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Celebrating 80 Year - Rocky Mountain Roots, 1978, Denver Botanic Gardens

Tags: #Celebrating80Years

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Denver Botanic Gardens, circa 1960


#Celebrating80Years: 2017 marked 80 years of working with Colorado’s nonprofits as they seek to strengthen their communities. Throughout 2018, we will be looking back on this history of the outstanding organizations and the people the Trustees have had the opportunity to support. On the blog you will find a history of the Foundation’s grant making and a representative organization from every year since our founding in 1937.


In the midst of hectic daily schedules and busy city traffic, Denver Botanic Gardens offers a peaceful retreat to enjoy and learn about Colorado’s diverse vegetation. Throughout the years, El Pomar Foundation has granted more than $1 million toward the continual improvement and expansion of this garden oasis.



Waring House

Grantee Spotlight:  Denver Botanic Gardens  


Through a dream to bring an outdoor escape to the busy city, Denver Botanic Gardens was established in 1951 by the Colorado Forestry and Horticulture Association. Architect Saco Rienk DeBoer, who helped design Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Washington Park, was hired as part of a 15-year plan to create the garden refuge. Originally, the Gardens were located on a 100-acre plot of land in City Park, but later moved in 1959 to its current home near Cheesman Park. In the same year, the Waring York Street Mansion was donated and currently serves as the Gardens’ headquarters.

Today, Denver Botanic Gardens is a city highlight, and among the most visited parks in North America. With its 43 unique spaces and rotating exhibits, the Gardens welcomed more than 1.3 million visitors in 2017. In furthering its mission to “inspire the public to be good stewards of the environment by connecting people to our past, present and future relationships with plants of the Rocky Mountain region,” the park also continually showcases plant species native to Colorado. Since 1969, El Pomar Foundation has supported the Gardens through grants toward display construction, the Waterway Garden Pathway, and science education programs.
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El Pomar Waterway, today

Community outreach and scientific research are additional components central to the mission of Denver Botanic Gardens. Lectures, professional development seminars, botanical art and illustration courses, day camps, and workshops are available for community members of all ages, and the park even staffs a help desk to answer home gardeners’ questions. Additionally, as an accredited museum, the park houses impressive natural history and living collections in its greenhouses and across the grounds. These collections are integral parts to the Gardens’ horticulture and biodiversity research efforts.


El Pomar in 1978:

The Foundation made 32 grants totaling more than $3.25 million in 1978. Along with the $75,000 granted for display construction at Denver Botanic Gardens, the Foundation also granted to Boulder’s Nature Conservancy, Colorado Outward Bound School, and Royal Gorge Association, to help preserve and promote access to the state’s natural beauty.

Images courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens 

Spotlight by Kathryn Benson