SAGUACHE—The Colorado Trust has provided more than $200,000 in funding for H.E.A.R.T. of Saguache/KV to continue its efforts to achieve health equity, ending inequalities so that those most affected will have fair and equitable opportunities to attain good health.
As part of its Community Partnerships initiative, The Colorado Trust, a statewide philanthropic foundation, has been collaborating with H.E.A.R.T. of Saguache/KV community members since 2015 to identify opportunities for change that would improve the lives of those living here. The community has come together in a series of discussions, meetings, events and more, led by a local team of residents who are overseeing the work and creating a plan.
H.E.A.R.T. of Saguache/KV members spent the last year focusing, researching and implementing short term wins on the issues identified through holding community focus groups in the Saguache/KV, and conducting a resident survey.
H.E.A.R.T. of Saguache/KV short term wins included $4,000 to Mountain Valley Schools VISTA for the Back Pack Program, which is a program providing snacks to children for over the weekend while school is not in session; $2,000 to Mountain Valley Schools McKinney-Vento Homeless Fund; $1,000 to Mountain Valley Schools Student Council, to be used for community dinners; $1,000 to MVS Booster Club to help cover fees and equipment for those most in need; $3,500 to 4th Street Diner for a weekly soup kitchen; $1,000 to Home Grown Totes to create the bags for Mountain Valley Schools VISTA Back Pack Program.
Another $1,000 went to the Alpine Achievers Initiative to purchase snacks for Back Pack Program and $2,000 went toward Alpine Achievers Initiative for the transportation to youth activities; $2,600 went towards the purchase of furniture for the seniors center including a sofa, love seat, recliner, two end tables, a floor lamp and four round dining tables. Funds also went towards art supplies, and sewing supplies.
The seniors groups also applied for a supplemental grant to purchase computers for computer classes for seniors as well. They are also working with Saguache County Commissioners who have instructed the county attorney to begin drawing up a Memorandum of Understanding for the use of the building.
The H.E.A.R.T. of Saguache/KV also gave $3,500 to the Sharing Christmas community initiative in partnership with Saguache County Social Services, Saguache County Public Health, the American Legion, Saguache Volunteer Fire Department, Girl Scouts of America, and community members to put together holiday meal boxes, supplemental food boxes, and gifts for all children from the neediest households.
After spending part of the year researching the issues, H.E.A.R.T. of Saguache/KV have chosen to prioritize the following:
• to identify root causes of the issues, to focus on improving the overall well-being of the community
• to delve deeply into the key topics of disengagement, and poverty as these are issues that most affect community members in the town of Saguache, and the KV.
• In addition, the H.E.A.R.T. of Saguache/KV will continue its planning to address the root cause issue areas in expanding community outreach and collaboration; and evaluation supports.
Resident members will continue their work efforts as they apply for additional grant funding from The Colorado Trust to support sustainable solutions for those most affected by issues in the community. This funding will allow them to continue developing a plan to improve their community and make it a healthy, vibrant place to live.
These focus areas, disengagement and poverty were chosen after a lot of conversation, dialogue and input. Thanks go to the numerous community members who shared their thoughts, opinions and advice on how to make this community a better place to live. It has been essential that ALL voices are heard in this process.
The resident team’s fiscal sponsor is the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center, who has managed administering the funds from The Colorado Trust. For more information on this resident-led initiative, please contact Laurie Vigil community coordinator at 719-580-6145/[email protected] or Lacy Reed community organizer at 719-248-1327/[email protected]