10 Years of Impact

Lifelong Mesa County resident Ellen Jo Waldeck established a legacy fund in 2010 to provide nursing scholarships at Colorado Mesa University and grants to eight of her favorite nonprofit organizations. Her donation was unique; a company which holds mineral interests that provides regular monthly payments to our Community Foundation for disbursement.

The eight organizations benefiting from Jo Waldeck’s generosity are: Grand Valley Catholic Outreach, Habitat for Humanity, Hilltop’s Latimer House, HopeWest, HomewardBound, Marillac Clinic, Mesa County Partners, and Roice-Hurst Humane Society.

Jo Waldeck’s daughter, Susan Diaz, worked for 37 years in human services, administering public support and welfare programs for the economically disadvantaged.

Of her mother she notes, “Mom has always had a very large heart for those who don’t have very much…My mom is leaving the world a better place – helping people she doesn’t even know – now and 50 and 100 years from now. This is what she wants her gift to do.”

Click here to learn more about the organizations supported by Mrs. Waldeck’s generosity.

Real Lives, Real Change


Community Grants 2020: Youth Outside!

$100,000 in Grants Awarded to Get Youth Outside and Active

Funding focuses on helping at-risk youth access recreation programs

In 2020, the Western Colorado Community Foundation’s Community Grants focused on youth development through outdoor recreation. WCCF recognizes that youth are under stress across our communities, leading to anxiety, depression, and, in extreme cases, suicide. Current research shows a wide range of benefits for children and youth through outdoor experiences, including improvements in physical health and emotional well-being as well as increased learning, personal, and social skills. Our 2020 Community Grants will target projects that directly help youth, middle through high school age, address stress and anxiety through organized outdoor recreational activities.

Thirteen nonprofit organizations received a total of $100,000 in grants from WCCF for projects that help youth address stress and anxiety through organized outdoor activities. Projects range from mentoring young women through mountain bike skills training to helping homeless youth attend summer camp.

Notes Barb Chamberlin, grants selection committee chair, “Our young people are more stressed than ever – helping them access outdoor recreation to increase their confidence and resiliency was a major goal of this funding. Once the COVID-19 hit and youth, along with everyone, had to stay inside, we saw this funding as more important than ever. Our committee was really pleased that so many of these organizations were able to adapt their programs to follow social distancing and help our youth get outside and active this summer.” See below for a full list of funded projects:

Black Canyon Boys & Girls Club – summer outdoor adventures

Colorado Canyons Association – youth education and recreation on public lands

Friends of Youth and Nature – outdoor recreation for at-risk youth

Hilltop Community Resources – recreation for residential youth services clients

Karis/The House – summer camp for homeless youth

Mesa County Partners – bike club for youth and mentors

Partners of Delta, Montrose Ouray – summer outdoor adventures

Stepping Stones of the Roaring Fork Valley – outdoor experiential learning

Summit 54 – outdoor learning and activities

The Buddy Program – Leadership through Exploration, Action and Discover (LEAD)

The Cycle Effect – mountain bike skills training and mentoring

The Nature Connection – expand river recreation for Delta County 9th graders

Voyager Youth Program – Adventure Wednesdays

The Western Colorado Community Foundation serves seven counties in western Colorado, managing charitable funds for community good. Currently, the Community Foundation manages over 265 charitable funds totaling over $80 million in assets and awards over $3.4 million in grants and scholarships annually.

Summer Success


STEAM Across the Ages Program