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.”

Look at the dropdowns below 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


Grand Valley Catholic Outreach

Grand valley Catholic Outreach Logo - Click here to learn more

Grand Valley Catholic Outreach is the collaborative effort of many churches and individuals offering emergency services to people in need with the help of over 500 volunteers. They provide emergency services to individuals and families in need; support the homeless in their quest for safe and decent housing by offering services at the Day Center and emergency, transitional and permanent housing; feed those who are hungry in our valley; and invite participation from all denominations in this quest to support human life. Their mission is to proclaim the dignity and worth of each person, respond to human needs, and strive to show the compassion of Christ.

Catholic Outreach’s day center typically hosts over 100 guests a day – homeless people in our community who need access to a shower, laundry facilities, a place to receive mail, and otherwise regroup in a comfortable place with shelter over their head. Approximately 12% of the guests at the Day Center are veterans.

Habitat for Humanity of Mesa County

Habitat for Humanity Logo - Click here to learn more about the organization

Since its founding in 1991 by a group of volunteers, Habitat for Humanity of Mesa County (Habitat Mesa) builds out of a belief that everyone, everywhere should have a healthy, affordable place to call home. Their mission is to construct simple, affordable, and decent housing in partnership with families, volunteers, and the community for God’s people in need. Their vision is a community, and a world, where everyone has a decent place to live.

Hilltop Community Resources

Hilltop Community Resources - LogoHilltop Community Resources offer a wide range of services and support for people of all ages, including: Information on prenatal care and early childhood development; resources and referrals for basic needs; home-visits to help promote effective parent/child interaction; screenings to help identify developmental, health, vision, and hearing issues; car seat safety checks; day treatment and transitional living services for adolescents; mentoring services, matching youth with positive role models; therapeutic services for youth; domestic violence and sexual assault services, including safe houses and 24-hour crisis lines. Most of Hilltop’s services are provided free of charge.


Homeward Bound of the Grand Valley

Homeward Bound Logo - Click here to learn moreThe Grand Junction Community Homeless Shelter was formed in 1998 by a coalition including St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, the Grand Junction Housing Authority, the Salvation Army and Grand Valley Catholic Outreach. Today, HomewardBound operates as an independent non-profit and is the only year-round homeless shelter within a 200-mile radius of Grand Junction. Homeward Bound provides temporary housing for up to 120 individuals per night, runs three successful transitional programs, collaborates with local organizations in a number of projects to address winter housing issues and substance abuse issues, and assists thousands of clients each year.

Hope West

HopeWest Logo - Click to learn moreCreated through a community-wide vision, our founders recognized the need for comprehensive, expert, and collaborative care for those facing serious illness and grief. HopeWest is a nonprofit, 501 ( c )( 3 ) organization serving western Colorado in Mesa, Delta, Montrose, Ouray and Rio Blanco counties. The organization cared for 81 patients and their families in 1993 – their first year of operation. Today, they serve more than 7,000 square miles with five offices and a state-of-the-art HopeWest Hospice Care Center. With a staff of 375 and more than 1,300 volunteers, we provide care to more than 2,500 patients and well-over 1,500 individuals coping with grief every year in the counties we serve.

Marillac Clinic

Marillac Logo - Click here to learn moreWhat began as a small organization for the uninsured has grown into MarillacHealth, a well-known, dynamic health care organization that provides primary medical care, behavioral health care, a full scope of dental care, optical services and discounted eyeglasses. One of 1,400 Community Health Centers nationwide, annually MarillacHealth serves over 10,000 patients (birth to the end of life), warmly welcoming the uninsured and under-insured, homeless persons and migrant farmworkers, persons on Medicaid, Medicare and some private insurances. The caring spirit that gave rise to Marillac is steady and strong. Louise de Marillac would be pleased.

Mesa County Partners

Partners Logo - Click here to learn moreThe mission of Mesa County Partners is to make a difference in the lives of young people by helping them develop a positive self-image, a sense of belonging, and an acceptance of responsibility for their actions. Many young people get into trouble because they lack the experience coping with problems and pressures that exist in their lives at home, in school, and in the community. Partners believes that a one-to-one mentoring relationship with a successfully coping adult can help a young person learn skills that will improve his/her adjustment to societal expectations. Partners’ goal is to help young people become independent and productive members of society.

Roice-Hurst Humane Society

Roice-Hurst LogoRoice-Hurst is a long standing animal shelter serving Mesa County and Western Colorado. They have helped thousands of amazing pets find loving human companions since 1963. Roice-Hurst was founded by a grass-roots citizen’s group led by the Ival Hurst and Joe Roice families who were concerned for the welfare of animals in, at that time, a predominately agricultural area. Roice-Hurst is an animal shelter and adoption center that provides loving care for homeless dogs and cats and services to our community aimed at keeping pets in their loving homes. They never euthanize animals because of a lack of space or resources. All healthy, treatable, and adoptable animals are cared for until they are adopted – whether it take weeks, months, or longer.