Three images separated by lines: mountains and trees; man handing out food; water treatment plant


In March of 2021, El Paso County received nearly $140 million as a part of the $1.4 trillion economic stimulus bill known as the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”). County leaders knew this was an unprecedented opportunity to help citizens within the community, bolster the local economy, and improve infrastructure around Southern Colorado.

Numerous businesses, organizations, and programs around the County were given an opportunity to submit requests for grants that would aid in the County’s efforts to pull its residents out from the mire produced by COVID-19’s global impact.

Here, we aim to share the stories of those whose goal is simple: to help neighbors in need. These stories will range from aid to local businesses to help keep their doors open, to new programs focused on supporting our most vulnerable populations, or even larger infrastructure projects to keep El Paso County one of the country’s most desired places to live.

Select from the menu below to see specific stories, or keep scrolling to see the projects and organizations that are making a difference in the community.

Stay tuned to this page as we will continually make updates sharing more stories.


Atlas Preparatory School Logo

Atlas Preparatory School prepares and empowers all students for success on their post-graduate paths through educational excellence, character development, and community engagement. Part of those efforts include providing students a safe space to ask questions and talk about challenges they are facing, whether within the school or outside of it, and funding from El Paso County ARPA grants has helped Atlas achieve those goals.

All of our students have really unique pathways, and when we validate each other’s pathways and help them see “what can that look like for you” in a really successful way, it allows us to make sure that all of these students have the agency to make that choice for themselves and pursue successful futures.

-Calley Mannion, Atlas Preparatory School Director of Development

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Care and Share Logo

Since their inception in 1972, Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado’s core purpose has been to bridge the gap between hunger and abundance. With the funding that they received from El Paso County through ARPA grants, Care and Share has been able to create programs and provide resources for thousands of citizens in need.

You really have to be aware of what’s going on around you, because some of your friends, family, co-workers, or employees may need your help out there. If you can recognize those people that need help, and get them on the Care and Share website or to one of our food pantries – this is the organization that’s going to be able to help.

-Nate Springer, Care and Share President and CEO

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Careers in Construction Colorado’s (CICC) mission is to partner with entities that provide educational courses focused on the construction industry to promote the benefits of career opportunities to students, parents, influencers, and educators as well as develop effective job-placement platforms to place students in the construction industry. To help achieve that mission, CICC has used ARPA grant funding to help expand their resources to provide more support for their in-school programs.

One of our credos is “students deserve choices”. And part of the messaging is that there are a lot of viable career opportunities and options for students that they just aren’t aware of. So the old paradigm of “everyone has to go to college” is changing.

-Glenn Hard, Executive Director for Careers in Construction Colorado

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CASA of the Pikes Peak Region is a nonprofit organization that trains and supervises volunteers to represent the best interests of victims of child abuse, neglect, and severe domestic conflict. CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to be a voice for these children in court and in the community. The desired result is that children be placed in safe, loving homes where they can thrive. With the help of El Paso County ARPA funds, CASA has been able to afford more staff to help the most vulnerable population in our society.

We are proud to be here and make an impact and do great things for this community, and we will continue to do so.

-Angela Rose, Executive Director for CASA of the Pikes Peak Region

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Catholic Charities of Central Colorado Logo

Catholic Charities of Central Colorado provides social services throughout a 10-county area, with most of the services targeted to people living in Colorado Springs, Castle Rock, El Paso County and Douglas County. Their efforts to transform lives through relationships that build individual resiliency and thriving communities continue to be a boon for the region. With the funding received from ARPA grants, Catholic Charities aims to build out their behavioral health needs surrounding addiction and mental health disorders.

Our staff have open hearts and feel very privileged to get to walk alongside folks in their most vulnerable time. We really want to wrap up people in support, and ARPA grant funds have helped us to do that.

