Grand County nonprofit receives emergency grants through El Pomar
April 12, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS-For the fourth time since the start of the economic downturn, El Pomar Foundation is distributing $1 million in emergency funds to Colorado nonprofit organizations helping those most affected by the economic downturn. Throughout the state more than 140 nonprofit organizations that focus on direct human service support will receive grants over the next month, including one in the Grand County area. The money is being distributed through El Pomar’s Colorado Assistance Fund IV, a follow up to CAF I ($1 million in November 2008), CAF II ($1 million in August 2009) and CAF III (early 2010).
Locally, Mountain Family Center ($10,000) will receive a grant. The organization was recommended for a grant by El Pomar Foundation’s Northwest Regional Council, an advisory board of community leaders representing seven counties in Northwest Colorado. Stephanie South, the regional coordinator for El Pomar’s Northwest Regional Council, will present the check to Mountain Family Center later this week.
Diane Schwenke, president and CEO for the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Northwest Regional Council, said she knows the impact the Colorado Assistance Fund grants will have on the nonprofits and the communities they serve.
“Northwest Colorado has been hit hard by the recession, and three years of high unemployment are taking a toll on our residents,” said Schwenke. “El Pomar’ s Colorado Assistance Fund is vital in assisting
our most critical nonprofits meet record demand for their services by providing operating dollars when they need it the most.”
The trustees decided to distribute CAF IV funding after surveying nonprofit organizations across the state and reviewing statistics in the areas of health care and unemployment to determine the sustained impact of the recession on local organizations. Despite indications of gradual economic improvement throughout the country, the research numbers tell a story of stagnancy and continued decline in Colorado, particularly throughout rural regions of the state. Significant findings include:
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• Of those direct service providers surveyed, 95 percent reported an increased demand for services.
• Statewide unemployment numbers reached 9.3 percent in February 2011, and every region has experienced escalating rates each year since 2008. In Grand County unemployment rose from 8.2 percent in January 2010 to 9.1 percent in 2011.
• The number of families who could not afford health insurance increased with a 9 percent rise in CHP+ caseloads across the state. In the Northwest the CHP+ quarterly caseload was 4,728 from April to June 2010, 597 more than in 2009.
El Pomar Foundation, based in Colorado Springs, is one of the oldest and largest private foundations in the Rocky Mountain West. El Pomar contributes approximately $20 million annually through grants and Community Stewardship Programs to support Colorado nonprofit organizations involved in health, human services, education, arts and humanities, and civic and community initiatives. Spencer and Julie Penrose founded El Pomar in 1937.