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by Maya Darnall May 28, 2024

Eagle Valley Community Foundation Announces Elevar Finalist

In a move of “radical leadership” Eagle Valley Community Foundation announces 7 finalists in first-ever Elevar Grants

The Eagle Valley Community Foundation (EVCF) is founded on innovation. First came The Community Market, a food pantry focused both on providing vulnerable neighborhoods with fresh produce, not just canned foods, while reducing food waste across the Vail Valley. The MIRA bus followed, providing mobile services to resource connection and navigation to rural neighborhoods. The same drive to build resources within our community led to the launch of the Elevar program. 

In 2022, Elevar became the third signature program of EVCF through a focus on Community Capacity Building. Elevar is an emergent leadership development program and social impact fund that provides community investments through grantmaking and program-related investments to emerging Latinx leaders and people of color. Empowering community members to build their own capacity as authentic leaders, advocates, and respected members of the community will lead to broader systemic shifts across the County. 

Elevar creates the connection point between existing education and leadership training programs to the resources needed for emerging leaders to make their dreams a reality, while building economic power, and creating a more empowered community. 

Capacity building is the logical extension of the work where EVCF excels: addressing uncertainty. The Community Market and MIRA bus address the most basic needs of economic security: food insecurity, health, and wellness. Now, we look to the root cause of these issues to build prosperity throughout Eagle County. 

Thanks to radical leadership from Eagle Valley Community Foundation and support from Colorado Health Foundation, Eagle County Public Health’s Advancing Systems Change Grant program, and generous individual donors, these countless dreams will become a reality. But this dream didn’t come without radical leadership at all junctures. 

By The Community, For The Community

The Elevar program uniquely redefines typical decision making. Elevar boasts its own Steering Committee, or decision making group, composed of 100% Latinx individuals. These 11 community leaders are a force to be reckoned with and represent the diversity of workforce options within our community as small business owners, teachers, wellness professionals, early childhood educators, stay-at-home moms, and more. While the current cohort identifies as Latinx, Elevar is designed to support all community members who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. 

The Steering Committee meets twice monthly, developing essential nonprofit and business leadership skills. Programming ranges from ideas such as creating Mission and Vision statements into tactical aspects of program development, event design, and aspects of strategy and design. 

To remove barriers to participation and ensure equitable representation, Steering Committee members are compensated for their time. Each Steering Committee member has also been given a scholarship to obtain self-identified skills by taking courses through Vail Valley Partnerships and Colorado Mountain College, attending events, and achieving certifications that range from interpretation to marketing, Board Service, and Community Leadership. 

Since its formation less than one year ago, the Steering Committee has participated in over 20 networking opportunities and 8 professional development opportunities. You may have seen them hosting their own Dia De Los Muertos event, attending the Latinx House Raizao Festival, Bravo! Vail Concerts, and much more. In the process, they have become more connected, more confident, and more empowered to change our community for the better. 

In their inaugural year, the Steering Committee developed the grant application process, assisted with recruitment, and evaluated all 32 applications received. Eagle Valley Community Foundation and the Elevar Steering Committee are excited to announce the first Elevar Finalists. 

Elevar Finalists:

  • EG Multimedia Design- EG Multimedia Design is one of the only dual language digital media agencies in the valley that specializes in providing culturally relevant services. Their offerings include: graphic design, transcreation/interpretation, campaign resonance, branding packages, digital marketing, website refresh and so much more.
  • Elevated Engravings- Elevated Engravings helps capture the moment and create memories with our laser engraving gifts and services. As a team, they create products, art and stories that inform, entertain, and inspire our Valley for generations to come. From design to finished product, Elevated Engravings aims to provide our community with the most enjoyable and creative experience. 
  • Gula Wellness- Gula Wellness is an online herbal apothecary and Ayurveda consulting company. They were founded in 2020 with the mission to share plant medicine with the world and make it easy to be healthy while being earth conscious. They make specialized high quality organic herbal and beauty preparations. Their consultations are unique to each individual and offer truly personalized health recommendations. Gula Wellness products are made with sustainable packaging and sustainability is part of our business model.
  • JHOVA- Jhova LLC is a Colorado-based video production company specializing in creating captivating visual narratives that amplify brands, individuals, and stories. Their mission is to bridge communities through impactful storytelling, leveraging our expertise in independent filmmaking and advertising.
  • Nourish: Mind and Body- The goal of Nourish: Mind and Body is to work closely with the Hispanic community to provide tools and knowledge to improve their health and well-being through the prevention of chronic diseases. They strongly believe that nutrition and exercise play a critical role in preventing diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases that affect many people in our community. 
  • MAS Color-  MAS Color aims to fulfill two primary objectives. Firstly, the venture seeks to inform and advocate for families with special needs children, guiding them in navigating the resources available to them. This includes aiding them in understanding how to request assistance, access therapies, and secure waivers. Secondly, MAS Color endeavors to foster a cohesive community among families with special needs children. By uniting these families, the venture aims to facilitate the sharing of resources, solutions, and support networks.
  • Yuli’s Berries- At Yuli’s Berries, their passion is crafting exceptional desserts with meticulous attention to detail. Specializing in a variety of delectable treats such as bizcochos, chocolate-covered strawberries, cheesecakes, tres leches cakes, and chocoflan, they are committed to delivering freshness with every bite. Each item is carefully prepared just hours before pickup, ensuring the finest taste and uncompromising quality.

Entrepreneurial Cohort Model

But these finalists won’t just receive capital support through a $5,000 grant they will also receive curated curriculum based on their goals and self-identified needs and also community through peer mentors on the Steering Committee and industry leaders part of the Eagle Valley Community Foundation network. In that way, the program is a three-way leadership development program. We have the Steering Committee learning about leading community-changing programs, the Entrepreneurial cohort learning about business best practices and elevating themselves, and then the third opportunity, where the broader community can share their knowledge and also, and maybe more importantly, learn from the lived experience of the Steering Committee and Entrepreneurial Cohort. 

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