Board selects Citizen of the Year, elects 3 new board members, approves 3 special initiative grants

The Telluride Foundation’s Board of Directors recently bi-annual meeting produced a flurry of actions and investments that will create significant and lasting positive community impacts. Actions by the Board included approving a new initiative to promote entrepreneurship, approving $105,000 in Special Initiative (SI) Grants, selecting the 2012 Outstanding Citizen, electing Jesse Johnson, Michael Plank and Kyle Schumacher to the Board of Directors and selecting Dan Tishman to Chair its Grants Committee.

Special Initiative Grants provide capital and multi-year funding for larger, highly-leveraged, board-sponsored projects that will produce a lasting and significant impact in the region. To date, the Board has funded 14 Special Initiative Grants since the Initiative’s inception in 2006, bringing the total awarded in Special Initiative Grants to over $1.1 million. Grants awarded this cycle include: $75,000 to the Second Chance Humane Society for the construction of a dog facility at its Angel Ridge Ranch; $20,000 to the Paradox Valley School for construction of its new school, community library and stage coupled with a Colorado State new school construction grant, and $10,000 to Palm Arts (part of the Palm Theater) for remodel of its new studio space for dance, music and theater groups.

Second Chance Humane Society is a no-kill facility and the only animal resource center serving San Miguel, and Ouray counties, where abandoned, abused, neglected or lost pets can be cared for, treated and placed into loving homes. Second Chance received $75,000 toward building a new dog facility, which it is leveraging with an additional $180,000 in new donations and an additional $350,000 in previously raised support. The new 52-acre Angel Ridge Ranch, along with a dog facility that doubles the amount of dogs the shelter can hold, will strengthen Second Chance’s ability to deliver existing core programs as well as develop new opportunities for underserved animal needs within its service region.

Paradox Valley School received $20,000 to address current health, safety and overcrowding concerns in the public/community and after-school program areas of the school. Specifically, the school will be adding a new area to the front of the school that will provide 855 sq.ft. for the new library in combination with a new area for the main school office. This will create a new secured entry area and public entry to the library. The library is both a school and a branch of the Montrose County Library system.  Also, an additional 5,500 sq. ft. multipurpose wing is being added to the school to replace the current gym, which is failing structurally and must be replaced. That area will provide a stage, music room, restrooms and have an accessible ramp. Those additions are part of a larger $2.7 million remodel project, of which almost $2.5 million is being funded by the Colorado Department of Education.

The Palm Arts Theatre was awarded $10,000 to provide a properly equipped, permanent studio for the Palm Arts dance program and rehearsal space. After the local dance school became defunct, the Palm Arts Board voted to expand operations to include a dance program to keep dance education alive in Telluride. Expectations for the school were far exceeded and the Palm has over 126 dancers, serving children, adults and dance audiences. The new studio, which leverages the SI grant with over $50,000 in additional funding, provides an opportunity for Palm Arts to expand its offerings to include adult classes and makes it possible to bring professional dance companies to Telluride.

Also, during the meeting, the Board of Directors voted Ann Brady as the 2012 Outstanding Citizen. Brady was one of 10 citizens nominated by the community, for their exemplary service and volunteerism.  Brady, who currently serves on Telluride Town Council and retired as Telluride School District Superintendent in 1999, has spent the last 12 years serving the Telluride community and numerous nonprofits as a volunteer.  As an Outstanding Citizen, Brady will be able to designate a grant of $5,000 to a local nonprofit of her choice. A celebration to honor Brady will occur later this summer.

Finally, Dan Tishman was elected to chair the Grants Committee and three new members were elected to the Board. Tishman is the CEO of Tishman Construction and serves on many corporate and philanthropic boards including chair of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). He is a homeowner, and mountain enthusiast.

“The work of the Grants Committee is the essence of the Telluride Foundation. I look forward to serving in this capacity and maximizing the impacts of the Foundation’s grants for the community and our donors.”

New board member, Jesse Johnson was the founder and CEO of Q Collection, a New York City-based home furnishings design firm producing sustainable furniture and fabrics. Q Collection was dubbed the leader in this area by publications including Time Magazine, CNN, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Oprah. He sold the company in 2011. Prior to Q Collection, Jesse was a member of the founding team of an IT firm specializing in environmental knowledge management and was a Vice President at the investment firm Jardine Fleming for several years in Hong Kong, South Asia and New York.

Jesse is the managing member of YX Ventures LLC, an investment fund focused on LOHAS investments (health & sustainability). He currently serves as a member of Yale’s Environmental Leadership Council and National Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Global Leadership Council. He is on the advisory board of Yale’s Center for Business and the Environment and is on the board of Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), a nonprofit advisory firm overseeing $200 million per year in grant-making, and 1% For The Planet, a network of 1,500 businesses investing $22 million each year in a healthy planet. Jesse also serves on the board (Treasurer) of the Johnson Family Foundation (JFF).

Jesse spent much of his youth in Telluride and moved back here with his wife, Mary, and two young boys (ages 2 and 5) last summer. He holds a joint masters in business (MBA) and environmental management (MEM) from Yale University and completed his undergraduate studies at Princeton University.

New Board Member, Mike Plank is the Chairman & CEO of The Plank Companies, Inc., a diversified holding company consisting of numerous operating companies and investments. He is also the Chairman & CEO of the following operating entities: Speed Shore Corporation,  an international manufacturer of trench safety systems with a worldwide network of independent distributors; Japan Speed Shore, an international distributor of specialty underground construction equipment with 31 locations throughout Southeast Asia; National Property Holdings, a Houston-based industrial property firm, with a focus on the development of master-planned industrial parks and related buildings; Rail Logix, a rail services company focused on rail-car handling and storage in Gulf Coast communities.

Plank is a 1983 Honors Graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was inducted into the Texas A&M Academy of Distinguished Graduates in 2000 and currently serves on the Engineering Advisory Board. He is past President of Houston’s Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and has served on the National Board of Directors of numerous industry councils and trade associations, including the National Utility Contractors Association, the Associated General Contractors and the Associated Equipment Distributors.  He has also served as President of the Trench Shoring & Shielding Association of America and the Houston Equipment Distributors.

Plank is also deeply involved in the support of numerous charitable organizations and currently serves on the board of the YMCA of Greater Houston, and is immediate past President of The Children’s Museum of Houston.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri and growing up in a farming community of South-Central Illinois, Kyle Schumacher has experienced life on a farm and in the suburbs of Chicago. After receiving a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, Kyle moved to the suburbs of Chicago to begin his teaching career. He taught in two different districts before getting his Masters in Educational Administration from Northern Illinois University-DeKalb. With a new degree in hand, he started what would be a 17 year career in Lake Forest, IL first as an assistant principal at Deer Path Middle School and finally as Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. Kyle also served as President of the University of Illinois School of Music National Advisory Committee until May of 2011 and in February of 2011 was awarded the Outstanding Administrator Award by the Illinois Music Educators Association.

Kyle and his wife Kate and son Christian, recently moved to Telluride after he accepted the position of Superintendent of the Telluride School District.  Kyle also sits on the Board of the Telluride Academy as the School District Liaison.

The Telluride Foundation exists to create a stronger Telluride community through the cultivation and promotion of philanthropy. It is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that provides year-round support for local organizations involved in arts, education, athletics, charitable causes, land conservation and other community-based efforts through technical assistance, education and grant making. As a grant maker, the Foundation awards grants to qualified applicants that serve the people living and/or working in the Telluride region for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life within the region. For more information on the Telluride Foundation, visit

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.