based opportunities such as interning for Senator Michael Bennet and Congressman Jason Crow, as well as helping bring English tutoring to recent immigrants in Washington D.C. through Georgetown’s DC Schools Project. He was a part of Georgetown’s Community Scholars Program and the Georgetown Scholars Programs, which included serving as a student peer mentor to provide support for first generation college students. With experience working for nonprofit organizations such as Food to Power in Colorado Springs and the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs in Washington D.C., Carlos is looking forward to learning about the grantmaking side of the nonprofit sector.

In his free time, Carlos enjoys exploring the great Colorado outdoors, rock climbing, and spending time with family.

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.