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Celebrating 80 Years - Investing in Education from the Beginning, 1937, Fountain Valley School

Tags: #Celebrating80Years Penrose Legacy

FVS Yearbook 2.jpg
An early Fountain Valley School yearbook staff meeting


#Celebrating80Years: 2017 marked 80 years of working with Colorado’s nonprofits as they seek to strengthen their communities. Throughout 2018, we will be looking back on this history of the outstanding organizations and people the Trustees have had the opportunity to support. On the blog you will find a history of the Foundation’s grant making and a representative organization from every year since our founding in 1937.


An investment in education is an investment in a community’s future, with schooling playing a large role in a child’s development of intellect and character alike. From its founding in 1937, El Pomar Foundation has recognized this fact, making the largest grant of its first year to the Fountain Valley School in Colorado Springs.


El Pomar in 1937:

El Pomar Foundation was established by Spencer and Julie Penrose in December 1937, created with a donation of 15,000 shares of stock in El Pomar Investment Company (established to encompass various Penrose business ventures) and a $129,500 check. The mission of the Foundation today remains the same: “to enhance, encourage, and promote the current and future well-being of the people of Colorado.”

In its first year, the Foundation made 5 grants, totaling $81,737, to: Junior League of Colorado Springs Nutrition Camp, Fountain Valley School of Colorado, Penrose Colorado Community School, Glockner Hospital, and the Boys & Girls Club of Colorado Springs.


Elizabeth Sage Hare

Grantee Spotlight: The Fountain Valley School

The Fountain Valley School, located in Colorado Springs, was founded in 1929 by Elizabeth Sage Hare, Julie Penrose, and friends, and opened as a boarding school for boys in 1930, bringing an education dedicated to traditional standards of excellence and progressive ideals of individual dignity and creative promise.

Julie and Spencer Penrose were involved with the school from the beginning and were instrumental in convincing the school’s first headmaster, Francis Mitchell Froelicher, to come west to lead the institution. Spencer also served as a Trustee, and commissioned renowned Santa Fe architect John Gaw Meem to build the $100,000 Boies Penrose Memorial Dormitory in the Pueblo Revival Style, and funded annual scholarships.

El Pomar has proudly continued to support the Fountain Valley School throughout its 80 years of grant making, including $4.8 million in capital support for projects as diverse as the purchase of water rights in 1954 and 1956, the purchase of 40 acres of land in 1957, and construction of a swimming pool in 1969. Another $2 million in support for scholarships have carried forward the legacy of Spencer Penrose’s commitment to the success of the school and its students.


Images from:

Spotlight by Corey Baron