Nonprofit – The Pagosa Springs SUN The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Thu, 02 Jul 2020 21:42:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Nonprofit – The Pagosa Springs SUN 32 32 Pagosa Mountain Rotary Club Tue, 07 Jul 2020 11:00:58 +0000

Photo courtesy Cyndy Secrist

The Pagosa Mountain Rotary Club was pleased to donate $1,000 to the Archuleta Food Coaltion. This was made possible with matching funds from Rotary District 5470. The donation was used to help purchase a commercial-grade refrigerator to increase capacity for cold food storage at the primary food pantry. Pictured, left to right: Pauline Benetti, representative of the growers group of the Archuleta Food Coalition; Rod Hubbard, Pagosa Springs Senior Center; Michelle Huck, Food Coalition treasurer; Ken Rogers, Pagosa Mountain Rotary Club treasurer.

El Pomar Foundation approves $31,000 to nonprofits in the southwest region Sun, 05 Jul 2020 11:00:32 +0000 By Claire Girardeau
El Pomar Foundation

El Pomar Trustees approved $31,000 allocated to six nonprofit organizations in the southwest region at the foundation’s May trustees meeting. Through the foundation’s grant making process, the following organizations were awarded grants:

• Archuleta County School District 50 JT — $7,500 for a StarLab constellation unit; regional merit and trustee regional merit.

• Community Connections Inc. — $5,000 in general operating support; competitive.

• Housing Solutions for the Southwest Inc. — $7,500 in general operating support; competitive.

• LASSO — $3,500 for the direct care of equines; Sally Beck Fund.

• Montezuma County Historical Society Inc. — $2,500 for the Montezuma Heritage Museum; regional merit.

• Reaching Out to Community and Kids — $5,000 for youth enrichment programs; competitive.

Founded by Spencer and Julie Penrose in 1937, El Pomar Foundation has an established legacy of general purpose grant making. The competitive process remains the foundation’s primary vehicle for organizations to receive funding. Additionally, over the last 80 years, El Pomar has either developed or been entrusted with the stewardship of a number of other funds. Competitive applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

In an effort to increase impact and establish connections across the entire state, the Regional Partnerships program was established in 2003. Each of the foundation’s 11 regional councils advises El Pomar trustees and recommends grants to help support its communities. The Southwest Regional Council recommends grants in Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan counties. Council members are regional leaders in the business, nonprofit and public sectors and provide firsthand information about current needs in their own communities.

The Sally Beck Fund supports organizations providing direct care to equines, therapeutic riding programs, equine education programs and equine-related disaster response programs.

To view a full listing of El Pomar’s funds and grant-making areas, please visit

El Pomar Foundation is one of the largest and oldest private foundations in Colorado. El Pomar contributes approximately $22 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. 

Rise and Recover Together, Pagosa campaign launched Thu, 02 Jul 2020 10:52:26 +0000 By Marcy Mitchell
Aspire Medical Services and Education

Launched by the Community Foundation serving Southwest Colorado, Rise and Recover Together, Pagosa is a campaign rooted in community spirit. It is a shared movement to lift each other up in light of the hardships faced during the COVID-19 crisis. The campaign is centered on a locally designed logo to represent Pagosa’s strength and resilience during challenging times and to remind everyone we are stronger together. 

By purchasing items with the Rise and Recover Together, Pagosa logo, individuals can both showcase their community spirit, as well as help local nonprofits. T-shirts, hats, yard signs and stickers are available through a local online store: Scroll down the webpage to find the Pagosa Springs merchandise. Proceeds of all Pagosa sales will support local nonprofits, including Aspire Medical Services and Education, Veterans 4 Veterans, Upper San Juan Search and Rescue and the Archuleta County Fund through a grant from the Community Foundation.

This fundraiser, designed to build community spirit, was made available through the Community Foundation after the annual 19th Hole Concerts had to be canceled. The generous sponsors of the 19th Hole Concerts agreed to support the new Rise and Recover Together grant. 

The theme Rise and Recover Together, Pagosa encapsulates many initiatives, including economic stabilization, recovery endeavors, supporting positive actions by citizens to aid in recovery, and supporting the business and nonprofit sectors.

“As we all come together as business owners, civic leaders and members of our community, it is vital to work together to rebuild, meet basic human needs and help people flourish,” said Scott Shine, Rise and Recover Together campaign task force member. “This inspirational campaign is grounded in our love for the community, which we believe has abundant assets and is well-positioned to rebound from this crisis, if we all work together to make it happen.” 

To help support this cause, simply go to: and purchase a Pagosa Springs-themed hat or T-shirt for $25. For more information, please contact Tracy Pope of the Community Foundation at 375-5807. 

