#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.
Grantee Spotlight: Mi Casa Resource Center
Mi Casa Resource Center was founded in 1976, when eight mothers living in West Denver came together to create a place for women who wanted more for themselves and their families. They sought a safe and supportive environment where women could complete their education and acquire new employment skills while their children received help and encouragement in school, and Mi Casa has operated to promote self-sufficiency, education, and employment skills ever since.
Employment and economic self-sufficiency has been a focus from the beginning, and over the years, programming has included job-training and bilingual business development services. Mi Casa also recognizes the importance of education. In the late 1990s, the organization launched a school-based neighborhood center and other enrichment programs for middle and high school students. Today, Mi Casa operates four locations in Denver and continues its focus in three critical areas: Career, Business, and Youth & Family Development services.
As Mi Casa grew and developed, the organization recognized the need for programs to advance economic self-sufficiency for the entire family, and in 2016, Mi Casa altered its mission to reflect an expanded target population: today, the organization works to “advance the economic success of families with limited opportunities, as an organization grounded in its Latino heritage.” Since receiving its 1989 Award for Excellence, the organization has received 14 additional El Pomar grants, including $80,000 from the Metro Regional Council to support its middle school programs.
In July 2017, Mi Casa moved to a newly constructed headquarters location in Denver’s Westwood neighborhood. The building includes state-of-the-art technology and training rooms, and the move to southwest Denver will allow the organization to better serve the community and more efficiently work toward its mission of educating, supporting, and training youth and adults on their path to economic success.
El Pomar in 1989:
The Foundation made 144 grants for a total of $10.7 million in 1989. Unique grants included $1 million each to Pikes Peak United Way and the American Red Cross of Southern Colorado for the endowment of emergency funds, and $1.2 million to the city of Colorado Springs for economic development and a drug prevention program.
Perhaps most notably, 1989 marked the inaugural year of El Pomar’s first community stewardship program: Awards for Excellence. Awards for Excellence recognizes outstanding Colorado nonprofit organizations by presenting them with cash awards for their impressive work to support the people of Colorado. Since 1989, the program has provided over $6.2 million in grant support to more than 450 nonprofit organizations throughout Colorado. In its inaugural year, eight awards were given: $10,000 each to Opera Colorado, Creede Repertory Theatre, the Greenway Foundation, Costilla County Economic Development Council, Police Athletic League of Denver, Pueblo Child Advocacy Center, Cheyenne Village, and Mi Casa Resource Center.
Images and spotlight courtesy of Mi Casa Resource Center
Spotlight by Corey Baron