The Fabric of Our Community

“Stories make it possible for us to be human.” – Daniel Taylor

Every Spring, nonprofits and community programs that receive grant funding from the Community Foundation report back with statistics, reflections and lessons learned during the year. But it’s the stories they tell that give the best glimpse into their work. A slice of their missions in action. A chance to understand how they’re changing lives. We wish we had room to share them all!

From Crested Butte Mountain Theatre: “The shuttering of businesses and enforced social restrictions seemed deeply personal to theatre groups around the world. Gathering people in close proximity is exactly what we do, after all. We uplift our community as individuals share their grief and joy and find love and fellowship. Though our stage was dark in 2020, our future shone bright. Our inboxes overflowed with “love-notes” from our audience, encouraging us to not give up, because they weren’t giving up.  We learned that we are essential to each other’s livelihood – a generous reciprocity.”

From Living Journeys: In April 2020, we learned that my husband, Charlie, had stage IV cancer. I was nervous, scared, and guarded when I reached out to Living Journeys. I have never been in such a hard place in life and felt so welcomed by an absolute stranger. Julie instantly made me feel like we weren’t alone and told me all the ways that Living Journeys could assist; she gave me hope. From meals to travel reimbursement to grants for therapy, Living Journeys has become a constant in our lives.”

From Wonderland Nature School: “One of our scholarship recipients was the child of a struggling mom who couldn’t work during COVID shutdowns and was experiencing a very difficult pregnancy. Her preschooler was able to stay in school where learning and routines remained stable and secure. This continuum of care and education is assisting mom with preparing her child for success in Kindergarten.”

From Project Hope: “In the fall of 2019, Kay arrived in Gunnison with no support system and few material possessions. As a result of lifelong abuse, she suffered from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a combination which made it difficult for her to be self-sufficient. Project Hope placed her in emergency shelter when she first arrived, and then moved her into a transitional housing unit. After a long search and a lot of leg work, Kay finally secured a safe, affordable place to live and is living on her own for the first time in many years.”

From Gunnison Country Food Pantry: “Jay is 73 years old and receives benefits from the State of Colorado to buy food he needs but has given up his driver’s license due to diminished mobility. Emily tested positive for COVID-19 and was told to go straight home and isolate at least two weeks. Carmen has five children; her husband Jaime uses their car to work two jobs. What do these people have in common? They live on low incomes yet cannot get to the Pantry to ask for food assistance. Hardworking Pantry volunteers partnered with the Gunnison County Pandemic Response Team and Gunnison Valley Hospital Senior Transportation Services to deliver free food from the Pantry to households that need it.”

A widely-accepted statistic is being thrown around that up to 1 in 3 nonprofits nationwide may permanently close due to financial strain from the pandemic. That’s astounding…and disturbing. So many nonprofits are essential to the fabric of our communities, filling needs where government and private business cannot.

Here in the Gunnison Valley, we are lucky in many ways. Especially lucky to have financially strong nonprofits that are weathering the storm. They’re nimble, adaptable, and resilient.

At this time, the Community Foundation doesn’t anticipate any local nonprofits having to shutter their doors as a result of COVID-19. Some turned on a dime to rework their entire plan for revenue without in-person events or interaction. Others had to ramp up services and programs to respond to community need while following pandemic protocols. All showed tremendous dedication to their missions.

The stories shared here are just a few of the hundreds of examples of local nonprofits stepping up and doing what they do best – providing essential services and enrichment for the Gunnison Valley.

Community Grants season is upon us. 43 applications are currently under review, and grants will be announced in July. Within those applications are many stories yet to unfold.

Stories in Action – Save the Date
Community Grants Celebration
July 21 – I Bar Ranch

Click here to give!