Southwest Open School has been awarded a $25,000 grant from El Pomar Foundation for its work serving at-risk and diverse students in Southwest Colorado.
El Pomar’s Awards For Excellence program recognizes Colorado’s highest-performing nonprofit organizations, according to a press release.
SWOS applied last fall for the onetime grant. Director Charlotte Wolf and board president Uriah Hubbard accepted the award at a ceremony over the weekend in Black Hawk.
“We really feel very honored that we got this award,” Wolf said. “They recognized the excellence of our program.”
The grant was somewhat unrestricted, so school officials were able to spend the money how they saw fit. The grant will support the school’s technology fund, as well as salary for a Native American youth advocate, Wolf said. The school-based health clinic also benefited from the funds, she said.
“We tried to be very mindful about it and spread it across several areas so it had maximum impact,” Wolf said.
El Pomar fellows considered SWOS a unique program in Southwest Colorado, Wolf said. The award was somewhat unexpected, but several El Pomar fellows took time to personally thank Wolf and Hubbard at the recognition event for their work, Wolf said. It was great to be there, she said. “We were so thrilled,” Wolf said. “I was floored by the amount of appreciation that came across.”
Organizations in the Denver area recognized by El Pomar include Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, which motivates and enables people of Colorado to become active stewards of Colorado’s natural resources and Adams County Youth Initiative, which connects community partners to ensure youth excellence and development in Adams County.
The Alliance Against Domestic Abuse, which serves those affected by domestic abuse across Chaffee County, won awards for its work in rural areas of the state along with SWOS.
Since its inception in 1989, the Awards for Excellence campaign has provided over $6.1 million in grant support to more than 450 nonprofit organizations throughout Colorado. Organizations are selected by a dedicated group of community leaders, Council members from El Pomar’s Regional Partnerships program, and El Pomar Fellowship Alumni.
“Each nonprofit organization and individual awarded have made an incredible impact on their local communities,” El Pomar Chairman and CEO William J. Hybl said in the press release. “We commend their achievements and are eager to see their continued excellence, leadership, and innovation.”