December 2021
There's No Place Like A Home
Multiple grants support housing across our region
Stephanie Fisk, right, sits on the front porch of her new home with her daughter, Kara Taylor. After Fisk lost her home in a wildfire, the Golden Girls program at The Joseph Center gave her a place to live and heal as she got back on her feet. Stephanie is one of 30 women over the age of 50 helped by the Golden Girls program, one of many services offered by The Joseph Center.
(Photo credit and full story by Stina Sieg/CPR News)
Housing, a warm and safe place to sleep at night, a place to call home. Shelter is a basic need and one that is increasingly hard to find for many people in our communities. The affordable housing challenge is part of a growing regional and national crisis, which has worsened during the pandemic.

The Daily Sentinel's recent series on homelessness captures a spectrum of stories about the people facing these challenges and the organizations and services available to address these issues. Many of these organizations receive general support and funding for capital projects from our Community Foundation. Read the The Homeless Issue series here.

As with our work to alleviate hunger, our Community Foundation is deeply committed to funding projects which meet current needs. We convene partners working in the field to identify gaps in services, needs, and possible solutions. Affordable housing and services for the homeless are expensive and require complex financing, but we can provide "seed funding" to get new projects started and positioned for additional financing and partnerships.

Summarized below are four of the current projects our Community Foundation is supporting to address the issue of affordable housing in western Colorado.
According to the 2021 Grand Valley Housing Needs Assessment, Mesa County has a shortage of 3,736 rental units for households earning $25,000 or less.

Mother Teresa Place

Grand Valley Catholic Outreach's next project will be permanent, supportive housing for older, hard-to-house individuals who suffer chronic mental and physical disabilities, many of whom are homeless. Mother Teresa Place will offer these individuals affordable housing with a variety of support services in an apartment complex at 4th and Ute Avenue. The $6 million project will include 40 units, each 450 to 500 square feet, and will offer mental health services on site.

Our Community Foundation has committed $125,000 from five different donor funds for this project. Learn more here.
Wapiti Commons

Habitat for Humanity of the Roaring Fork is breaking ground on its first project in Rifle which will include 10 affordable townhomes for working families and young professionals, and 12 condos for seniors on a fixed income. HBHRF conducted focus groups to involve seniors in designing the units to meet their needs. The total cost of the project is $7 million to provide stable home ownership opportunities for families.

Western Colorado Community Foundation has committed $100,000 to this project.
Learn more here.
Western Slope Trade Certification Program

As Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans (HFH SJ), Erica Madison has been helping low income families and individuals attain housing through sweat equity and affordable mortgage structures. For the past year, Erica and her team noticed the additional challenge of contractors struggling to respond to rising home and commercial building demands against a critical shortage of workers. Contractors were either delaying or outright cancelling Habitat projects due to these issues.

Recognizing the need for more skilled workers, as well as an opportunity to help high school students to learn a trade, HFH SJ recently launched the Western Slope Trade Certification Program in collaboration with Technical College of the Rockies. This pilot project will allow students to attain certifications in construction-related fields and acquire hands-on training on Habitat home builds.

Our Community Foundation is providing funding for this pilot project which Habitat intends to grow to fulfill the regional need for these skills.
Homeward Hounds

People with pets need shelter too. Furry companions are often key to a person's mental health as they struggle with the many challenges of living on the street. Pets are not allowed in traditional shelters due to safety and other concerns. HomewardBound and Roice- Hurst Human Society recently teamed up to establish Homeward Hounds at HomewardBound's North Street property. These 10 climate controlled units allow shelter guests to sleep securely in a private room with their pets - a first-of-its kind collaboration that no other shelter in the nation accommodates. Several Community Foundation donors are supporting this project. Read more here.
The Western Slope's population growth is projected to increase by 67% by 2050, creating even more demand for high density housing in communities where condos and townhomes sale prices have increased by as much as 30%. (*CO State Demography Office. Colorado Assoc. of Realtors.)
Supporting Their HOME Community
Bray Cares Foundation Awards $35,000 to Address
Housing Needs in Mesa County
The Bray Cares Foundation, which is administered by our Community Foundation, recently awarded six nonprofit organizations a total of $35,000 in grants to address housing-related needs in Mesa County. Celebrating 75 years in business, Bray and Company established their Foundation in partnership with WCCF to raise funds and make grants annually to address housing needs. Now in its third year of existence, the Bray Cares Foundation has awarded a total of $75,000 in local grants and is building their endowment to ensure housing needs are addressed over the long term in Mesa County.

This year's grants cover a variety of needs including housing assistance to youth aging out of foster care; emergency shelter and rent assistance for those facing eviction; programs for supportive sober recovery; and shelter for homeless youth. See full list here.

“In our 75th year as a company, we set out to accomplish two goals - first, to create an endowment to ensure the Bray Cares Foundation can continue its work indefinitely, and second, to have 100% donation participation from our agents and staff. I am delighted to say we have achieved both,” says Robert Bray CEO of Bray and Company.

