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Intern Blog Series: Emma Walker's Meal with the Penroses

Tags: Internship

Emma Walker, 2019 Grants Intern

The El Pomar Foundation Internship program offers valuable professional experience to continuing undergraduate students interested in the nonprofit sector. However, this summer’s Interns had a somewhat unusual experience. After a work week filled with meetings, projects and professional development trainings, the Interns prepared to leave Penrose House for some well-deserved rest. However, Friday-evening drowsiness set over them, and instead of clocking out, they accidentally pressed the “travel back in time 82 years” button. Suddenly, the Interns found themselves sharing a table with Mr. and Mrs. Spencer and Julie Penrose, who were about to delight in a delicious 1930s Depression-era meal. Naturally, Spencer and Julie asked the Interns to update them on the evolved state of El Pomar Foundation some 80 years in the future. Here is what Emma said:

Talking Technology Over Tea 

Good Afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Penrose,

Throughout my summer internship at El Pomar Foundation, I worked with the Grants and Finance offices. On a day-to-day basis, my responsibilities range from creating grant summaries, assisting the Grants Office by assembling books for Board of Trustee meetings and grants funds, and organizing documents, among other tasks.

You will be pleased to know that our Grants Office is thriving. Since you established El Pomar, grants have been fundamental to fulfilling your mission to enhance, encourage and promote the current and future well-being of the people of Colorado.  The Foundation has seen incredible growth in funding since the first grant in 1937. Between 1937 and 1956, the Foundation had an economic impact in Colorado of $8.3 million through 736 grants; from 1997 to 2017, El Pomar had an economic impact of $287 million through 12,395 grants -- this is almost a $280 million increase in monetary impact since the first grant! I am grateful for the opportunity to help facilitate the recognition and support of outstanding organizations in our community.

I have recently been working to digitize all documents, records and meeting notes that were meticulously saved and cherished to honor your legacy. I understand this may sound foreign to you; as of 1937, the first jet engine debuted, and photography options were limited to four different types of cameras. However, our efforts to create a digital archive of all materials will help us better serve Colorado as people can more easily reference meeting notes, records of grants made in the past, or budgets and expense reports, they can access them online via our well-protected and well-organized electronic filing system. During my time here as an intern, I helped finalize the transition of El Pomar to be fully digital. These efforts in 2019 will help make access to the many different documents necessary to running the Foundation more efficient and effective.

I hope it is inspiring to you that both technology and grants have greatly evolved throughout the past 82 years, but also comforting that the evolution of these things has been in service to fulfilling El Pomar’s mission. From my work with the Finance Department and Grants Office, this summer I have seen the ways in which El Pomar strives to stay true to your legacy while also evolving to meet the changing needs of Colorado communities. I believe it is safe to say I have also evolved for the better during my time at El Pomar.

Although I would love to fill you in on other evolutions like interactive mirrors and gravity jet suits, I believe the time for my return to 2019 has come.