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The LPEA Round Up Foundation Board approved 13 grants totaling $45,500 to local non-profit organizations. 

“We are grateful to the Round Up Foundation for its support,” said Diana Cruz, Executive Director of the Durango Education Foundation. “We truly appreciate the commitment to the kids in our community and to their education.” 

Round Up grants are made possible by the generosity of LPEA members who choose to round up their electric bill each month to the next highest dollar. Approximately 16,689 LPEA members donated $29,623 to the Round Up Foundation during the first quarter of 2022. An additional $60,000 in Unclaimed Capital Credits is also allocated annually by the LPEA Board of Directors to support Educational Grants. 

Grants are available to registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations in La Plata and Archuleta counties, and usually range from $500 to $5,000. Application forms are available at lpea.coop/grant-programs

LPEA members wishing to round up their bill can sign up on SmartHub or at lpea.coop/round-foundation. The average LPEA member contribution is just $6.00 annually. Members can also elect to donate more each month if they would like to contribute additional money to local non-profits. 

Read on to learn more about these amazing organizations and what they do for our community.  

Animas Alano Club  

“We host 1,500 - 2,000 monthly attendees seeking support, in the form of meetings, recreation, education, and socializing. However, the benefits of what we provide extend to many others too: families, employers, employees, emergency service providers, courts, police, jails, hospitals, etc. There is no other comparable out-patient facility in our region, helping as many people as we do, every day of the year.” 

Dancing Spirit Arts Gallery  

“Dancing Spirit provides diverse services, and all of our initiatives embody coordinated efforts that promote the arts, self-sufficiency, education, and ongoing community engagement. Over the years, we have developed large scale networking relationships with the Ignacio school district, The Southern Ute Tribe, the Tribe’s Wellness Court, the Southern Ute Montessori Academy, ELHI Community Center, and many other local non-profit services and organizations, serving their members creative needs and fulfilling an essential creative outlet for our community at large.”

Durango Education Foundation  

“Imagine that you are a social worker or counselor and have learned that one student just lost all of their belongings in the dead of winter to a house fire, including their winter gear needed to participate in outdoor school activities. You have also discovered that one of your 6th-grade students currently lives in the homeless camp and cannot afford school supplies. Now, imagine you are a teacher who wants to give all students, regardless of their financial background, a level playing field in AP Chemistry by providing them a scientific/graphing calculator. Lastly, picture yourself as a student who was invited to compete in Speech and Debate at a national level but needs financial assistance to travel and register for the competition. All of these are real-life examples of what the Durango Education Foundation funded through DEF’s Grant Giving Program.” 

Durango Education Foundation 

“Core Grants support programs, materials, and technology that cultivate life-changing learning opportunities for Durango School District 9-R students. We encourage innovative ideas, pilot programs, and efforts to promote excellence in classrooms and programs that serve the 9-R students. Grant applications represent a wide range of needs and desires, from the simple (funds for a tutoring program at Riverview Elementary or licensing for Learning.com for keyboarding and word-processing skills) to the elaborate (Google Expeditions Virtual Reality Goggles utilized by every child at Sunnyside Elementary). Some demonstrate independent thinking that surprises and delight us (student-written grant for Augmented Reality Sandbox at Big Picture High School). Some touch relatively few students and others reach a broad population. DEF is the only local foundation dedicated exclusively to supporting academics throughout Durango School District 9-R.” 

Durango Nordic Ski Club  

“With COVID, participation in Nordic activities has increased as it is a fun way to stay healthy and socialize in a safe way. This year, we had record season pass sales, with approximately 360 passes sold (vs 270 in 2020-2021). We also have had growth in our adult skiing programs, with 50 participants this year, a 25% increase over last year. In particular, our beginner adult program nearly doubled in size this year. There is just about 90 youth from in and around Durango that participate in our youth programs, which start at 5 and go through high school. In addition to our ongoing programs, we also provide lessons, clinics, races, and fun events.” 

Housing Solutions of Southwest  

“Housing Solutions is putting together an application to the State for funding for water infrastructure and conservation measures for the Southwest Horizon Ranch (SWHR) an affordable housing single-family subdivision built and now managed and owned, by Housing Solutions. The State is requesting local financial match for this project. SWHR consists of 61 single-family homes that are affordable rentals, “workforce housing”, for families earning between 40% and 60% of the Area Median Income or for families with housing choice vouchers.” 

iAM MUSIC  

“Our unique programming strives to ensure that each student has access to music lessons and an instrument despite their financial situation. iAM MUSIC has solidified itself as a premier destination to learn music. Our in-house studios are approaching capacity and our outreach programming has expanded with new classes in participating schools and the addition of The Ignacio Boys & Girls Club & La Plata Youth Services music programs. Most recently, iAM MUSIC has provided an entire classroom of instruments for Durango Boys & Girls Club inside of Big Picture High School.” 

In the Weeds  

“ITW is a network of restaurant owners, managers, chefs, servers, and more. With mental health being so multifaceted, our approach is to address the physical, financial, and social health of those we serve. Our approach is two-fold — 1. Top-down: giving owners/operators the tools to strengthen the livelihood of their teams; 2. Bottom-up: Building public awareness of influence how guests interact with staff. ” 

KUTE Public Radio  

“Music education is an unmet need throughout southwest Colorado and is the primary focus of our funding request. Both 3-day music festivals bring thousands of visitors to Pagosa Springs each summer. The workshop tent, a long-standing tradition at both festivals, aims to provide educational opportunities to attendees in an intimate outdoor setting. Each festival offers 6-8 hour-long workshops, with 75-275 attendees per workshop.” 

Music in the Mountains 

“Studies have shown that students who participate in music education perform more than 25% better in math, have a higher graduation rate, have better grades and more academic honors, and have significant increases in self-esteem, self-discipline, and critical thinking skills. Parents look to Music in the Mountains to assist in providing these enriching and worthwhile programs for their children.” 

Pine River Shares  

“We believe that people most affected by an issue or problem are the ones best suited to create solutions. Using this principle, PRS has developed Youth Voice, a project that engages rural youth in a participatory process to identify barriers to youth wellbeing and develop youth-led solutions. Youth Voice members not only learn how to create positive change in their community, they become life-long leaders and change-makers.” 

Southwest Organization for Sustainability  

“The Southwest Organization for Sustainability (SOS) is requesting funding assistance from the La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) Round Up Foundation to help with costs associated with our annual Earth Day Celebration, this year scheduled for April 23, 2022 in downtown Pagosa Springs. The SOS has sponsored this service to our community during the third week in April since 2009. This is one of the ways SOS works to develop environmental awareness and action.” 

Upper San Juan Search and Rescue

“Continuing education for our volunteers is essential to the quality of service we provide to those needing our services. Wilderness First Responder (WFR), Wilderness First Aid (WFA), and Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (WEMT) courses are conducted by the internationally recognized Wilderness Medicine Training Center. Training in one of these courses includes long-term patient care, wound management, straightening angulated fractures, reducing dislocations, litter packaging, and administering medications. As the volunteers who are most often first on the scene of a rescue mission, it is imperative that our team be medically trained. WFR, WFA, and WEMT training will provide our volunteers with the tools needed to make critical medical and evacuation decisions in remote areas.”