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What We Do

What does El Pomar do? It's a short question with a long answer. In a nutshell, the Foundation does a number of things to support the mission of El Pomar set forth by founders Spencer and Julie Penrose--to enhance, encourage, and promote the current and future well-being of the people of Colorado. We organize our efforts around two categories: grants and programs


At its core, El Pomar Foundation is a grantmaker. That means we fund nonprofit organizations and government equivalents involved in charitable endeavors throughout the state of Colorado. We are a general purpose foundation, which means the trustees approve grants across a wide spectrum of focus areas including: arts and culture, civic and community initiatives, education, health, and human services. Typically, nonprofit organizations apply for grants. We call this our competitive grantmaking process. Click here to learn more about El Pomar grantmaking guidelines.


El Pomar first ventured beyond grantmaking in 1989, when the trustees created a program called Awards for Excellence to recognize and reward the highest performing nonprofits across the state. Today the Foundation operates more than a dozen different programs. While they are all unique, each program is geared toward leadership development and/or community development. Through these programs El Pomar can have an impact that might not have been possible with a grant check alone. Click here to learn more about El Pomar programs.


Wait, there's a little more that doesn't fit neatly into either grants or programs. El Pomar founders Spencer and Julie Penrose left legacies beyond the endowment that continues to fund the Foundation. They had a vast collection of carriages and automobiles that El Pomar now maintains and displays for the public at the El Pomar Carriage Museum. And before he died, Spencer Penrose built the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun high above Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Part art museum, part mausoleum, the Shrine is the final resting place of both Penroses. El Pomar maintains the Shrine, which is open to the public. Click here to learn more about legacy properties.

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