December 2022
Our Work in the North Fork Valley
West Elk Community Fund Celebrates Local Work and WCCF's 25th Anniversary
Celebrating the Western Colorado Community Foundation’s 25th anniversary on September 14, at Mesa Winds Farm & Winery, 40 attendees learned about the West Elk Community Fund’s support of local nonprofit organizations. WECF founding members were on hand to share their experiences and encourage individual contributions to the fund.

"The North Fork Valley nonprofits are the lifeblood of our community. They support our youth and our elders, arts and culture, environment and agriculture. In five years, WECF has awarded 68 grants to 30 different local organizations. We are proud to be able to contribute to the good work of so many who make our Valley a great place to be,” said Elaine Brett, one of the founding members.

We want to thank those who attended the event and everyone who has supported community philanthropy. We look forward to continuing to increase the impact of the work WECF and local organizations are making in the area. It was great to see so many community members come together! 
Summary of grants distributed in 2022
Fourteen North Fork area nonprofits received grants totaling $28,500 from (WECF). The local steering committee reviewed applications and awarded grants ranging from $1,000 to $3,000, for a variety of projects and general support. 

The following organizations received funding for the 2022 grant cycle:
  • All American Families
  • Blue Sage Center for the Arts
  • Citizens for a Healthy Community
  • Dark Skies Paonia
  • Delta County Citizens for Animal Welfare
  • Elsewhere Studios
  • Friends of Youth and Nature
  • The Nature Connection (Delta SD 50J)
  • North Fork Senior Connections
  • North Fork Valley Creative Coalition
  • Paonia Senior Citizens, Inc. (pictured above)
  • Solar Energy International
  • UpRoot Colorado
  • Western Slope Conservation Center
The West Elk Community Fund (WECF) is a charitable investment account to benefit the people of Paonia, Crawford, and Hotchkiss. Community-minded donors can make contributions of any size. Funds are used to support local nonprofit organizations and improvement projects through a competitive grants application process.

Our donors share a connection to the place they live and a commitment to make their community better.
Since its establishment in 2018, the West Elk Community Fund has distributed $145,915 in grants to nonprofits in North Fork Valley.
North Fork Creative Coalition

The West Elk Community Fund (WECF) has been pleased to support the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition (NFVCC) in their mission to grow the economy of the North Fork Valley by promoting local artists and creative entrepreneurs and preserving the local culture. In the last 2 years, WECF has directed grants to NFVCC to support the Mountain Harvest Festival. NFVCC is managing the festival to ensure this beloved event, celebrating community, education, local foods and wines, and musicians and artists, continues its annual contribution to the community. With the help of WECF's support, the 2022 Mountain Harvest Festival will flourish for many years to come. 
Ela Family Fund: A Gift of Giving

Bill (left) and Shirley Ela (right with their son, Steve) were active for years as community leaders, business leaders and philanthropists in Western Slope. Bill’s mother, Lucy Ela, was a founding member of the Grand Valley Audubon Society. Bill followed in her footsteps by supporting and serving organizations such as the Mesa Land Trust, Colorado Riverfront Commission, and the Grand Mesa Nordic Council. Shirley was a founding board member of the Western Colorado Community Foundation and has continued to be a supporting voice in the community for nonprofit organizations, including being one of the founders of the West Elk Community Fund.

Once Bill retired, he and Shirley settled on Rogers Mesa near Hotchkiss and opened Ela Family Farms. In 2011, Bill and Shirley Ela started the Ela Family Fund at the Western Colorado Community Foundation which allowed them to work with family members to distribute funds in their new home. Since Bill's death, Shirley and the Fund have continued to support a variety of organizations and continue to grow the legacy of giving to future generations. That is the true gift!
We invite you to give where you live...
As you consider your year-end giving, we hope you will consider giving to your local community fund, promoting local philanthropy and supporting a number of worthy projects benefiting your community. Gifts of any size are appreciated and are tax deductible. 
Checks should be payable to the Western Colorado Community Foundation with a note in the memo line of “West Elk Community Fund” or “WECF” Mail to P.O. Box 4334, Grand Junction, CO 81502. 
About Western Colorado Community Foundation...
The Western Colorado Community Foundation is a nonprofit, public charity established by local community leaders in 1996. We serve a seven county region that includes Delta, Eagle, Garfield, Mesa, Montrose, Ouray, and Rio Blanco Counties. We are growing steadily and now manage over $118 million in total assets and more than 350 funds.
Interested in supporting our work? 
Please consider a donation today.
Any size gift is appreciated!