Several local organizations were among the group of Southwest Colorado nonprofits that the El Pomar Foundation chose as donation recipients at the end of 2018, including two Mancos groups and one organization that supports the Mancos School District RE-6.
The Mancos Conservation District received $5,000, the Medicine Horse Center Therapeutic Riding and Equine Rehabilitation took in $3,000, and the San Juan Board of Cooperative Educational Services, which supports eight school districts in the region, received $50,000.
“El Pomar Foundation trustees are committed to funding organizations across the state of Colorado and are proud to support the selected nonprofits in the Southwest region,” said Julia Lawton, communications director for the El Pomar Foundation.
During the foundation’s September and December meetings last year, El Pomar trustees approved a total of $114,500 in donations to 11 nonprofit organizations in Southwest Colorado. Some of the grants were allocated through a competitive process, while others were determined by partner regional councils.
The money directed to the conservation district, said assistant executive director Erin Kuhlman, will specifically fund the Montezuma School to Farm Project, which leads garden and farming-focused programming at schools in Mancos, Cortez and Dolores.
Funding for the Medicine Horse Center will go to the horses, according to the organization. These particular dollars come from the Sally Beck Fund, which supports organizations that provide direct care to horses, therapeutic riding programs, equine education programs and equine-related disaster response programs.
Lynne Howarth, executive director for Medicine Horse, said the grant money would go toward basic horse maintenance such as trimming and shoeing and be especially useful for hay purchases. After last summer’s drought, hay prices have “skyrocketed,” she said.
“Basically it’s a wonderful way for our therapy horses to be supported,” she said.
The $50,000 for BOCES will be used specifically for mental health training in the counties that the organization serves: Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan. According to Royce Tranum, behavioral health services coordinator with the organization, they are looking to train educators on taking a “trauma-informed approach” in the classroom, equipping them to better understand how trauma impacts students’ academic achievement and behavior.
“I think the landscape of what children needs from an educational lens has changed a lot, especially in the last 10 to 15 years,” she said. “And schools are really trying to adapt. And this money is really going to help us in supporting professional development for teachers.”
In nearby Durango, El Pomar approved $5,000 each for the Durango Arts Center, Durango Film Institute and Trails 2000, Inc.
Archuleta County Education Center, Inc. received $25,000 to construct a new Early Childhood Education, and Archuleta County Victim Assistance received $5,000 for an office remodel.
Mountain Studies Institute in Silverton received $5,000 to support its mentoring program, and the Hambrick Fund contributed $1,500 toward Aid for Pets in Bayfield.
El Pomar was founded in 1937 and contributes about $22 million annually to nonprofit organizations throughout Colorado.