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The Telluride Foundation Board approved a new Special Initiative Grant at their bi-annual December board meeting for the Mountain Munchkins Childcare Center to expand services to include pre-school. Special Initiative grants are the newest grant-making mechanisms that allow the Foundation Board to be proactive and support larger projects, collaborations or longer-term programs.

Mountain Munchkins Childcare Center was awarded $50,000 grant towards opening a new preschool in Mountain Village. This is the first grant the preschool project has received. The center is located in Village Court Apartments in Mountain Village. The Town of Mountain Village has donated the apartment behind the facility for the expansion of the preschool as well as outdoor space to create a playground.

"The Foundation is thrilled to take the lead and award a grant for the new preschool," said Joanne Corzine, Board of Directors Co-Chair of the Telluride Foundation. "We are strong advocates of early childhood development and have seen the studies on the childcare shortage in our county. It is a step in the right direction to fund opportunities for more children and to offer working parents access to quality early childhood programs."

Currently, the Mountain Munchkins Childcare Center cares for children ages two months through three years and is focused on serving working parents of the Telluride and Mountain Village community. The preschool will provide an additional 15 spots for children ages 3 to 5 years. The 15 spots could serve as many as 25 children.

Recently, the childcare shortage in San Miguel County has reached a crisis. A study conducted last summer revealed that over 350 children were on waitlists and were not able to have access to quality early childhood development programs.

"The grant from the Telluride Foundation is a great start for this long-term dream of expanding Munchkins," said Mountain Munchkins Director, Kathleen Merritt. "Securing this first funding opens the doors for additional grant opportunities from across the state. I need to raise an additional $140,000 to make the project complete."

A tax credit incentive that Munchkins hopes to use is the little used or known Colorado Child Care Contribution Credit (CCCC). This allows any taxpayer, corporate or individual, that makes a monetary contribution to promote child care in Colorado a 50%state income tax credit.

Previous Special Initiative Grants from the Telluride Foundation Board include exceptional projects such as, a grant to the Ah Haa School to bring their new home at the Depot building into ADA compliance; a three year grant to the Telluride and Norwood School Districts to enhance their drug and alcohol education and counseling services; funding for San Miguel Resource Center to purchase permanent office space; a grant to the Trust for Public Land's for acquisition of a conservation easement to re-open public access to Mt. Wilson; and funding for a Alternative Futures Study of the region to provide fact-based information on long-term economic, ecological and community trends and impacts. Special Initiative Grants must be sponsored by three Foundation Board Members and are considered at the Foundation bi-annual board meetings.

The Telluride Foundation exists to create a stronger Telluride community through the cultivation and promotion 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/or working in the Telluride region for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life within the region. For more information on the Telluride Foundation, visit