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Health and Human Services Work to Meet Increasing Demands


Ben Jourdan

During the course of the economic downturn, El Pomar Foundation has made it a priority to understand the impact the downturn is having on health and human service organizations serving the people of Colorado. To that end, the Foundation has conducted a yearly survey to solicit direct feedback on the changing environment in which these organizations operate.

The most recent survey went out in December 2011, with more than 150 organizations responding by early January 2012.

Key results from the 2011 survey include:

  • 88% saw an increase in demand for services over the last 12 months, with 59% indicating the demand rose by 20% or more. By comparison, 78% of respondents in late 2009 saw demand for services rise by 20% or more.
  • 58% saw a decrease in funding compared to 50% in 2009
  • 51% made changes to administrative costs compared to 44% in 2009
  • 58% increased development activity compared to 42% in 2009
  • 15% cut the number or size of their programs compared to 34% in 2009
  • 33% shared staff or resources with another organization compared to 25% in 2009
  • 32% laid-off staff or reduced their hours compared to 25% in 2009

In response to open-ended questions, organizations provided valuable feedback, including:

“We are seeing a dramatic need for additional emergency shelter space for families.”

“Of all the needs we address, rental housing is the most difficult because it is the most expensive.”

“Direct assistance funds for emergency utility assistance [is vital because] our demand for this has skyrocketed while LEAP has been cut in half and energy prices are going up.”

“We have increased the amount of food going out through our pantry by more than double and struggle to keep food on the shelves year-round.”


El Pomar Foundation encourages all 501(c)(3) health and human service organizations to apply for its competitive grant process. Click the following links if you would like general information about El Pomar Foundation’s grantmaking and how to apply for a grant.