In 2008, the Foundation spearheaded the Alternative Futures Study to forecast and assess future development patterns for San Miguel, Ouray and parts of Montrose counties. The Foundation contracted with the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to conduct a two year study to better inform decision maker's understanding of the region. The Study used extensive global information systems (GIS) coupled with advanced computer modeling to project 20-30 year economic, ecological and community impacts of various near term scenarios. The study reached the conclusion that there is an urgent need for a regional approach to housing, transportation, and environmental protection in order to maintain the character and tourism economy of the region. "Since the Study was finished," said Paul Major, President & CEO of the Telluride Foundation, "We have been looking for an opportunity to build on what we learned from the Study and to start addressing, on a regional basis, the major issues that will impact regional communities, such as public transportation, affordable housing, economic development. For example, we need to address sustainable economic development, coordinating and recognizing each community's economic, natural, and human assets, and explore a regional approach to economic development. The current method of economic planning, where we plan within single jurisdictions, for example where one community is focused on natural resource extraction, and another on tourism, leads to conflicts and can lead to marginalizing each community's best efforts."
The Foundation worked with Funders Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, a national organization aimed at supporting foundations and grant makers investment in strengthening communities, as well as RPI Consulting, a land use, fiscal, and economic planning form focused exclusively on rural and resort communities in the Intermountain West, located in Durango, to submit the federal grant application. The Foundation, local governments and organizations provided cash and in-kind commitments of staff, resources, and travel totaling 49% of the over $1.2 million grant request. The Foundation hopes to hear whether the application is successful by the end of the year, but according to Paul Major, "while being awarded the grant would be wonderful, the fact that three counties, four towns/cities, two federal agencies, a state agency (DOLA), Region 10, and four nonprofits all committed to participating in a new regional planning effort if we got the grant and supported the application, is in itself a success."
The Telluride Foundation exists to create a stronger Telluride community through the promotion and support of philanthropy. It is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that provides year-round support for local organizations involved in arts, education, athletics, charitable causes, land conservation and other community-based efforts through technical assistance, education and grant making. As a grant maker, the Foundation awards grants to qualified applicants that serve the people living and working in the Telluride area for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life within the region. For more information on the Telluride Foundation visit www.telluridefoundation.org.