April 2022
A Beacon of Hope
Lighthouse Project Gives Youth a
Chance to Change Course
Members of the Davis/Ferris Family join Anne Wenzel, President/CEO of the Western Colorado Community Foundation, in presenting a $100,000 check to the Lighthouse Project.
Receiving the donation are Program Director Jacque Berry, District Attorney Dan Rubenstein
and CMU President John Marshall.
When our new donor advisors of the Mike and Kay Ferris Family Fund learned about the Lighthouse Project, they thought is was a perfect match with their philanthropic interests of helping at-risk youth in our community. Launched in January this year, the Lighthouse Project is an innovative collaboration between the Mesa County District Attorney's Juvenile Diversion program, School District 51's Truancy, Suspension and Expulsion staff, and Mesa County Partners. Offices and classrooms for those three programs are now co-located on the CMU campus. College students serve as mentors for the youth through the Work-Study program for students in the psychology, social work, and counseling departments.

The County's Juvenile Diversion program was already working with youth involved in the justice system to provide opportunities to help them get their lives back on track. The Lighthouse Project recognizes that youth who are at high risk for going into the justice system because of problems with school truancy and suspensions, substance use, and other challenges need those same diversion resources and opportunities before they start committing offenses.

The Lighthouse Project has been described as a “game changer” for at-risk youth in Mesa County. Our grant is helping expand the number of coordinators and covering the purchase of curriculum such as Strength Based Parenting and Life Skills and Conflict Resolution for Families. Funding will also cover participation fees and expenses for art programs, sports, and other extracurricular activities as these are often prohibitively expensive for these youth. These kinds of extracurricular programs provide valuable places for youth to explore interests and hobbies. as well as find a community of others with shared interests.

Some testimonials from the program:

"I learned how to control and truly think through all of my decisions. Also I learned the true meaning and differences of the words empathy and sympathy which has really changed my point of view in where I stand in things." Diversion Youth

"We had an incredible experience with our coordinator. She was so very kind, understanding and helpful throughout our entire process! I appreciate all of the support she has given us! Our child has made such a huge change in life after going through this program. I am extremely happy with how everything worked out! Thank you so much again!" Diversion Family

Read more about the Lighthouse Project here.
Looking Back, Dreaming Forward
WCCF 25th Anniversary Video Premiered
Our Community Foundation is pleased to present our 25th Anniversary video showcasing our work and impact over the past 25 years. Community Foundation staff and board members are available to make a short presentation to community groups and service clubs on our mission and work.

Please contact Kristin Lynch KLynch@wc-cf.org to schedule a presentation. Visit our website to learn more about our 25th Anniversary Celebrations, including our Surprise Grants and Looking Back on 25 Years milestones.
Board Member Spotlight:
Monique Serra
Monique and her husband of 37 years, George Woolsey, enjoy traveling
with their four sons and three grandchildren.
Monique Serra has worked in banking and wealth management her whole career. She started working at US Bank, what she describes as “Herb Bacon’s bank,” at the age of 19, covered a variety of jobs in the bank, worked her way up, changed banks several times, and ended her career as Regional President of Alpine Trust and Wealth Management.

Monique has been part of our Community Foundation from the beginning. She remembers initial meetings with founders who were making the rounds explaining the concept of charitable endowment funds to benefit our community. She later managed a portion of WCCF’s invested assets at Alpine. Her family started a small private foundation to celebrate her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary decades ago. That foundation has now come under the WCCF umbrella as the Serra Family Fund, a designated endowment providing annual support for Northside Elementary School in Montrose. “My parents believed in education. There were seven of us children in my family and all of us went to Northside and then went on and got a college degree. That was an enormous source of pride for my parents.”

Now wrapping up her sixth and final year on the WCCF Board, we want to acknowledge and thank Monique for chairing our Investment Committee for three years and serving on Executive Committee those same years. She notes, “My experience on the board has been fabulous. I want to spend my volunteer time doing something I believe in. I love the all-encompassing mission of the Community Foundation that does so many great things for our community.”  
Colorado Nonprofit Week
A Celebration of Our Sector
On March 16th, our Community Foundation hosted a virtual celebration in honor of Colorado Nonprofit Week - the annual time of year when we celebrate the impact of the nonprofit sector and the work we do together to improve our communities. The event included our Community Foundation's public kick-off of our 25th Anniversary with a viewing of our new video, Looking Back... Dreaming Forward.

