"We had a tremendous response from the community for nominations for the 2009 Outstanding Citizen award." said Joanne Corzine-Brown, Co-Chairman of the Board of the Telluride Foundation. "With so many great people that contribute to our community, the Board really struggled to select just one person as Outstanding Citizen. Marilyn is an outstanding choice for all that she has done for the Telluride community for so many years"
Marilyn Branch's tireless volunteer efforts in the community are extensive. Her work at the Telluride Rotary Club has turned the traditional, often laid-back club into one of Telluride's exceptional donation, scholarship, and gift-giving clubs in the entire region.
Annually, she has led annually the International Rotary Student Youth Exchange Program, acting as the sole organizer, setting up and administering this international student exchange program for Telluride students and foreign students coming to Telluride. Marilyn has also organized the international rotary exchanges for the Rotary District - a task that required coordinating with over 100 clubs and up to 100 students a year.
Her leadership within the Rotary Club includes making sure every child in the school systems in Telluride, Mountain Village, Norwood, Naturita and Paradox Valley receive the benefits of the free dictionaries donated by Rotary. Her efforts in Rotary events have brought both her and the Telluride Club recognition for her volunteer work over the years. She was awarded the "District 5470 Rotarian of the Year" this year.
In addition, Marilyn has created, organized and run the Balloon Festival since its inception, truly one of the more photographed events in the community.
The Telluride Foundation's Outstanding Citizen award is given in recognition of someone who has unselfishly contributed to our community's quality of life. Marilyn will receive a commemorative plaque and a grant of $5,000 to be given in her name to the local non-profit of her choice. Marilyn shares the honor with Kathy Green (2008), Jane Hickcox and John Pryor (2007), Bill Carstens(2006), John Micetic (2005), Lissa Margetts (2004), and Terry Tice (2003) as Outstanding Citizen. Annually nominations are solicited from the entire community and elected by the Telluride Foundation Board of Directors.
A community celebration in honor of Marilyn Branch is being planned for the fall. The celebration will include a short film profiling Marilyn and her contributions to the community.
The Telluride Foundation exists to create a stronger Telluride community through the promotion and support of philanthropy. It is a non-profit, 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.