Urban Land Conservancy celebrates the achievements of its 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 Denver area residents through our real estate investments and community assets.

Congratulations to our November 2015 Partner Spotlight of the Month: Gary Community Investments | The Piton Foundation!

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Gary Community Investments, which includes the The Piton Foundation , invests in for-profit and philanthropic solutions for Colorado’s low-income children and their families. Since Denver oilman Sam Gary founded The Piton Foundation nearly 40 years ago, it has been making philanthropic investments across Colorado in an effort to improve the lives of low-income children. Through its experience as an operating foundation, Piton learned that philanthropy alone is not enough. Overcoming persistent issues of inequality and lack of opportunity require a new way of thinking and investing that combines business and philanthropy. To help facilitate this collaboration and bring about the change that is needed, Sam Gary created Gary Community Investments in 2012 to leverage a full spectrum of financial tools, including philanthropic, near market-rate and market-rate capital, to help address the issues facing Colorado’s low-income children and their families.

A visionary for addressing the needs of low-income residents in the Denver region, Sam Gary believes there is an opportunity to increase quality of life through real estate. Piton helped found ULC in 2003, and, since then, ULC has grown from a $10 million organization to almost $70 million through real estate investments that directly benefit neighborhoods and communities.

Sam Gary and Aaron Miripol

Sam Gary and Aaron Miripol

As a strong partner, Gary Community Investments continues working with ULC in making strategic investments to support the preservation and development of real estate in vulnerable and transitioning neighborhoods. Through targeted investments made in partnership with ULC, Gary Community Investments is supporting the development of new permanently affordable housing, affordable space for nonprofits community and commercial space, all accessible by metro Denver’s existing and expanding transit system.

ULC is an important organization that creates and preserves real estate assets for the benefit of the community, especially low-income and vulnerable populations. We were instrumental in creating, and continue to support, ULC because we believe a platform like this is essential to developing places that cultivate successful communities and, ultimately, a healthy, thriving society,” explains Dave Younggren, President and CEO of Gary Community Investments.

ULC’s success and ability to expend the country’s first Transit Oriented Development Fund to increase the supply of affordable housing led to the creation of a new Facility Fund, managed by Calvert Foundation. This fund was created for the purpose of acquiring real estate assets that provide affordable commercial and community space for nonprofits as well as affordable housing in the Denver region. Now a $10 million Fund, Gary Community Investments was the first and largest investor, seeing the need for a unique resource to address needs that include housing but also other community focused real estate. The fund will have supported 3 real estate investments by the end of 2015, preserving over 100,000 square feet of commercial space, over 80% of which is occupied by nonprofits, as well as land for a mixed-use development that will include affordable housing and commercial space.

“Gary Community Investments was instrumental in the creation of the Calvert Foundation Facility Fund, supporting critical preservation opportunities in commercial real estate. Without this key resource, hundreds of jobs would have been displaced, and over 1500 individuals per month would have lost accessibility to services they rely on,” Aaron Miripol, ULC’s President and CEO states. “This is just one more example of how Gary Community Investments is catalyzing positive change for residents, neighborhoods and the region.”

Another critical investment made in partnership with ULC is at Park Hill Village West, a 9.4 acre equitable transit oriented development site, with immediate access to Denver’s new A-Line Commuter Rail. 156 units of affordable housing are currently under construction and plans are underway to identify a development partner for the next phase of this catalytic site. After working with residents and stakeholder through a unique engagement process, ULC will be working to include a mix of commercial and residential options at this property, creating new jobs, new services and new housing options, making Park Hill Village West a new place-based community.

Gary Community Investments’ has created collaboration and partnership across the region through its commitment to preparing children for educational and economic success from an early age, all while simultaneously equipping their parent with the tools they need to create healthy family environments and build long-term financial security. Thank you for supporting these commitments through ULC real estate and we look forward to celebrating many successes together for years to come. Congratulations Gary Community Investments for your long standing commitment to improving lives and creating opportunities for those who need it most!

For more information about Gary Community Investments, which includes The Piton Foundation, please visit www.garycommunity.org