Paul Lhevine, President and CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, gave the keynote address referencing the challenges our communities and nonprofits continue to face. He noted the ability of our sector to carry on with purpose and resiliency, even in difficult times. Paul noted the nonprofit sector represents 10% of Colorado's workforce across 200,000 organizations with $40 billion in annual economic impact - a result that is very important in smaller, rural communities across western Colorado.

Paul shared his inspiring remarks to the 50+ nonprofit leaders on the Zoom, underscoring the theme of the event: Inspiring Nonprofits to Dream Forward. "Ours are not burdens to shoulder, but challenges that we have the privilege of working to overcome."

Thank you to everyone who attended and thanks to all our nonprofit partners for inspiring us with the work you do.
Grantee Spotlight
Shovels Ready!
Ground Breaking for Wapiti Commons in Rifle
Habitat for Humanity of the Roaring Fork Valley broke ground on a new housing development in Rifle at the beginning of March. The Wapiti Commons includes 12 homes for working families – ten of which are three story town homes, two of which are condos. Additionally, the project includes eight single-story condos for older adults to allow Rifle residents to stay in their community instead of moving elsewhere. 

Habitat is building these homes to maximize energy efficiency – a win for the environment and a win for homeowners who will pay lower energy bills. Homes are designed for accessibility, adaptability, and multigenerational families. 

Our Community Foundation was recognized as the lead gift during the groundbreaking celebration, granting a total of $100,000 from several donor-advised funds to support this important project. 
Community Foundation Updates
How to Help in Ukraine

As we witness the atrocities inflicted on the people of Ukraine, many in western Colorado are wondering how they can help. In times of crisis, understanding what organizations to support can feel overwhelming. Our Community Foundation relies on and encourages our fund holders to reference Charity Watch and Charity Navigator to direct funding to legitimate and accountable organizations.
If you are a WCCF fund holder wishing to support the Ukrainian relief effort through a donor advised fund, please note that our Community Foundation can only send funds to US-based organizations.

Click the button below for a short list of organizations vetted by our philanthropic peers.

For more information, please contact WCCF’s Programs Manager, Emily Orbanek at eorbanek@wc-cf.org.
Business Partnership Program

Celebrate 25 years with us! We're inviting companies and organizations to join our Business Partnership Program in honor of our milestone anniversary this year. This is an opportunity for businesses to support all the work we do. Business Partners will be recognized as a 'Dreaming Forward Business Partner' in print and digital media, on our website, and at various presentations and events throughout the year. Donations support our exciting and ambitious 5-year growth plans. 

If you are interested in becoming a Dreaming Forward Business Partner, please contact Kristin Lynch at KLynch@wc-cf.org
We'd like to thank and recognize our current Dreaming Forward Business Partners for their support and commitment to our mission of promoting local philanthropy to improve the quality of life for the people and communities of western Colorado. 
Reflections from the President & CEO
Nonprofit Week in Colorado this year was March 14 - 18. Our community has for years recognized and celebrated the valuable work our nonprofit organizations do to help people and make our communities better during Nonprofit Week.  

People who work in the nonprofit sector – staff, volunteers, board members, and donors – are passionate and committed to the causes they serve. While burn-out is real and people can struggle with difficult situations or demanding and tiring days, at the end of the day people who are involved in this sector are a hopeful and optimistic group. They make a difference, one person at a time, one day at a time. 

As Kate Bennet, a Grand Junction resident from Ukraine who has been collecting cash donations for relief efforts in her home country says, “I worry that I was just a drop in the ocean, and then I realized the ocean was nothing but many individual drops.”

Our Community Foundation’s 25th anniversary theme of Dreaming Forward is such a natural fit with celebrating the work of nonprofit organizations and the nonprofit sector as a whole. These organizations embrace missions and programs that focus on solving problems, improving lives, and making our communities better. For me, dreaming forward captures the sense of momentum and hope that tomorrow can and will be better. Ultimately, the work of nonprofits is optimistic and looking forward dreaming about improved lives for clients and creating healthy places to live – with supportive services for those with special needs, educational opportunities for all, outdoor recreation, and arts and cultural offerings.

So – a shout out and huge appreciation for the many wonderful people working in and supporting our nonprofit community here in Western Colorado. We appreciate you! We hope our Community Foundation can help you dream forward and continue to care and work to improve lives and make our communities better.

-- 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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