October 2021
Celebrating $100 Million
Our Community Foundation Reaches Exciting Milestone!
WCCF Founder and first Executive Director, Verne Smith, toasts $100 million (left). Current President and CEO, Anne Wenzel, and Board Chair, Barb Chamberlin, (right) share big smiles and a warm welcome to guests at the recent Open House and Celebration.
September 9th was a happy and festive occasion for our organization. Current and alumni board members, relatives of founders, and staff were on hand for an Open House and Celebration of $100 million in total assets. Our organization has held this goal for a number of years and we have achieved it! Dr. Verne Smith, our first executive director and long-time donor, provided some history of our start up years and paid tribute to the leaders who had the vision to start this organization back in 1997. President and CEO, Anne Wenzel made some remarks and current Board Chair, Barb Chamberlin, reminded the group that "It takes a village to build a community foundation" as she raised her glass of champagne in toast.

As Anne noted in her remarks, "$100 million is just a number... but - oh - what a number!" This level of assets under management is made up of over 300 donor funds set up by generous members of our community who want to give back. $100 million generates $5 million each and every year to distribute in grants and scholarships and covers much of our operating budget, allowing us to hire a 10-person staff team to support our donors in their philanthropy and lead initiative work in areas like hunger, youth mental health, and outdoor recreation and the environment. At $100 million, the Western Colorado Community Foundation is one of the biggest charitable foundations on this side of the Continental Divide.

Hooray for $100 million, and onward to $200 million in the next ten years!

To learn more about everything we do, visit our website at wc-cf.org.
WCCF Board of Directors Toasting $100 Million
Current WCCF Board members had their own champagne toast at the
Annual Board meeting in May.
Remembering "Mr. Rifle"
Tom Stuver
(1947 - 2021)
Long-time Rifle resident and attorney, Tom Stuver, passed away in August in Fallbrook, CA where he had moved several years ago to retire. Tom served on our Community Foundation's board of directors for six years, two of them as our board chairman, and was instrumental in working with his long-time client, Genevieve Clough, to plan and set up her charitable legacy, the Clough Fellowship Program. This scholarship fund is our largest scholarship fund and involves a partnership with Colorado Mountain College Foundation to administer approximately $525,000 in scholarship funds each year to dozens of graduating seniors from Rifle, Grand Valley, and Coal Ridge High Schools in western Garfield County.

Tom very much valued public education; he served on the Clough scholarship selection committee for the past twelve years, reading all the application materials and engaging with each student during the interview and selection process. He served as legal counsel for the RE-2 school district a number of years, and he and his wife established their own scholarship fund at our Community Foundation, the Rifle High School Merit Scholarship Award for strong academic performers.

While education was important to him, Tom had so many other community involvements. He provided legal counsel to the local hospital and fire districts and was involved in Garfield Youth Services, the New Ute Theater Society, the Rifle Rotary, and the planning group that created Centennial Park along the Colorado River in downtown Rifle. While he would shrug away the name, our team thought of Tom fondly as "Mr. Rifle." He was involved in so many things in his community.

A decade ago, Tom served as our board chairman through several years of expansive growth and has stayed interested and supportive up until his passing. He has made extraordinary contributions to his community, our Community Foundation and western Colorado. Rest in peace, Tom Stuver.
Tom Stuver with his colleague, Genevieve Clough, celebrating the success of the
Class of 2014 Clough Fellows at CMC/Rifle’s Encana Academic Center.
Impact of the Genevieve Clough Fellowship Program
13 Years of Scholarship Support

As her charitable legacy for western Garfield County students, long-time Rifle resident Genevieve Clough established the Genevieve Clough Scholarship in 2008. This scholarship offers young people “a chance to succeed” by pursuing post high school education. The scholarship is administered through a partnership between our Community Foundation and the Colorado Mountain College (CMC) Foundation.

