Photo by Jeff Stovall
ABOUT CUCHARA FOUNDATION
"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.'"
The Cuchara Foundation was founded, like so many organizations, as the result of conversations among a group of friends and neighbors who love Cuchara. There was a desire to save and communicate the interesting history of the area and to support efforts to improve the quality of life here. With community members desirous of helping the community and having been involved in a couple of successful music events, it seemed an opportune time to form a non-profit to meet those needs. And so, the Cuchara Foundation became a reality, receiving 501.c.3 status in 2013.
The Mission of the Cuchara Foundation is to provide education and resources to increase the welfare and knowledge of the Cuchara Valley, its history, environment, and activities. Since formation, the Foundation has had three main avenues to accomplish its mission: 1. Periodically, as needed, we give grants to causes that support our mission, 2. We communicate about the history and nature of the community and its events through our blog and website, and 3. When possible, the CF operates the Cuchara Center of History, Nature, and Information in the Village.
The Foundation focuses its efforts in the “Cuchara Valley,” an area we define as from the top of Cuchara Pass to La Veta. There are no members in the Foundation amd it is run by a board of volunteers who scrupulously follow all state and US regulations required to be a tax-exempt non-profit. In addition, the CF is a member in good standing of the Colorado Gives organization, a fundraising umbrella for nonprofits that carefully screens its members to ensure they are run ethically and meet high standards.
In addition to our ongoing efforts to raise money, the CF occasionally conducts specific fund-raising campaigns. Two of our successful efforts were campaigns to give a grant to the county to purchase the Cuchara Mountain Park and to provide assistance to Cucharans affected by the Spring Fire in 2018. In addition, the Foundation has given grants to the La Veta Fire Protection District, the La Veta School District, the Cuchara Valley Recreation Program, the La Veta Library, the Francisco Fort Museum and other organizations with specific needs.
Currently, our main focus for fundraising is the Cuchara Mountain Park. In 2016 the Cuchara Foundation gave Huerfano County $25,000 for a down payment for a park on a parcel of land at the abandoned ski resort. The CF then appealed to the community to help make the purchase possible and by September we were able to give the county a check for the final payment on the $150,000 purchase.
Since then, the board has established a separate account for donations we receive for the Park and that fund is solely for Park projects. Recent donations have paid for hand-crafted park benches, a big bat house and informational signage about bats, and a park kiosk. The history of the CF’s support for the Park has been instrumental in receiving grants for the Park from other entities, including a $220,000 Resilient Communities grant from Greater Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) to which the CF provided matching funds. There is more to be done to make our Park the real gem it can be, so efforts will continue.
In the past the CF has hosted a Cuchara Center for History, Nature, and Information in the Cuchara Village. The purpose, as the name indicates, was to preserve and share the rich history of the area, provide education about our wildlife and natural resources, and to share information about the extended Cuchara Valley community and activities. We hope to be able to have a space in the Village for our Center in the future.
As part of the CF’s mission to provide information we offer the Cuchara Foundation blog that details current happenings in the area and provides other useful information. It’s included on this site and also appears as “Cuchara Foundation” on Facebook. Either way, same information. Since many of our residents are here in the summer only, this is one vehicle to keep them connected about happenings in the Valley. But it’s also a way to keep all folks here and afar posted on events and weather, and, sometimes just to give a diversion.
Finally, we encourage you to look for the our Cuchara Card Deck with photos of places in the area on the back of the cards. These are available through local merchants and make nice mementos of the area. We also have sponsored the printing of a popular hiking map made by Carl Stickley that is available in local stores. It takes the guess work out negotiating the local trails.
Thank you again for taking the time to get to know about the Cuchara Foundation. We invite and welcome your questions and comments. Send them to Cucharafoundation@gmail.com We promise we’ll read and respond to them.
The Cuchara Foundation Board:
Jill Ackers-Clayton, Vice President
TR Beasley, Treasurer
Amanda Braziel-Holleman, Recording Secretary & Webmaster