Partners in Routt County acquires Grand Futures

The newly combined staff of nonprofit Partners in Routt County includes (from left on left side of screen) Heidi Brown, prevention director; Noah Blumenberg, Moffat County youth development coordinator; Elizabeth Flynn, case manager; (on screen top row from left) Sarah Valentino, community education coordinator; Teresa Cantwell, Grand County youth development coordinator; Erin Miller, mentoring programs director; (bottom on screen) Merrily Waldron, Strengthening Families program coordinator; (from left on right side of screen) Lindsay Kohler, executive director; Brad Douglass, program manager; and Willa Seybolt, lead case manager.
Courtesy photo

Two well-known local nonprofits have combined forces, as Partners of Routt County acquired Grand Futures Prevention Coalition at the start of the new year.

The mission of the two groups, now under the umbrella of Partners, is to mentor, support and prevent substance abuse in youth and young adults ages 6 to 24 in Routt, Moffat and Grand counties.

Partners Executive Director Lindsay Kohler said the nonprofit has assumed the programming, associated responsibilities, staff and funding of Grand Futures, which has dissolved. Three board members from Grand Futures will serve on the Partners board of directors.

The two nonprofits long had a close working relationship and related missions, and were housed in the same building complex on Jacob Circle in north Steamboat Springs.

“Considering how close our work that we do is aligned, we always had good working relationship for many years. Both Grand Futures and Partners collaborate with a lot of youth-serving agencies,” Kohler said. “Partners was a natural fit, because we all serve youth, and both work with trusted adults, and mentoring and prevention go hand in hand.”

Steamboat resident Amy Jenkins, chair of the board of Grand Futures, said the nonprofit is “thrilled” to be joining forces with Partners.

“Grand Futures believes the new organization will be able to impact more youth, more families and positively impact our community,” Jenkins said.

The acquisition timing was spurred forward by the fall resignation of the former Grand Futures executive director, who left in October for personal reasons, Jenkins said. Partners will retain all four of the current staff of Grand Futures, with Heidi Brown serving in the role of prevention director.

Kohler noted January is National Mentoring Month, and the nonprofit currently has a waitlist of 15 youth needing mentoring partners, including 13 boys in need of adult male mentors. The mentoring commitment lasts for one year and requires an average of three hours of time each week.

The nonprofit also is hosting a free Strengthening Families weekly program Sunday afternoons that now has a start date of Jan. 23, with a sign-up deadline of Jan. 21. The seven-week education class for both parents or caregivers and youth ages 10 to 14 will include interactive sessions, as well as free meals and child care for younger children.

Kohler, who earned a master’s degree in social work, said the staff still have more transition details to work through in the coming months. Partners has five full-time staff, two part-time staff and some 50 volunteers. Grand Futures has four staff who will roll into the new combined agency.

Partners in Routt County was founded in 1996 and serves vulnerable youth through community-based and school-based mentoring programs. Grand Futures Prevention Coalition was created in 1990 as a community resource for substance abuse prevention in northwest Colorado to empower young people to make healthy, positive and substance-free choices.

Both Jenkins and Kohler say the conclusion to join forces was a mutual decision. They say services to the community will stay the same, if not improve and expand, with the goal of putting what is best for the community and youth at the forefront of decisions.

“The acquisition provided an opportunity to restructure in a way that will strengthen work around programmatic goals while reducing administrative overhead, thereby creating a framework for increased organizational capacity,” Kohler said. “All of us want to serve the communities in the best way possible, so it became clear that Grand Futures and Partners should come together in a way that was efficient and sustainable.”

Jenkins said the work of the nonprofit is important to protect youth. She noted she joined the Grand Futures board after she lost a dear family friend in her 20s, who died in Routt County from an overdose in 2019.

For more information, contact Kohler at or call Partners in Routt County at 970-879-6141.

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