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A Year in Review(ing)


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2016 marked El Pomar Foundation’s 79th year of honoring the Penrose legacy to enhance, encourage, and promote the current and future well-being of the people of Colorado.  This past year, the Trustees reviewed more than 1,000 requests from across the state representing nonprofits in all of El Pomar’s 11 regions in Colorado and 55 of Colorado’s 64 counties (search our grants here).  Through the course of six meetings in 2016, the Trustees reviewed 407 competitive requests and approved 215 grants to directly impact the people of Colorado.  

This year’s competitive grants together with those made by Regional Partnerships Councils, the Ackerman Fund, Hambrick Fund, Ferrand Fund, Eitel Fund and Wild Land Fire Fund over 79 years have contributed to the total of $482 million in grants made to Colorado nonprofits since 1937.

Funding Rural Colorado: Since 2003, the Trustees have increased their focus to support organizations in rural Colorado. In 2016, 44% of all grants approved supported rural communities totaling more than $3.6 million.

Program and General Operating Investment Remain Priorities: In line with the wishes of El Pomar Foundation’s founders, Spencer and Julie Penrose, the Trustees continue to partner with organizations in a variety of ways including capital, general operating, and program grants.  Last year, 40% of grants were for general operating support, 40% were for programs, and 20% were for capital projects.

A Variety of Focus Areas: The Trustees support a variety of Colorado nonprofits in the areas of Arts and Culture, Civic and Community, Education, Health, and Human Services.  In 2016 and similar to the previous five years, over 40% of the grants approved were in support of health and human service organizations providing direct services and care for individuals and families. 

 New Grants Software: In November, we transitioned to a new grants software system, FoundationConnect, which will streamline the grant application process for organizations.  We hope that the system is more intuitive and convenient for grant seekers, allowing them to access online application forms and reports all in the same portal.  Please take a moment to visit our website* to register for the new system.

Whether we are explaining El Pomar’s grant guidelines, walking grant seekers through the new online application process, or reviewing final reports, it continues to be an honor for El Pomar Foundation’s Grants Office to work with so many nonprofits.  While the limitation on available resources does not allow the funding of many significant and worthwhile requests, El Pomar Foundation appreciates the efforts organizations across the state are making to impact Colorado and ensure our communities are a great place to live.

If your organization is submitting an application to El Pomar Foundation in 2017, please consider the opportunity to contact us at 1-800-554-7711 or to read El Pomar’s grantmaking guidelines on our website (