Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Mandela Washington Fellow: My Leadership Journey

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

By Abdirisak Yusuf Ali

Beginning the Journey

I first came across the Mandela Washington Fellowship-Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) on social media. Then I started hearing conversations about the YALI program on the news and at social gatherings. Finally, a friend of mine at Oxford sent to me notice of the program. I studied the program closely and found that it matched my goals. Once I applied, I felt uncertain, and wondered where my application would fall among the millions of vibrant African youth. When I was accepted for the Fellowship, it refueled my dreams of building my leadership more. (more…)

Mandela Washington Fellowship Journey: A Moment of Reflection

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

By Mustapha Gwary

When I first received information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship through the Young African Leaders Initiative in November 2013, I thought applying for the program was not worth my time. Only 500 young Africans are selected for the Fellowship, and I assumed thousands would apply. In Nigeria alone, there are far more than 500 qualified applicants. I thought about the odds of me making the cut, and thoughts of doubt enveloped my mind. Nonetheless, I applied. During my interview I discovered that nearly 50,000 sub-Saharan Africans applied for the Fellowship and over 15,000 of the candidates were from Nigeria. Despite my initial doubts, I am thankful to be one of the selected candidates to participate in the inaugural class of Fellows. With excitement, I embarked upon a three-part journey to Miami, Florida; Washington D.C.; and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

My adventure started at Florida International University where I participated in a six-week intensive academic course focused on public management.  Throughout the course I learned about governance, policy formulation, strategic planning, ethics and public trust, transparency and accountability, and public-private partnership in governance while I refined my leadership skills. The highlight of my experience in Miami was the friendships I created with the 24 dynamic young Africans in the program. Their exceptional accomplishments in their home countries moved and motivated me to do more to make my country a better place. One colleague, Eric Ngondi from Kenya, was simply exceptional. After losing both eyes in a robbery attack, he lost his job, but nevertheless remained relentless and steadfast, ultimately establishing his own company and becoming an advocate for the disabled.

At the end of July, all 500 Fellows who were spread across the nation at 1 of 20 universities, congregated together for the first time at the Presidential Summit in Washington D. C.  The moment we met President Obama was electrifying while the entire hall went into a frenzy. The Summit allowed me to build new partnerships and friendships and continue to develop my professional network.  At the Summit, there were panel discussions, breakout sessions, and I also had the opportunity to meet with President Obama, Michelle Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and other leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sector.

I arrived in Colorado Springs after dark, and my first impression of it was of a gothic city. I was struck by the old buildings, the whistling of the chill wind, and the silence engulfing the night. Throughout my time here, I have come to know Colorado Springs as a beautiful city filled with warm and welcoming people. It is by far my favorite city I have visited in the U.S. Working at El Pomar Foundation has been an incredible learning experience, providing me with many opportunities and platforms to learn and build upon my knowledge of how nonprofit organizations operate. The Emerging Leaders Development Program (Leadership Plenty) sessions, nonprofit management classes, grant writing workshops, and the Investment Challenge classes have had a remarkable impact on me. The people I have met through my time at El Pomar have been incredible, and the relationships will last far into the future. I cannot quantify what I have learned during my time at El Pomar, and I will eternally remain grateful for this opportunity.

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize the less I know.”

This quote by Michel Legrand exemplifies my Mandela Washington Fellowship experience. It has been a humbling experience for me. Meeting the other fellows and learning about their work has been the highlight of my Mandela Washington Fellowship experience. I am looking forward to sharing and applying all the skills and knowledge I have acquired to my organization and several other organizations I intend to work with when I return home.



Story of Impact: St. Vincent Hospital Foundation

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we wanted to spotlight one organization that has recently purchased a digital mammography machine to provide higher quality care for the women in the Lake County community.

Nestled 10,152 feet above sea level, St. Vincent Hospital is a 25 bed Critical Access Hospital in Leadville, Colorado. The hospital’s mission is to provide the best possible, cost-effective, accessible care that balances community needs and available resources.

St. Vincent Hospital has a rich tradition, dating back over 125 years, when nuns from the Sister of Charity- Kansas came to Leadville in 1879. Responding to Leadville’s desperate need for a hospital, the nuns created St. Vincent. Over the years, St. Vincent evolved to meet the ever growing and changing needs of the region. Currently, the hospital offers home health, physical therapy, and acute care. Similar to the Sisters of Charity, St. Vincent remains committed to meeting the ever changing healthcare needs in the region far into the future.


Battle at the Broadmoor

Monday, October 6th, 2014

The hockey community in Colorado Springs had much to celebrate last week as head coaches from two premier college hockey programs faced-off, the Stanley Cup visited the Broadmoor World Arena, and the Colorado Avalanche took on the Los Angeles Kings.

