The Fab Five

Filed under: News |

Michael Hannigan, executive director of the Pikes Peak Community Foundation, stands in front of the historic Burgess House, which is the PPFC’s new home, at 730 N. Nevada Ave. Also pictured are, from left to right, Kate Drazner, Martha Kumi, Larry Stebbins, Amy Sue Lambert, Jamie Brown and Bob Small.

Five Colorado Springs charitable foundations have moved into the historic Burgess house.
Located at 730 N. Nevada Ave., the building was recently purchased by the Pikes Peak Community Foundation and will also house the Bee Vradenburg Foundation, the Colorado Springs Community Foundation, the Pikes Peak Real Estate Foundation and the Pikes Peak Educational Foundation.
The three-story Victorian structure, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1884 by William Burgess, a prominent local merchant, and was home to the Burgess family for nearly 100 years.
In addition to the main building, the property includes a Victorian children’s playhouse, and a barn, which has been used as a garage for many years.
The Pikes Peak Community Foundation, like similar foundations across the country, functions as a resource for donors and small foundations, enabling them to use their resources more efficiently. Community foundations can provide management, information about potential recipients and other services.
According to its Web site, the PPCF “can help you achieve your charitable giving goals in the simplest, most flexible, enjoyable and tax effective way possible.”
The Pikes Peak Real Estate Foundation, an offshoot of the PPCF, was formed to encourage and facilitate charitable donations of real property.
The Colorado Springs Community Foundation was founded in 1920. It was PPCF’s predecessor, and, although a separate entity, is administered by PPCF.
The Bee Vradenburg Foundation’s mission is “to advance Bee Vradenburg’s vision of a thriving and diverse cultural community by investing in the excellence, innovation and sustainability of the arts in the Pikes Peak Region.”
Inspired by Vradenburg’s “passion and boundless generosity”, the foundation was formed by family members and friends in 2001. Vradenburg’s son George is chairman of the board of trustees.
The Pikes Peak Educational Foundation “helps promising young students from low-income families become responsible citizens. PPEF identifies potentially successful students in the seventh grade, provides them with a promise of future educational opportunity in the form of scholarship dollars, and then provides the necessary social and environment support to develop positive life skills.”
Michael Hannigan, executive director of the Pikes Peak Community Foundation, said he is looking forward to the opportunities that will be created by having the five local foundations based in a single historic building.
“It’s nice to have a home”, Hannigan said with a smile, as he showed the beautifully restored building to a visitor. “We all love being here — it was a family home, and it still feels like a family home. It’s got good karma.”
He said the decision to purchase the property was the result of an expiring lease on the group’s former rented space and the board’s desire to build equity.
“We felt that the Burgess House was perfect for us,” Hannigan said. “The [Colorado Springs] Community Foundation is almost 100 years old, and being here makes a statement to the community that we’re here for the long run — at least another 100 years.”
A three-story center hall Queen Anne, the house features beautiful woodwork, an elaborate staircase, four fireplaces, and a curved wraparound front porch. In what was once the front parlor, a van Briggle tile frieze above the fireplace depicts Pikes Peak and the mountains to the west.
Interaction among the house’s tenants is easy and informal, Hannigan said.
“We just yell up and down the stairs, or walk into each other’s offices.”
Susan Edmondson, executive director of the Bee Vradenburg Foundation, said she is delighted to be at the Burgess house.
“We had such a good situation where we were (on Lake Circle) with El Pomar and the Edmondson Foundation. Being with peers is important — and having experienced that, I would only go to a similar situation,” she said. “Part of the excitement here is being downtown, being able to get to meetings easily, and being fully accessible to our grantees-that’s very helpful.”
Hannigan is contemplating other potential uses for the property.
“We hope to restore the barn, and make it a venue that the community can use for art shows, for events,” he said. “We’re excited by the possibilities.”
John.Hazlehurst@csbj.com