The Telluride Foundation Board of Directors’ recent bi-annual meeting produced a flurry of actions and updates that will create significant and lasting positive community impacts. The board’s actions included approving $949,750 in community grants to support regional nonprofit organizations, adopting a revised mission statement and new values, approving the addition of new board member Karen Conway, and reviewing the Foundation’s new website and communications strategy.
The Board unanimously approved the Grants Committee’s recommendation to award 79 organizations with almost $1 million in grant funding, bringing the total grants given in 2014 by the Foundation to more than $2.8 million. In its 2014 annual Community Granting cycle, the Foundation received 91 applications seeking almost $1.3 million. The Foundation awarded grants to the majority of applicants that applied, and awards ranged from $1,900 to $55,000, with 30 percent going to human services; 24 percent funding arts and culture; 19 percent to early childhood development; 17 percent to education; 6 percent to athletic groups; and 4 percent to the environment/animals. Local groups receiving grant awards included organizations serving Telluride, Rico, Ouray, Ridgway, Norwood, Nucla, Naturita, and Paradox.
During the meeting, Karen Conway was approved as the newest board member. Karen is an architect in Newton, Massachusetts; she has her own design studio and focuses on residential design. Karen has a B.A. in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley and a Masters in Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Karen and her husband, Brian Conway, are second homeowners, and their four children have all been enthusiastic participants of summer Telluride Academy camps. Karen and her husband Brian are involved in numerous nonprofit organizations, and Karen is on the board of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. She also serves on the board of MASS Design Group that does work primarily in Haiti and Rwanda, as well as on advisory boards for The Trustees of Reservations and the Winsor School Corporation.
The board also heard a presentation by Victor and Spoils, an advertising agency in Boulder, Colorado that was hired to develop a new website and communications strategy for the Foundation. As part of its rebranding effort, the Foundation adopted a revised mission statement:
“The Telluride Foundation is committed to enriching the quality of life of the residents, visitors, and workforce of the Telluride region. The Foundation does this by developing and supporting initiatives and making direct investments that maximize benefit to all, nurture self-reliance, and create meaningful change.”
In addition, the Foundation’s work and initiatives will now center on the following new values: promote inclusion, build self-reliance, and be a change effort. The Foundation’s new website and communication’s effort will reflect its new mission and values, as well as the pillars of the Foundation: community, impact, initiatives, convening, and stewardship.
Finally, the Board approved the 2015 budget, which included the addition of a new staff member. Erika Lapsys, from Denver and Vail, recently joined the Foundation as its Donor and Strategic Initiatives Director. Erika has a diverse professional history that includes developing programs for the Navajo Nation Community College in Arizona, living and working with children rescued from the streets in Lithuania, and managing an eighty patient dialysis clinic in downtown Denver. She brings nine years of experience in resource and program development, marketing, and donor relations with organizations such as Mercy Housing, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Share Our Strength, and the University of Denver. She has worked on global sustainability projects for Newmont Mining in Ghana and microfinance projects for Deutsche Bank in Uganda and Kenya. Originally from Chicago, Erika holds a B.A. in History & Chemistry from Duke University, an M.S. in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an MBA from the University of Denver.