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What Do You Want Most?

August 31st, 2015

Taylor Voss, Summer Intern 2015

Thousands of years ago, a great warrior sent his armies against a powerful foe whose men vastly outnumbered his own. The chances of success looked slim but the warrior loaded his soldiers into boats and sailed to the enemy’s country. After everyone disembarked,   he gave the order to burn the ships, the soldiers’ only escape from the island. Addressing his men before the first battle, the warrior said, “You see the boats going up in smoke. We cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice; we win or we perish!” The army went on to win the battle.

This story from Napoleon Hill’s legendary book Think and Grow Rich perfectly represents the state of mind I believe nonprofits and businesses need to reach success. I believe every successful individual and organization must be willing to burn their ships and eliminate all sources of retreat. The idea of having a plan b is exactly what leads to failure; there is no reason to have a plan b because it only distracts from plan a.

To commit to plan a fully, we have to ask ourselves a simple question: what do we want most? Astonishingly, I’ve found many people struggle to answer this question. Even when they do answer it, the answer changes so often, they rarely reach clarity. When we can confidently answer this question, it becomes our purpose.

Before I started El Pomar’s Internship I asked myself what I wanted most out of this incredible opportunity. I wanted to know what would drive me throughout this entire experience. It did not take much searching to find the answer. I wanted to genuinely connect with as many people as possible and learn what it takes to make a significant impact on my hometown of Pueblo and the rest of the state of Colorado.

As I started connecting with various people at El Pomar, it became apparent what everyone wanted most: to help the people of Colorado. I observed an overwhelming belief that we all have the opportunity here to change lives. By passionately acting on that belief every day, Spencer and Julie Penrose’s dream of changing lives is now a reality.

We are all a piece of an incredible living legacy. I believe the story of Julie and Spencer Penrose indicates what they wanted most was to contribute to causes bigger than themselves. This was their greatest success.

As Paulo Coelho once said in his classic book The Alchemist, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” It all starts with a simple question: what do you want most?

 

 

Turning Anxiety into Strength

August 18th, 2015

Each July, the Foundation sends Fellows on a week long Outward Bound exhibition. The seven day outdoor experience challenges Fellows as individuals and as a team to face the unknown and confront their fears, all while surviving in the wilderness. Since returning from Outward Bound, we wanted to share a few reflections about the experience.

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Pine River Library Like a Phoenix Rising

July 29th, 2015

By- Cecelia Crossen

Like a phoenix rising from internet-induced public library ashes, the Pine River Public    Library is proving itself far from obsolete –in fact, it’s thriving. On the road between Pagosa    Springs and Durango, Bayfield is rarely a destination, but rather, a fuel station for those  passing through. Little do these gas-guzzlers know, just a few blocks away lies a nationally  acclaimed resource binding this small community together. In 2014, the Library Journal  recognized the Pine River Public Library as the “Best Small Library in America”. The library  received the accolade because of a major renovation project-which included a building  expansion and development of an outdoor “Living Library.” The 4,000-square-foot  renovations and the 17,000-square-foot outdoor space infused the library with new energy  and prominence.

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Connecting Rural Communities with a Click of Button

July 15th, 2015

Suzanne Scott

Can you imagine being a resident of rural Colorado, driving hundreds of miles to the next nearest community in order to meet with people, attend job interviews, or gain employable skills through trainings unavailable in your community? Thanks to the improved Distance Learning program at East Central Board of Cooperative Educational Services, widespread rural communities can share information, knowledge, and resources—all with a click of a button. Read the rest of this entry »

A Path Toward Home

July 1st, 2015

Haley Parco

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, 220,000 people in families were homeless in 2014 on a given night, making up 37% of the total homeless population counted in the United States that year. Among El Paso County’s homeless population, many care providers have identified a large presence of families. Additionally, the Colorado Department of Education states that there were 2,786 homeless children in El Paso County in 2013. With such a large population of homeless youth and families in our own community, the obvious next question is, what is the solution? Read the rest of this entry »

Stories of Impact: Prospect Home and Hospice Care Inc.

