In the late 1960s, the City of Golden was a much different place – nearly 40 percent of downtown Golden was vacant and the existing businesses had a difficult time surviving. There was a dire need for civic improvements, but tax revenues and other public funds were simply not available. It was at this point when a group of businessmen, Heinie Foss, Fred Pattridge and Joe Meyer, along with other City officials formed the Golden Civic Foundation in May 1970.
Fast forward five decades and the successes of the Golden Civic Foundation can be seen all over town. Their mission to invest in the economic and cultural vitality of the Golden community has far exceeded expectations. “The Golden Civic Foundation joined with the City of Golden and the Golden Urban Renewal Authority in a courageous and creative three-way partnership to make things happen,” explained Mike Bestor, Golden City Manager from 1993-2015. “Each organization used its unique assets in entrepreneurial ways with private sector investors to transform empty lots and blighted buildings into dynamic opportunities for small, home-town businesses. The Golden Civic Foundation, with its ability to move at speeds not possible for their governmental partners, played a key role in attracting smart private sector investors with vision and a love for Golden.”
The Golden Civic Foundation has been involved in numerous development projects that have touched nearly every square inch of downtown Golden. A few examples of these projects include the development of the Golden Visitor’s Center, Table Mountain Inn, American Mountaineering Center, Golden Hotel, Clear Creek Commons, Clear Creek Square, Gateway Station, numerous parking lots, and much of the downtown streetscape and public art that graces our city streets and walking paths.
Additionally, the Golden Civic Foundation has provided more than $6.1 million to charitable organizations, public schools, museums and cultural centers in the greater Golden area through their Community Grant Program. Due in the fall each year, the Golden Civic Foundation accepts grant applications as part of their annual funding cycle and focuses on giving grants to nonprofit, government, and school organizations that make the greatest positive impact on doing good for our community of Golden.
And that’s not all. Over the years, the Civic Foundation has and continues to provide loans to various small businesses when they were unable to obtain conventional financing.