Many philanthropic foundations bear the names of their founders, so it may not be immediately obvious why the name “El Pomar” is associated with the Penrose legacy. The answer lies in the Penrose House, Spencer and Julie Penrose’s Colorado Springs home, which now serves as a free-of-charge meeting space and conference center for nonprofit agencies and government organizations.
Celebrating 80 Years - The Wild Side of the Penrose Legacy, 1943, Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Society
Spencer Penrose was enamored with animals and channeled this passion into the creation of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. El Pomar’s third-largest grant recipient to date, the Zoo continues to operate on the mountain west of the Broadmoor, providing world-class recreation, education, and conservation efforts from 6,800 feet above sea level.
While much of El Pomar’s giving was shaped by the vision, life and legacy of Spencer Penrose, the influence of his wife, Julie Villiers Lewis Penrose, cannot be understated. Mrs. Penrose directed the Foundation for 16 years following Spencer’s passing, and her philanthropic passion, devout Catholicism, and interest in arts and culture all helped shape the direction of the Foundation’s grant making. The Foundation's long history of giving to the Central City Opera House is one example of her legacy.
On the north side of Colorado Springs’s Old North End is the 364-bed Penrose Hospital. Originally the Glockner Tuberculosis Sanatorium, it was founded in 1891, when Colorado Springs was seen as a medical destination for those suffering from the disease. The hospital has grown and evolved dramatically since its origins, but continues to provide high quality care in Colorado Springs.
The largest grant El Pomar Foundation provided in its first year went to the Fountain Valley School, which has provided excellent education in Colorado Springs for over 85 years.
The two of us were in our last semester of college and our conversation left me thinking about what a truly purposeful life might look like. How can I pursue this “purposeful life” post-graduation to avoid my fear of accepting monotonous jobs meant only to pay off student loans? I was suddenly asking myself a question this inexperienced 22 year old wasn’t ready to answer.
Jeff Bieri and Jake Brownell, KRCC
El Pomar Foundation wouldn’t just pick anyone to be curator of the Penrose Heritage Museum. The ideal curator would have a vast and personal knowledge of both the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and Spencer and the Penrose’s extensive collection. Having only missed a handful of races in the past 45 years, Jason Campbell, curator of the Penrose Heritage Museum, isn’t just anyone.
Gazing westward from the sun-soaked terrace of The Broadmoor’s main building, you can easily be whisked away to another time and place...
Matt Steiner, The Gazette