LCBAG Celebration Event

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To remind the people that

Each is as good as the other

And that no one is beneath

Nor above you

Excerpt from Maya Angelou’s Continue

LCBAG celebrated the members and volunteers of our coalitions!

We gathered in the warmth of what unites us, the thought that our Lake County community can be a better place for all of us who live in it.  We celebrated the hard work of all members and volunteers in this altruistic work. The laughter, the camaraderie, talking to each other like we’ve known each other forever, the games, the art, and delicious food brought us that much closer.

LCBAG is committed to the ideal of a better life. On this occasion, we extended our gratitude to all the members of our coalitions, with some special mentions that we will highlight below:

Dan Northcraft, Housing Coalition
“I would like to honor one of the members of the Housing coalition who also serves on the policy advisory team. Dan likes to bring the reality of what we are considering to the table; I think that many times when we think of solutions we want to shoot for the stars and Dan brings us back to reality.” –Kristi Galarza.
Vanessa DeLira, Food Access Coalition
“She is truly a leader in our community, she is a mother, she is a student, she works at a community anchor organization and is a community connector, she does it all.  Vanessa has been involved in the food coalition work for so long that she is my network weaver! She talks to our community and recruits members for our coalition and honestly, if she wasn’t helping me on this project, we wouldn’t have all the amazing people who are now members of our coalition. Thank you Vanessa.”– Mara Gwin
Sara Luna, Childcare Coalition

“I really wanted to honor one of our coalition members, even though she wasn’t able to make it tonight. She is the Director of one of our licensed centers in Lake County called Bright Start. After struggling with the pandemic, having a busy personal and professional life, she has been such a reliable partner.  She is incredibly helpful and supportive in our coalition.  I feel very grateful to work with her.”–Hannah Guilford

Daisey Monge Montes, Youth Coalition
“She is a leading Rock Star! In our coalition, she is very confident.  During the past school year she presented policy changes to the school administration that could help work on changing alcohol and substance abuse in the student community. She also helped us write our social media posts. Our coalition is very fortunate to work with her.”– Hannah Guilford
Zoila Saucedo, Cooperativa Nueva Unión

“She is someone who has really impressed me. Previously, Zoila had never been part of something like that (a board of directors) since she was always focused on housework and childcare. However, she became the president of the board of directors. She has had incredible personal growth and learning. Even with the difficulties that come with being part of a board of directors! She has always remained involved, even in times when she was the only participant on the board of directors, because no one else wanted to get involved. Thanks to her, the board is now complete and continues to work with our community.” — Eudelia Contreras.

We also want to publicly thank local artist Justin Stewart’s sculpture of the LCBAG logo!

Thank you Lake County community and LCBAG team for making this event possible!

The Housing Coalition has been working since 2016 to develop affordable housing policies, programs, and homes in Lake County. Want to see all the work that has been done in those years? Check out this timeline (also available here as an interactive PDF! https://tinyurl.com/TimelineHousing)

In the New Year, we hope you’ll join us for a celebration to honor our nonprofit founder Katie Baldassar and welcome our incoming executive director, Noah Sosin into his new role at LCBAG. Everyone is welcome to attend for appetizers, a cash bar, and a toast to celebrate where we’ve been and where we’re headed. The celebration will be at Freight on Thursday January 6th from 4-6pm with a toast to Katie and Noah at 5pm.

Mara Gwin and Noah Sosin, from Lake County Build a Generation have a “walk and talk” meeting while Noah’s baby sleeps in Leadville, Colorado. Gwin is the Organizational and Resource Development AmeriCorps VISTA and Sosin is the Resilient Lake County Manager, who works with residents of manufactured home communities to foster civic engagement and empower the residents to advocate for their rights as tenants.

Are you excited by the opportunity to ensure the future financial success of our work?

The Director of Development will be responsible for supporting a strong financial future for our organization through cultivation of relationships with individual donors, foundations, and public funders. The Director will be tasked with maintaining existing funding relationships and establishing new opportunities through grant writing, individual direct-asks, and planning fundraising events. 

The Director of Development must be comfortable working as part of a team, but will have large portions of their work that will be accomplished individually. Support from other staff members may include: brainstorming or co-writing grant proposals and reports; planning fundraising events; or implementing other aspects of the fundraising plan. 

To learn more about the position–including instructions on how to apply!–please visit our careers page.

As we gather with loved ones this season, LCBAG staff would like to share with you what we’re thankful for:

Amy: So incredibly grateful for two healthy, safe kids

Brayhan: Thankful for continuous learning environment I’m in

Eudelia: Thankful for being able to provide for my children and self

Katie: Thankful for all the people who have supported me in being able to make changes

Kevin: Thankful for my sobriety because without it I have nothing

Kristi: Thankful for my coalition members who’ve donated countless hours to support housing

Hannah: Grateful for having unconditional love and support from my family

Mara: Thankful for a roof over my head, food in my fridge, steady income, enjoying time with family during two stressful years

Noah: Thankful for the life I have up here – job, people I work with, family, community.

We are also thankful for all of you! The work to improve the health and well-being of our community isn’t possible without you. Thank you!

Eudelia Contreras, Health Equity Manager at Lake County Build a Generation, attends a meeting of the Lake County School District Board of Directors in Leadville, Colorado.

National Public Radio recently covered the work of residents and LCBAG community organizer Eudelia Contreras to form Cooperativa Nueva Union, in order to ensure residents can purchase their manufactured housing community and create a housing cooperative:

After the owner contacted housing organizers, Thistle and the local nonprofit Lake County Build A Generation helped residents learn about the deal and navigate the purchasing process.

