Return to Blog

Celebrating 80 Years - 1945, Pikes Peak United Way

Tags: #Celebrating80Years

#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.

1945, PPUW 2.png

Grantee Spotlight: Pikes Peak United Way

“In 1887, a Denver woman, a priest, two ministers and a rabbi got together... It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but they didn't walk into a bar; what they did do was recognize the need to work together in new ways to make Denver a better place. 

Frances Wisebart Jacobs, the Rev. Myron W. Reed, Msgr. William J. O’Ryan, Dean H. Martyn Hart and Rabbi William S. Friedman put together an idea that became the nation's first united campaign, benefitting 10 area health and welfare agencies. They created an organization to collect the funds for local charities, to coordinate relief services, to counsel and refer clients to cooperating agencies, and to make emergency assistance grants for cases that could not be referred. That year, Denver raised $21,700 for this greater good, and created a movement that would become United Way.” 

1945, PPUW 3.PNG
The Pikes Peak United Way building on Nevada Ave.



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.

While Pikes Peak United Way did not receive a grant in El Pomar’s inaugural year, 1937, it has received support from the Foundation almost every year since. Notable grants include: general operating funds annually until 1987, $1 million for the endowment of an emergency assistance fund in 1989, and support for the Military Family Assistance Fund in more recent years. Since its early years as the community chest, El Pomar Trustees have been pleased to support Pikes Peak United Way in its efforts to improve lives in our local community.


El Pomar in 1945:

The Foundation granted $282,000 to 16 organizations, all of whom had received grants before. The only grants given outside of Colorado Springs were to the Diocese of Denver and the Central City Opera House Association. 


Images from: and GoogleMaps

Spotlight by Corey Baron