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Elevating Leadership Development: 2023 Merit Grants


In Fall of 2023, through its Elevating Leadership Development (ELD) program, El Pomar Foundation awarded grants to 20 organizations having a positive impact in communities of color from Colorado Springs to Pueblo. The nonprofits were nominated by local leaders of color who serve on ELD’s Advisory Board and identify as African American, Black, Asian, Hispanic, Latina/o, and/or Native American. Engaging this group helps us fund organizations based on community-informed recommendations to best meet the community’s needs.

ELD is one of El Pomar’s four leadership development programs and operates from Colorado Springs to Pueblo. The program seeks to support the development of diverse leadership in Southern Colorado by providing leadership trainings, a robust network of support, and connection to civic engagement opportunities. Since its inception in 2001, over 800 ELD members have completed community leadership trainings and are involved in many nonprofit boards and public sector commissions. ELD convenes leaders through four councils in Colorado Springs and Pueblo which are led by co-chairs. ELD’s Advisory Board is comprised of these 16 co-chairs, plus additional community leaders. Advisory Board members, being deeply entrenched in the community, are encouraged to nominate organizations for these annual grants that are serving communities of color and/or whose Boards they serve.

The organizations receiving grants this year are impacting communities of color in the following ways:

  • Providing access to quality education
  • Combatting human trafficking
  • Fostering the arts and placemaking
  • Preserving and promoting cultural heritage and connection
  • Supporting and advocating for Native American communities
  • Supporting families and children through trauma-informed care
  • Increasing childhood literacy
  • Supporting and advocating for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, including direct support for Indigenous survivors
  • Supporting veterans in the community through fellowship and service
  • Promoting health and wellness in children
  • Revitalizing Southeast Colorado Springs through housing development, small business support, advocacy, and community connections

A core element of ELD’s focus on creating access and support for leaders of color in Southern Colorado is that it builds a network of highly engaged community leaders. ELD’s Advisory Board’s unique insight into the needs of their communities enables us to direct funding deliberately and effectively. Coalescing these factors of leadership development, community engagement, and targeted funding creates a multiplier effect of meaningful impact in our communities of color. This impact is only possible through the hard work and dedication of people and organizations committed to our Southern Colorado communities and creating the change they want to see.

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