June 23rd, 2015

Carter Ivey

Do not go gentle into that good night…

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

- Dylan Thomas



In the twilight of life, many people hope to meet death with dignity, to rage in elegance against the dying of the light. Yet, greeting death with such poise is no modest task. With care and compassion, the end of a person’s life need not be enveloped in loneliness and suffering. Regrettably, not all Americans are granted the tools to greet death with pride and without great sorrow. Read the rest of this entry »

A Local Fight Against Hunger

June 10th, 2015

Carter Ivey

It is sobering to think, despite Colorado’s high standard of living in an industrialized and modernized world, a startling number of people continue to wake up hungry. Hunger is a function of poverty, which debilitates not only individuals, but also society as a whole.  If people lack nutritious food, daily life is more challenging, and they will be less efficient at work—not to mention those individuals are at a higher risk for significant health concerns. For children, nutrition is even more important, especially during stages of great physical and cognitive development. Good nutrition is critical early in life, enabling children to develop into healthier and happier adults. On a greater scale, the better fed people are, the happier, more effective and more efficient a society will be. Read the rest of this entry »

Voices of the Fellowship: Home is Never Far Away

June 2nd, 2015

Marissa Moreschini

“Where we love is home –home that our feet may leave but never our hearts” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

As I count down the days to the end of my Fellowship experience and the beginning of a new adventure with a move to the Pacific Northwest, I think about what El Pomar has meant to me, what legacy I will leave, and how I will stay connected to my home.

Spencer and Julie Penrose made Colorado their home. They poured their hopes, dreams, passions, and treasure into this state. By the time he died, Spencer created a legacy and a Foundation for Colorado. Julie fostered the Penrose vision, leading El Pomar to continue to serve the people of Colorado for decades to come. Their vision for the Foundation and its role in Colorado motivated me to pour my own blood, sweat, and tears into El Pomar’s programs for the past year.  I have committed to the Penrose vision, the Penrose work, and the Penrose home: Colorado. Read the rest of this entry »

Voices of the Fellowship: The Season of the Fellowship

May 22nd, 2015

Matt Weigel

Legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work; a company work; a society work; a civilization work.” While Lombardi was probably trying to motivate one of his NFL Championship-winning, Packers squads, he could just as well have been talking to a group of El Pomar Fellows about what would be expected of them over the course of their tenure at the Foundation. Each Fellow is expected to develop not only as an individual, but also the team as a whole. Committing oneself to a team is paramount to an individual’s learning and growth, and to the development of a cohort. In essence, “individual commitment to a group effort” divides the work while multiplying the success: allowing the team, as well as the individual, to reach their goals. The Fellowship, like a football season, can be broken into a number of different phases: training camp, preseason, the season itself, and the postseason. Each phase provides a foundation to build on as Fellows progress through their two-year experience. Read the rest of this entry »

Voices of the Fellowship: Rural Philanthropy Days 2015

May 11th, 2015

Allie Romo

Since the early 1990’s, the Colorado Resource Center has selected a community in rural Colorado to host Rural Philanthropy Days events every four years.  In partnership with the Community Resource Center and the Anschutz Family Foundation, Rural Philanthropy Days provides a unique opportunity for statewide funders, government agencies, and local grant seekers to strengthen partnerships and discover ways to work together on rural projects that improve community life.

This year, Creede will host the 2015 San Luis Valley Rural Philanthropy Days from September 23-25, 2015. The conference will also provide training and capacity-building opportunities focused on improving the success of regional nonprofits.

Geographically, Creede is on the western edge of the San Luis Valley, the largest, highest inter-mountain valley in the world.  Creede has a rich history ranging from Ute Indian hunting to a present day vibrant arts community. Long before the silver boom in the later 19th century, the Ute Tribe of Colorado used the surrounding land of the present-day town of Creede as a hunting ground. From the late 1890’s until 1985, silver mining was the main economic driver for Creede.  In 2010, Creede was voted Colorado’s Top Arts Town.  The town is also known for its many annual festivals, such as Taste of Creede, Creede Cabin Fever Daze, and the Creede Cruisin’ the Canyon Car Show, to name a few.  As a town with rich rural history, Creede is ready and excited to host Rural Philanthropy Days this September. Read the rest of this entry »