The 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 May Partner Spotlight of the Month: cityWILD!
Founded in 1997, cityWILD is a nonprofit focused on bringing outdoor experiential learning to Denver’s at risk youth. With tuition free programs both in and outside of the classroom, students are able to experience the benefits of outdoor education, something they might not have had the chance to enjoy before. CityWILD promotes the outdoors as a space for learning, and offers year round programs that challenge students and promote personal growth. CityWILD has been a tenant of the Urban Land Conservancy since we acquired the building in 2007. They are one of our longest standing tenants, and we could not be happier to shine the spotlight on such a dedicated and important member of our community.
With a focus on 6th-12th graders, cityWILD’s programs aim to develop leadership skills, improve academic performance, prevent alcohol and drug use and increase environmental understanding. CityWILD sets a specific set of objectives for each of these categories, and implements a variety of programs to help reach their goals. The programs themselves are extensive, allowing student participation up to four days a week for six years. CityWILD recognizes the significant impact that the organization’s long term relationship has on its students. CityWILD’s main student driven program focuses on leadership development. Students spend time in the programs after school activities and weekend excursions, and focus on five key principles: leadership development, service learning, workforce readiness, academic achievement and financial literacy.
Jes Ward is the Executive Director at cityWILD, and was proud to announce the organization’s plans to expand its community outreach and further develop preexisting programs. “CityWILD will be working very hard for the rest of the year to expand our social enterprise, which builds upon our existing programs to offer affordable and inclusive outdoor adventures and teambuilding programs for all,” Ward said. “We will be working with schools, nonprofits and small businesses to provide high quality teambuilding and we hope other ULC partners will consider joining us on an adventure with their teams!”
Ward also explained that the organization will be expanding their workforce development program this year as well. The Teen Workforce Readiness Program is a key component of cityWILD’s mission in outdoor leadership. The program selects teens based on their leadership qualities and relationship with cityWILD. The positions are highly sought after, and are typically first time jobs for many teens. The role allows employees to acts a role model to younger students, and truly develop a position of leadership within their community. Ward said that through a partnership with Lincoln Hill Cares, cityWILD will be able to hire up to 15 teens for outdoor summer employment. For many, this is a first time opportunity to hold a job, and teaches them valuable lessons regarding financial independence.
ULC’s Tramway Nonprofit Center has been the ideal place for cityWILD to run their many programs that provide direct benefit to community. “As the Denver region continues to grow and transform, it is extremely important that we recognize the need to create affordable space for nonprofits and schools,” states ULC’s President and CEO Aaron Miripol. “Programs run from nonprofit facilities like the Tramway Nonprofit Center create opportunities for residents to thrive which contributes to the overall health of a community. ULC is proud to be part of making those opportunities a reality.”
Ward explained that cityWILD has had an unbelievably productive and exciting year. They were recently chosen as an organizer for the GOCO Inspire Initiative grant, which has the potential to generate five million dollars in funding to help increase outdoor education for local youth in the Cole Neighborhood. cityWILD will spend the remainder of 2016 educating the public and applying for funding to make the money a reality. The nonprofit has also partnered with Amp the Cause, a Denver nonprofit that, “improves the lives of families through entertainment, annual events and community service projects.” Through their newly founded partnership, Amp the Cause will help cityWILD build a bouldering wall. Ward said that this is a huge step for cityWILD, as it will allow students to understand the important rock climbing guidelines before exploring any outdoor climbing adventures on their own.
With our long standing relationship with such an important organization within the community, ULC could not be more excited to showcase the incredible work of cityWILD and their many accomplishments. We look forward to seeing what the future brings for the organization, and the many student leaders that it creates each day!