Read the full story in The Business Times here.
Board Member Spotlight:
Carlton Mason leads CASA as Tireless Advocate for Youth
Carlton Mason is often referred to as a “mover and shaker” in Montrose. Colleagues describe Carlton as a forward-looking thinker and entrepreneurial in his approach to new program development. As Executive Director of CASA of the 7th District, Carlton leads their work to provide Court Appointed Special Advocates to protect children. In recent years he has taken this core mission to a different level by developing new initiatives and projects to support former foster children who have aged out of the system. These expanded services include job training, housing, and mentoring support. CASA has also developed the Youth Access Center (YAC) in downtown Montrose for youth to drop in and feel like they have a place to hang out with peers and caring adults.
We are pleased to welcome Carlton onto our regional Board of Directors this year.
Carlton clearly knows community needs and the challenges our youth are facing. That makes him an ideal nonprofit partner and an obvious choice to bring his expertise and “out of the box” thinking to our work in addressing challenges today while building better systems and solutions for the future. Carlton notes, “It was a heartfelt admiration for the leadership and staff at WCCF that made my decision to serve on the board an easy one. The Community Foundation bridges the interest and passions of donors with the organizations meeting community challenges across western Colorado."
Project Spotlight:
1st Place on Palmer
Our Community Foundation has been partnering with CASA of the 7th District since 2017 when they built a prototype Tiny Home to help the young adults gain marketable skills in construction. Our Community Foundation has been pleased to help support many successful CASA projects since then, including 1st Place on 2nd, which is micro-housing and support services for former fostered youth in Montrose (2018), and now 1st Place on Palmer in Delta (pictured here).
A Huge Community 'Thank You' and Farewell Hug
to John Mok Lamme
Champion for Homeless Youth Relocating to Hong Kong
John Mok-Lamme has worked tirelessly over the past several decades on the needs of the homeless population. He helped found the Grand Junction Homeless Shelter in 1998, which eventually became HomewardBound. John founded Karis Inc. in 2012 and opened The House to provide housing for homeless youth 13-18 years of age. Karis now manages an array of housing and services for youth, including The House, Laurel House Apartments, Transitional Housing, the Youth Drop In Center and Street Outreach Team, and Zoe House. Many of our Community Foundation donors support the many programs developed by John over the course of his career in Grand Junction.

Anyone who meets John is immediately impressed by his passion and enthusiasm for his work and his deep-seated love and care for at-risk youth. And also his humility about his accomplishments. While he would be embarrassed to win awards or public kudos for himself, he would be pleased to receive this shout out and "virtual group hug" from us, and on behalf of all of the people he worked with and touched over the years he served our community.

Good luck to John and Christine on their next chapter in Hong Kong, we will miss you here in the Grand Valley!
Community Foundation Updates

Local Community Funds Award $119,850 to Help Their Communities

Our Local Community Funds (LCFs) have grown steadily over the years and include six funds serving focused geographic areas, be they towns or counties in our region. These funds are established by local community leaders who raise donations and review and distribute grants to meet community needs. Our regional Community Foundation manages the back-office and administration of these funds and works closely with local LCF steering committees on fundraising and grantmaking to improve the places they call home.

This year, our Local Community Funds distributed $119,850 to 61 nonprofits meeting community need in many of the areas we serve: Austin, Cedaredge, Cory Eckert, and Orchard City (Surface Creek Community Fund); Crawford, Hotchkiss, and Paonia (West Elk Community Fund); Ridgway, and Ouray (Ouray County Community Fund); Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, and New Castle (T.R.U.E. Grants Fund); Silverton (San Juan County CF), and Parachute to Battlement Mesa (Mt. Callahan Community Fund). Our largest geographic fund - the Ouray County Community Fund - distributed over $50,000 in grants this year, a record for them.

We appreciate the support of our donors that make these grants possible. To learn more about supporting a geographic fund in your community, contact Kristin Lynch at (970) 243-3767.

Read more about 2021 grants distributed through these funds here.
Colorado Gives Day- Give Where You Live!

Colorado Gives Day is an annual statewide campaign to celebrate and increase philanthropy through online giving. Colorado Gives Day is Tuesday, December 7, 2021, but you can schedule your donation any time before midnight on December 7th to count for Gives Day incentive funding.

This year donations to our Community Foundation will help support our efforts to ensure youth in our communities have resources to recover academic skills and build back resilience in the wake of the pandemic. Schools, students, and families are struggling with learning loss, and added anxiety/depression after nearly two years of disruption and uncertainty.

Our Community Foundation is a supporter and member of Grand Valley Gives (GVG). This year, 44 Mesa County nonprofits will participate in Grand Valley Gives to work collaboratively to grow and promote donations locally on Gives Day. Read more about Grand Valley Gives and nonprofits participating in the Grand Valley Gives Guide.
2021 Year End Gifts and Distribution Reminders
Deadlines fast approaching

We would like to extend a huge thank you to our donors for their generosity and support this year.

In an effort to assist you with your charitable goals, we encourage you to keep in mind these important dates to ensure any year-end grant recommendations and end-of-year contributions are counted in 2021.

Last Call to Make Grant Recommendations From Your Fund
For our donor advisors: grant recommendations submitted by December 17 will be sent on our last grant distribution date in 2021. Complete a Donor Advised Fund form here to recommend an end of year grant from your fund before December 17th.

Year End Gifts to Your Fund
All gifts made to Western Colorado Community Foundation by December 31, 2021 will be earmarked as a 2021 contribution. Please note that stock donations must be received in WCCF's clearing account by close of business on December 31st to qualify for a 2021 tax deduction. Donations made by mail need to be postmarked by midnight on December 31st.

Support your Community Foundation!
As you plan your year-end giving, we invite you to make a general support donation that provides valuable unrestricted support for all the projects we are working on. Donations of any dollar amount are appreciated! Please note "unrestricted gift" on the memo line and mail to WCCF @ P.O. Box 4334, Grand Junction, CO 81502.

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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