Since its inception, the Clough scholarship program has funded 420 students and awarded $4.2 million in scholarships through our Community Foundation. (These statistics do not include the students and financial support provided through the CMC Foundation to its students.)
Emily B. is attending Colorado Mesa University and shares what this scholarship means for her and many other students. "Mrs. Clough had the generous vision to help so many local students achieve their dreams. Without her support, I would have to rely on loans. I am so grateful for the generosity of her family and will always remember that helping others should be a priority in life."
This year, Western Colorado Community Foundation
has awarded over $700,000 in scholarship funding to 314 students.
Thank you to all of our generous donors who make such a difference
in these students' lives.
Field of Interest Funds
$31,200 awarded from Brownson Memorial Fund
Field-of-Interest Funds are established by donors who care about supporting a particular issue or cause important to them. These funds provide flexible funding for our Community Foundation to respond to current and future needs. We currently manage 25 Field-of-Interest Funds and are actively building these as part of our long-term strategic planning efforts.
The Brownson Memorial Fund was our first Field-of-Interest Fund and is the only funding in Mesa County directed solely at providing resources and services for substance use prevention and treatment. The Brownson Memorial Fund awarded $31,200 this year and has distributed over $430,000 in grants since its inception in 1985.

To learn more click here.
The Suicide Prevention and Awareness Fund is WCCF’s newest Field-of-Interest Fund. This is a funding opportunity for organizations who promote awareness, education, advocacy, and collaboration towards the prevention of suicide in Mesa County. The application for funding is now open and the deadline to apply is November 5, 2021. Learn more at wc-cf.org/grantmaking. 

If interested in learning more about Field-of-Interest funds, or other funds at Western Colorado Community Foundation, contact Kristin Lynch at klynch@wc-cf.org.
Community Foundation Updates
 Community Impact Council
State of the Community

Thursday, October 21, 2021
4:00pm - 5:30pm
CMU University Ballroom;
1455 N 12th St.

Join the Community Impact Council (CIC) to hear updates from our Municipal and Community Leaders on partnerships and new opportunities to address challenges in our community.

CIC's mission is to strengthen and support nonprofits in Mesa County to improve the lives for all residents in the community.

Plan to join us for this free in-person, mask-friendly event, or watch online. Please register at communityimpactcouncil.org
Reflections from the President
I write these reflections from a place of celebration and gratitude as two significant events come together for me in my life. First, as documented above, our Community Foundation is celebrating an extraordinary milestone. We have reached the $100 million mark in total assets... right in time for our 25th anniversary year, which is 2022. And, I celebrate my 20th anniversary with the organization this month. It was October 2001 when I began as part-time executive director of a small community foundation with a big vision. Holding the vision of our founding board members and donors ever in front, we have grown from $1 million in assets to over $100 million. We have grown from distributing $40,000/year, when I started, to giving out almost $5 million annually in grants and scholarships. We have grown from two part-time employees to a strong and capable team of ten staff. And our operating budget has grown from about $50,000/year to a $1 million operation.

Whew! It's taken a lot of hard work and effort... on my part as well as our staff, board, and generous donors, and here we are. I think everyone associated with our organization, now celebrating this enormous success, feels a deep sense of commitment and pride in building this community organization that does so much good. In addition to the work, there are so many moments of joy... working with a donor who is excited about their charitable giving to help them articulate and shape a legacy gift that will make a lasting difference... delivering a grant check to a nonprofit to help them develop a new program or expand a successful one and seeing the excitement in their eyes to get the crucial funding they need. What can I say? It is very rewarding and truly fun to work at the intersection between people who care and causes that matter. I feel incredibly grateful every day for the opportunity to serve this organization and lead our charge on promoting local philanthropy and to make a difference across western Colorado.

Lest this sound like a preamble to retirement, I am not going anywhere other than my office on the 5th floor of Alpine Bank Building any time soon. I did say to a board of directors in a strategic planning session years ago that I would get WCCF to $100 million before I retired. But this is no time to retire. There is so much more to do, and it is no time for me to retire. We invite you to learn more and join us, as we move onward to $200 million and beyond!

-- Anne Wenzel


The Western Colorado Community Foundation is confirmed in compliance with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations by the Council on Foundations.
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