Julie Villiers Lewis McMillan Penrose
An astute community leader, dedicated philanthropist, and patron of the arts, Julie Penrose was one of the most influential women in the growth and development of Colorado and Colorado Springs. Born August 12, 1870 in Detroit, Michigan to Alexander Lewis and Elizabeth Ingersoll, Julie inherited from her father a commitment to community service. The death of her young son and first husband when Julie was 31 made her acutely aware of the suffering of others and inspired her legendary compassion. In the 56 years that Julie lived in Colorado Springs, she was instrumental in the founding and success of numerous institutions, including the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and Fountain Valley School. She also made catalytic contributions to Colorado Springs Day Nursery Association (now Early Connections Learning Centers), Boys Club of the Pikes Peak Region (now Boys & Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region), St. Mary’s High School, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Glockner Hospital (now Penrose-St. Francis Hospital), and many more. Julie Penrose’s commitment and leadership, particularly to arts and cultural organizations, led many institutions to invite Julie to serve on their respective boards. These included the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Central City Opera, and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Her tireless work in advocacy for arts, education, human services, and healthcare is posthumously recognized in the form of the Julie Penrose Award.
The legacy of Julie Penrose
- Nominations may be raised by El Pomar’s Trustees, Senior Staff, Regional Council members, ELD Advisory Board, and Fellowship Alumni. The recipient is selected by the Trustees’ Julie Penrose Award committee.
- Recipients may be living or deceased.
- Recipients can have worked or made their impact anywhere across the state.
- Recipients can be leaders in any sector, a philanthropist, or a volunteer.
The Trustees of El Pomar Foundation established the Julie Penrose Award in 2020 in honor of what would have been Mrs. Penrose’s 150th birthday. The Award is presented yearly to outstanding women who, like Julie Penrose, made (or are making) significant contributions to their communities through their leadership and dedication. The annual inductee is recognized as part of El Pomar’s annual Night of Excellence dinner and awards ceremony at The Broadmoor in October.
On August 12, 2020 El Pomar Foundation celebrated the 150th birthday of its co-founder, Julie Penrose, which was declared Julie Penrose Day by Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers.
Meet Our Honorees
Learn more about past recipients of the Julie Penrose Award, outstanding women who make a significant impact in their communities, just like Julie herself
In 1969, Kathy founded the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Auxiliary and served on the Board of Trustees from 1980-1990. As President, she led the search for a new director and was instrumental in the design and implementation of the Zoo’s new master plan. She remains a strong supporter and advisor to the Zoo and is its only honorary trustee. Kathy also co-chaired a capital campaign to renovate and expand the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.
Kathy has served on various boards including the Pikes Peak Community Foundation, Colorado Springs Symphony, Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Board, and Colorado Women’s Forum. She is also Executive Vice President of High Valley Group and is presently working on a project to bring affordable housing to downtown Colorado Springs.
Kathy has received the Philanthropist of the Year Award, Karen Possehl Unstoppable Woman Award, and the Fine Arts Center Living Treasure Award among many others. Like Julie Penrose, Kathy Loo exhibits compassion, dedication, and leadership through her service to the Colorado Springs community.
The Richardsons’ enormous business success led them to create their own privately funded foundations.
In 2010, Nancy founded OtterCares Foundation with a mission of inspiring youth to change the world through philanthropic and entrepreneurial education. OtterCares Foundation invests in future generations by funding opportunities for kids, classrooms, and communities. Nancy also focuses her time and efforts on serving the community through the Richardson Foundation, the family’s private philanthropic organization. Additionally, she serves on the board of Rescue Freedom International, a non-profit organization that empowers the rescue and restoration of women and children suffering in sexual slavery, and previously served on El Pomar Foundation’s North Regional Council.
Nancy Richardson has been widely recognized for her service to the Northern Colorado community. She is a woman of lasting impact, who invests her entrepreneurial successes into the community through innovative initiatives to support economic development, education, youth, and philanthropy.
A couple of faith and vision, Margot and John believed the community is better when individuals come together to support and advance common goals, and shared great conviction for the spirit and potential of Colorado Springs. With these guiding values, their business success enabled them to fund philanthropic endeavors in education, culture, health, and faith. Margot was a driving force in the couple’s civic engagement and unwavering dedication to the betterment of Colorado Springs. Though John passed in 2005, Margot carried on her personal commitment to philanthropy and community engagement. She later married former Colorado Springs High School classmate John Francis.
Margot was an energetic and committed booster for the community. She served as president of the Junior League in the late 1970s and served on the boards of many community organizations including Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, First Presbyterian Church, and Young Life. She won a Partners in Philanthropy award in 2012 and earned an Unstoppable Woman award in 2013.
Lively and delightful, Margot is remembered as the life of the party. She enjoyed traveling the world and meeting new people. A devoted Christian with incredible grace, generosity, and compassion for others, Margot passed on June 12, 2017. Her legacy continues through the John and Margot Lane Foundation.