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Celebrating 80 Years - “A Home for the Boy Who Needs One,” 1987, Griffith Centers for Children Chins Up

Tags: #Celebrating80Years

Emily Griffith

#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.


At Griffith Centers for Children Chins Up, an organization formed by the 2002 merger of Chins Up Youth and Family Services and Griffith Centers for Children, a child can receive a variety of counseling and educational services, designed to help them to transition into healthy homes and adulthood.


Grantee Spotlight: Griffith Centers for Children Chins Up

Emily Griffith, an inspirational and dedicated Colorado educator, established the Denver Public Opportunity School in 1916 with the mission to provide education to adults, children, and immigrants. Expanding on the efforts of her school, Miss Griffith opened the Emily Griffith Center in 1927 with the support of the Kiwanis Club of Denver as “a home for the boy who needs one.”  What began as a group home grew to include a workshop and a gymnasium in 1952, before transitioning to an even larger facility in 1964.

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Arial view of the Larkspur ranch

In the 1970s a new awareness of childhood neglect and abuse spread throughout the United States, and the Emily Griffith Center responded by redefining itself as a treatment center, establishing an on-site residential school in 1975. Over the next several decades, Emily Griffith Center incorporated animal and physical therapy into its programming; and the purchase of a 100-acre ranch in Larkspur, Colorado further facilitated this evolution. El Pomar Foundation contributed $30,000 to the purchase of the property. In 1999, Emily Griffith Center expanded again to include a new treatment center in Colorado Springs, which has since grown to include an independent living center and day treatment program.

Today, the Griffith Centers for Children Chins Up residential care facility in Colorado Springs provides an on-site, fully accredited school as well as residential, group home, independent living, and transitional skills programs to boys who struggle with their family, school, or other treatment environments. Griffith Centers for Children Chins Up specializes in boys aged 12-20, with a variety of disabilities whether psychiatric, behavioral, educational, or social. Each week, more than 1,600 children and their families are now supported through the services of Griffith Centers for Children Chins Up Community Programs model in five locations throughout Colorado. This innovative model combines education and counseling in a therapeutic living environment so that each child can reach his or her highest potential.

In line with Julie Penrose’s passion for supporting children and boys throughout the Pikes Peak region, El Pomar is proud to continue to support Griffith Centers for Children through a variety of avenues, including the competitive grant making process and as part of the Empty Stocking Fund program

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Colorado Springs residential facility


El Pomar in 1987:

El Pomar provided $3.1 million in 71 grants in 1987, including significant capital support for Chins Up Youth and Family Services, Colorado Outward Bound School, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Manitou Art Center, and the Colorado Museum of Natural History. The Foundation also supported land purchases by Colorado College and the Nature Conservancy.


Images courtesy of Griffith Centers for Children Chins Up

Spotlight by Janni Conrad