Telluride Foundation: Covid-19 Response Fund Update

The coronavirus is a shared (and daunting) greater Telluride community experience. The effects on the economy and health are unprecedented. Frequently Asked Questions about the Telluride Foundation’s Covid-19 Response Fund. Click HERE to make a donation or contact Katie Singer at (970) 729-1807 or

The Telluride Foundation is committed to providing a weekly update on the resources and response to this unique community challenge. Katie’s latest update (5/30) follows.

Response Fundraising

The Telluride Foundation has raised over $958,000 to date for the Response Fund. The fundraising response has been just incredible – and far and wide, involving both locals and second homeowners and small and huge gifts. It is an unprecedented act of generosity, kindness, and caring for one another.

One great story that inspired everyone, one the Foundation would like to share is Ouray Middle School Social Studies Teacher, Phylis Fagrelius and 9 of her students who, through aggressively fundraising (lots of bake sales), donated $1,000 to the Ouray County Response Fund.

Fagrelius arranged for a Zoom call on which Foundation staff had the opportunity to meet Fagrelius’s students and accept their donation, which was then matched dollar for dollar by the incredibly generous donors from Ouray, whose seed money set up the Ouray County Response Fund this spring.

The students were thrilled to learn that their donation would directly support fellow students whose families need financial support during this difficult time. Congratulations to Phylis Fagrelius who is teaching her students the importance of philanthropy in their community and the impact they can make. Thank you and your students for this inspiration!

To learn more about the Response Fund click here.

Good Neighbor Assistance and Emergency Grants

This week, the Foundation saw a slight decline in requests from about 30 to 20, likely because the initial surge of need is being met. However, staff knows some families and individuals are thinking they may remain unemployed into the fall. No one knows how if and how fast jobs will return.

Since mid-March, Good Neighbor has or is in the process of funding, 216 Good Neighbor clients for a total of $383,095.

The Good Neighbor regional emergency hardship assistance program is for families and individuals experiencing a financial crisis. Good Neighbor provides cash assistance for rent, food, medicine, transportation, and other critical human needs. Good Neighbor has been in operation for 15 years. Since mid-March, when coronavirus impacts started closing businesses and schools, capacity increased, including 7 Tri-County Health Network staff doing in-take and facilitating applications. These front-line bi-lingual/bi-cultural individuals are amazing. They not only provide Good Neighbor grants, but also help clients access other public services, as well as provide extensive household financial management support.

To learn more about support for families and individuals please click here.

In addition, the Response Fund has 3 pending emergency grants totaling $29,000 and has funded 9 emergency nonprofit grants totaling $210,000. These grants were for the three regional health clinics, internet access for distance learning, school districts to provide children’s meals, and the regional food banks.

Staff expects to see another round of requests for emergency assistance from food banks and possibly the clinics. Many of our regional food banks will play a critical role over the summer helping to feed kids since schools will reduce or suspend their meal programs. We are in direct contact with the school districts to assess those needs. The regional clinics are under significant financial strain since they have lost, in some cases, up to 50% of their revenue from people not seeking normal healthcare services.

Another Community Shout Out:

The residents of Ouray County have been sporting beautiful, colorful masks of late. Called “Handmade Acts of Kindness” by Catherine (Cat) Lichtenbelt, long-time Ridgway local and maker of the masks. Ouray County residents have not only been wearing masks, but also donating to the Ouray County Response Fund (OCRF) for each one, raising almost $750 to date for the OCRF.

Cat is one of four Ridgway locals, including her husband Barthold Lichtenbelt, also Marti and Patrick O’Leary, who recently created the OCRF to help their friends, neighbors, and local businesses owners experiencing financial trouble due to the coronavirus. Working with the Telluride Foundation to expand its Good Neighbor Fund with a specific allocation for Ouray County, each couple donated money with the hopes of matching their donations with community giving. To date the OCRF has helped 62 Ouray County residents with grants of $115,256.

Cat plans to continue making masks and donating them to anyone willing to wear one to protect others. You can find her and her masks at the Ridgway Farmers Market, where you can grab a mask and, if so inclined, make a donation to OCRF to support those who in need in Ouray County

While the Telluride Foundation has such gratitude for the Lictenbelts’ and O’Learys’ support of community, they, themselves, can’t stop expressing their own gratitude for Ouray County and the way in which residents are supporting each other as well as donating to the OCRF.

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