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Sunrise to Sunset


Ryan Patterson

On the morning of July 15, 2012, eight recent college graduates woke, overwhelmed by excitement and apprehension of beginning a two-year Fellowship at one of Colorado’s largest and most revered private foundations.  On this morning we woke up to a sunrise of shared significance and anticipation that we would soon foster something great.

Because the Fellowship program at El Pomar Foundation is not a position of permanence by design, it is inevitable that we will ultimately embark on another adventure.  It seems that at any point during the two-year Fellowship program, seven months in or more commonly between month 20 and 24, opportunities arise which may entice Fellows to advance their careers. While our time here is limited, we walk away with not only program management expertise, but a greater understanding of the robust nonprofit sector in Colorado.

Through all the transitions, there is one constant: the permanence of the family we build at El Pomar, which extends beyond the immediate relationships we have with our individual classes. The family tree includes over 220 Fellowship alumni and the current and former staff members, working together to orchestrate the work and impact of the Foundation throughout the state of Colorado.

This time of year, like seniors in college planning for their futures, 2nd year Fellows begin to concentrate more on what’s next, where we are going, and when to make the decision to step out into the world as well polished, competitive individuals.  Two Fellows from the class of 2012 have already begun the next step in their personal and professional journey with the necessary tools and transferable skills to prove themselves successful in their current jobs.  Their departure leaves six months and six Fellows remaining in the class of 2012; a number that will contract in time and naturally render a sunset individually experienced by each.

As I personally look towards the future, there is an element of anxiety, but more importantly, I am excited about the possibilities and thankful that I have the support of my fellow Fellows and the El Pomar staff behind me.