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Stronger Together: Leaders in Southwest Colorado Partner to Better Serve Children

Tags: Regional Partnerships Stories of Impact


El Pomar’s Regional Partnerships program, which originated in 2003, enables the Foundation to spread grant dollars across the state through 11 different Regional Councils. Councils are comprised of community leaders in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors who advise the Foundation about the needs in their communities. Regional Councils are allocated $200,000 annually to grant to nonprofit organizations in their region. Each Council’s impact is different, meaningful, and locally tailored to the community it serves.

Recently, the Southwest Regional Council spurred collaboration among several key stakeholders working to improve early childhood education. Following their experiences at Rural Philanthropy Days in June, 2014, the Southwest Regional Council determined early childhood care and education needed to be addressed in their community and allocated a significant portion of their budget to devise a sustainable solution to this problem. To address this issue, the Council granted the Early Childhood Council (ECC) of La Plata County $100,000 to increase the quality and accessibility of early childhood programs in Archuleta, Delores, La Plata, Montezuma, and San Juan Counties in southwest Colorado.

The ECC of La Plata County, in conjunction with leaders from the Montelores Early Childhood Council and Seeds of Learning in Pagosa Springs, worked with the Southwest Regional Council to create this collaborative effort. Since coming together, the partnership hired a Regional Collaborative Coordinator to assist with coordination and grant management, integration of early learning, health, mental health and family support services, and increasing access to these resources.  In the coming months, they hope to hire a regional coach to support effective leadership, best practices, and quality improvements in child care programs.

In just a few short months the progress the partnership has made is astounding:

We are so grateful for the support of El Pomar and the Southwest Regional Council. The investment in the young children and early childhood professionals in southwest Colorado is significant.  Working together, we will build a better future for all children in the region.”

-          Tamara Volz, Early Childhood Council of La Plata County, Director

The Southwest Council and Regional Partnerships team at El Pomar Foundation are excited to see the influence this partnership will have in southwest Colorado!