The week commenced Tuesday afternoon when the head coach of the Air Force Academy, Frank Serratore, and the head coach at Colorado College, Mike Haviland, gathered at the Faceoff Luncheon with fans to discuss the upcoming collegiate hockey season. Both coaches discussed their teams’ preparation, expressed their excitement for the season’s start, and, of course, engaged in playful competition. As with any competition, both coaches lauded their own teams, but were primarily excited about the start of the college and professional hockey seasons.


Girl Scouts Honor Women of Distinction in Colorado Springs

Friday, September 19th, 2014

By Hannah Staller

I recall my first Girl Scout meeting. At six years old, I sat in a circle of girls I knew from school. I was a shy child, and felt nervous starting a new activity. My mind quickly changed when my Troop leader introduced me as a new member, and the circle of girls enfolded me in giddy hugs and excited squeals. I held my hands high in the Girl Scout Sign as I performed the Girl Scout Promise and Law, making commitments to respect and honor my fellow troopers, my country, and myself. (more…)

Powerhouse Science Center: Preserving the Penrose Mining Legacy

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Molly Brown

With the mission to spark curiosity, ignite imagination and power exploration it is fitting that a Utah Copper Company boiler dated from 1906 resides in the Powerhouse Theater of the Powerhouse Science Center. Spencer Penrose, a man accustomed to adventure himself, was a shareholder of the Utah Copper Company in 1906.  Though he could never have known it, the money that he left to El Pomar Foundation continues to support the engaging work of the Powerhouse Science Center today. (more…)

Chinese Government Officials Meet Colorado Political Leaders

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

(Colorado Springs, CO – September 20, 2014) — Rising Chinese political leaders arrive in Denver tomorrow to engage with state politicians and Rocky Mountain culture. The nine-member delegation will spend two weeks in the United States, hosted by El Pomar Foundation and the Washington D.C.-based nonprofit, American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL).

“ACYPL provides unique access for the world’s future leaders to a broad spectrum of seasoned experts in diplomacy and communication, and prepares them for effective future service,” reflects William J. Hybl, CEO of El Pomar Foundation and Chairman of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.

While in the U.S. the delegates will visit Washington, D.C., St. Louis, Denver and Colorado Springs. During the program, delegates will participate in open discussions with government officials, community, business and nonprofit leaders, as well as local citizens. Through these interactions they will examine government policy making, American politics, political advocacy, and the diplomatic bonds between the U.S. and China.

On September 21 through 25, the group will travel through Denver and Colorado Springs, where the delegates will examine political leadership at the state and local level with the Colorado Attorney General John Suthers amd members of the Colorado Springs City Council and El Paso County Commissioners board.

While in Denver, delegates will also learn about the Congressional election process through meetings with campaign staff for United States Senator Mark Udall and State Representative Cory Gardner. They will have the opportunity to question state media representatives, including the Denver Business Journal’s Ed Sealover, CCTV’s Hendrik Sybrandy, and Rocky Mountain PBS’s Kristin Jones. The delegation will be hosted by longtime ACYPL partner organization El Pomar Foundation.  (more…)

Mandela Washington Fellows – From Africa to Colorado Springs

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

(Colorado Springs, CO) – In August El Pomar Foundation welcomed Mr. Abdirizak Ali from Somalia and Mr. Mustapha Gwary from Nigeria who are participants in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.  During their eight-week internship, both Fellows gained valuable leadership experience through contributing to El Pomar’s programs and participating in professional development activities.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the new flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).  President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.

Abdirizak Ali comes to El Pomar Foundation for his two-month internship with a background in community education and outreach.  Prior to his arrival he participated in the Civic Leadership Institute at Rutgers University.  He leaves the Foundation strongly motivated and well-equipped with skills from nonprofit development courses and leadership training to effectively promote civic development and economic growth, and is eager to share his experience when he returns home to Bosaso, Somalia to start an institute for leadership and governance. (more…)

Local Food Week Organization Feature: Colorado Springs Food Rescue

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Andy Post, Internship Class of 2014

As the harvest season descends upon Colorado Springs, the Local Food Movement is in full swing. This week Colorado Springs celebrates Local Food Week, featuring a rich concentration of events seeking to bring the food economy, from cultivation to compost, back to the local community. Colorado Springs has witnessed an explosion of businesses and organizations focused on restoring the food system to promote the health of economy, community, and natural resources.


Reflections from LeadershipPlenty

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

All communities contain an untapped pool of people with the potential to improve their own lives and the lives of those around them. This idea is the driving force behind LeadershipPlenty, a leadership training program designed to empower individuals to “think in new ways about who can be a leader, how diverse leaders can work together effectively, and what action they can take.” Rather than focusing on issues and problems in communities, LeadershipPlenty recognizes that the key to long-term success is identifying community assets and mobilizing them to be positive forces for change. (more…)