Axis Health System (Axis) staff members are excited to announce some early gifts before the holidays. The Heart of Axis Annual Employee Giving Campaign has chosen winners for the 2020 funding cycle.  This fund provides Axis 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 2019, the staff of Axis Health System (Axis) had different options for directing their holiday donations toward community causes. Along with the traditional United Way campaign, some staff chose to donate to the Heart of Axis fund. Funds were held and managed by the regional Onward! Foundation, based out of Montezuma County.

Axis staff were encouraged to submit grant applications up to $1,000 for projects that benefit patients. A volunteer Heart of Axis grant committee reviewed applications and prioritized the use of available funds to address patients’ unique needs, including mental health, physical health, and social determinants of health (access to basic necessities such as food, transportation, and housing). The committee also selected projects submitted by community nonprofits. In late November 2020, the committee awarded $2,970 to projects impacting patients and $10,000 to community agencies. The following is a list of the winners and the amounts of funding.


Axis Patient Projects

  • Blood Pressure Monitoring Program: $1,000 will support the purchase of blood pressure cuffs for the Axis Pathways program. Hypertension is one of the top three diagnoses in the region. Home monitoring allows patients to participate in their care from home and see the results of stress-reducing techniques, medication, and diet changes recommended to reduce blood pressure.
  • Shower Punch Cards: $200 supports the purchase of shower punch cards at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. Archuleta Integrated Healthcare staff will distribute passes to patients in need.
  • Acute Treatment Unit (ATU) Wellness program: $1,000 will support the purchase of weighted blankets, art supplies, and other items to enhance individual and group activities in the Acute Treatment Unit and improve a patient’s experience while they receive crisis care.
  • Thrift Store Gift Cards: $500 will fund the purchase of gift cards to distribute to individuals in need to purchase home supplies, clothing, sleeping bags, tents, and other items of basic needs for Archuleta County patients.
  • Bus Passes for Archuleta County: $270 to support the purchase of bus passes that will be offered to patients lacking transportation so they may access their clinic appointments and other community support services, such as the food bank and grocery store.

Onward! Foundation Projects 

  • Grief Center of SW Colorado: $2,000. The Grief Center of Southwest Colorado will expand current grief services to provide grief support for low-income families, isolated older adults, at-risk youth, and indigenous communities in the five-county service area affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • La Plata Family Centers Coalition: $2,000. Funding will directly address food insecurity and family support services in La Plata County. It will sustain an existing initiative strengthened as a community response during COVID-19, where LPFCC’s Parent Leader Network distributes bi-weekly food boxes and emergency supplies to five mobile home parks/neighborhoods for 115 families. This investment will also help families and individuals access family support services for referrals, concrete resources, advocacy, and navigation of services in rural Southwest Colorado.
  • La Plata Youth Services: $2,000. Funding will be used to support Youth Services for 50 youth enrolled in the LPYS Diversion Program. Services will be determined through the development of individualized care plans. Youth Services may include behavioral health services such as counseling, equine therapy, substance use classes, and treatment. It will also support youth access to community-based prosocial activities, including music, art, and sports.
  • Medicine Horse Center: $2,000. (Participant shown in photo above) Funding to assist with purchasing two large forced-air propane heaters and three patio heaters for their 7,000-square-foot indoor riding arena and outdoor therapy garden space. These spaces allow Medicine Horse to help with the social-emotional wellness of school-aged community youth. In these spaces, they will provide their longest-running youth program, AWARE (developed at MHC), a social-emotional experiential learning initiative. AWARE stands for Awareness of Actions, Words, Accountability, Respect, and Empathy. At Medicine Horse, students are given a safe, trauma-informed, culturally responsive, and engaging environment to develop and work on individual awareness of risky behaviors and emotions, positive peer-to-peer relationship-building, trust, and effective communication.
  • School Community Youth Collaborative: $2,000. This grant will support staff time for the Montezuma Youth Pride (MYP) groups at Southwest Open School and Montezuma-Cortez High School, in partnership with 21st Century Community Learning Centers programs. Montezuma County has few resources available for LGBTQS2+ youth. According to the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, 40.3% of LGBTQS2+ youth have seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months. Additionally, 48.2% stated they disliked being in school. Anecdotally, youth have told trusted adults in MYP that they have been ostracized from their family, kicked out of their homes, and had activities restricted due to their sexuality or gender identity.