At the Telluride Foundation, we jump at any opportunity to gather experts and decision makers across a wide spectrum of professional fields to help our communities tackle many of the challenges they are facing. From one-day convenings to multi-year-long efforts, we provide the financial resources and expertise to help our communities thrive. For more information on any of the Foundations Convening Summits contact Elaine Demas at

Open minds poster
Speaker at Telluride Foundation conference
Childhood investment speakers
Telluride Foundation event
Colorado governor John Hickenlooper

West End Housing

As the towns of Nucla & Naturita work to rebuild their economy after the closure of the Horizon Coal Mine and the imminent closure of the Tri-State coal-fired power plant, housing has become a pivotal issue. With the help of the Telluride Foundation the community has established a local grassroots committee who convene regularly to address their housing challenges.

Regional Trails Collaboration

In 2018/2019 the Foundation invited all trails groups and trail users as well as local government and state, and federal land management agencies to meet several times each year to learn from each other, share projects, and explore how we all can support each other to build a stronger regional trails effort. The Foundation’s is currently supporting regional trails efforts through its Community Grants and grant writing support in the West End.

Food Producers  

Food producers in the west end of our service area (Norwood, Nucla, Naturita and Paradox) face unique challenges getting their produce and meat to market. The Telluride Foundation regularly gathers together ranchers and farmers to discuss how we can work together to strengthen our local farm-to-table food pipeline while also addressing food insecurities in the region.

As a direct result of these summits, in March of 2018 the Foundation funded the cost of a professional consultant to assess our regional meat eco system. This work brought to light the extremely challenging process that ranchers in our region experience when attempting to have their cattle processed at a USDA-certified facility and lead to San Miguel County and the Foundation submitting and being awarded a Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) grant to fund a feasibility study to look into opening a USDA-certified meat processing plant here in the region. 

Rural Economic Resilience

In August of 2017 the Telluride Foundation hosted Governor John Hickenlooper and Stephanie Copeland, Executive Director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) as they presented the state’s Rural Economic Resilience study conducted in 2016. Regional elected officials and County and Town staff members were invited to participate to discuss with the Governor and Ms. Copeland how their study could be deployed to help our own region create a more resilient economy.


As our state population is predicted to double by 2050, and agriculture and tourism industries continue to grow, how we manage our water supplies is a conversation that needs to begin now. The Telluride, Gates and El Pomar Foundations, along with the Governor’s Office convened a Colorado Water Issues & Solutions Retreat in 2016. The summit educated and engage Colorado Foundation leaders on the interconnectedness of water and foundation work, learning and discussing how each organization can play an important role in helping to protect and manage this vital resource.

Early Childhood

The Telluride Foundation is dedicated to supporting early childhood development, serving the working parents of the Telluride region. For three years, the Telluride Foundation hosted, with the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Telluride Economic Summit on Early Childhood Investment, a national convening of CEO’s committed to making the business and policy case for investing in early childhood development.

Health Care

Tri-County Health Network regularly facilitates convenings and summits across our region to ensure the conversation around health and health equity remains at the forefront for healthcare, governmental, and nonprofit professionals and interested community members. Recent events include a 2-day Behavioral Health Summit featuring a keynote address by Sue Klebold, mother of Columbine school shooter Dylan Klebold; a Community Conversation with Lisa Duran, Political Consultant and University of Colorado lecturer, about the root causes of inequities in our community; and Learning from Young People, which included a presentation by author and educator Rosalind Wiseman and a panel of local youth sharing their experiences.