July 1st, 2015
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 »
June 23rd, 2015
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 »
June 10th, 2015
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 »
June 2nd, 2015
“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 »
May 22nd, 2015
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 »
May 11th, 2015
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 »
May 1st, 2015
Have you ever noticed there are some people in your life who always seem to say the same thing? No matter what, either the tone or content of what they say never seems to change. Maybe every time they call or you run into them, you think “Oh boy, here we go again.” I will admit I thought I had these people in my own life.
Earlier this month I took a six day transformational leadership course in which I explored how I can make leadership my natural self-expression. This may sound odd, but the course is designed to help people respond to any situation in their lives as natural leaders. Although we discussed numerous topics related to leadership during those six days, the importance of authentic listening struck me. I always thought of myself as a good listener. When someone spoke to me I would dutifully put down any distractions, make eye contact, and respond appropriately. It turns out listening authentically is more than pausing Candy Crush, staring intently, and nodding my head attentively. Through the transformational leadership course I realized I had been tricking myself, simply going through the motions of what we think makes up good listening. Read the rest of this entry »
April 27th, 2015
On a snowy day, sitting by the intricate fireplace in the Penrose House library, surrounded by carved oak and glass cases of antique books, you could forget the world. Snug, warm, and architecturally transcendent, the library is designed for comfort and entertainment. You might notice, though, if perusing the cases in the alcove of the north wall, a series of semicircular grooves marring the wood floor, a subtle indication the room conceals more than books.
Spencer and Julie Penrose acquired their El Pomar estate in 1916, with the United States on the eve of joining the First World War, and Prohibition already in the air. The Great War saw the first tremor of Prohibition in 1917 with a wartime restriction on alcohol production to preserve grain stores. By the time the 18th amendment put Prohibition into national effect in 1919, crowning a century-old series of national temperance movements, 33 out of 48 American states had already enacted their own alcohol bans. Read the rest of this entry »
April 17th, 2015
The days are cold, and the nights are colder. Imagine you have nowhere to seek shelter from the ever-changing Colorado weather. What do you do to stay warm in Loveland, Colorado? For the homeless of Loveland, the answer is to spend the night at the House of Neighborly Service Shelter. Perhaps you have a roof over your head but your utilities are in jeopardy of being shut-off. House of Neighborly service is the place you will turn.
The House of Neighborly Service (HNS) seeks to diminish the effects of poverty among vulnerable individuals and help them become self-sufficient. While emergency shelter is critical, HNS offers its clients many different services, including a food and clothing bank, prescriptions/special medical aid, Step-Up Housing, and transportation and utility assistance. It also helps clients take steps towards a better future through individual case management, financial management classes, and healthy living classes. HNS clients are usually sent by referral, and 27% of all clients are seniors and single mothers. In 2014, the organization provided 38,200 services to individuals in need and distributed over 5,000 food baskets equaling more than 207,000 pounds of food. While meeting fundamental needs, HNS also provides clients with the tools to get back on their feet and break the cycle of poverty. House of Neighborly Service is in the process of creating a multi-tenant non-profit center to house many of the vital services that they refer to everyday. To date 13 agencies are sharing programs and cost at the HNS Life Center in central Larimer County. Read the rest of this entry »
April 10th, 2015
When people hear Ultimate Frisbee, or the colloquialism “Ultimate”, the first image that comes to many minds is: running around in a park with no shoes, throwing a Frisbee with friends (and likely a dog), enjoying a carefree Saturday afternoon.
When I think of Ultimate, I think of building community and leadership.
Read the rest of this entry »