Rural Funders Learning Network: Cañon City Visit

Friday, October 4, 2019, 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Rural communities are finding fertile ground for innovation in the intersection of two critical issues: education and economic development. The Gates Family Foundation and Wend Ventures supported innovation in education in Cañon City through a Rural Education Planning Initiative, that engaged a community-based team to identify a local education challenge, gain an understanding of the problem’s root causes, and develop a plan for action. We will learn about this work, and how it has connected with the community’s efforts to grow their tech and small business economy, and pathways for youth to gain work skills, explore careers and earn college credit. In addition, we will hear about the local efforts to develop the housing capacity for current and future residents. 
The Gates Family Foundation and Philanthropy Colorado are co-hosting this visit to offer funders the opportunity to better understand rural strategies and innovation at the intersection of education and economic development, philanthropic strategies and outcomes on education in rural communities, and housing issues in connection with education and economic development. If you would like more information, please contact Amy Swiatek, Director of Rural and Statewide Networks, Philanthropy Colorado, at


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Forbes: The Next Wave of Innovation Will Come From America's Forgotten Communities 
Cañon City Daily Record: Cañon City High School Recieves State Grant
Cañon City Daily Record: P-TECH shares update on Cañon City High School program


11:00 a.m. Tour of Fremont Economic Development Corporation (FEDC) TechSTART, 425 Main St., Cañon City
11:20 a.m. Walk to the Fremont Center for the Arts, 505 Macon Ave
11:30 a.m. Lunch, Introductions and Overview
12:00 p.m. Education and Economic Development: Panel and Discussion
The panelists will discuss the efforts underway in Cañon City to grow the economy and pathways for youth from the Fremont Economic Development Corporation (FEDC) TechSTART, Cañon City Schools, local businesses, and TechSTART interns. There will be time for funder participants to ask questions and participate in this dialogue on the intersection of education and economic development in this rural community.
1:20 p.m. Cañon City Housing Overview with Upper Arkansas Area Council of Governments
1:35 p.m. Q A, Dialogue on Community-wide Gaps and Opportunities
1:55 p.m. Adjourn, Funders Depart or Leave for Optional Hike
2:00-3:00 Optional Guided Hike of Canyon Rim with Fremont Adventure Recreation

The Canyon Rim trail includes some of the original 1.7 miles of trail that began just after the Royal Gorge fire in 2013. Now part of a 20-mile community-funded trail system, the trail offers sweeping views of the Arkansas River, the 1,250-foot deep Royal Gorge, and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

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