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Celebrating 80 Years - Standing Up for Others, Honoring the El Paso County Corps of the Salvation Army and Ben Wendelken, 1962

Tags: #Celebrating80Years

Men outside the Salvation Army building on Weber St., 1932


#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.


Originally founded as a Mission in London in 1865 by Catherine and William Booth, the Salvation Army now serves in 127 countries around the world with the mission of meeting human need without discrimination. The Colorado Springs Corps serves all of El Paso County, and provides a range of services including food programs, youth programs, disaster services, and shelter & housing.


Grantee Spotlight:  The Salvation Army, El Paso County

The Salvation Army has been serving the Colorado Springs community since 1889, and poverty alleviation has always been at the forefront of its efforts. Today the local corps serves all of El Paso County and focuses its efforts on food programs, family & social services, youth programs, emergency disaster services, shelter & housing, and church ministries. One of the Corps’ most prominent programs locally is its operation of the R.J. Montgomery Shelter on South Sierra Madre St. In 2017, the shelter served nearly 2800 individuals, providing 92,000 meals and 63,000 bed nights.

El Pomar’s Trustees, beginning with Spencer and Julie Penrose in 1938, have recognized the importance of the Colorado Springs Corps of the Salvation Army over the years. From 1938-1968 the Foundation contributed to the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Fund, and provided minor support for two capital projects. The Foundation provided its first support for emergency food to the Salvation Army in 1983 and has since contributed more than $1.3 million to the organization in program, capital, and general operating support.

El Pomar Fellows visit with Captains Erin and David Kauffman at the Salvation Army, 2018

The historical link between the Foundation and the Salvation Army was strengthened by Ben S. Wendelken, who first served as the Foundation’s general counsel and then as Trustee from 1963-1991. As a Trustee, Mr. Wendelken “reminded us to always act as Spencer and Julie Penrose would have wished” according to El Pomar Chairman and CEO William J. Hybl, who added, “I remember Mr. Wendelken telling me, you always need to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.” Wendelken was a strong supporter of the Salvation Army and its mission, and many of the Foundation’s grants to the organization have been provided in his honor.


El Pomar in 1962:

El Pomar granted nearly $1.5 million in 1962, primarily to organizations the Foundation had previously funded, including grants to all five of El Pomar’s grant making areas: Health, Education, Arts & Culture, Civic & Community, and Human Services. 

Image courtesy of  Special Collections, Pikes Peak Libary District, 001-720.

Spotlight by Corey Baron