Garfield County supports YouthZone matching grant

Nonprofit to receive $250,000 in 'challenge' grant funds toward new office space

April 13, 2018

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – Garfield County is backing a YouthZone capital campaign to help the nonprofit youth diversion and advocacy program cover the cost of purchasing the former Glenwood Springs Library building, which it acquired in March. The Board of County Commissioners has approved a grant for $250,000, which must be matched by YouthZone.

YouthZone, which has been in operation for 41 years, works with more than 1,000 youth annually in and around Garfield County. Its goal is to move into the new building, at 413 9th Street, by August.

“This is an important human services organization that helps youth and families,” said Commissioner Tom Jankovsky. “I would like us to make this donation, because it is important not only to Garfield County, but to all of our municipalities as well.”

Lori Mueller, YouthZone executive director, told the commissioners that 25 to 30 percent of their clients are from the Rifle and Parachute area, while 30 to 35 percent are from Glenwood Springs, and 15 percent from Pitkin County.

YouthZone’s current office had been under lease for decades with the Roaring Fork School District Re-1 for $1 a year. In December, the City of Glenwood Springs, which has taken over ownership of the property on School Street, notified YouthZone that it had to vacate the property by December 31, 2018.

YouthZone closed on the library space for $900,000 in March, and is now in the process of remodeling the structure to meet its needs. A temporary loan for the property was provided by a private donor to ensure YouthZone could purchase the building. The nonprofit has formed a building committee to oversee design and to create requests for proposals (RFPs) for the needed renovation work. The central location is essential for YouthZone’s needs, and is convenient for clients, staff, and supporting partners. The move also ensures a permanent home for the nonprofit.

“We think it’s the perfect location to service all of the youth we work with,” said YouthZone board member Martha Robinson. “The courthouse is downtown, and that’s where we are.”

The library building entails 9,000 square feet, and the nonprofit is looking to renovate 4,000 square feet for its operations. YouthZone is talking to other local nonprofits about potential uses for the remaining space.

The aim of YouthZone’s capital campaign is to raise $1.5 million to cover construction costs, as well as the purchase price. With help from an endowment and the support of donors, YouthZone’s goal is to become a self-supporting nonprofit, allowing it to operate long into the future.

“There’s no hidden money there,” Robinson told the commissioners. “It’s all actual cost to make sure we’re covered for the next couple years until we get the [building paid off].”

The matching grant was approved unanimously, 3-0.

“The kettle has been opened,” added Commissioner John Martin, referring to the county’s donation to YouthZone’s capital campaign.