"The committee was impressed by the response received to our request for grant applications from individuals and organizations in the west ends of Montrose, San Miguel, Dolores and Montezuma counties. The thought, effort and thoroughness that went in to preparing the requests was extraordinary," said David White, Montrose County Commissioner and chair of the Paradox Strengthen Community grants committee. "We were able to achieve a good balance in terms of funding the expansion of some traditional nonprofits that do great work in the region, funding rigorous training and technical assistance for organizations not yet ready for program implementation, and funding some unique new regionally based start-up opportunities. The chance to work toward, beginning, in a forward thinking way, the revitalization of the economies of the region is a positive outcome from the committee's perspective."
Grants were reviewed by the seven-member Paradox Strengthening Communities Grant review committee, made up of representatives of the west end communities: Andrya Brantingham, Norwood; Elaine Fischer, San Miguel County Commissioner; Rick Gersch, Dove Creek; Paul Koski, Nucla; Debra Lear, Town of Naturita; David White, Montrose County Commissioner; and Ernie Williams, Dolores County Commissioner.
"I have lived in this area all my life. I've farmed, mined and worked in the gas fields through all their ups and downs" said Rick Gersh a members of the grants committee from Dove Creek. "This grant funding opportunity is a great chance to strengthen our local nonprofits and help seed some new promising ideas."
This Strengthening Communities grant program is the result of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funding from the Department of Health and Human Service, which the Telluride Foundation, in partnership with JVA Consulting and the National Center for Social Entrepreneurs, received at the end of 2009. The purpose of the Strengthening Communities Fund is to improve the ability of nonprofit and faith based organizations and community groups to promote the economic recovery of their communities. Over $600,000 in grant funding as well as technical assistance and training will be available to nonprofits and faith based organizations to build the capacity of their nonprofits in order to address the broad economic recovery issues present in these rural communities, including helping individuals secure and retain employment, earn higher wages, obtain better-quality jobs, and gain greater access to state and Federal benefits and tax credits. The primary focus of the grant will be the western and rural portions of San Miguel, Montrose, Dolores and Montezuma counties, including the communities of Norwood, Redvale, Egnar, Naturita, Nucla, Paradox, Dove Creek and Rico. There will be a second round of grants with applications due September 30, 2010.