Preserving nonprofit working space and jobs in growing city

Community development investing |

As rental prices in Denver increase, financing and grants help nonprofits stay engaged

Blue Star recyclers employee

Blue Star Recyclers, a cerified electronics recycling service, is located in the Social Enterprise Foundry in Denver, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Blue Star Recyclers.

Financed at the end of 2015, the Social Enterprise Foundry, a warehouse in Denver’s Sun Valley neighborhood, hosts several social enterprises that employ nearly 150 people. The Foundry helps keep these organizations in Denver, despite increasing rental prices for space.

This is just one of the spaces developed by the Urban Land Conservancy, with the goal of acquiring, developing and preserving community real estate for a variety of community needs such as schools, affordable housing, community centers and office space for nonprofits. ULC received funding help from Ours to Own, a microlending organization that Praxis Mutual Funds® invests in through Calvert Impact Capital.

Over the past several years, the cost of commercial warehouse space in Denver has increased dramatically, representing a threat to nonprofits who lease office space. ULC acquired the 44,000 square foot warehouse to preserve the space for some of Denver’s leading sustainability-focused nonprofits.

Blue Star Recyclers is the largest tenant of the building. They are a certified electronics recycling service that employs people with autism and other disabilities. Another tenant, Energy Resource Center, provides energy audits, conservation measures and energy education, improving 1,000 homes each year for low income clients. Mile High Youth Corps provides hands-on job skills in energy and water conservation for local youth. PCs for People, who recently expanded to Colorado from St. Paul, MN, provides affordable personal computers, computer repair services, internet service and education to people who have limited access to technology because of social, physical or economic circumstances.

ULC's Denver Shared Spaces program, in partnership with the City Office of Strategic Partnerships, also has offices at the Foundry, and is working with tenants to identify collaborative opportunities to help further the impact that each organization is making.

ULC has invested an additional $600,000 in capital improvements at the Foundry in order to create a healthier and more vibrant environment for this new community asset in Sun Valley, a Denver neighborhood which historically has seen very little economic development. These investments will provide the Foundry’s workers with healthier living options in and around their office.

Through community development investing with the Calvert Impact Capital, Praxis Mutual Funds® helps support organizations like Ours to Own that gives microloans to nonprofits such as the Urban Land Conservancy.

This story is originally from the Calvert Impact Capital community development investing map, where you can find more stories like this.

Sara Alvarez Waugh Content Marketing Director | Everence


Sara Alvarez
Content Marketing Director

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Calvert Impact Capital, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, offers the Community Investment Note®, which is subject to certain risks, is not a mutual fund, is not FDIC or SIPC insured, and should not be confused with any Calvert Research and Management-sponsored investment product. This is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation of an offer to buy these securities; the offering is made only by the prospectus, which should be read before investing.