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Celebrating 80 Years - “The Things You Learn from Sports,” 1990, The Colorado Springs Sports Corporation

Tags: #Celebrating80Years

Riders line up for the 2018 Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb start

#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.


“The things you learn from sports—setting goals, being part of a team, confidence—that’s invaluable.  It’s not about trophies and ribbons.  It’s about being on time for practice, accepting challenges and being fearful of the elements.” –Summer Sanders, two-time Olympic gold medalist

The Colorado Springs Sports Corporation was created in 1978 to assist the United States Olympic Committee in its relocation to Colorado Springs. 40 years later, The Sports Corp continues to support amateur athletes from across the state, while managing events that draw visitors from around the world. One of these events, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, has a special connection to El Pomar Foundation and the Penrose legacy.


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Athletes compete in the 2018 Rocky Mountain State Games

Grantee Spotlight: The Colorado Springs Sports Corporation

In 1978, Congress charged the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to open a permanent training facility for its athletes.  When Colorado Springs won the bid, The Colorado Springs Sports Corporation, commonly called “The Sports Corp,” was founded to assist in the USOC’s move west from New York City. Not only was The Sports Corp instrumental in turning Colorado Springs into Olympic City USA, but it has been a driving force in bringing national and international events to the region.  The Sports Corp spearheaded the effort to bring a host of major competitions to Colorado Springs including the USGA Senior Open, the US Women’s Open, the USA Boxing National Championships, and the State Games of America. Events managed by the organization hosted over 250,000 spectators in 2017 and the annual Rocky Mountain State Games brought more than 10,000 amateur athletes to the city. The Sports Corp also hosts the annual Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off, a free community event that features the simultaneous liftoff of more than 70 hot air balloons.

The Sports Corp also has a particularly strong connection with the Penrose legacy through the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, an ambitious 12.4 mile car race to the 14,115 ft. summit of Pikes Peak. El Pomar founder Spencer Penrose established the race in 1916 and today it continues as an annual event under the management of The Sports Corp. In 2018, Romain Dumas became the first driver to complete the course in under eight minutes, shattering the previous record by more than 16 seconds. Colorado Springs residents and tourists alike can learn more about this impactful event at the Penrose Heritage Museum, expanded in 2014 to include “The Pikes Peak Hill Climb Experience” in addition to a collection of Spencer Penrose’s carriages.

Since 1988, El Pomar has given more than $5.4 million to the Sports Corp including an $875,000 capital grant in 1990. In 2018, El Pomar gave a grant to The Sports Corp  to support construction of the US Olympic Museum, which will open in 2019.



Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off Balloon Festival

El Pomar in 1990:

In 1990, El Pomar made 89 grants totaling $11.8 million. The diversity of El Pomar’s general purpose grant making could be seen in the variety of organizations supported, which ranged from the Colorado Ballet Company to the Moffat County Library to the Brain Injury Association of Colorado. Some of the largest grants in 1990 were provided to promote leadership development in the Colorado Springs community and included $425,000 in program support for Leadership Pikes Peak and $750,000 to the Center for Creative Leadership for the purchase of land and construction of its campus, with whom El Pomar continues to partner for the Nonprofit Executive Leadership Program (NELP).


Images courtesy of The Colorado Springs Sports Corporation 

Spotlight by Andrew Parker