December 2020

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2021 Main Funding Opportunity Now Open

Eligible applicants can now apply for general operating, program/project, or capital funding. Multiyear funding is available in limited circumstances.

Please review CSHF’s grant guidelines to assess eligibility, learn about CSHF’s funding focus areas, and understand when multiyear funding is available. Please click on the 2021 Main Funding Opportunity within CSHF’s grant opportunities to read more about this specific funding opportunity.

Applications are due no later than noon on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 Mountain Time. Single year or multiyear funds may be accessed through a single application. Any potential applicant must speak with CSHF staff in advance of application submission. A link to schedule a time to talk may be found in the funding opportunity.

 

Our Equity Commitment

Colorado Springs Health Foundation’s Board of Trustees recently developed and adopted an Equity Commitment statement. For years, CSHF’s Board and staff members have been learning about equity and the fundamental role that it plays in health. This statement represents the first formal articulation of our organization’s intention to address it.

That said, this statement is only words on paper. Our leadership understands that the statement is only as powerful as the actions that flow from it. To keep this commitment, the Board has directed staff to develop an Equity Action Plan. Once finalized, this plan will guide our internal and external actions to increase equity, diversity, and inclusion in everything we do. We anticipate that this plan will be finalized in the first quarter of 2021, with implementation occurring immediately thereafter. We will share this plan when it has been approved, and we urge our community partners to join us in this important work of addressing equity in our personal, professional, and community spheres of influence.

 

Funded Partner Spotlight: Eastern Plains Community Pantry

 

“I’ve been a nurse, was a nurse all my life,” says Calhan resident Peggy Somers. “Taking care of people has always been in my blood.”

For the past three years, Somers has been taking care of folks as a volunteer with the Eastern Plains Community Pantry in Calhan.

“It just warms my heart to see people come in here who are destitute and just cry in your arms and thank you. And they’re so appreciative for everything you do for them here.”

But it’s more than the program’s clients that brings Somers back day after day. Four years ago, Somers was living in Maryland and “got real sick.” Her son brought her to his home in Colorado. “I’ve been here ever since,” she says, living with her son, daughter-in-law, six grandchildren and a great-grandbaby. “I love it here. …It’s not all that hustle and bustle.”

But the early road wasn’t easy, so one day she found herself seeking help from the Pantry. “We got meat and potatoes and enough food for meals for three or four days. … They just made sure everybody had what they needed.”

It was a lifeline for her family, and one that many residents have come to appreciate. “The Pantry has been taking care of those in need for more than six years,” says Board President Bob Selle. With the support from local churches, It was established by a group of local citizens after another area food bank run by Pikes Peak Action Agency had taken a financial hit and couldn’t continue providing the needed level of services.

Today, six different programs are run out of the same facility. Two, U.S. commodities and senior boxes, are a part of the USDA’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program and are provided monthly to people based on income and age qualifications, respectively.

The third program, open to the anyone, is a mobile food pantry partnership through Care & Share Food Bank. “They bring anywhere from seven to nine pallets of fresh food once a month for distribution,” says Selle.

The Pantry’s ongoing emergency food program is the fourth running out of The Pantry. “This is for anybody that just happens to walk in the door and say, ‘I need to feed my family,’ or ‘I’m hungry,’ or ‘I don’t have food,’” says Selle. “We’ll provide three days worth of food for you, three meals a day. And of course, the bigger the family, the bigger the boxes are that go out from here.”

Food donations from local shops and multiple nearby companies, such as Walmart and Costco, make up the bulk of what the Pantry passes along to families. Selle says they are even supported by a local hydroponic farm that contributes fresh lettuce and produce. Grant funding and individual contributions make up the rest, because, as Selle says, “it’s their goal to make sure anyone who needs assistance receives a box of well-balanced meals, not just canned beans and mac and cheese.” The process of collecting all of this food has been made a bit easier thanks to Colorado Springs Health Foundation, who granted the Pantry half of the funds to help purchase an enclosed van back in 2019.

Community donations keep their fifth program, an on-site inventory of clothing and other household items, going as well. “We don’t buy any of it, that’s no expense to us,” says Selle. “We just sort it, hang it up, and people take it.”

The final program is a holiday giving program, which provides meals for people at Thanksgiving and meals and toys for families at Christmas.

Back in 2012 when they were first organizing, Selle says the group, based in a town of about 850 people, figured they would serve 300 to 500 people per month. At the time of this writing, the Pantry saw 300 people in a day, and even more on the first day of commodities and when the mobile food pantry is on site. On average, Selle says they welcome 50 to 60 people a day who come from small towns all across eastern El Paso County as well as a bit of southern Elbert County. “Not all of them come in for food. Some come in just for clothing and some come in just to look.”

They do all of this with no paid staff and just 30-some volunteers like Peggy Somers, who can be found on site six days a week. “If we were open on Sunday, I’d probably be here Sunday,” she says, laughing.

“It’s not like work to me, you know?” she adds. “Even though I’m retired, I don’t want to sit at home and whittle away to nothing. … It just makes me feel good to come here and do what I do. Our program has helped a lot of people, I mean, down to a paper towel. … If anybody needs our help, please send them. We will be very glad to help them.”

 

What We’re Reading, Listening To, or Watching Now

Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

A New York Times article, “What Happens to Some L.G.B.T.Q. Teens When Their Parents Reject Them” that highlights the disproportionate number of LGBTQ+ youth in our child placement system (foster care), with important implications for how we recruit, train, and support foster and adoptive families and the children/youth they serve.

How to Become Batman,” an Invisibilia podcast from 2015, which asks us to “examine the surprising effect our expectations can have on the people around us.”

A Fresh Air podcast on an important and under-discussed matter of health equity: the sanitation crisis in rural America. The podcast features Catherine Coleman Flowers who recently wrote Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret.

Lastly, in the spirit of expanding our expectations about what is possible, read this: “Chris Nikic, You are an Ironman. And Your Journey is Remarkable,” a New York Times article about the first person with Down Syndrome to complete in an Ironman. Grab a box of tissues.

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