#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 a one-room operation, Silver Key Senior Services has grown considerably over the years and has now served more than 250,000 seniors in El Paso County in its work to improve the quality of life for elderly individuals by preserving independence and alleviating isolation. El Pomar first granted to Silver Key in 1976 as the Foundation began to support aging councils and other similar organizations across the state. Support for these organizations recognized the importance of encouraging the well-being of all generations when fostering strong communities.
Grantee Spotlight: Silver Key Senior Services
While it now serves more than 6,000 senior citizens in El Paso County each year, Silver Key Senior Services had a very humble beginning. With enough initial funding for only one employee, Silver Key was founded in 1970 to improve the quality of life of seniors in nursing facilities, but its work soon expanded to include efforts to preserve the independence and dignity of older individuals who wished to stay in their own homes.
To complete their mission of “making the greater Colorado Springs area the best in the nation to age,” Silver Key focuses on many of the health, financial, and social concerns of the aging process. Today, the organization has evolved to include a variety of services including: Silver Key Senior Assistance case management, guardianship, and food pantry services; Silver Key Meals on Wheels nutritious meals home delivered by friendly volunteers; Silver Key Connections Café social dining services at 20 community sites; and Silver Key Reserve & Ride door-through-door ADA accessible transportation services. Medicare consultations are also offered through Key Benefits, a Silver Key social enterprise. In an effort to improve quality of life and enable seniors to remain independent and age in place, Silver Key’s 60 employees and more than 600 volunteers work together to preserve the dignity and ensure the safety of this growing population.
El Pomar Foundation has provided 66 grants to Silver Key since 1976, when an initial grant of $16,000 was given. In 1999, Silver Key received its first grant from El Pomar through the Empty Stocking Fund, a mutual partnership between the Foundation and The Gazette in support of local health and human service nonprofits.
El Pomar in 1976:
Increasing slightly from 1975, $2.7 million in 38 grants was granted in 1976. While the Pikes Peak region continued to receive the majority of grants, the geographic diversity of grantees had expanded considerably by 1976, with seven regions represented among the year’s grantee organizations: St. Scholastica Academy in the Central Peaks; La Junta’s Picketwire Players and the Pueblo Girl Scouts Columbine Council in the Southeast; Central City Opera House Association and the Routt County Memorial Hospital in the Northwest; Breckenridge’s Backstage Theatre in the High Country; the Town of Lyons for the restoration of a public library in the North; and numerous organizations in the Metro and Pikes Peak regions.
Images courtesy of Silver Key Senior Services
Spotlight by Kathryn Benson