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What I Know

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Penrose House Awaiting New Guests

What I Know

By Meg Shaver 

In the middle of March 2020, the world as we knew it ended and the unthinkable happened. The COVID-19 virus spread rapidly and lead to many economic and social consequences. People were told to quarantine or avoid public contact. For me, that meant not going to my second home, a place that I have had the honor of working at for nearly ten years now, a place that I have grown to love and respect: Penrose House.

That home, where nonprofits meet to train, strategize and develop ways to improve the lives of the people in Colorado, was now quiet. As the needs of people in this state grew in response to the pandemic, the house remained dark. This space could not host its normal crowds, as doing so would jeopardize the safety and wellbeing of our staff and guests. While El Pomar Foundation staff and leadership acted quickly to support communities during this crisis, the Penrose House event space sadly had to close its doors. 

Even though the house itself went dark, the nonprofits did not. No, instead they rose to the occasion. They found ways to continue their work and to help those in need. Many nonprofit leaders took the time to reach out to me during the pandemic because they wanted to see how Penrose House was doing. They shared with me that, unknowingly, the time spent at Penrose House had helped them to prepare for this disaster. During their meetings and trainings that we hosted they developed strong systems and programs that allowed them to pivot to meet the world in a virtual way. It touched me to know that even though our house was empty, its purpose continued to impact the nonprofits of Colorado.

No one really knows how this pandemic will play out right now. No one really knows if the world will be able to return to what it was or if a new normal will have to be established. Here is what I do know: no matter what challenges are thrown in our paths, there are good people out there to help overcome them. Although our hallways are still dark right now, the day will come when Penrose House will proudly serve those people again. I know that I look forward to the day when I get to return to saying, “Welcome to Penrose House.”