While unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic is still going strong in many parts of the world, we are so fortunate to be in southwest Colorado, where life is starting to look normal again. At the Telluride Foundation, the last 15 months was a demonstration of our capacity to be resilient, staying true to our mission, while adapting to a constantly changing landscape of critical issues and community needs. Thanks to the generosity of donors, we were able to raise over $1.6 million to fund the Good Neighbor family direct cash assistance program to help with rent, food and other critical human needs, along with emergency nonprofit grants (including food banks, medical centers and broadband support), and a COVID testing program for all five regional school districts, enabling our kids to remain in school. In addition, the staff was able to pivot and provide technical assistance for local businesses and nonprofits to help them access federal and state resources (PPP loans, unemployment, state and local COVID grants) that they needed to make it through the downturn.
We are happy to see that Good Neighbor fund emergency assistance applications are slowing, community nonprofits are resuming events and programming, and Main Street is once-again bustling with summer activity. At the Foundation, we are re-opening our office and look forward to in-person meetings; preparing to run the 11th annual RunDola on July 4th; renewing plans to celebrate our 20th Anniversary and planning in person events; and moving forward with our day-to-day work of improving the quality of life of the Telluride region. However, we have learned some important lessons during the last year, and we don’t want “normal” to look the same as the past. We’ve taken on an energized commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as a new understanding of how a community foundation needs to function, pivot, and react to unforeseen circumstances. We’ve been reminded about the importance of community and taking care of one another and how lucky we are to live in this beautiful place with such caring and generous people.