Urban Land Conservancy celebrates the achievements of our partnerships that create and preserve nonprofit facilities and affordable housing for communities.
ULC’s Monthly Partner Spotlight shines a light on partners who demonstrate the value of collaboration, furthering our mission to improve the lives of Metro Denver residents and beyond through our real estate investments and community assets.
Congratulations to our April 2021 Partner Spotlight of the Month: The Fax Partnership!
The Fax Partnership (The Fax), a 501(c)3 organization, enables the East Colfax Corridor to continue growing as an equitable, transit-rich, thriving main street with a diversity of housing and neighborhood-serving businesses. Through community partnerships and collaboration with the local government, The Fax is working to create a healthy mix of affordable and engaging places for people to live, work, and enjoy life. They do so through their Equitable Development Office by promoting the development of new projects that are equitable, community-serving, and that do not result in the involuntary displacement of existing residents and businesses.
“We believe that the East Colfax Corridor will experience a great deal of interest and development in the near future, due to the opportunity zone designation and the City of Denver’s planned Bus Rapid Transit project,” says Monica Martinez, The Fax’s Executive Director. “Part of why we created The Fax is to make sure the right kind of development comes first.”
Martinez was hired as Executive Director for The Fax in 2015 after a 15-year career in community development and public policy.
“My first professional job out of college was a Council Deputy for a Los Angeles City Councilman,” says Martinez. “In many ways, it was not much different than what I do now. The Fax works to support an existing community so it can stay and thrive, while also working to influence the future of this community through land use and development. My previous stints in Mayor Hickenlooper’s Office and working for Zocalo Community Development also prepared me for the work at hand along East Colfax.”
At the beginning of 2020, the Fax Partnership was a one-person organization with a dedicated board. Through a series of growth initiatives, The Fax has expanded into a five-person team (all women), who collectively speak six different languages and represent three different ethnicities. The Fax is positioned to be a significant player in equitable development, a growing voice for community stabilization, and a pivotal contributor to the East Colfax Community’s growth.
In 2019, The Fax entered into collaborative partnerships with Mi Casa Resource Center, Enterprise Community Partners, Colorado Enterprise Fund, and Community Enterprise Development Services. Through this collaboration, The Fax and partners are working to support the existing residents and businesses. These efforts resulted in The Fax receiving significant funding to advance its work.
“We realized that through land acquisition, a community has the opportunity to define its future,” said Martinez. “We sought a partnership with Urban Land Conservancy to make affordable land acquisition for East Colfax a reality.”
The Fax’s community support and engagement work within East Colfax has been challenging over the past year during the pandemic. However, in 2020, they awarded $45,000 in financial aid to East Colfax’s vulnerable residents through a program called Fax Aid. They also deployed a comprehensive residential survey that received 359 responses, with nearly 50% from residential renters. This data showed that a majority of residents want to remain in the community for the long term.
“We were impressed by the collaborative, proactive concept The Fax and their partners brought to the issue of mitigating involuntary displacement along East Colfax,” noted Dr. Irene Aguilar, the former Director of the Neighborhood Equity and Stabilization Team with the City and County of Denver.
The Fax is continuing work with the East Colfax community to ensure it remains a transit-rich, affordable district for the residents and businesses. On an organizational basis, The Fax is expanding its community support services while transforming into a community development corporation with the resources, skills, and community support to bring more equitable development to the corridor.