Impact Update: Rural Community Response And Recovery Project

May 26, 2021

A joint initiative of The Denver Foundation, The Telluride Foundation, and ZOMA Foundation, The Rural Community Response and Recovery Project (CRP) was conceived to support rural regions hit hard by COVID-19’s impact on local economies and the basic human needs of communities. In a spirit of collaboration, the three foundations developed the CRP to provide unrestricted financial support along with peer learning and technical assistance to organizations that could most effectively support their highly impacted community members.

Composed of senior leaders from statewide foundations and a rural lender, the CRP’s advisory committee provided critical advice on program development, rural regions, and organization selection. The advisory committee focused on service providers, such as family resource centers, that were best equipped to offer efficient, direct support to communities, recognizing that effective and timely delivery of program services was critical.

The project centered on six service provider organizations across rural Colorado, which were selected based on service offerings, leadership capacity, and the needs of their region. Each worked with a mentor from the Advisory Committee to assess their community’s greatest needs.

In total, roughly $1.5M was granted through the CRP. Each organization received between $100,000-$375,000.

Stories of Impact

“As a result of the CRP grant, FIRC has sustained a partnership aimed at increasing FIRC’s capacity to serve the community safely and efficiently during the pandemic, through technology and data development services. Through this partnership, FIRC developed an online application system for both renters and landlords, thereby streamlining the process and supporting over 700 households with close to $1M in rental relief. CRP funds also allowed FIRC to quickly hire two bi-lingual seasonal Supportive Services staff to manage the rental relief program.” — Summit Family Intercultural Resource Center Summit County

“Pueblo Cooperative Care Center received $20,000 in support from CRP. This organization is the largest emergency food service provider for low-income families and individuals in Pueblo County. In addition to experiencing an increase in community need — the number of unduplicated households served increased by 36% from the previous year — the pandemic decimated the Center’s business model, which relies on the service of hundreds of dedicated volunteers. The average age of a Center volunteer is 74 and the organization did not want to put its volunteers at risk. As a result, the Center had to hire staff to maintain services. The organization started with six staff in January and grew to 15 by the end of the year. This made a significant impact on the Center’s annual budget. Although the Center received substantial funding and support from government and foundation sources in 2020, a large percentage of those resources were designated for purchasing food. The flexibility of the CPR money was a lifeline and helped cover some of the Center’s rising personnel costs at a critical time.” — Caring for Colorado Centennial Fund, Pueblo