Southwest Region

Counties:  Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, San Juan

Cities:  Cortez, Durango, Pagosa Springs, Silverton

In May 2014, Rural Philanthropy Days (RPD) came to southwest Colorado, exactly when the Council wanted to explore potential focus areas. After conversations, connections, and workshops during the three-day meeting, the Council narrowed its focus to early childhood care and education. RPD’s role in the decision was not only serendipitous, but a testament to the value of RPD in generating momentum and awareness for rural Colorado’s needs.

In August that same year, the Council convened eight leaders in early childhood care to discuss challenges and opportunities in the region. The group identified a lack of affordable spaces at licensed childcare providers for toddlers and infants and a shortage of qualified caregivers as primary concerns. Every county, with the exception of San Juan, has long waitlists at licensed childcare sites and experiences a shortage of qualified caregivers. Though access to spaces is the main challenge within early childhood care and education, expanding the pool of quality certified caregivers in the region could create more spaces in the future.  The region has two Early Childhood Councils, which provide training, resources, and partnerships for certified caregivers.

Grant Highlight Following these discussions, the Southwest Regional Council was pleased to recommend a multi-year grant to form the Southwest Colorado Regional Early Childhood Collaborative. Now in the second year of funding, the collaborative works to expand the early childhood system, strengthen existing relationships between providers, and increase the quality and accessibility of early childhood programs in all five counties. In 2015, the Southwest Colorado Early Childhood Regional Collaborative distributed $55,295.79 creating 69 infant and toddler slots in the region: four slots were created in Archuleta County, 36 slots were created in La Plata County, and 29 slots were created in Montezuma County. The Southwest Colorado Early Childhood Regional Collaborative also distributed $5,000 in travel stipends for professional development. Furthermore, 130 hours of content specific coaching was received by Child Care Directors in the five-county region. In December, the Trustees approved the Southwest Council’s recommendation to fund the collaborative at $80,000 for 2016.
Council Member Log In Southwest-Mesa Verde.jpg

Meet Our Regional Council Members

R. Thayer Tutt, Jr. is President and Chief Investment Officer of El Pomar Foundation. He is the Chair of the Investment Committee for the United States Olympic Foundation, and also serves on the investment committees for Colorado College and the Geological Society of America. Tutt is Treasurer for the Air Force Academy Foundation, and a board member and past President for the National Recreation Foundation Board in New York City. He sits on the Boards of Trustees for Colorado College, Broadmoor World Arena, and The Hundred Club of Colorado Springs.In addition, Tutt is the President of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Foundation, President of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Endowment Fund and past President of Penrose St. Francis Board of Trustees. In 2009, he received the Business Citizen of the Year Award from the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. A graduate of Princeton University with a bachelor of arts in geological and geophysical sciences, Tutt earned his master's from Duke University in business administration.

R. Thayer Tutt Jr.

President and Chief Investment Officer and Trustee, El Pomar Foundation

Dean Brookie established his architecture and planning firm based in Durango in 1980. He has dedicated much of his career to developing affordable housing throughout La Plata County as well as historic preservation in historic downtowns. Dean was also elected to Durango City Council in 2013 and served as Mayor from 2015 to 2016. He also currently serves on the boards of Durango Adult Education and Habitat for Humanity, and was a founding member of Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County. He was also honored as Volunteer of the Year for Habitat for Humanity in Colorado for his design assistance for family housing.

Dean Brookie

Architect and Former Mayor, Durango

Mary Jo Coulehan is the Executive Director for the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. She was with the Chamber for 9.5 years before spending two years as a Manager with Pagosa Verde, LLC a renewable resource development company focusing on sustainable solutions for economic development in rural communities. She has returned to the Chamber to continue working on business and economic development in her community. 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 of science in biology. She then embarked on a 16-year career with Marriott Hotels. She has been a resident of Pagosa Springs for more than 20 years.

Mary Jo Coulehan

Operations Manager, Pagosa Verde

Beth Drum currently serves as Senior Vice President for Alpine Bank Durango. She has worked with Alpine Bank for 20 years. During her tenure she has held different positions with the bank, providing her with a broad knowledge of the banking industry, her primary focus has been in bank marketing and community development. 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. She is currently active with the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2014, she was honored with the Morley Ballantine Award, for her commitment to the community and exhibiting excellence in business.

Beth Drum

Senior Vice President, Alpine Bank

Joe Keck retired in 2015 from the position of Director of the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College in Durango. In that capacity Joe provided one-on-one business counseling to existing and start-up businesses in the five county area of Region 9 in southwestern Colorado as well as small business training and workshops. Joe has been a small business owner since 1993 and prior to that time worked in planning and economic development capacities with the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian Tribes from 1977-1993. Joe and his wife own Susie’s Gifts on Main in Cortez. Joe has served in a number of public capacities including 8 years of service on the Cortez City Council/Mayor(1996-2004), Cortez Downtown Association, and the Colorado Aeronautical Board (2001-2003). Joe currently provides consulting services on a part-time basis as an advisor with the Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center.
Joe has received specialized training through the National Development Council’s Economic Development Financial Professional Certification Program and through the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC), and through the Hallmark Corporations’ Advanced Retail Training Seminars (ARTS). He is a 1975 graduate of Fort Lewis College.

Joe Keck


Rebecca Larson is a Senior TA Manager at OMNI Institute and has been with the organization since August 2006. Rebecca serves in a senior leadership role as a Regional Consultant on the Learning and Development team. She provides services to three counties located in the southwest corner of the state and is based out of Dolores, CO. The TA & Training Project includes a statewide system of regionally based OMNI staff that provides customized technical assistance, facilitation and training services for people working in the field of prevention. Some of Rebecca’s responsibilities include staff supervision, project management and evaluation, and development and coordination of OMNI’s Leadership Practicum. She brings expertise in community leadership development and working with rural and frontier communities. Rebecca is a Colorado Certified Prevention Specialist II. She is a trained facilitator and a certified Myers-Briggs Type Indicator practitioner and certified Bridges Out of Poverty Trainer. Prior to joining OMNI, Rebecca worked with youth as a direct service provider and as community coalition director working on systems-level change. Rebecca received her master’s in community leadership through Duquesne University in 2014.

Rebecca Larson

Regional Consultant

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. Finance, fundraising, and knowledge of nonprofit organizations are her areas of expertise. Lisa has a bachelor of science degree in business from the University of Colorado and had a career in investment banking in San Francisco.

Lisa Scott

Community Leader

Kim White has been the Superintendent of the Silverton School District for the past 14 years. She has overseen and administered a number of initiatives including the recent rehabilitation and historical restoration of the Silverton School Building and Gym, 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 in many efforts to improve family and youth services within the community. Over the past 17 years, 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. She currently sits on the Silverton Family Learning Center and Preschool Board as well as on the Silverton Youth Center Board.

Kim White

Superintendent, San Juan County School District #1

Senior Staff, Southwest Region

Contact Peter:

Peter Maiurro

Vice President, El Pomar Foundation

Contact Julia:

Julia Lawton

Program Associate, El Pomar Foundation

Contact Ginni:

Ginni Hill

Program Associate, El Pomar Foundation