The Social Enterprise Foundry
We kick off our new “Shared Space Profile” series with a look at the dynamic shared space that houses our office along with four other incredible social enterprise nonprofits.
Driving economic growth and meeting community need is what the Social Enterprise Foundry is all about. By housing five nonprofit programs, this space provides a quality, affordable home for organizations promoting workforce development, environmental stewardship, energy efficiency, collaboration, and inclusion.
The Foundry is a light-industrial warehouse located in the Sun Valley Neighborhood of Denver at 953 Decatur Street. The building is owned by the Urban Land Conservancy, and opened as “The Foundry” in July 2014. The tenant partners in the center envision a community that empowers and supports all people by providing meaningful employment opportunities, responsibly managing our natural resources, and investing in financially sustainable businesses and nonprofits. The Foundry is community change in action – a collaborative home for triple bottom line nonprofits to train, employ, and empower individuals and the community.
The Urban Land Conservancy jumped on the opportunity to purchase and ensure the long-term affordability of the Foundry in advance of Denver Housing Authority’s major redevelopment effort in the neighborhood. ULC has the mission to acquire, develop and preserve community assets in urban areas to address a variety of community needs, especially as it relates to quality employment opportunities in marginalized areas.
The Foundry proudly houses five partners: Blue Star Recyclers, Denver Shared Spaces, Energy Resource Center, Mile High Youth Corps, and PCs for People.
Let’s take a look at the work of these partner organizations . . .
Blue Star creates local jobs, promotes environmental stewardship, and supports inclusivity by recycling electronics and other materials and employing individuals with autism and other disAbilities. Blue Star Recyclers delivers measurable results in job creation, taxpayer savings and environmental stewardship, and operates facilities in Colorado Springs and Denver.
At the heart of Denver Shared Spaces is our passion for making a positive impact on our Metro Denver community. We work to support community-minded businesses – including nonprofits – to Create, Improve, and Champion shared space models that support community and economic growth. Working across sectors, we foster an ecosystem where effective shared spaces can take root and thrive.
ERC ensures that low-income residents of our community receive energy efficiency improvements to their homes or apartments that will increase their quality of life, and save money on energy bills. In 2015, in Denver along, ERC was able to inspect and weatherize 317 homes, including air sealing, insulation, and water heater improvements
The Foundry is home to Mile High Youth Corps’ Energy & Water Conservation Program, which employs 18-24 year olds in a year-long program offers leadership development, a chance to work with a diverse crew, an opportunity to give back to the community. In 2014 alone, these Corpsmembers installed energy efficient improvements that resulted in over 51 million gallons of water conserved and over 1 million kwh of energy saved!
The newest member of the Foundry, PCs for People expanded to the Denver market from their home base in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Their mission is to create new opportunities by providing affordable personal computers, computer repairs, and internet service to people with limited technological experience due to social, physical, or economic circumstances. Any family or individual receiving government benefits or living below 200% of the federal poverty line is eligible for our services. Since opening in Denver just over 6 months ago, PCs4P has already distributed more than 400 computers to income-qualified families and nonprofits. Across both locations, the organization has distributed over 40,000 computers in its history!