Last month, the El Pomar Foundation allocated $231,500 to nonprofits throughout the Southwest region, including Montezuma County.
The El Pomar Foundation, founded in 1937, supports Colorado nonprofits through grants and stewardship programs. Annually, it awards $22 million to organizations in the state.
In Montezuma County, the largest amount from this cycle was allocated to the Piñon Project for its mental and behavioral health programming – $50,000 to be disbursed over two years. Piñon has received El Pomar grants before, and these funds are used to support mental and behavioral health access for young people, said Lucia Bueno-Valdez, the organization’s youth services coordinator.
“When we applied for the grant, it was because we’re working with a lot of kids that have mental health needs,” she said.
The money allows Piñon to fund staff advocates through the Wraparound program and to help families access treatment – from transportation to copays to alternative forms of treatment such as Medicine Horse Center.
“There are so many barriers to accessing and maintaining behavioral health, especially in a rural community,” said Kelli Unrein, assistant director of the Piñon Project. “And we know if those youth continue to grow up without addressing those behavioral health issues, they’re more likely to have a substance abuse issue, and then into adulthood, that could result in them entering the justice system, child welfare system, a variety of systems.”
Piñon encourages community members to consider its mentorship program – adults are paired with a young person for a few hours every week.
Other local grants awarded by El Pomar for this cycle included:
$2,500 to the Cancer Resource Alliance.$5,000 to the Community Radio Project.$2,500 to the Cortez Additions Recovery Services, Inc.$2,500 to Onward! A Legacy Foundation. $35,000 for suicide awareness and prevention programs to the San Juan Board of Cooperative Education Services.ealvero @the-journal.com