PICTURED: Recipients of 2021 Heart of Axis grant funding for community nonprofits gather at the Onward! A Legacy Foundation Annual Awards Luncheon on Nov. 19 at the Montezuma County Annex Building in Cortez, from left: Carie Harrison and Sarah Loh of Oak Tree Resources, Bryn Joyner and Ashley Hein of 4 The Children, and Shannon Clane, Tracy Blagg and Brittney Whiteman of Renew.

The Heart of Axis Annual Employee Giving Campaign is pleased to announce that a total of $15,000 was awarded to grant recipients in the 2021 funding cycle. The Heart of Axis fund provides Axis Health System employees the opportunity to donate charitably and to direct these funds to support a wide range of unmet community and patient needs.

In December of 2020, Axis staff had different options for directing their holiday donations toward community causes. Along with the traditional United Way campaign, some staff members chose to donate to the Heart of Axis fund. Funds were held and managed by the regional Onward! A Legacy Foundation, based out of Montezuma County.

Southwest Colorado nonprofits submitted grant applications for up to $3,000. Axis staff wrote and submitted grant applications up to $1,000 for projects that benefit Axis patients. A committee of six volunteer staff members reviewed applications and prioritized the use of available funds to address patients’ unique needs, including mental health, physical health and social determinants of health, which include access to basic necessities such as food, transportation and housing.

In November 2021, the committee awarded a total of $5,000 to projects impacting patients and a total of $10,000 to community nonprofits. Following is a list of the winners, the amounts of funding and descriptions of the projects.

Patient Projects

  • Transportation for Pagosa Springs Integrated Healthcare Patients, $200, and Cortez Integrated Healthcare Patients, $1,000 – Gas cards will help patients make it to healthcare appointments at the clinics and bridge any gaps due to limited or lack of public transportation.
  • Shower Punch Cards, $400 – Funding will cover access to shower amenities at the Ross Aragon Community Center. The unhoused patient population as well as rural patients often do not have access to water, let alone the ability to shower. Personal hygiene will help them with illness prevention, self-esteem, professionalism for job interviews and self-care.
  • Espero Resident Support, $1,000 – Funding will cover recreational items for residents of Espero Apartments, a new supportive community housing development in Durango. These items will help build community at Espero through social interaction.
  • Transportation for Columbine Behavioral Healthcare Patients, $300 – Bus tokens will be available for patients who need help getting to and from their appointments. Some Axis patients use public transit often. Some are either coming out of jail, are unhoused, or don’t have private transportation means. Bus tokens will allow them to make it to appointments and get the care they need.
  • Thrift Store Vouchers for Pagosa Springs Integrated Healthcare Patients, $600 – With limited resources in Archuleta County and a high need population, basic needs items can be difficult to acquire. Flexible vouchers to the Pagosa Springs Humane Society Thrift Store will help patients purchase items such as warm coats, kitchen supplies or camping supplies for the unhoused. As a side benefit, the purchase of the vouchers also helps support animals at the shelter.
  • Support for Inmates in Jail-Based Behavioral Health Services – Funding will provide therapeutic board games and stress-relief items for an “Honor Pod” area for cell block-serving clients with severe and persistent mental illness ($500). This project will also cover financial costs of replacing client birth certificates prior to their release from incarceration and reintegration to the community ($1,000).

Community Projects 

  • Housing Solutions of the Southwest, $2,000 – Funds will be used for assistance for State IDs, birth certificates, rental application fees, bus passes/gas cards and phone cards. These purchases will help reduce barriers for attaining housing for individuals and families exiting homelessness in Southwest Colorado.
  • Oak Tree Resources, $2,000 – Funds will be used to sustain commitments to support youth (ages 17-24) with education, job skills, employment and avoiding homelessness in Southwest Colorado. Funds will also increase capacity to provide youth with emergency shelter and on-site services.
  • Renew, $2,000 – Funds will be used to obtain new mattresses for Renew House, a temporary home in Cortez for women and children survivors of domestic violence. This will help improve the quality of sleep for survivors suffering trauma in Montezuma and Dolores counties.
  • Resilient Colorado, $2,000 – Funds will be used to increase mental health wellness among community members, focusing on the most vulnerable populations. Funds will provide trainings across Southwest Colorado from an already developed and proven menu of trainings.
  • 4 The Children, $2,000 – Funds will be used to serve local families La Plata County who are in crisis and in need of advocacy. It will support two existing programs – Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and Supervised Exchange and Parenting Time (SEPT). Funds will also help establish a third program for children who have been victims of sexual assault.

Heart of Axis Committee members enjoyed the experience of volunteering on a cross-location, interdepartmental committee. “I absolutely loved it. The collaboration was my favorite part,” said Dr. Anita Kumar, a psychiatrist at the Regional Crisis Center – Durango.

“It is fun to see what amazingly creative ideas my co-workers have as to how we can make a difference in the lives of our patients,” said Committee member Jessica Fucito, Executive Assistant and Grievance Coordinator at the Axis Corporate Office. “I always learn a lot about what others who work in different areas of Axis do and how together, we are one team.”

heart of axis committee


Axis Health System has a wide variety of healthcare and administrative positions. To see current openings, visit our digital job board. Axis is hiring professionals who want to make a meaningful difference in their communities. Some positions include hiring bonuses. If you are interested in a mission-driven healthcare job in beautiful Southwest Colorado, Axis Health System may be a great fit for you. To learn more, visit our website page Join Our Team.