1309 E 3rd Ave., Smiley Building, Suite 20 A tiny pinwheel Durango, CO 81301
PO Box 1673 tiny pinwheel Durango, CO 81302

About Community Foundation serving Southwest Colorado


The Community Foundation serving Southwest Colorado facilitates the growth and effectiveness of philanthropic contributions and expands the culture of giving to meet the needs of our communities.

The Community Foundation serving Southwest Colorado inspires hope, leadership, and generosity in the region by bringing economic stability, professional development, and collaboration to the nonprofit sector.

As a community facilitator, the Community Foundation works to increase efficiency, sustainability, and success for nonprofits, while maximizing effective grantmaking for philanthropists, to make Southwest Colorado a better place to live. In 2019, the Community Foundation infused $1.82 million into the region. We invite you to create, grow and give funds through our careful management.

What is a Community Foundation?

The concept of a Community Foundation is as ingenious as it is simple – it is a means to build, over time, substantial funds for the community through contributions. The Community Foundation is a hybrid. Unlike our cousin, the private foundation (whose financial base typically comes from a single donor, family or company), the Community Foundation garners its support from the public. It grows because individuals, corporations, other nonprofits and even government entities believe in it.

The Community Foundation is unlike other nonprofits that focus on specific area of interest, such as health care, disaster relief and the arts, or specific causes such as poverty, heart disease and classical music.

The Community Foundation looks to the well-being of the total community, not just a part of it.


During the mid-1990s, individuals involved with several nonprofit organizations in Southwest Colorado had become aware that the “traditional” forms of funding on which they relied to support their various causes were becoming strained. Federal and State governments had reduced or eliminated funding for many programs local community members needed and desired, and local businesses and citizens were growing weary of being asked to contribute to numerous community fundraisers. Many of these organizations were successfully generating some revenue through fundraisers, but their efforts to do so were requiring a larger amount of staff time than they could commit – and they were still struggling to pay the bills. Therefore, the concept of the Community Foundation was introduced to the local community. Nonprofit professionals were encouraged to learn that donors of large gifts are often more willing to contribute to a foundation that is developed primarily to ensure that community assets are managed according to donor wishes and invested to maximize their earnings potential than they are to donate directly to a nonprofit organization which could experience frequent changes in management and board governance.

In the fall of 1997, various avenues for creating or joining an existing community foundation were researched. After many long discussions and public meetings, the decision was made to create the Community Foundation serving Southwest Colorado as a Colorado 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Currently, the Community Foundation serving Southwest Colorado manages more than $5 million.

Board of Directors

Executive Officers

Michael French

Mike French

Shawn Candelaria

Vice President

Amy Moody

Amy Moody

Debbie Pfeifer

Debbie Pfeifer

General Membership

Suzanne Harrison

Past President
Suzanne Harrison

Haley Arias


Wendy Barney


Bethany Bieth

Bethany Bieth

Nancy Bonnett


Melissa Glick

Mellissa Glick

Kim Oyler


Non-Board Committee Members

  • Susan Buchner
  • Chuck Fredrick
  • Dick Griffith
  • Jan Johnson
  • Michelle Kooi
  • Diane Levison
  • Sherry Phillips
  • Steve Phillips
  • David Smiley
  • Lauren Ziesel


  • Briggen Wrinkle, Executive Director
  • Erin McGuinness, Finance & Operations Director
  • Tracy Pope, Marketing & Grants Director

Governance and Financial Documents


Almost $500,000 Donated in SWCO on Colorado Gives Day

The Community Foundation serving Southwest Colorado announces $485,134 in d Read More...

$1.25 million in Emergency Grants through the Community Foundation

The Community Foundation serving Southwest Colorado has provided over $1.25 Read More...

Southwest Colorado Gives


CERF infuses $500,000 into community in four months


Resources for our Nonprofit Partners

In response to the COVID-19 Crisis NEW FUNDING OPTIONS Federal Payroll Prot Read More...


Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado tiny pinwheel
1309 E 3rd Ave., Smiley Building, Suite 20 Atiny pinwheel Durango, CO 81301
tiny pinwheel 970-375-5807 tiny pinwheel [email protected]