Aspen Services: Supporting adults with developmental disabilities Tue, 23 Jun 2020 11:00:18 +0000

Photo courtesy Aspen House
Bret Jackson, a potential future resident of Aspen House and recipient of Aspen Services, paints Christmas decor for the future site of the Aspen House home.

By Danyelle Leentjes
A Safe Place in Pagosa

Aspen House and Aspen Services (AH/AS) proudly announce they are now providers for the Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). The DVR assists individuals whose disabilities result in barriers to employment to succeed at work and live independently.

DVR is a state and federally funded program to help eligible individuals with documented disabilities to find suitable employment (part time, full time or permanent) and is voluntary. To learn more about DVR, visit 

PS Froyo is partnering with AH/AS and will serve as a vocational platform for DVR vital job skills training for adults over 21 with developmental disabilities. 

All profits from PS Froyo will go toward furthering the AH/AS mission of supporting adults with developmental disabilities in Archuleta County. Parents/guardians who are interested in AH/AS DVR job-skills training, please email or visit for more information.

AH/AS are operated under A Safe Place in Pagosa Springs Inc., a recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Aspen House is committed to providing long-term housing solutions to adults with developmental disabilities. The objective is to build a home that provides housing for eight adults with developmental disabilities, supporting each tenant’s potential in becoming an independent contributing member of the community.

Aspen Services is dedicated to becoming a local-based service provider for adults with developmental disabilities. Aspen Services will support residents living in the Aspen House home as well as other adults living in the community. Becoming a DVR provider is the first license obtained in what is anticipated to be a sizable list of services offered here in Pagosa Springs.

Visit for more information on AH/AS, volunteering opportunities and donating.

Stay-at-Home Push-Up Challenge a success Tue, 16 Jun 2020 11:00:45 +0000

Photo courtesy Rise Above Violence
After Rise Above Violence had to cancel is annual Push-Up Challenge due to COVID-19, Paula Miller stepped up to create the Stay-At-Home Push-up Challenge, raising $6,775 for Rise.

By Ashley Wilson
Rise Above Violence 

I would imagine that right now many nonprofits are struggling to navigate the changes in our community due to COVID-19, with many losing fundraising opportunities because group sizes are limited and local businesses and individuals are being impacted financially. 

It is during these times that creative efforts are needed and organizations are trying to find the balance of asking for contributions without taxing our community further. It is not an easy balance to find. Rise Above Violence is fortunate to have creative supporters who take the initiative to innovate for us.

April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month and is typically when Rise hosts the Push-up Challenge as one of the main fundraisers for the year. Unfortunately, we had to cancel this event. 

Paula Miller is one of our amazing supporters who comes out for the Push-Up Challenge, the Pagosa Duathlon, and has created amazing art for each and every of our Art Above Violence events. 

So this year when the Push-Up Challenge was canceled, Miller decided to do something different to support Rise. She started a Stay-At-Home Push-up Challenge, where she decided to do 50 push-ups every day in May, post those videos online and ask people to support her personal challenge. She brought in humor, education and consistency that pulled our community in to this challenge. She did push-ups in all kind of locations including at the salon, out camping and out on her trail rides. Her effort reached many people on social media and raised $6,775 for Rise. 

Rise wants to express our deepest gratitude to Miller for sharing her challenge every day in May. We want to thank those who donated. Part of this incredible challenge was a match that came in the last few days; the match was $1,500 if we could reach the $5,000 goal. This encouraged more people to give and several people to give again. Rise is so fortunate to have a community that supports us, both financially and those who volunteer their time, share our message and come out to our events. We want out community to hear our message of gratitude for the outpouring of support. 

And, Paula Miller, you are a push-up warrior. Thank you for all you do for us and being so creative in this challenge.

El Pomar Foundation distributes $73,500 in COVID-19 aid to nonprofits in southwestern Colorado Mon, 15 Jun 2020 11:00:12 +0000 By Kyle Boyle
El Pomar Foundation

Since March 17, organizations in southwestern Colorado received grants totaling $73,500 from El Pomar Foundation’s Colorado Assistance Fund. 

The $1 million fund was established by the foundation’s trustees on March 9, within a week of Colorado’s first confirmed case of COVID-19, and provided immediate aid to nonprofit organizations and government entities meeting basic human needs and supporting access to appropriate health care for individuals and communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The following organizations in Archuleta County received grants:

• Archuleta Seniors Inc. — $5,000 for food distribution efforts related to COVID-19.

• Community Foundation serving Southwest Colorado — $2,500 for information distribution for service access related to COVID-19.

