The Ballantine Family Fund awarded more than $310,000 in grants last year to nonprofits across Southwest Colorado to support education, human services, arts and culture and other causes.
The fund awarded $245,623 to 121 grant applicants and an additional $65,000 in unsolicited funds to seven nonprofits working in the early childhood and arts and culture sectors. The fund was founded in 1957 by Morley and Arthur Ballantine, former owners of The Durango Herald, and is focused on improving the human condition in Southwest Colorado.
The early childhood councils in La Plata and Montezuma counties were among those that received unsolicited funds. The two groups received $20,000 to help prepare children for kindergarten.
In La Plata County, the early childhood council is using the funds to partner with libraries to host play and learn workshops through June for children and their parents focused on topics such as language, literacy, writing and math, said Sara Campano, a workshop organizer for the council. The workshops teach skills through books, songs and activities. Parents also receive materials at the events to help them continue practicing skills with children at home, she said.
“All the parents seemed really engaged and grateful,” she said.
Workshops are intended to reach those children who aren’t in preschool programs so they can be as prepared for kindergarten as their peers.
The councils are also going to show “No Small Matter,” a documentary on the importance of early childhood education in April in Cortez and Durango, but no dates have been set.
The Ballantine Family Fund’s $245,623 in traditional grant funding was disbursed widely with 29% going to human services, 26% designated to arts and culture, 22% granted to education, 9% slated for environment, 9% given to youth programs, 1% to animal protection and 4% to other causes. The average grant award was $2,030.