Stories | LOR Foundation

Community Stories

Health Weight Room Upgrades Boost Safety and Strength at Montezuma-Cortez High School

With aging weight room equipment making lifting unsafe for students and staff, one coach took matters into his own hands.

Economy A Lending Library Lends a Hand to Cortez Growers

Hundreds of apple trees were going unharvested in Montezuma County each year. One group of Cortez locals wanted to give growers a hand.

Water A Community Cistern Restores Water for Students at Battle Rock Charter School

After contamination left kids unable to drink or wash their hands at the Cortez school, one teacher rallied to keep the water flowing.

Engagement Unified Sports Teams Build Connections Between Lander’s Differently Abled Youth

When Lander lost its unified sports teams, locals stepped up to resurrect this important opportunity for camaraderie.

Transportation A Van Makes Life a Little Easier for Lander’s Eastern Shoshone Children

A 12-passenger van helps keep children connected to their communities during temporary stays at the Eastern Shoshone Children's Lodge.

Health Efforts to Keep Healthy School Meals in Rural Colorado Free for All

By Ilana Newman, The Daily Yonder

Water In a Sustained Drought, Water Solutions Funding Supports Agricultural Innovation in Rural Colorado

By Ilana Newman, The Daily Yonder

Good Portions Mobile Soup Kitchen trailer
Health Everyone Gets to Share a Meal—and Their Stories—at Good Portions Mobile Soup Kitchen

When a Lander local realized not everyone who needed free, healthy meals could actually get to them, she found a way to bring hot meals to them instead.

Engagement A Rare Printing Press, a Community Art Space, a Small Town Where Creativity Thrives

By Ilana Newman, The Daily Yonder

Economy ‘Brain Gain’ in Rural America and Who Is Behind It

By Ilana Newman, The Daily Yonder

Environment Not Exactly Grizzly Adams But Want to Be? Lander’s Outdoor Classes for Adults Can Help

Not every Wyomingite is a natural hunter or fisherman. That's where a pilot program from the Wyoming Wildlife Foundation comes in.

Health Activists Win a Battle for Women’s Reproductive Healthcare in a Rural Colorado Town

By Ilana Newman, The Daily Yonder

Education Libby’s Central School Ensures Art Will Remain at the Community’s Core

Students at Libby Central School are honoring the legacy of one of the town's most beloved artists and teachers. With little help from LOR, they'll make a permanent mark on the community.

Water An Unlikely Coalition to Protect Colorado’s Dolores River

By Ilana Newman, The Daily Yonder

Colorado’s Creative Districts Help Boost Economy, Creatively Tackle Other Problems

By Ilana Newman, The Daily Yonder

Getting a Rural Perspective on the Solar Eclipse

By Ilana Newman, The Daily Yonder

For Rural Communities, Broadband Expansion Is No Single Thing

By Ilana Newman, The Daily Yonder

A Case Study: Affordable Housing Dilemma of a Small Town

By Ilana Newman, The Daily Yonder

Health Lander’s Free Medical Clinic

With many Lander residents uninsured and struggling to find help, a Lander local stepped up to create a free medical clinic that reduces the barriers to care.

Economy Agrovoltaics Offer Dual Use on Land Used for Solar Energy Development

By Ilana Newman, The Daily Yonder

Engagement Small Town Cafe Years in the Making Opens with Community Support

By Ilana Newman, The Daily Yonder

Economy Photo Essay: Unhoused Artists Thrive at Cortez’s Turquoise Raven Gallery

Through the No Fixed Abode program, a local gallery owner in Cortez is helping artists experiencing homelessness create and sell art.

Where the Rubber Hits the (Gravel) Road

By Ilana Newman, The Daily Yonder

Solar Farms in Colorado: Fossil Fuel-Free Energy Comes With Controversies

By Ilana Newman, The Daily Yonder

Engagement Monte Vista Teachers Create an Essential Family Bonding Opportunity

After a cherished community program for students and parents was diminished by the pandemic, a Monte Vista teacher stepped up and—with support from LOR—brought Family Fun Nights back to life.

