2022 Annual Report
El Pomar Foundation is excited to share its 2022 Annual Report, “Celebrating 85 Years.” As we reflect on the past year and the 85 years of impact throughout the state of Colorado, we continue our dedication to the mission set forth by our founders, Spencer and Julie Penrose, “to enhance, encourage, and promote the current and future well-being of the people of Colorado.”
The IRS recognizes two kinds of tax-exempt charitable organizations, or 501(c)(3)s. A public charity receives a large part of its income from the general public or the government. A private foundation, on the other hand, receives its income from investments on an endowment. Here’s how it works: an individual or corporation gives a fixed amount of money, say $1 million, to start a foundation. After that, the foundation’s officers can increase the $1 million—not by getting more donations (which would make them a public charity), but by investing the money. Then, the officers of the foundation use the endowment to fund other organizations.
Upon his death in 1937, Spencer Penrose left the majority of his estate—approximately $12 million in value—to start El Pomar Foundation. His wife, Julie, left about $9 million more upon her death in 1956. Over the course of more than 70 years, through investment and stewardship of these resources, the Foundation’s assets have grown to over $600 million. This has enabled El Pomar to increase its annual giving to approximately $20 million—close to twice the amount of Penrose’s original gift.
Any portfolio will inevitably rise and fall in value as trends and events affect investments. The Foundation’s assets are invested in a wide variety of stocks and bonds; the diversity allows the assets to grow reasonably steadily, without risking major losses. This will enable the Foundation to serve the people of Colorado for many years to come.
El Pomar Foundation makes approximately $22 million in grants and program contributions each year. These funds reach every corner of the state; and include competitive grants (open to application), Regional Council grants, and programs.
Yes. “Tax-exempt” status means an organization does not have to pay corporate income taxes. It does not exempt it from all taxes. For example, if a foundation buys stock in private businesses (which is the only way to grow its assets), the IRS will place an excise tax on any money made in those investments. If you factor in all of the taxes paid by the Foundation over time, the IRS makes the list of El Pomar’s top-10 grant recipients. And paid employees of all nonprofits—including private foundations—must still pay taxes on their salaries.
No. The Foundation’s grants are made from its existing assets.