Urban Land Conservancy celebrates the achievements of our partnerships that create and preserve nonprofit facilities and affordable housing for communities in metro Denver. ULC’s Monthly Partner Spotlight is awarded to partners who demonstrate the value of collaboration, furthering our mission to improve the lives of Metro Denver residents through our real estate investments and community assets.
Congratulations to our August 2018 Partner Spotlight of the Month: AmeriCorps NCCC!
Founded in 1994, AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) is a full time, residential, national service program that engages nearly 2,000 young adults ages 18-24 each year. The NCCC branch is one of three primary AmeriCorps programs, with a goal of “strengthening communities and developing leaders through team-based national and community service.” Similar to the Peace Corps (which only offers overseas assignments), AmeriCorps members solely work in U.S. communities with a dedication to improving lives through service. The federally supported program has seen significant success since its founding 25 years ago. With a goal to literally “Get things done,” (link to video) one million Americans have completed over 1 billion hours of service since 1994.
This year , Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) was introduced to AmeriCorps NCCC when working on its due diligence for the ownership of Oxford Vista (formally known as Excelsior) in Southeast Aurora. The 31 acre campus, which includes 17 buildings totaling over 148,000 square feet, is home to the NCCC’s Southwest Regional headquarters. The AmeriCorps program leases a large portion of the property, and provides training programs to over 300 young adults multiple times each year. Building a relationship with a reputable organization known for their commitment to community service has been a great opportunity. Ken Goodson, the AmeriCorps NCCC Southwest Region Director, echoed these sentiments.
“AmeriCorps NCCC is thrilled to have ULC as a partner and our landlord,” said Goodson. “Our two organizations share a commitment to community development and community service, making the relationship an easy and natural one. As NCCC prepares for our 25th anniversary, we feel very confident that our best years are yet to come and our relationship with ULC will help us maximize our impact to communities across the southwestern United States.”
AmeriCorps NCCC serves Colorado as part of its nine-state Southwest region. The Southwest region includes Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, New Mexico, Texas and Arkansas. Since 1999, 7,127 members have served more than two million hour and completed 728 projects in Colorado alone. Members have supported children in after school care, distributed millions of pounds of food, assisted low income families in tax preparation and restored or built nearly 600 miles of hiking trails. Members commit to a ten month program and work on teams of 8-12 in a variety of programs based on the need. These six-12 week projects include providing disaster relief, acting as environmental stewards, teaching students and promoting healthy futures.
Members based at the Southwest Region campus recently spent two months at the Denver Green School (DGS) working with over 500 K-8 age students. (Link to video here) Their impact was significant, with children stating that “they inspire me to help other people,” and “AmeriCorps helps me by telling me that even if something is challenging I can still do it.” During their time at DGS, members distributed over 3,500 pounds of food to families and spread thousands of pounds of vegetable compost at the school’s farm. This is the first farm to cafeteria program in the state of Colorado.
The Southwest region also makes a strong impact on local communities through disaster relief services. In response to the devastation from Hurricane Harvey in 2017, AmeriCorps NCCC members were a large portion of over 1,400 total AmeriCorps members deployed to Texas to support the initial response. Additional Southwest Region members served in Texas in 2018 to support ongoing recovery efforts.
In total during 2017, members served on 84 projects across the Southwest Region, completing 334,161 hours of service. Members launched community gardens, constructed affordable housing, removed trash and debris and assisted veterans. You can read about this work in their full 2017 report here. (link)
Aaron Miripol, ULC’s President shares, “Having a partner like AmeriCorps working out of Oxford Vista further demonstrates the importance of our real estate stewardship. When ULC was asked to take ownership of the campus, AmeriCorps’ presence was a critical factor in our decision to own the property in order to provide community benefit through our real estate. I’ve worked with AmeriCorps members in the past and have a great respect for the leadership development of their members…we are fortunate to have them as a partner and we look forward to a growing our work together.
ULC believes our new partnership with AmeriCorps NCCC has the potential to make a significant impact on communities throughout Metro Denver and across Colorado. We are proud to have a tenant whose mission aligns so tightly with our own – to strengthen communities, assist those in need and improve the lives of others. We look forward to our continued relationship at our Oxford Vista campus and are excited for what the future will bring!