-Allie Warner Orozco, Catholic Charities of Central Colorado Behavioral Health Specialist

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Crossroads' Turning Points logo

Crossroads’ Turning Points, Inc. (CTP) is Southern Colorado’s largest evidence-based alcohol and substance use disorder treatment organization. Originally started in 1979, CTP now offers services in twenty-two counties. CTP specializes in heroin and opioid addiction treatment with a full continuum of care including withdrawal management, and residential and outpatient services.

Everybody does a great job of trying to help. Anybody that comes into this field has a heart to help people – nobody needs to suffer alone … There’s a saying that goes, “You can’t go to the beginning and start over, but you can start now and create a new ending”, and that’s kind of like our motto. We’re here to help you progress.

-Dr. Rob Archuleta, Chief Innovation Officer for Crossroads’ Turning Points

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Food to Power Logo white font color on green background

Founded in 2013, Food to Power’s flagship program designed to reduce food waste while increasing food access, quickly evolved into their “organism with a mission” — multi-faceted programming working together to cultivate a healthy, equitable food system in the greater Colorado Springs community. The three pillars of the organization’s action focus on Food Access, Food Education, and Food Production.

The traditional philanthropic approach historically in this country to food insecurity has been food pantries or food banks. And while that does really, really good at addressing short-term food insecurity needs, it’s not really doing a whole lot to address the reasons for why people are in those free food lines in the first place. So that’s kind of the niche that Food to Power is able to slide into. That’s the niche that we’re trying to fill.

-Slade Custer, Development Director for Food to Power

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Logo for Forge Evolution

Forge Evolution empowers youth to develop resiliency through inspiration, accountability, and connection to create a stronger community. Forge Evolution provides prevention programs & resiliency training to youth between the ages of 10-19. Thanks to funding received from El Paso County through ARPA grants, those programs have been able to expand to the benefit of teens in the region.

It’s crazy to think of, but the teens will be the next business owners and the next politicians and the next people that you work with, and so for me, it’s always a good reminder that if we don’t invest time, energy, and money into this generation, we’re going to pay for it moving forward.

-Morgan Mote, CEO of Forge Evolution

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Heartspace Kids Logo

Heartspace Kids is dedicated to providing access to essential mental health care and critical educational resources to kids in need. Thanks to funding received from El Paso County through ARPA grants, Heartspace Kids has been able to provide direct services to even more children as part of their Kids First Fund.

We are starting to view mental health care as just another part of our health care, and just like we would view it with dental health care or going to your primary care physician for your annual physical … [the kids are] learning these coping skills and they’re learning about their emotions and their triggers and how to handle things when they arise. It just makes them so much more well-equipped for real life later on.

-Dina Mark, Executive Director of Heartspace Kids, Inc.

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Homeward Pikes Peak Logo

Homeward Pikes Peak empowers individuals and families to access stable housing, increase mental health, recovery, and economic stability. They create opportunity for individuals and families to restore dignity through treatment and recovery programs, mental health services, and providing housing first. Their upcoming project, The Bloom House is a prime example of these efforts, and one that was made possible by funding from El Paso County ARPA grant funds.

We are working with women who have had really challenging situations come up. They’re at risk of having that infant or toddler removed from their care because they haven’t been able to overcome an addiction. This is a pivotal point for the woman and child, and we are hoping to really intervene and help them detour towards a stable and healthy path for their family.

-Beth Roalstad, Executive Director for Homeward Pikes Peak

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Mt Carmel Veterans Service Center Logo

Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center provides transition and employment assistance, behavioral health and wellness, supportive services, connection to community resources, and safe event space for veterans, military members and their families. With the funding received via ARPA grants, Mt Carmel is providing additional support to their behavioral health and wellness services.

It’s not about us saying, “Oh, I get it. I understand. I’ve been there”, because we haven’t. But it’s about, “I want to know more. I want to better understand what it was like for you.”

-Kirsten Belaire, Mt Carmel Director of Behavioral Health

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NAMI Colorado Springs is an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the United States’ largest grassroots organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with mental illness. Their programs and support groups are peer-led and always free to the community. With the funding received via ARPA grants, NAMI is expanding their space and hiring more staff to provide more programs for those in need.

