03.19.24

Agency Endowment Fund Profile: Imagine!

Imagine! has served the Boulder County community for over sixty years, providing opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to fully engage in their communities. By partnering with Community Foundation Boulder County to hold their Agency Endowment Fund, Imagine! is able to build long-term assets and continue to focus on their work while knowing the community foundation safely holds their endowment. Learn more about Imagine!, their work, and how they partner with the community foundation. 

 

Tell us about Imagine and your work in Boulder County?

Imagine! provides services designed to incorporate people with developmental, cognitive, and physical challenges into the fabric of their communities. Services include educational and therapeutic services, job training and placement, recreation and leisure activities, opportunities for community living, behavioral health services, technology solutions, and support for families.

Imagine! was established in 1963 by a group of parents determined to see that their children with developmental disabilities had the opportunity to participate in their community.

We continue to use that original goal as the basis for our mission.  We believe in the potential of all. We believe that people with developmental disabilities have much to offer, and providing the tools and supports that allow them to show what they have to offer benefits us all.

 

What drew you to the community foundation as a partner to hold your endowment?

Imagine! has a 60+ year legacy of serving Boulder County, while the community foundation has a 30+ year legacy of doing the same. It was only logical that two organizations with such a long and demonstrated commitment to making our community happier, healthier, and more inclusive would work together to meet that goal.

 

Beyond that, how does Community Foundation Boulder County support your work?

Community Foundation Boulder County supports Imagine! through grant funding, including past Community Trust funding. Additionally, donors with donor advised funds through the community foundation are able to direct funds to Imagine!.

 

When you reflect on your years of impact on Boulder County, what stands out to you?

Opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to fully engage in their communities have increased at a tremendous rate. When Imagine! was founded back in 1963, the vast majority of people with an IDD were hidden away from their communities, literally locked away in institutions. Not because they were dangerous, or criminals, but simply because society refused to recognize them as capable of being active, contributing members of their communities. 

Organizations like Imagine! have worked tirelessly to demonstrate the value and dignity of people with IDD, and to ensure that they have the opportunity to be part of their schools, neighborhoods, and local businesses just like anyone else. 

We’ve come a long, long way, but we’re not all the way there yet, and Imagine!’s mission and work remain as vital and necessary as it was 60 years ago.

 

Can you tell us about a recent or upcoming project that you are excited about?

On Friday, February 23, Boulder’s Dairy Arts Center hosted “Imagine!Nation,” an art and music event which included an exhibition of art created by individuals served by Imagine! and a live performance of a band consisting of people who also accept services from Imagine!. Also performing were members of Broomfield School of Rock. This event was a fantastic example of how our community joined together with Imagine! to host a fully inclusive evening, and demonstrated clearly the many ways people with IDD can, and do, contribute to their communities in ways big and small. 

 

What gives you the most hope for the future of Boulder County?    

We see first-hand, every single day, the ways that our community supports our work, and more importantly, works to ensure that our fellow citizens with IDD are able to fully access and participate in everyday life, just like their neurotypical counterparts. We know how fortunate we are to work in a community that recognizes the humanity and dignity of everyone, regardless of ability or disability. We firmly believe that a day will come when Imagine! won’t need to exist in Boulder County, because our community will have risen to the challenge of creating a world of opportunity for all abilities.