Foundation to continue local efforts |

Foundation to continue local efforts

Organization works to improve quality of life in Craig, county

Rob Gebhart

Since its creation in April 2001, the Community Foundation of Northwest Colorado has worked to improve life in Craig and Moffat County.

That hasn’t always been an easy project, but the foundation hopes to soon see some tangible results.

The foundation was created to serve Moffat County by fund-raising and grant writing for nonprofit organizations, and developing, promoting and ensuring ongoing historical preservation.

“As in lots of small towns, we felt that there was lots of assistance for human resources,” said Pam Foster, foundation board member. “This foundation felt that was well funded, so we wanted to make a tangible contribution.”

The foundation originally started as an organization set up to help the Museum of Northwest Colorado, said Dona Shue, foundation secretary.

“We thought we could do more for the community apart from the museum,” Shue said. “The Community Foundation is a different avenue to enhance the quality of life here.”

Currently, nine volunteers compose the foundation board. Foster said that the lack of a paid foundation director has been an obstacle, but the board is working toward its goals all the same.

One tangible contribution the foundation has been working toward since before it assumed its current form, is the acquisition of the Craig Depot, located at the South end of Yampa Avenue, adjacent to the railroad tracks.

Foundation board members have been negotiating with Union Pacific Railroad, the building’s current owners, for years. But every time they get close to acquiring the building, the railroad shifts around personnel and negotiations go back to square one, Foster said.

Shue described the negotiations as “tedious and slow,” but the depot is still important to her and the rest of the foundation board.

“Craig doesn’t have a lot of good historic structures,” Foster said. “Most have been torn down.”

Historically, the railroad depot represents the western most expansion of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. The foundation would like to restore the brick building to its original form and lease it as a restaurant or offices.

The foundation is also working in conjunction with the High Plains Mustang Club to develop the Wild Horse Monument Park to commemorate the wild mustangs that have roamed western ranges since the Spanish arrived in Mexico.

John and Beverly Ricks of Steamboat Springs gave the foundation one acre of land on the west end of Craig along US Highway 40 for the project. Sculptor Curtis Zabel of Steamboat Springs has signed on to sculpt a life-size herd of bronze horses to decorate the park.

Another priority of the Foundation is to help unincorporated nonprofit organizations raise money through grants and donations.

“All groups who are unincorporated can come to us,” Foster said. “It’s important to us that community groups are able to complete their projects.”

Despite that offer to the community, only the High Plains Mustang Club and the Downtown Business Association have sought fund-raising assistance from the foundation.

The Foundation helped the Downtown Business Association receive grants from the Colorado Council of the Arts, to fund the Art Walk, Golden Leaf Festival and Sagebrush Festival.

The foundation raises money through a variety of fund-raisers. One popular fundraiser, taking place this December, is the star of life ornament.

For $25, donors can dedicate an ornament to a loved one. The ornament will be engraved with that person’s name and the year, and will be hung on the tree of life inside the First National Bank of the Rockies.

Many other community foundations raise money through trust funds set up by donors. The Community Foundation here also accepts trust fund donations, but no one has made use of the service to date.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at

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