#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.
Education and workforce development are essential and interconnected elements for the success of a community. In the plains of northeast Colorado, Northeastern Junior College and Morgan Community College provide opportunities for students to develop valuable, meaningful skills in order to find career success and give back to the local region. From 2011 to 2014, El Pomar’s Northeast Regional Council supported business coursework and a business plan competition at each school.
Grantee Spotlight: Northeastern Junior College and Morgan Community College
Northeastern Junior College came into existence in 1941 after a community meeting determined strong interest in founding a junior college in Sterling, Colorado. That September, only four months after the first Board of Regents was selected, sixty students started classes at what was then Sterling Junior College. Since that time, the student body has grown to nearly 2,000 and the school now offers more than 80 programs ranging from accounting to early childhood education to nursing.
Elsewhere in the Northeast Region, Morgan Community College was founded in 1970. The first basic education class was held that February in the basement of 300 Main Street in downtown Fort Morgan, the building that now houses Morgan County Economic Development. Morgan Community College did not have a permanent space until 1980 when it moved to its stand-alone campus, just two miles from its original site. Today, the school serves more than 1,800 students and offers degrees in fields ranging from agriculture business to criminal justice.
El Pomar’s Northeast Regional Council serves Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma counties and has long been interested in supporting initiatives that support economic development, postsecondary readiness and the fostering of entrepreneurship. From 2011 to 2014, the Council provided grants to both Northeastern Junior College and Morgan Community College to be used to support business courses and a business plan competition at each school. Today, the Council supports two postsecondary workforce development programs: the Northeast Colorado Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Partnership through the Northeast BOCES and the Northeastern Colorado Student to Career Opportunity Initiative program through Sedgwick County Economic Development Corporation. The goal of both programs is to help students and their families make informed life decisions through meaningful career conversations.
El Pomar in 2013
The Foundation made 550 grants totaling $9.1 million in 2013. El Pomar continued to leverage its diverse grant making strategies to respond flexibly to the needs of various communities: Regional Partnerships grants allowed the Foundation to better reach all corners of the state through strategic multi-year funding; the Wildland Fire Fund allowed El Pomar to provide substantial support for recovery efforts following the Waldo Canyon Fire; Awards for Excellence recognized outstanding nonprofits across the state; and competitive grants continued to support capital, program and general operating requests.
In 2013, El Pomar also added another endowed fund, the Kent Olin Fund, which supports investments in Olin Field at the Colorado Springs Youth Sports Park, the business and economics majors at UCCS, and programs in small Colorado communities.
Spotlight by Andrew Parker