With extra time — and a cooperative property owner — enthusiasm has grown strong among the park’s 30-odd households. Several of the park’s residents said they want to preserve some of Leadville’s last accessible, affordable housing. The park stands within walking distance of the city’s historic main street, and it stands just across the street from a half-built development where homes are selling for well over $500,000.

“We can pass this along to the youth … even if you can’t afford the land individually, this community will still be preserved as a mobile home community,” said Esther Soto, president of the newly formed neighborhood cooperative, through an interpreter.

“Inside two Colorado mobile-home communities fighting to avoid corporate takeovers — with very different results,” November 4, 2021

To read more about the project, visit Colorado Public Radio.

House in downtown Leadville, Colorado.

After months of work by the Lake County Housing Coalition, City of Leadville voters passed ballot measure 2A by a wide margin–with 580 residents voting “yes” and 252 voting “no.”

2A emerged from a recommendation by the Lake County Housing Coalition, facilitated by Lake County Build a Generation. It would increase the lodging tax that tourists currently pay when they stay at hotels, motels, or short-term rentals in the City of Leadville from 1.92 percent to 4.92 percent. The 1.92 percent would continue to fund the work of the Lake County Tourism Panel, and the additional 3 percent would go toward a housing fund at the City of Leadville that could be used to do such things as administer deed restrictions, develop City-owned land into affordable housing, or provide financial support to affordable housing projects built by other developers.

Congratulations to all who worked on the initiative!

Lake County’s housing challenges–and the hard work of the Housing Coalition–caught the attention of New York Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer this week. Her story features interviews with Lake County Build a Generation Housing Manager Kristi Galarza and Policy Advocacy Team member Jenny David, among others. Writes Steinhauer:

Many initiatives were indeed prompted by residents weary of the housing hunt. The housing shortage in Leadville, Colo., “squeezes all the little people that hold this town and county up,” said Jenny David, 43, a seamstress who joined the Lake County Housing Coalition, which is leading the initiative to increase taxes on tourists. Ms. David has bounced from an apartment building to a modular home as rents have gone up. She now fears that the duplex she landed through word of mouth may be sold in this overheated market. “I feel like I had some real-world experience to bring,” she said.

Like many places near vacation spots, Lake County, where Leadville sits, has seen its real estate market value more than double over the last five years. But there has been little investment in housing for low-income workers in the area, officials there say.

To read the full story, go here.

On behalf of the Lake County Build a Generation Board of Directors, as well as the staff members who served on the Executive Director Transition Team, I am pleased to announce that Noah Sosin has accepted the position as Executive Director of Lake County Build a Generation. 

Noah has worked at Lake County Build a Generation since 2017, starting as an intern and working his way up to his current role as Director of Coalition Development. With both Master in Public Health and Master in Urban and Regional Planning degrees, Noah brings a strong academic foundation to this work. He also brings years of experience in the Lake County community, a strong commitment to community empowerment and systems change, and deep relationships with local residents. Noah’s thorough understanding of LCBAG’s organizational structure and commitment to the goals and values of the organization were evident throughout the interview process. We firmly believe that he is the right person to lead the organization into the future.

The Lake County Build a Generation Board of Directors will shortly announce a Community Meet and Greet event to welcome Noah Sosin to this new position. In the interim, please join me in wishing Noah a hearty congratulations on his new position. 

–Bob Homiak, President, Lake County Build a Generation Board of Directors

Because of Lake County’s status as a winner of the 2019 Culture of Health Award, all those working in Lake County on health and health equity are invited to the  2021 RWJF Culture of Health Prize Virtual Celebration & Learning Event, an online convening presented by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Held from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm Mountain Time on November 9 and 10, the agenda offers a range of opportunities to drop in for just one session or participate fully on both days. See the draft agenda here.

Please click here to register by November 1, 2021.

More Information
The 2021 RWJF Culture of Health Prize Virtual Celebration & Learning Event is a two-day online convening for Culture of Health (COH) Prize winners and alumni, partners, RWJF staff, and others who are working at the forefront of advancing health, equity and opportunity for all. Together, we will:

  • celebrate and honor the 2020-2021 Prize-winning communities;
  • focus on urgent issues of this moment; and
  • share and connect informally with peers across the U.S.

We are especially excited to recognize a new group of Prize communities during the event – the 2020-2021 cohort. This cohort represents a truly remarkable group of cities, counties, and tribes from across the country that are embracing and addressing the extraordinary challenges of these complex times.

The convening agenda includes an awards ceremony, videos featuring the 2020-2021 winners, Prize-winning community “talk show”-style panels, a fireside chat with national equity experts Angela Glover Blackwell and Sheri Johnson, an interactive Town Hall with RWJF CEO Richard Besser, small group discussions on current topics of greatest interest to Prize communities, an infusion of arts and culture, and a few fun surprises.

While the agenda features the 2020-2021 Prize-winning communities and Prize alumni, we welcome and encourage active participation from all registrants!

See the preliminary agenda here, and click here to register by November 1 so we can count you in. After we receive your registration, you’ll be invited to the event website to access Zoom links for the sessions and background information related to the event. On the site, you also can sign up for smaller group discussions on day 2 (November 10), where capacity is more limited.

If you have any questions, please contact the planning team at COHPrizeEventVirtual@rwjf.org.