As can be seen in their giving to educational institutions like the Fountain Valley School and to organizations like the Boys & Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region and Colorado Springs Day Nursery Association, Spencer and Julie Penrose were philanthropically invested in the well-being of children in the Colorado Springs community. Another example of this interest in the Foundation’s early giving can be seen in grants made to both Boy and Girl Scouts in the Pikes Peak region.
United Way has grown considerably since its Colorado origins. There are now almost 1,800 United Ways across the United States and the world, all serving the mission of “improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good.” In Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak United Way works to strengthen Youth Success and Family Stability, by providing tools and resources that will lead to a stable job and enough income to support a family and good health.
Many philanthropic foundations bear the names of their founders, so it may not be immediately obvious why the name “El Pomar” is associated with the Penrose legacy. The answer lies in the Penrose House, Spencer and Julie Penrose’s Colorado Springs home, which now serves as a free-of-charge meeting space and conference center for nonprofit agencies and government organizations.
Celebrating 80 Years - The Wild Side of the Penrose Legacy, 1943, Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Society
Spencer Penrose was enamored with animals and channeled this passion into the creation of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. El Pomar’s third-largest grant recipient to date, the Zoo continues to operate on the mountain west of the Broadmoor, providing world-class recreation, education, and conservation efforts from 6,800 feet above sea level.
Julie Penrose was a devout Catholic throughout her life, and that influence can be seen in El Pomar’s early grant making. In 1942, the Foundation expanded its giving beyond Colorado Springs in order to support work being done by Catholic organizations in other cities along the Front Range, beginning with the Dioceses of Denver and Pueblo.
Celebrating 80 Years - 1941, Colorado Springs Day Nursery Association (Early Connections Learning Centers)
While alive, Spencer and Julie Penrose were only two members of a broader network of philanthropists and community leaders working for the betterment of Colorado Springs. Often, it was by joining with other area philanthropists like Alice Bemis Taylor, whose Day Nursery is profiled here, that the Penroses were able to effectively multiply their ability to make a positive impact on the community. The oldest nonprofit child care organization in Colorado, the Colorado Springs Day Nursery Association first began serving the community in 1897.
While much of El Pomar’s giving was shaped by the vision, life and legacy of Spencer Penrose, the influence of his wife, Julie Villiers Lewis Penrose, cannot be understated. Mrs. Penrose directed the Foundation for 16 years following Spencer’s passing, and her philanthropic passion, devout Catholicism, and interest in arts and culture all helped shape the direction of the Foundation’s grant making. The Foundation's long history of giving to the Central City Opera House is one example of her legacy.
On the north side of Colorado Springs’s Old North End is the 364-bed Penrose Hospital. Originally the Glockner Tuberculosis Sanatorium, it was founded in 1891, when Colorado Springs was seen as a medical destination for those suffering from the disease. The hospital has grown and evolved dramatically since its origins, but continues to provide high quality care in Colorado Springs.
Delta County Libraries has administered an adult literacy program for nearly 20 years with funds acquired through a federal grant. Denial of the 2017-2018 grant application leads the library to seek alternative funding.
The former Salvation Army building is being transformed into Pueblo Rescue Mission's temporary warming shelter, scheduled to stay open every night through April.
Although they had no children of their own, Spencer and Julie Penrose were committed to the well-being of the children in their community, and gave generously to organizations like the Boys & Girls Club of Colorado Springs throughout their lives. El Pomar Foundation is proud to continue that legacy today.
The largest grant El Pomar Foundation provided in its first year went to the Fountain Valley School, which has provided excellent education in Colorado Springs for over 85 years.
“Keep score,” her coach said as she walked out the door. Those directions were followed by an eye roll or two. “This is never going to work,” thought a natural teacher with over 15 years of experience, “but I’ll try… just to prove her wrong!”
Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun receives new audio system.
A WWII veteran from St. Louis made a trip to southern Colorado Tuesday to see a car he raced up Pikes Peak more than 60 years ago.