#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 the 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.
In 2012, the Waldo Canyon Fire threatened thousands of homes and businesses in Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and Woodland Park. Once the fire was contained and residents were safe, the Colorado Springs Fire Department Wildfire Mitigation Section returned to its important work educating the community about best practices for wildfire mitigation and providing consultations and land management to ensure the safety of the region.
Grantee Spotlight: Colorado Springs Fire Department Wildfire Mitigation Section
Since 1999, the Colorado Springs Fire Department Wildfire Mitigation Section has been dedicated to reducing risk to communities in Colorado Springs. The program was founded on the need to educate residents on wildfire risk by involving the community and Fire Department in an effort to further communicate wildfire risk and provide risk reduction measures. Today the Colorado Springs Fire Department Wildfire Mitigation Section educates thousands of residents and manages more than 1,000 acres each year.
In the early 2000s, the program consisted of three full time staff and a handful of partnering neighborhoods that were dedicated to risk reduction. Today, the program provides year round service to 115 partnering communities and offers free onsite consultations to homeowners, landowners, business owners and developers in addition to chipping services that help eliminate hazardous vegetation. Since 2012, the Wildfire Mitigation Section has removed 3,397 tons of biomass from 22,252 homes in the Wildland Urban Interface through the Neighborhood Chipping Program.
To date, the program has received over $3 million in grant funding to perform risk reduction efforts of fire mitigation including a $600,000 grant from El Pomar in 2012. This grant was provided in large part to support the organization’s efforts to combat the Waldo Canyon Fire that ultimately destroyed over 300 homes and burned more than 18,000 acres in northwestern Colorado Springs. El Pomar also provided support to Pikes Peak United Way for its Waldo Canyon Fire Victims’ Assistance Fund. In 2018, El Pomar partnered with the Anschutz Foundation and each funder provided $250,000 to the Colorado Springs Fire Department in continued support of its important mitigation efforts.
El Pomar in 2012
El Pomar made more than 750 grants totaling $11.2 million in 2012. In addition to the Colorado Springs Fire Department, large grant recipients included Atlas Preparatory School, Pikes Peak Hospice Foundation, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic Orchestra and the Northeastern Junior College Foundation. A change to the Foundation’s grant making was the addition of the Metro and Pikes Peak regions to the Regional Partnerships program, which made the program a fully statewide effort covering all 64 counties of Colorado.
Spotlight by Jeremy Taylor, CSFD Wildfire Mitigation
Images Courtesy of CSFD Wildfire Mitigation