Donations flood ‘good neighbor’ fund

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A charitable fund established to help Ouray County residents in need during the economic downturn has received nearly $300,000 in donations so far.

The Ouray County Response Fund, set up as part of the Telluride Foundation’s Good Neighbor Fund, had received $278,330 from Ouray County residents as of last week

A total of 32 local residents have received a combined amount of $62,000 so far. Another 26 applications are being reviewed.

There have been 48 separate donations from Ouray County residents, with a big chunk coming from individual large donations. But April Montgomery, vice president of programs for the Telluride Foundation, said she has been “touched by the number of smaller donations.”

“We are fortunate to live in a community of very generous people,” said Paul Reich, behavioral health program manager with the Telluride Foundation.

Rent assistance is by far the top request from applicants, with assistance with utilities, phone payments, food, auto repairs and medical expenses following.

“Because we pay the bill as opposed to the person, we try to pay the biggest thing that is an issue for them and that is usually rent,” Montgomery said.

Reich said applicants have come from all walks of life and ages.

“It really runs the gamut, from working family members with kids to people who are retirement age or older to single people with no children,” Reich said. “It really shows there is not much cushion in many of their lives. They’ve been working one, two and three jobs and when something like COVID interferes there’s not much there to rely on, so funds like the Ouray Community Response Fund are kind of essential to get people through this time period.”

“We are not looking to deny anyone,” Montgomery said, though “there is definitely a filter. It’s not a stimulus check.”

The application, available here, requires applicants to have lived in the county for a year and requires they have not received a Good Neighbor Fund grant in the past three year. It also requires them to demonstrate they have “exhausted all other resources” to make the payments and show they can become financially stable in the region after the crisis is over.

Donations can be made at to the local Ouray County fund by clicking here or by mail to: Ouray County Response Fund c/o Telluride Foundation, P.O. Box 4222, Telluride, CO 8433.