Health A Local Rider Comes Home to Rebuild Lander’s Dirt Jump Park

When an important community asset fell into a state of neglect, a Lander local came home to revitalize the dirt jumps he helped build 15 years ago—with a little help from LOR.

Health With New Bike Fleet, Lander Middle School Rides Toward “Fitness For a Lifetime”

Physical education teachers at Lander Middle School are designing a curriculum that gives kids free access to mountain bikes. To make that happen, they needed bikes—and they turned to the LOR Foundation for help.

Engagement Students and Local Artists Transform Traffic Signal Boxes in Taos County

When traffic signal boxes in Taos County grew unsightly, local artists and community organizations stepped up and brought art to the streets.

Health New Radios Help Libby Search and Rescue Team Stay Connected

When a local boy went missing, volunteer rescuers in Libby, Montana, leapt into action. Unfortunately, their radios—stymied by the area's challenging terrain did not—and the team struggled to communicate. Not anymore, though.

Economy Pool Upgrade Ensures Bright Future for Local Swimmers—And Cortez

When the starting blocks at the city pool fell into disrepair, Cortez's local swim club's existence was uncertain. With LOR’s support the club upgraded the pool, which helped the team stay afloat and brought an economic boon to Cortez.

Health Radios Help the Cortez Community Intervention Program Reach People in Need

Montezuma County launched its Community Intervention Program to better respond to noncriminal 911 calls. But in order to get the innovative program running, they needed radios to communicate with dispatch—that's where LOR came in.

Environment One Local Resident Helps Cortez Move Beyond Single-Use Plastics

When Laura Herrick realized how many plastic bags were being used in Cortez, she devised a plan to reduce the number by at least half, with a little help from LOR.

Engagement Cortez Restores an Essential Community Gathering Space

Nearly a quarter century after it first opened, the Lewis-Arriola Community Center needed a little love to remain an essential community asset. With a little help from the LOR and others, the volunteer-run gathering space is ready for the next generation of celebrants.

Education Apple Valley School Expands Childcare Options in Lander

Childcare options were already limited in Lander when COVID-19 forced some centers to close, leaving more than 100 families without reliable childcare. So a few locals got together to create a new option and—with LOR's help—expand their facility to accommodate more kids.

Economy Bringing Lander’s Young Professionals Together for Good

Retaining young workers was hard even before the pandemic, but a few Lander locals saw an opportunity to bring young professionals together—building a stronger community and new generation of leaders in the process.

Education Recharge Rooms in Taos Help Staff and Students Contend With Stress

In 2021, Taos Municipal Schools debuted dedicated relaxation spaces for teachers who have confronted staff shortages, enormous workloads, and a flood of pandemic-related disruptions. A few months later, students got some wellness spaces of their own—and now other New Mexico schools can too.

Environment A Vet-Led Program Helps Address Lander’s Feral Cat Problem

Lander veterinarian Lannie Hamilton knew spay and neuter programs could reduce feral cat populations by as much as 99 percent—she just needed a little LOR help to get started.

Engagement , Health Cortez’s Southside Garden Grows Greens and Community

The new community garden's 11 plots, supported with funding from LOR, will be ready for planting this spring.

Education A Unique AmeriCorps Program Provides Taos Nonprofits with Local Staff

As Taos nonprofits confronted staff shortages, nine organizations teamed up to pursue federal funding that provides relief to the community-serving organizations.

Economy The Birth of the Lander Art District

With Lander's art scene struggling amidst the pandemic, one local had an idea: establish a creative district that could benefit the entire community.

Economy A New Bike Tech Training Program Comes to Cortez

All that Cortez's Southwest Open School needed to launch its new bike mechanic program was a shop. That's where LOR came in.

Environment Training the Next Generation of Farmers at Central Wyoming College

Responding to a statewide decline in the number of farms, CWC's farm incubator program equips young and developing farmers with the skills they’ll need to succeed.

