Local programs receive grant awards

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— The Colorado Realty Char-itable Foundation announced Tuesday it has awarded seven grants totaling $10,000 to nonprofit organizations throughout Routt County.

The recipients include Colorado West Mental Health, the Community Agriculture Alliance, Emerald City Opera, Historic Routt County, The Steamboat Springs Youth Orchestra, Yampatika and the Yampa Valley Stream Improvement Charitable Trust.

Yampatika Executive Direc-tor Jen Wright said the $1,000 awarded to the environmental stewardship nonprofit would benefit the organization's involvement in local schools.

"We provide high-quality, educational programs in Routt and Moffat Counties and the grant will go toward those efforts and will go back to the community in that way," she said. "We are tremendously grateful for the award, and it will help environmental education in this area."

Marsha Daughenbaugh, executive director of the Com-munity Agriculture Alliance, said the grant would help increase awareness of the importance of agriculture in Northwest Colorado.

"It will go toward teaching people land stewardship - how to take care of the land - and how to make it most profitable for you while protecting the land itself," she said.

The foundation was established last year as the charitable arm of Colorado Group Realty. Each time a broker completes a transaction, a donation is made to the foundation. Employees, managers and matching funds from client and public donations also make up the grants.

Keri Rusthoi, artistic director of the Emerald City Opera, said the grant will help produce the opera's upcoming production of Madame Butterfly.

"We have to raise $250,000 a year to put on an opera," she said. "This is by no means a drop in the bucket. It's going to make a huge difference to put on our opera production this year."

Bart Kounovsky, president of the foundation, said the grants are the first in a continuous effort to support community-based programs.

"There was a consensus here at Colorado Group Realty to find a way we can give back to the community and give back to the organizations that make this community such a special place," he said. "We are looking at this not as a one-time thing, but an ongoing commitment to a community."

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