Foundation responds to down economy

Every day it seems the news about the national and world economies gets worse.

To help those affected, the El Pomar Foundation, based in Colorado Springs, decided to act. From Thursday to Monday,

El Pomar distributed $1 million in emergency grants to more than 90 community nonprofit organizations across the state.

Two Mesa County organizations received checks Monday. The Marillac Clinic received $10,000 and Grand Valley Catholic Outreach received $7,500.

One crisis for nonprofit organizations is meeting basic necessities. The Marillac Clinic offers basic health care services to low-income people and Catholic Outreach has an array of services, from clothing to rental assistance.

“It is just a sign of the times we are in,” said Tilman Bishop, a founding member of the foundation’s Northwest Regional Council.

“The times we are in, however, doesn’t reduce the needs and the numbers of people who are affected by not having food, transportation and ways to address their medical needs.”

El Pomar has nine regional councils in the state. The Northwest Regional Council includes six other counties in northwest Colorado.

“We are just now starting to see our numbers growing,” said Claudia Ragar, development manager for the Marillac Clinic.

The number of people applying for benefits at the clinic is growing, she said. Families qualifying for services at Marillac make less than $53,000 a year. Individuals qualify if they earn less than $25,000 a year.

“Their assistance to those looking for a hot meal, a place to call home and the opportunity to seek employment and avenues to self-sufficiency is particularly needed as we head into an economic downturn that, unfortunately, will result in more people in need,” said Diane Schwenke, CEO and president of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.  Schwenke also is a member of the
El Pomar Foundation Northwest Regional Council.


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