• Community United Methodist Church — $5,000 for food distribution efforts related to COVID-19.

• Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Foundation — $2,500 for medical needs and services related to COVID-19.

• Loaves and Fishes of Archuleta County, Colorado — $1,500 for food distribution efforts related to COVID-19.

• United Way of Southwest Colorado — $5,000 for rent and utilities assistance related to COVID-19 through the Pagosa Outreach Connection.

The $1 million fund supported 175 unique organizations in 48 counties of Colorado, with grant amounts ranging from $1,000 to $25,000. Grants supported a range of emergency services such as food banks, rent and utility assistance, and medical supplies.

“We are grateful for the nonprofit organizations and their staffs who have selflessly stepped up to support individuals and communities in need during this pandemic,” said Kyle Hybl, El Pomar Foundation president and CEO. “In establishing the Colorado Assistance Fund, El Pomar Foundation’s trustees aimed to deliver funds as quickly as possible to support critical needs.”

Organizations were nominated for funding by public health departments or members of El Pomar Foundation’s regional councils. Part of El Pomar’s Regional Partnerships Program, regional councils regularly provide grant recommendations to El Pomar trustees. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Colorado, regional council members have been in regular contact with El Pomar staff and trustees to provide firsthand insight regarding their communities’ most critical and emergent needs.

With the original $1 million disbursed, El Pomar Trustees approved another $1.1 million for an additional phase of the Colorado Assistance Fund. Each of El Pomar’s 11 regional councils will recommend a strategy for the allocation of $100,000 in their multicounty region of Colorado. The focus of these dollars is to support longer-range recovery efforts to encourage the eventual return of healthy, functioning communities across Colorado as they emerge from the current COVID-19 crisis.

El Pomar’s trustees also dedicated $100,000 from the foundation’s Freda Hambrick Fund to support pet food banks, or to support veterinary clinics in covering costs of pet food or veterinarian expenses for families that have been impacted by COVID-19 and are unable to afford those expenses.

This additional phase marks the seventh time the El Pomar Foundation has dedicated a Colorado Assistance Fund. Prior to the phase established in March for COVID-19 immediate aid, the five previous funds were established during and in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and distributed more than $5 million between 2008 and 2012.

To view a full listing of El Pomar’s funds and grant making areas, please visit our website at

BWI teens restock local food pantries Sun, 14 Jun 2020 11:00:06 +0000

Lauren Peart

By Rachel Ophoff
Beyond Words International

You may have seen them grocery shopping, or maybe not: they can be hard to spot behind their overloaded carts. They’ve learned a thing or two about finding the sales and specials. These young women, with their mothers’ assistance, are helping to feed Pagosa. 

Meet Lauren Peart, Nell Taylor and Olivia Craig. Sophomores at Pagosa Springs High School, they were typically busy with their studies, as well as extracurricular and community activities. Then COVID-19 brought life to a screeching halt. All the time they had invested in theater, music, sports and volunteer work dissipated into thin air. Their families were all significantly impacted in one way or another. 

They could have let disappointment drag them down.

But they didn’t.

Working together, they launched a GoFundMe effort to resupply our local food banks. All three are student ambassadors with Beyond Words International (BWI). BWI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Pagosa Springs, offering humanitarian aid and healing arts both locally and globally. As soon as the crisis hit, Craig launched a social media blitz to raise funds for the Methodist

Nell Taylor

Church’s food pantry. Peart and Taylor, who had been saving money to travel with BWI on a humanitarian mission, donated their funds to the cause. But raising money was just the beginning.

They worked. Peart took over Craig’s work at the Methodist Church, and Craig reached out to Amazing Grace Church in Aspen Springs. Taylor visited Restoration Fellowship and picked up its shopping list.

When I met with them in mid-May, they had already shopped and replenished their respective food banks several times. Taking their responsibilities seriously, they learned to shop wisely. 

Taylor learned that WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children. WIC recipients are lower-income parents who qualify for assistance buying food. They receive debit cards that are only valid for nutritious WIC products. Taylor learned to leave those items and select others instead.

Peart knows where the day-old bread is. Regularly helping to restock the Methodist Church’s pantry has left her with mixed feelings. She’s glad to be able to do it, she wonders how the recipients are getting along, and it makes her sad when she returns and finds their supplies depleted. She does not give up; she just does it all again. 

Craig felt like she hit the jackpot when she discovered that Amazing Grace Church not only has a pantry, they also have a freezer, a refrigerator and a large shed on site. Every week, Craig and her mom have been able to get not only nonperishables, but meat, rotisserie chickens, fresh vegetables, butter and 10-15 half-gallon jugs of milk. 