Engagement Bringing Lander’s VFW Post 954 Back to Life—And to the Community

After decades of use without major renovation, VFW Post 954 was showing its age. Here’s how its local leadership—with support from LOR—created a space that the entire Lander community can use.

Environment Firewood for Taos County Seniors

With winter on the horizon and a surplus of wood on hand, local organizations connect elderly Taos County residents with the firewood they need.

Economy Uplifting Youth in Cortez

A new craft-beverage initiative in Cortez aims to help create career pathways for young people.

Water Art and Essays, Shaped by Water

Through its Acequia Aquí series, the Paseo Project shares the legacy—and fragility—of the historic waterways that once brought life to Taos’ fields, gardens, and orchards.

Health Fighting Food Insecurity in Fremont County

Lander’s pilot Speedgoat Market connects consumers to producers—and has opened the door to countywide expansion through a potential $400,000 USDA grant. 

Environment Baling (and Building) in Taos

When the Town of Taos stopped recycling plastic, a group of locals created an innovative solution: turning waste into walls. With a little help from the LOR Foundation, they’re poised to make a dent in the overflowing plastic.

Engagement Lander Gets a Summer Spark

To fill a summer activities gap created by COVID-19 and budget cuts, nearly two dozen members of the Lander community are leading summer workshops and camps for area residents, thanks to a little boost from LOR.

Health Helping Lander’s Community Meal Feed More

Thanks to a bigger refrigerator, the Community Meal at United Methodist Church now feeds more than 100 people per week.

Engagement Lander Locals Appreciate Healthcare Workers

Inspired by what he saw unfolding outside his window, one Lander resident was moved to create a citywide demonstration of gratitude for healthcare workers—and you can contribute too!

Economy Creating E-Commerce for Small Business

Informed by the experiences of five Taos businesses, this handbook can help rural merchants launch online stores.

Economy Lander Shops Local

Spurred by COVID-19 concerns, LOR helps the Lander community bring a bevy of shop local initiatives to life, including a winter pop-up market that’s easy to replicate with a new, downloadable LOR toolkit.

Health Lander’s Little Free Pantry

With food insecurity growing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, an accessible and free pantry is helping to alleviate hunger.

Wood Processor
Economy San Cristobal’s Community Woodlot

This northern New Mexico village’s new firewood processor will help build an economy around forest health and support essential community programs.

Housing The Soldier’s House

Using a Habitat for Humanity model, a small Wyoming group coordinates volunteer crews to help repair veterans’ homes.

Census takers in PPE
Engagement Census Instagrants

As communities across the rural Mountain West race the clock to ensure a complete census count, the LOR Foundation commits $100,000 in Instagrant™ funding to help them.

Housing Questa Lodging

A revolving loan fund helps legacy families fix and rent their historic homes, adds affordable housing, creates jobs, and draws-in newcomers to the community.

Economy Taos HIVE

Offering career training, small business support, and wrap-around services, HIVE garners national attention as it applies for federal funding and helps a rural economy go digital.

Economy Windows on the Future

An art exhibition in Taos brought life and vibrancy back to main street during the worst of the pandemic—and the tradition will continue in a new space today.

Woman in mask putting red sign with words Closed Due To Covid-19 hanging onto glass door, closeup
Economy Business Alive

Taos MainStreet pairs local businesses with web developers to launch or improve their e-commerce capabilities in response to COVID-19.

Engagement Lander Connected

An emerging platform helps volunteers to address food security, shelter, and meet other community needs in the wake of the pandemic.

Environment Trails and Transformation

Farmers and outdoor enthusiasts partner to build trails for recreation and economic growth in the San Luis Valley.

Water Forged by Fire

Unexpected alliances help Taoseños protect drinking water, vital food sources, and adapt to life with wildfires.

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If you have an idea for improving quality of life in Cortez or Monte Vista, Colorado; Lander, Wyoming; Libby, Montana; Questa or Taos, New Mexico; or Weiser, Idaho, use this form to start a conversation with us.

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