El Pomar Foundation awards 14 non-profits Merit Grants

Photo by Marie Mccolm The El Pomar Foundation hosted a Merit Grant Reception on Thursday, June 30, at Rain Brews in Monte Vista. Fourteen non-profits from across the San Luis Valley received grants.

MONTE VISTA — The El Pomar Foundation awarded 14 non-profits grants during a morning reception on Thursday, June 30, in Monte Vista.

The Merit Grant Reception was held at Rain Brews in Monte Vista. The non-profits were from across the San Luis Valley. 

El Pomar Foundation Board Trustee Andrea Aragon thanked the groups for attending.

“I want to thank everyone for coming out and taking the time to be here today,” Aragon said. “This year, the San Luis Valley Regional Council recognizes 14 organizations for Merit Grants. We are excited, because this year, we have been able to really spread the dollars out into rural areas and areas of the state that did not get that much money before. Congratulations, you are all here because you are doing something really right. We are actually going to be giving you money today.”

The El Pomar Foundation is a broad functioning financial institution that contributes $25 million annually to non-profit and government organizations.

Grant distribution through the foundation is made possible through a competitive process.

Focus areas for the grants include education, arts and culture, civic and community, and health and human services. The grants can be used for general operating activities.

Organizations that were eligible to apply are active 501(c)(3) or government equivalent and must be in Colorado.

Aragon gave additional information on how the El Pomar Foundation works through the San Luis Valley Regional Council.

“All council members of El Pomar have a region they utilize for the grants,” Aragon said. “We would love to see more applicants from the San Luis Valley.”

Aragon explained the grants are either $2,500 or $5,000. Each council member is given $5,000 and can give the money to one organization or split it between two organizations.

“Each council member from the San Luis Regional Council gets the opportunity to give money that El Pomar allocates to them, to an organization that they feel is doing an outstanding job,” Aragon said. 

The following organizations received grants

  • College Assistance Migrant Program at Adams State University
  • Migrant Education Program at Adams State University
  • Boys and Girls Club of the San Luis Valley
  • Care and Share Food Bank
  • Virginia Christensen Multi-Use Facility in Creede
  • Costilla County Library District
  • Creede Early Learning Center
  • Equal Representation of Media Advocacy Corporation
  • Ski Hi Complex
  • Northerners Senior Association Inc.
  • San Luis Valley Animal Welfare Society
  • San Luis Valley Areas Health Education Center Inc.
  • Tri-County Senior Citizens and Housing Inc.
  • Upper Rio Grande Animal Society

Alice Sanchez, representing the Costilla County Library District, was excited to receive a grant.

“The kids are the reason I do what I do,” Sanchez said. “I have so many inherited kids that come in and ask me for help. I have one kid that I have really made a difference for, he told me I had completely changed his life. He wrote an essay about the library and about me. It was so touching. He said I wanted to quit but Mrs. Alice pushed me through. This grant helps and means a lot.”

Kristeen Lopez with the Virginia Christensen Multi-Use Facility said the grant will go toward youth activities.

“This is the REC center in Creede. We work with youth of all ages from infants through adults,” Lopez said. “We do after-school programs and school programs for our school-aged children. We also have the gym facility for adults. The money we received today will be for youth activities, which will be our teen night stuff. We provide a safe place for teens to hang out, it's drug-free and alcohol-free. We listen to music, play board games, and play dodgeball with the teens. This is my passion; kids really need this. This is a great preventative program to help kids make good decisions. This grant is really going to help our program.”

Monte Vista City Manager GiGi Dennis said the El Pomar Foundation is an “awesome partner” with so many rural communities. 

“The benefits that they give to the San Luis Valley have just been wonderful,” Dennis said.

Dennis accepted a grant on behalf of the Care and Share Food Bank. The Care and Share Food Bank is moving into the old Budweiser building in Alamosa. They distribute donated or low-cost food throughout Southern Colorado.

“Again, a great partner to this fine program for Care and Share. We appreciate El Pomar and all they do,” Dennis said.

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