Since these young women are an active part of helping our community, I asked them if they had any message they would like to share. Here’s what they had to say:

“I’ve learned not to take relationships for granted. We never know when someone can be taken away from us.”

Olivia Craig

“Please wear a mask and follow the CDC guidelines so our lives can get back to normal soon.”

Unfortunately, all three of them have suffered a discouraging experience in the supermarket. A few adults have given them the “stink-eye,” and worse, perhaps thinking they were hoarding food.

Their request? 

“Be respectful.”

Good words for us all in these challenging times.

Pastor Mark Disbrow of Amazing Grace Church in Pagosa Springs summed up what Craig’s efforts have meant to them:

“Olivia has been a blessing to the community we serve, as that is the mission of our food pantry. She has provided so much help by raising money, doing the shopping, and delivering. That’s almost a three-person job!”

To the donors who continue to contribute money; to the churches that sponsor and run our local food banks; to the staff and volunteers who tirelessly distribute groceries; and to Craig, Taylor, Peart and their amazing moms: We here at BWI thank you. 

It’s young people like this that give us hope for the future. We at BWI are grateful that they are part of our team. For more information on how to contribute, or to learn more about us, please visit our Facebook page at

Rotary donates $1,000 to Rise Above Violence Fri, 22 May 2020 11:00:57 +0000 By Livia Lynch
Pagosa Springs Rotary Club 

The Pagosa Springs Rotary Club donated $1,000 to the local nonprofit Rise Above Violence to help support their increased caseload resulting from COVID-19. 

Archuleta County Undersheriff Derek Woodman noted in a recent SUN article that there has been an “uptick” in domestic violence calls over the past month and Rise Above Violence, a local nonprofit dedicated to assisting victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, has seen its call volume increase. 

Rise Above Violence Executive Director Carmen Hubbs reported that the nonprofit is fully operational during the pandemic. When catastrophic events like a global pandemic occur, domestic abuse and sexual assault numbers go up and that is what is happening currently in Archuleta County. The Pagosa Springs Rotary wants to support Rise Above Violence with its increased caseload.

The Pagosa Springs Rotary Club meets weekly via Zoom and information about upcoming meetings can be found on at


Community Emergency Relief Fund and the Community Foundation disburse emergency funds Tue, 12 May 2020 11:00:52 +0000 By Briggen Wrinkle
Special to The SUN

The second round of Community Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) granting has been completed, with $50,000 being disbursed across southwest Colorado to human services nonprofits serving vulnerable populations and school districts providing food and child care services. Another $50,000 in matching grants was coordinated by the Community Foundation serving Southwest Colorado, bringing the total emergency funds distributed this week to $100,000 to 26 organizations across five counties.

Last month, $101,000 in emergency funds was granted to 12 organizations across the region in Round 1 of CERF granting, including matching donations secured by the Community Foundation.

Rounds 1 and 2 of CERF grants have been designated as response funding, addressing immediate needs created by the closures and restrictions put in place during the public health crisis to slow the spread of COVID-19. Examples of these needs include food security, rent and utilities assistance and service to populations disproportionately impacted by this emergency.

We have been working diligently to get this money distributed quickly to the organizations that are seeing increased demand due to the COVID-19 crisis. We will see impacts in the human service sector for a long time as we work to address the most pressing needs.

Organizations receiving funding in Round 2 for Archuleta County are as follows:

• Aspire.

• Food Equity Coalition.

• Loaves and Fishes.

• Pagosa Peak Open School.

The Round 2 matching donations secured through the Community Foundation came from the Town of Pagosa Springs, the Ballantine Family Fund, Bank of Colorado, Bank of the San Juans, First Southwest Bank and TBK, among others.

“Doubling the impact of these vital, rapid-response dollars was an important goal for the Community Foundation, so we were incredibly thrilled when so many local partners stepped up to match our CERF funds,” said Briggen Wrinkle, executive director of the Community Foundation. “As we move into Round 3 funding, addressing nonprofit recovery and stabilization, we are working to find a creative plan to spread these recovery dollars across multiple sectors throughout the region.”

As of May 1, CERF has raised more than $275,000 from local philanthropists and individuals plus $100,000 in matching gifts. CERF is raising funds and serving nonprofits in all five counties in southwest Colorado. CERF is working with other state and local funders to ensure its investment is strategic and supporting the nonprofit sector effectively.


Rise Above Violence’s Denim Day Thu, 07 May 2020 10:53:21 +0000

Photo courtesy Rise Above Violence

Paula Miller and her pals participate in Rise Above Violence’s Denim Day on April 29. The event was held in support of victims and survivors of sexual assault.