Local First envisions a thriving, equitable, and sustainable economy that values people, the planet, and prosperity for everyone in southwest Colorado. Our small yet dedicated staff works to achieve this vision through two nonprofit arms. The Local First Independent Business Alliance (501c6) serves as a catalyst advocating for and amplifying the collective voices of 250+ locally owned independent businesses in La Plata County. The Local First Foundation (501c3) pursues grants, gifts, and opportunities to build self-reliance, sense of place, and community well-being.

Person standing in front of colorful background holding a book titled "Be Local"

Local First is building a movement. We have a proven track record of launching impactful programs, initiatives, and even organizations that leverage the power of local independent businesses to build a thriving local economy.

Local First is a membership-based organization of 250+ (and growing) independent and locally owned businesses encompassing two complementary non-profit organizations: a 501(c)6 Independent Business Alliance (IBA), who’s mission is to: “Work with La Plata County’s local, independent businesses community to create an economy that values people, the planet, and prosperity for everyone”, and a 501(c)3 Foundation, who’s mission is to: “Build self-reliance, a sense of place, and well-being for the stakeholders of the La Plata County community.”

Local First IBA

Local First La Plata works to build a strong localist movement in which both local independent businesses and residents alike understand the powerful benefits of keeping dollars in our community. We do this through Local Independent Business Policy Advocacy: focused on member priorities—GHG emission reduction, tax reform, as well as social and environmental sustainability work; a Local Art Economy: focused on a thriving Durango Creative District (which Local First helped to found); and Local Independent Business Support and Marketing: Promotion of independent businesses and restaurants through our local business directory, radio, social media, community-wide events and our annual Harvest Dinner.

Local First Foundation

Local First Foundation works to support membership driven priorities, including healthcare, environmental sustainability, and attainable, workforce housing. Local Healthcare: Re-circulated $3.8 million dollars back into the community through healthcare cost savings in southwest Colorado; 2,867 individuals enrolled in ACA compliant insurance through Bright Health with insurance premiums approximately 35-50% lower. Local Power: Successfully advocated for 100% renewable energy and carbon goals to be set by Durango City Council and LPEA. Local Philanthropy: Launched the Impact Fund, through which local businesses give back 25% of their 1% community donation pledge in order to make movement-building and long-term investments to help alleviate our community’s most pressing concerns. For example, $535,000 was donated to support affordable housing attainment at the Westside Mobile Home Park.