This whole idea that you can come to a place, or call a place, and access someone or access a community of people who understand what it is that you’re going through because they’ve lived it – that’s something that a lot of people don’t realize is out there and certainly don’t realize can be incredibly influential and a positive element in recovery from a mental health challenge.

-Kirk Woundy, NAMI Colorado Springs Director of Strategy and Operations

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Pikes Peak United Way logo

Pikes Peak United Way’s mission is to enhance youth success and family stability in the Pikes Peak Region by leading and lifting the most vulnerable in our community with mentorship, life resources and real job opportunities. Using funds received via ARPA grants, they are tackling this mission head-on. They have opened and are expanding the Family Success Center, a place where community partners join together in one convenient location to remove barriers, such as transportation and childcare.

The premise of the Family Success Center is around education. It’s around finding a pathway where you can go from either not having a high school diploma, or a college degree, to a certification program with a two-generational approach. So that while you are working on bettering yourself, your child is also in a place that has safety and can do additional literacy training.

-Heather Steinman, Pikes Peak United Way Chief Operating Officer

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The Pikes Peak Business & Education Alliance’s (PPBEA) focus is on opening up the world of work to students through interactions with local businesses. The funding provided to the PPBEA from ARPA is used to staff four full-time employees, offer 100 paid internships for students experiencing their first forays into the workforce, and create professionally developed videos to share their story.

We believe that all students and their parents or guardians deserve to be armed with the facts about jobs and careers in this rapidly changing economic landscape.

-Bob Gemignani, PPBEA Director

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Serenity Recovery Connection Logo

Serenity Recovery Connection, formerly Springs Recovery Connection, is a group of community based citizens, in long term recovery, who want to educate, mentor, and advocate for recovery and long term recovery solutions that supports all roads to recovery. Their stated mission is to strengthen the recovery community through peer-to-peer and family support, public education and advocacy. To bolster those efforts, SRC has used funding provided by El Paso County from ARPA grants to expand into a new space, offering more opportunities for those in need and bringing on more peer mentors to make those opportunities possible.

I have been really, really impressed that the county did that – gave ARPA funds out to non-profits that were deserving in the community. I have seen many times in the past where city and county governments receive funds and they absorb them all themselves. And so, I was really touched by the fact that the county saw fit to share those with agencies that can impact lives and futures.

-Trudy Hodges, Serenity Recovery Connection Chief Executive Officer

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Springs Rescue Mission Logo

Back when Springs Rescue Mission began in 1996, their founders provided sandwiches to homeless people in Colorado Springs in parks and under bridges. Now, Springs Rescue Mission’s vision is to see lives transformed and filled with hope as the community works together to fight homelessness, poverty and addiction. To help make that vision a reality, they are using funding provided by El Paso County from ARPA grants to offer Intensive Outpatient Programs for those looking to improve themselves.

Our hope and our goal is to see lives transformed and filled with hope. That’s what we’re looking for, is to see folks who may be in a rough situation, but how can we help them move towards better – whatever better might be for them.

-Travis Williams, Springs Rescue Mission Chief Development Officer

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Solid Rock Logo

Solid Rock Community Development Corporation seeks to support a revitalized Southeast Colorado Springs that becomes a destination area for living, business development, and diverse culture and attractions through innovative community collaboration. They are working to accomplish this through housing diversity advocacy and development, business development support, facilitating healthy community connections, and policy advocacy within the community and state.

We often say this is about a hand up, not a hand out. How do we assist our families and serve in a way that’s not demeaning? We try to exemplify that in the service that we provide. We would love everyone to know that food is readily available, and everybody, from every aspect of life, falls on hard times sometime — it doesn’t matter who you are.

-Ben Anderson, Solid Rock Community Development Corporation Executive Director

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Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention logo

The mission of Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention Partnership is to unite the community in addressing suicide in the Pikes Peak Region through education, intervention, and postvention. To help accomplish this mission, they are using ARPA funds to offer more services to more El Paso County residents in need.

