Urban Update | March – April 2017
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Events and Happenings
Family Star Montessori Purchases Curtis Park Community Center from Urban Land Conservancy
In early April, ULC sold the Curtis Park Community Center to its tenant Family Star Montessori School. As a part of its long term stewardship mission ULC will continue to own the land beneath the school in a 99 year ground lease, ensuring the building will provide community benefit to the neighborhood for future generations.
With generous support from Denver’s Office of Economic Development (OED) ULC was able to purchase the vacant Curtis Park Community Center and adjacent Curtis Park Nonprofit Center in January 2012 for $650,000. The purchase came after several years of working to identify a local nonprofit anchor tenant. We then partnered with Family Star Montessori to complete $1.5 million in capital improvements, allowing the school to open its doors in the Fall of 2012.
Today, Family Star serves over 300 children at its Curtis Park and at its Northwest Denver campus , 70% of which are living below poverty, are homeless or in foster care. Family Star is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the highest possible accreditation for an early childhood program. We have been proud to work with a school that carries such an excellent reputation in the realm of early childhood education, and are very excited to see the impact that Family Star continues to make in the Curtis Park neighborhood. To learn more about Family Star Montessori, you can visit their website here.
Rose Community Foundation Honors Sheila Bugdanowitz at Their Annual Breakfast
In April, ULC was honored to attend the Rose Community Foundation Annual Breakfast, celebrating the work of the Foundation and the life of Sheila Bugdanowitz who passed away suddenly in December 2016. She led the Foundation’s impactful work since 1998 as was an incredible leader who was passionate about improving the Metro Denver region. Her presence in the community is sorely missed.
Approximately 600 people attended the event titled, “Leadership, Legacy and Looking Forward” where Sheila’s legacy was honored and the future of Rose Community Foundation was celebrated. To learn more about the legacy of Sheila Bugdanowitz, you can watch the Rose Community Foundation video here.
Denver Nonprofit Highlights the Humanity Behind Homelessness
Homelessness is a consistent problem across Metro Denver, one without a clear solution or end date. Dry Bones, a nonprofit serving homeless and street-connected youth, has operated in Denver for 16 years now and seen the rise and fall of the homeless population over the years. While the numbers of very young adolescents (12 – 15) has decreased, Robbie Goldman, a founding member of Dry Bones, explained that his organization still works with well over 1,000 youth each year. As homeless youth remains a critical issue in our city, the stigma behind homelessness remains.
Dry Bones is unique in their approach towards helping teens and young adults cope with their current living situations. Unlike many organizations that focus on programming, classes and the like, Goldman says that for Dry Bones, building lasting relationships is their priority. Dry Bones first started as a faith based organization offering friendship and a place for young adults to feel a sense of belonging. In recent years, Dry Bones has also helped encourage and facilitate employment for homeless youth. Almost four years ago, Dry Bones helped launch Purple Door Coffee, a nonprofit café dedicated to providing young adults who have been or currently are homeless.
Today, Dry Bones is housed in ULC’s Mountain View Nonprofit Tower in Denver’s Uptown neighborhood. To learn more about the organization, and keep up to date with their events and fundraisers, check out the article here!
ULC’s Newest Intern Speaks on a Day in the Life of a New Legacy Charter School Student
New Legacy Charter School (NLCS), located in Original Aurora, is a school dedicated to the education of pregnant and/or parenting teens, along with childcare facilities for their children. The school is in its second year of operation and this year opened internship opportunities to students preparing for graduation. NLCS hoped that by giving their students the opportunity to experience day to day work environments; this would open doors and expose them to potential options for future careers.
ULC was part of this opportunity and welcomed Diana for six weeks. She was part of the administrative team, assisting with front desk responsibilities and learning how a nonprofit operates on a day to day basis.
During her internship, Diana gave ULC a tour of her school and the opportunity to talk a little bit about her life as a young mom. She explained how NLCS has been a great help for her and her family, how the Early Learning Center improved her daughter’s education and how the high school provides help to many young parents who hope to continue their education. To watch the video put together by ULC to highlight the amazing work New Legacy does for pregnant and parenting teens, click the link here.
ULC Celebrates the Accomplishments of our Partners
March Partner Spotlight: Alliance Construction Solutions
Every month ULC showcases the incredible work of a partner organization who shares in our mission of improving lives and making a positive impact in the Denver region. For our March Partner Spotlight of the Month, ULC highlighted the work of Alliance Construction Solutions, the lead Construction Company for the renovation of Mountain View Nonprofit Tower. With over 30 years working in the Denver metro region, Alliance is recognized as a leader in the Rocky Mountain construction community.
From partnering with Saint Francis Center to building affordable housing at Cathedral Square off of Colfax, to the construction of a boutique hotel in the RiNo neighborhood, Alliance is at the forefront of construction in Denver. To date, Alliance has constructed over 1,000 units of affordable housing. The company also recently announced their latest – and largest – project, the Hilton Garden Inn at Denver Union Station. The 233-room hotel will incorporate the Historic Denver Hose House (Denver’s oldest firehouse) by completely renovating the building to its original state. It will then be used as the hotel’s main restaurant. The hotel is set to open in early 2019.
After six months of construction at our Mountain View Nonprofit Tower, ULC was thrilled to announce that over $1.2M in capital improvements is complete! As a show of appreciation, ULC held a breakfast on the building’s 7th floor to celebrate the major renovations and thank our tenants for their patience, Alliance Construction Solutions, Grey Wolf Architecture and Gary Gordon for designing and constructing the project, and our funding partners who include the Denver Office of Economic Development and the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships. The celebration gave tenants and community partners a chance to ride up the brand new elevator and see all of the additional improvements made which include a completely renovated lobby, a new secure entry system and new ADA compliant restrooms on all six floors.
With construction complete at Mountain View Nonprofit Tower (which officially concluded last week), we look forward to growing our relationship moving forward. You can read the partner spotlight in full here.
April Partner Spotlight: Birdseed Collective
For our April Partner Spotlight of the Month, ULC highlighted the work of Birdseed Collective, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making positive impacts in local communities. Through community art projects, healthy living initiatives and economic opportunities, Birdseed has transformed the lives of artists, youth and community members. Today, Birdseed is contracted by various organizations and local city governments as a visionary to create and install art throughout metro Denver.
In 2016, ULC was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Denver Arts & Venues’ P.S. You are Here program to help fund a 120 x 16 foot mural adjacent to the 40th and Colorado Station on the A Line Commuter Rail in Denver. A community committee then selected Birdseed Collective to create this art installation, titled, “Wrapping Multicultural Communities in a Blanket of Unity through Visionary Art,” which marks the first art display on the 303 ArtWay, a proposed 9-mile art, heritage and culture urban trail that ULC is working to plan, design and identify funding for development. Initial funding to help launch the urban trail was provided by ArtPlace America, who provided $250,000 in seed capital. The pedestrian and bike friendly route will guide people through historical assets, shopping districts and service amenities throughout Greater Park Hill and 4 other surrounding neighborhoods.
As the art installation at 40th and Colorado was officially unveiled and celebrated with community this past Saturday, ULC is proud to work with Birdseed Collective as a partner on 303 ArtWay, and we look forward to identifying new projects where we can tap into their creative and community driven talents. For more information on Birdseed Collective, please visit their website here.