Nonprofits get cash |

Nonprofits get cash

Two nonprofits have received the “Academy Awards” of recognition for their work in trying to better the lives of residents.

The Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition and the Community Budget Center scored general excellence awards in their respective categories from the El Pomar Foundation. The private funding agency awarded a total $320,000 to the state’s nonprofits Wednesday. Both local groups will receive $15,000 toward their missions.

“I don’t know how to communicate the magnitude of this,” said Debi Harmon, the executive director of the Northwest Dental Coalition. “It was like being at the Academy Awards. It’s pretty awesome.”

The dental coalition plans to open a clinic by April to accept low-income and Medicaid children who are not eligible to receive care locally. Its recent award will go toward clinic operations, board member Cindy Biskup said.

The Community Budget Center will use a portion of its money to repair its aging building, a store employee said.

CBC uses profits earned through the thrift store on Yampa Avenue to help low-income residents meet an array of financial needs.

In addition to Wednesday’s cash award, the dental coalition recently earned an $80,000 Department of Local Affairs grant, Harmon said.

Those dollars will go toward purchasing dental equipment for the start-up clinic.

“We’re on a forward motion,” Harmon said. “We’re thrilled to finally have a solution to a community problem.”

Earlier this year, the coalition received a $450,000 grant from the Caring for Colorado Foundation, which is slated for dentists’ salaries, Harmon said.

Recent dollars should help solve an outstanding problem of tooth decay among the area’s low-income children. According to a five-county assessment including Moffat County, 4,200 children showed obvious signs of tooth decay. According to dental screenings in Craig schools, at least 144 children showed obvious signs of tooth decay.

Children covered by Medicaid have to travel to the Front Range to receive care, but transportation restraints often make those trips impossible, Harmon said.

“The other day, a mother brought in a child whose roots were showing,” she said. “They didn’t have transportation to get to Colorado Springs. That just haunted me all night.”

Doling out two awards in the Craig area shows a strong commitment of the area’s nonprofits to help with community needs, El Pomar spokesman Darryl Christian said.

“It’s pretty amazing what they’re doing in that area,” he said.

“It’s unique that we would give two awards in one town.”

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or

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