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WGCF grantee The Learning Council partners with the Southern Ute Powwow Committee building relations and working together to bring the Powwow back to Delta County

Increasing Our Investment in Rural Women of Color

// May 9, 2022

Photo description: Women & Girls of Color Fund grantee The Learning Council meets with the Southern Ute Powwow Committee to build relations and work together to bring the Powwow back to Delta County.

Women & Girls of Color Fund Grantmaking Will Increase by $200,000 in 2022

Spurred by the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the subsequent uprisings throughout the summer of 2020, individuals, companies, governments, and foundations made headlines pledging billions of dollars to advance racial justice in America. A report by the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity released in the fall of 2021, however, found that only a portion of those promised dollars ever made it into the hands of movement leaders.

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado is proud that the commitment we made to you in 2020 – to create a community-led fund dedicated to women, girl, and nonbinary people of color community leaders across Colorado – is not only ongoing, but flourishing. As we shared in January, in the inaugural year of the Women & Girls of Color Fund, we made unrestricted grants totaling $447,000 to 33 women, girl, and nonbinary people of color leaders. In 2022, we are on track to increase that amount to more than $650,000. We are in deep gratitude to our advisory council, grantees, and other partners whose deep community knowledge and critical work on the ground are the reason for and heart of the Women & Girls of Color Fund.

In that spirit, we are pleased to introduce our community to the 2022 rural Women & Girls of Color Fund grantees. Throughout the last few months, advisory council members reviewed proposals, met with applicants, and ultimately decided to grant $215,400 to a group of 15 incredible community leaders. Meet them below and keep reading for more information on our Front Range grantmaking cycle, opening in June.

Meet the Grantees

*Organizations that were also funded by the Women & Girls of Color Fund in 2021.

Action is Safer*, Mesa County

Shannon Robinson headshotShannon Robinson, Founder

Service Area: Delta, Mesa

Mission: A community organization committed to Harm Reduction and fighting systemic oppression. Founded by BIPoC and Queer women based on the principles of solidarity, mutual aid, and autonomous direct action.


Construyendo, La Plata County

Wendolyne Omaña, Project Director

Service Area: La Plata, Montezuma

Mission: Construyendo Poder Retreats, was founded in 2018 in response to the acute trauma inflicted upon the Immigrant community by ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement), and the subsequent need for trauma support for women and children. Our program is now led by a Core Team of Family Friends and Neighbors in the care of children (FFNC’s) from our community who develop each year’s programming and we utilize the curricula of key partners such as Cultivando to continue to build health equity and caregiver expertise in our community.


Eagle Valley Community Foundation, Eagle County

Melina Valsecia, Executive Director

Service Area: Eagle County

Mission: Eagle Valley Community Foundation provides access to programs and resources that support wellness, healthier food and other essential needs in our community while embracing individual dignity and a commitment to inclusivity, sustainability and quality.


First Southwest Community Fund Rural Women-Led Business Fund, Alamosa County

Azarel Madrigal, Acting Executive Director/Program Director

Service Area: Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache

Mission: The Rural Women-Led Business Fund is designed to create access to funding for women-led entrepreneurs and small businesses in rural Colorado through loans, education, and technical assistance. The Fund has a focus on serving at least 75% women of color in rural Colorado, especially in the San Luis Valley.


Fort Lewis College Center of Southwest Studies, La Plata County

Elise Boulanger, O​sage (Wahzhazhe), Program Director

Service Area: Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, San Juan

Mission: The Center of Southwest Studies shares the mission of Fort Lewis College to provide inclusive, experiential learning environments that foster innovation, growth, and community engagement.


Hispanic Women of Weld County, Weld County

Betzy Valdez, President

Service Area: Weld County

Mission: Hispanic Women of Weld County (HWWC) is dedicated to offering educational opportunities by providing scholarships for non-traditional and traditional students and through mentorships for groups of all ages.


The I Will Projects, Pueblo County

Cheryl Anderson, Executive Director

Service Area: Alamosa, Chaffee, El Paso, Fremont, Pueblo

Mission: The I Will Projects exists to create and offer formal and informal education programs that address community challenges, and help participants reach their full potential.


Integrated Community*, Routt County

Nelly Navarro, Executive Director

Service Area: Moffat, Routt

Mission: Integrated Community assists and supports immigrants as they integrate, contribute, and maintain their independence in our NW Colorado community.


The Justice Heritage Academy*, Conejos County

Michele Trujillo, Co-Founder

Service Area: Conejos County

Mission: The Justice and Heritage Academy is grounded in Critical Pedagogy, “a radical pedagogy that makes concrete the values of solidarity, social responsibility, creativity, and discipline in the service of the common good and critical spirit” (Freire, 1987). The TJHA integrates four pillars of justice into core academic instruction for students who are Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD), Culturally and Linguistically Diverse with Exceptionalities (CLDE) and students who experience economic hardship in rural communities.


The Learning Council*, Delta County

Alicia Michelsen, Executive Director

Service Area: Delta, Gunnison

Mission: Rooted in our mission to support lifelong learning and education as a resource for everyone, The Learning Council is an educational hub for the North Fork Valley, connecting learners and educators to meet specific needs and empower personal growth.


Native Love, La Plata County

Daisy Bluestar, Southern Ute, Executive Director

Service Area: Archuleta, La Plata, Montezuma

Mission: The mission of Native Love is to empower Native youth by provided culturally responsive programming. Native Love seeks to preserve culture through providing services to indigenous people and indigenous youth by supporting culturally sustaining practices in the Four Corners region.


PeaceWorks, Inc*, Park County

Lori Cuno, Executive Director

Service Area: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Park, Teller

Mission: PeaceWorks is a non-profit 501(c)3 charity providing assistance for survivors of relationship violence/abuse: intimate partner violence (IPV), domestic violence, teen dating violence and stalking; sex trafficking and sexual assault outside of relationship violence. PeaceWorks owns and operates Safe Shelter, a temporary secure and confidential home for individuals, families and pets that are experiencing IPV.


San Luis Valley Immigrant Resource Center, Alamosa County

Flora Archuleta, Executive Director

Service Area: Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache

Mission: The San Luis Valley Immigrant Resource Center is a safe place for people to come and address immigration related questions and needs. The center provides services in an area where no other aid is available.


Tomorrow’s Bread, Rio Grande

Jessica Larriva, Executive Director

Service Area: Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache

Mission: The goal of Tomorrow’s Bread – provide nonprofits and charities, with established connections to at-risk communities, nourishing, whole grain, naturally leavened breads utilizing locally grown, organic ingredients to eliminate exportation of wealth and vastly reduce production carbon footprint, to help intelligently address food insecurity within the greater San Luis Valley.


Tu Casa*, Alamosa County

Theresa Ortega, Executive Director

Service Area: Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache

Mission: Tu Casa, Inc. exists to promote safe, healthy, and violence free lives for all people in the San Luis Valley.


2022 Front Range Cycle

Organizations interested in the Front Range cycle should visit WFCO’s website to see qualifications and learn about our funding priorities.

Front Range letters of interest open: June 13 – July 13
Invitations to apply and declinations sent: August 5
Front Range invitation-only applications open: August 6 – September 5
One-on-one conversations with applicants: September 12 – September 30
Applicants notified of grant status: October 7
Virtual site visits with grantees: October – November

Questions? Contact Camisha Lashbrook at camishal@wfco.org.

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