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Julie Penrose Inducted into The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame

By Fiona O’Dowd

We have long been inspired by and have honored the legacy of Julie Penrose as El Pomar Foundation’s visionary and benevolent co-founder. Now, we are in good company as she has been chosen for induction into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame for the Class of 2022. Described as an astute community leader, resolute philanthropist, and patron of the arts — and well-known in Colorado for possessing these admirable traits — Julie Penrose has been further recognized as one of the most influential women in the growth and development of Colorado and Colorado Springs with this honor.

Julie Penrose’s many accomplishments include founding (or co-founding) pillar institutions of Colorado Springs such as the Broadmoor Art Academy (now known as the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College) and El Pomar Foundation, making catalytic gifts to organizations such as Glockner (now Penrose-St. Francis) Hospital and the Colorado Springs Day Nursery (now Early Connections Learning Center), championing the early renovation of the world-renowned Central City Opera House, and helping establish and serving as Vice President of The Broadmoor Hotel. The entirety of Julie Penrose’s professional career and contributions were rooted in her love for the people and communities of Colorado.

It was Julie’s philanthropic vision that led to the co-founding with husband, Spencer, of El Pomar Foundation, which to date has made grants and program investments of more than $700 million for the benefit of Coloradans. This enduring legacy of Julie’s compassion and desire to support the arts, education, health, and human services is perhaps her greatest and most lasting gift, and which carries on her wishes for inspiring community well-being.

Founded in 1985, the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame is a volunteer-operated 501(c)(3) Denver nonprofit organization that aims to “inspire by celebrating and sharing the enduring contributions of Colorado’s distinctive women.” To do so, the Hall of Fame educates Colorado’s residents on the stories of women who have shaped both Colorado and the nation’s history in a positive way. Women who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame have been pioneers, politicians, educators, entrepreneurs, minority leaders, lawyers, and much more.

Alongside Julie Penrose are other historical women such as Katharine Stegner Odum, a highly influential teacher and senior advisor at Amache High School—which was Colorado’s only Japanese American “relocation” camp during WWII—as well as Frances Xavier Cabrini (Mother Cabrini), and Agnes Ludwig Riddle, a Colorado State House Representative, Colorado State Senator and both President and co-founder of Glendale’s Grange.

Julie’s induction into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame is not only notable for honor and privilege, but also for the enlightenment of possibilities by which current Colorado women can be inspired. With her induction, many can hope to aspire to the same leadership that Julie provided Colorado and its many thriving communities throughout her life.

A formal event for the induction will be held in Spring of 2023, where 17 inductees—five living and 12 historic—will be officially honored.

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