There’s not a person in this community who’s not impacted by this, even if it is in more of a superficial way. It’s best to have proactive plans in place to be able to address the needs that arise to both prevent suicide and to respond to suicide.

-Cass Walton, Executive Director Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention Partnership

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The Salvation Army Logo

The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Every program they offer is rooted in their passion to serve God by serving the lost, the vulnerable, the needy, the poor, the hurting, the helpless, and the hopeless. Part of that service is able to occur thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act funding received from El Paso County.

We should live tough and strong and assured enough to not need these affirmations, but man, I’m human … I don’t get told “attaboy” by the children in our after-school center program or by clients that got food or utilities paid, but when you see stuff like that, that’s the “attaboy”. Nobody ever gave it, but that’s why we’re here.

-Captain Doug Hanson, El Paso County Coordinator for The Salvation Army

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The University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) created the Greater Resilience Information Toolkit (GRIT) Program largely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has, however, grown to encompass much more than that. The Lyda Hill Institute for Human Resilience developed GRIT courses and additional programs for anyone who wants to learn how to be a positive influence and promote resilience within their community. Depending on your sphere of influence, there are five GRIT courses to grow your resilience, become a GRIT Coach, and help others in your community live a more resilient life.

We’ve got to figure out how to connect people. Because this isn’t going to be over next weekend or next month, as everyone keeps hoping it will be. And if we don’t start connecting now, we’re going to start really losing people.

-Nicole Weis, Director of Community Training and Empowerment at UCCS on how GRIT developed from the COVID-19 pandemic

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The Jumpstart the Aging Workforce Solutions (JAWS) program is a brand-new UCCS initiative that is a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program aims to develop a healthcare worker recruitment pipeline to help ensure there will be enough healthcare workers to care for Colorado’s aging population. Thanks to the ARPA grant funding received from El Paso County, UCCS and JAWS are taking a bite out of the long-term care workforce.

Among all healthcare workers who have done heavy lifting during the pandemic, long term care staff, including homecare and palliative care workers, have been exceptionally hard hit, but received far less attention than hospital workers.

-Dr. Judith Scott, Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at UCCS

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Atlas Preparatory School Interview with Director of Development Calley Mannion, Director of Wellness Sara Martin, and Social Worker Veronica Felix

Care and Share Interview with President and CEO Nate Springer

Careers in Construction Interview with Executive Director Glenn Hard and Operations Manager Marlo Asher

CASA Interview with Executive Director Angela Rose

Catholic Charities Interview with Behavioral Health Specialist Allie Warner Orozco

Crossroads’ Turning Points Interview with Dr. Rob Archuleta and Alice Kramer

Food to Power Interview with Development Director Slade Custer

Forge Evolution Interview with CEO Morgan Mote

Heartspace Kids, Inc. Interview with Executive Director Dina Mark

Homeward Pikes Peak Interview with Executive Director Beth Roalstad

Mt Carmel Interview with Director of Behavioral Health Kirsten Belaire

NAMI Interview with Director of Strategy and Operations Kirk Woundy

Pikes Peak United Way Interview with Chief Operating Officer Heather Steinman

PPBEA Interview with Director Bob Gemignani

Serenity Recovery Connection Interview with CEO Trudy Hodges

Springs Rescue Mission Interview with Chief Development Officer Travis Williams

Solid Rock CDC Interview with Executive Director Ben Anderson

Suicide Prevention Partnership Interview with Executive Director Cass Walton

The Salvation Army Interview with Captain Doug Hanson

UCCS (GRIT Program) Interview with Director of Community Training and Empowerment at UCCS Nicole Weis

UCCS (JAWS Program) Interview with Dr. Judith Scott, Penny Whitney, and Alina Solarzano

Atlas Preparatory School

Care and Share

Careers in Construction Colorado


Catholic Charities of Central Colorado

Food to Power

Homeward Pikes Peak



Springs Rescue Mission

Solid Rock Community Development Corporation

Suicide Prevention Partnership

UCCS – GRIT Program