Wells Fargo Presents Community Grants

By Caitlin Switzer

MONTROSE—For close to 20 years, Wells Fargo bank has been supporting local non-profit organizations with its Community Assistance Fund grants. This year, nine worthy organizations gathered at the Montrose bank branch on Oct. 18 to celebrate receipt of funds that will help them continue their missions to serve the people and causes of the Western Slope.

Passage Charter School was one of the 2012 Community Assistance fund Grantees.

Although longtime Bank President Bruce Panter could not be present due to a promotion that moved him to Colorado Springs, the awards ceremony was well attended by representatives of the nine non-profit organizations honored with 2012 Community Assistance grants. Grant recipients included Altrusa, International, Inc., Common Ground Montrose, Inc., Girls on the Run of Western Colorado, America’s Disaster Relief, Passage Charter School, RSVP Colorado West, Inc., Sharing Ministries Food Bank, ten Challenge of the Rocky Mountains/House of Promise, and the Maslow Academy of Applied Learning.

“We pride ourselves on being great corporate sponsors, building stronger, more vibrant communities,” said Lita Sargent of Wells Fargo, who hosted the grant breakfast. “We know that the smaller non-profits cannot always compete with the big digs when it comes to funding—since its inception in 1993, our Community Assistance Fund has awarded more than 3,800 grants worth $6 million.

“We are excited to be able to award these nine grants to deserving community groups.”

Altrusa Spokesperson Linda Riba spoke about the non-profit’s longtime local presence and programs.

Founded in 1917, Altrusa has had a local club since 1975.

“We have 55 members,” Riba said. “Literacy is one of our main areas of focus—each year we have our Season’s Reading program, and we donate books to Pediatric Associates and board books to Passage Charter School.

“It’s fun to do good in the company of other good folks,” she said.

Jill Henwood, representing Girls on the Run, spoke of her efforts to keep the program affordable for local girls.

“We build self-esteem through running,” Henwood said. “We work with girls from third through eighth grades, and more than 200 girls take part each spring. Our $50 cost is lower than it is in other areas, because we believe this program needs to be available and accessible to all girls. Forty percent of our girls are on scholarship—so this Wells Fargo grant will help us continue to run a quality program.

“I feel very passionately that it needs to be easy,” Henwood said. “And we always need coaches—it’s a great way to get in shape!”

Richard Godsil, a youth minister for 35 years, spoke of the new Common Ground community facility, which is being created on ground donated by local businessman Matt Miles. Common Ground is a non-denominational Christian center intended for community use, located on the grounds of the old Cimarron Creek Golf Course.

“Our theme is to build strong kids and a strong community,” Godsil said. “We have 16 acres, and green rolling hills. It is a great place to go walking, and spend time alone. All we have so far are an office and tents, but we are working on an amphitheater that will seat 400 to 500 people outdoors. We want to host a symphony concert—we are excited to move forward.

“This grant will help us complete our amphitheater