#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.
Since 1977, TESSA has provided safe housing, counseling, and advocacy support for victims of domestic abuse as well as education seminars for increased community awareness. In 1982, El Pomar helped fund the purchase of the organization’s confidential Safehouse, which continues to serve as a vital resource for women and children searching for a protected haven from dangerous partners.
Grantee Spotlight: TESSA
In response to the increased volume of phone calls to local law enforcement from women who were experiencing abuse and threats of domestic violence, TESSA was founded in 1977 to provide information and care as at that time resources for victims of domestic violence were slim.
Today, TESSA serves both El Paso and Teller Counties and manages a confidential Safehouse, victim advocacy program, counseling and children’s programs, and a 24/7 crisis hotline, in addition to promoting community outreach and education. They also offer unique programs like Project Lift, which supports TESSA clients by providing attorneys for permanent protection order hearings, and Housing First, which arranges for secure housing for victims and their children, especially those at risk of experiencing homelessness. One client fled her home after a violent altercation and with no place to go, stayed in the local homeless shelter for the night. After being referred to TESSA by the shelter staff, she found her way to the Safehouse. TESSA helped fund a bus ticket outside of the state to live with extended family and later received a call that “in her mind, TESSA had saved her life.”
Lastly, the nonprofit also provides educational presentations to schools, businesses, and other organizations to increase awareness of domestic and sexual violence and promote its vision for a safe and supportive community for all. Presentation topics range from safe dating and healthy relationships to bystander intervention. In all of its programming, TESSA emphasizes inclusivity and the importance of supporting all individuals regardless of financial status.
Since 1978, El Pomar Foundation has funded TESSA’s mission to “help women and their children achieve safety and wellbeing while challenging communities to end sexual and family violence.” In 1982, the Foundation made a $130,000 grant to the organization for the purchase of the Safehouse.
El Pomar in 1982:
In the midst of a national recession, the Foundation reduced grant making from the nearly $6 million gifted in 1981 to approximately $3 million in 1982. 45 grants were made, including notable contributions to the Boys & Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region, The Colorado Museum of Natural History, TESSA, and Penrose Hospital.
Images courtesy of TESSA
Spotlight by Kathryn Benson