First Southwest Community Fund supports the dedicated entrepreneurial spirit of rural Colorado, by investing in the people, culture and ideas that fuel innovation and financial knowledge in our community, with an emphasis on areas of greatest need.
As a 501c3, First Southwest Community Fund promotes economic development in distressed communities — helping create jobs, increasing wages, encouraging the development of critical community infrastructure and provide new educational opportunities and financial literacy knowledge for identified populations.
First Southwest Community Fund achieves this by providing low-cost business and agricultural lending, supporting educational programs that prepare people to participate in the mainstream economy, enhancing early learning and development opportunities, and augmenting technology and other public amenities. First Southwest Community Fund works predominantly in rural Southern Colorado. However, First Southwest Community Fund is not limited to Southern Colorado and plans to expand its geographic reach into the wider Four Corners Region.
Programs and projects through First Southwest Community Fund directly support individuals and families who want to improve financial stability, start a business, or purchase and maintain a home. By promoting economic development in distressed communities, First Southwest Community Fund helps create jobs, encourages the development of critical community infrastructure and provides new educational opportunities for identified populations.
Our Rural Community Goals
Create tangible economic opportunities
Assist emerging businesses to create new jobs
Support existing businesses to retain and grow additional jobs
Advocate for and help in attaining higher wage jobs
Stimulate and encourage financial knowledge
First Southwest Community Fund works in rural colorado:
Our communities are small. No town in our footprint has a population larger than 20,000; meeting all USDA definitions of rural.
Unemployment is higher than average. Eight of our rural counties have an unemployment rate above the statewide average and six counties have an unemployment rate above the nationwide average of 8.3%.
Our communities are diverse. Seven of our rural counties have a Hispanic / Latino population larger than the statewide average of 17%; of those seven counties, four of them have a Hispanic population larger than 40% and two are majority Hispanic.