Our History

In the late 1960’s several business owners saw that Golden had many needs for which tax revenues and other public funds were simply not available. They therefore formed the Golden Civic Foundation. The Foundation was incorporated on April 14, 1970, under the Colorado Non-Profit Act. The first organizational meeting was held on May 19, 1970. The first Board of Directors include F.A. Foss, F.J. Pattridge, W.G. Brown, C. Goudge, and R.W. Todd. Over 25 other individuals have also served as a Director of the Foundation.

The below list highlights our Top 50 Impact Projects Over the Past 50 Years that have helped shape the Golden we enjoy today:

1. “Howdy Folks” Arch
Recognize this iconic view? Bet you didn’t know that the Golden Civic Foundation funded the re-painting of our beloved arch back in 1979 as part of our mission to revitalize downtown Golden! The Golden Civic Foundation helped to refurbish the arch again in 1978, 1986, and 1993.

2. Education Investment
Throughout our 50-year history, investing in education for our youth has been an important focus. Just in the last 10 years the Golden Civic Foundation has provided nearly $300,000 in grants to local, Golden schools to help fund things including technology, furniture, scholarships and even the Golden High School After Prom!

3. Public Art Impact
The Golden Civic Foundation has been, and remains, instrumental in building Golden’s vast public art collection. In 1999, we founded the Golden Public Art Partnership (GPAP) as a branch of the Golden Civic Foundation, funded by the Foundation, the City of Golden and private contributions. Now managed by the City of Golden’s Public Art Commission, the goal of the program remains to provide outdoor art that historically celebrates the community’s heritage and creates a vibrant atmosphere that contributes to the quality and cultural identity of our community.

4. Table Mountain Inn
As part our original mission to revitalize downtown Golden (starting in the 1970’s), civic development was a top priority. One of our first major projects addressed the need for hotel services. The Golden Civic Foundation purchased the Holland House for $290,000 and facilitated the re-development of the property into the Table Mountain Inn that we know today.

5. Return of the Cutthroat Sculpture
Always a crowd (and kid) pleaser, “Return of the Cutthroat,” sculpted by Golden resident and long-time Golden Civic Foundation Board Member, Pat Madison, can be seen swimming upstream in two locations along the Clear Creek corridor. Funding for the sculpture was provided via the Golden Civic Foundation, the City of Golden and private contributions including Pat & Judy Madison.

6. Virtuosity Dance Center Small Business Loan 
Following the depressed economy of the 1970’s, the Golden Civic Foundation began giving low interest loans to Golden businesses back in 1982 in order to help stimulate the economy and encourage locally owned businesses. One example was support of Virtuosity Dance Center in 2013 to help them with the opening of their Golden dance studio space, which has since tripled their studio space for dance and fitness instruction for youth and adults.  Students from this thriving community-based business can frequently be seen giving back to the community via performances for private and public events.

7. Golden History Museum Special Grant
The Golden Civic Foundation created our Community Grant Program in 1970 to support Golden-based non-profit organizations including schools, culturals, clubs and civic organizations. Over the past 50 years, we have invested more than $6.4 million in proceeds from our annual Gala back into the community. Every fall we invite local organizations to submit grant applications and we are in the midst of awarding our 2019-20 grants to local non-profits right now! We also offer special grants throughout the year. An example is a $30K grant awarded to the Golden History Museum in 2017 to improve their “Salon” western-themed gallery space and community programming.

8. Clear Creek Commons
The Golden Civic Foundation saw a need for affordable senior housing in downtown Golden and, in 2003, worked to develop a vacant lot that we had purchased from Coors for $129,000, into Clear Creek Commons. Located on the northeast corner of Washington Avenue & 11th Street, this multi-use project includes coveted senior housing and a restaurant to serve senior residents, as well as the community.

9. Buffalo Statue
One of Golden’s most photographed statues, the “Monarch,” is a life-size bronze buffalo proudly positioned in front of the Buffalo Rose. The piece was completed by artist Buck McCain in 2005 and was funded by the Golden Civic Foundation and the original owners of the Buffalo Rose. The bronze beast was covered during the Buffalo Bill’s Day parade for several years as participants believed it scared the horses.

10. Miners Alley Playhouse
Hoping to bring more support for the Arts into downtown Golden, the Golden Civic Foundation provided Miners Alley Playhouse with a low interest loan to help fund the build out of their theater and event space. Today the theater features many award-winning shows and is a cultural staple for locals and tourists alike.

11. Golden High School After Prom
The Golden Civic Foundation has been supporting this community event since 1987 by providing funding for two financial scholarships to be awarded to two lucky student winners who attend After Prom. The event is hosted by the PTA and provides a safe, fun, substance-free celebration for Prom attendees immediately following the dance.

12. American Mountaineering Center
In order to preserve the historic Golden Junior High School building, the Golden Civic Foundation purchased it from the School District in 1992 for $48,000. Spear headed by Mayor Marv Kay (also on the Foundation Board) and Glen Porzak of the American Alpine Club, an agreement was reached whereby the American Alpine Club and Colorado Mountain Club purchased the property. The two organizations formed what is now the American Mountaineering Center (AMC) – the nation’s premiere facility for mountaineering education. In addition to the building purchase, the Golden Civic Foundation also provided a special grant to the AMC in 2016 to help improve the entrance staircase. Check out this video that highlights the History and Future of the AMC.

13. Golden High School Community Track Project
In 2018, our Board of Directors decided to support Golden High School with updates to their Community Track Complex. In coordination with the Golden High School Alumni Association, a special $20,000 matching grant from the Kelley Family, and support from our very generous community, we raised $76,000 via a special “paddle raise” at our 43rd Annual Gala & Auction. These funds are being used in combination with Jeffco Bond money for the installation of a new track surface, storage facilities and improvements in and around the upper athletic field. The project should be completed just in time for the new 2020-21 school year!

14. Foothills Art Center
Founded in 1968, Foothills Art Center (FAC), has since served as Golden’s premiere art space, inspiring tourists and locals alike with top notch exhibitions, programming and education. Over the past fifty years, the Golden Civic Foundation has supported FAC with funding to enable the purchase of the historic church building where the Center resides, expansion for the lobby, education classrooms and the main floor gallery space, the addition of the striking outdoor sculpture garden and numerous grants to help bring special exhibitions to Golden featuring world class artists such as Degas, Chihuly and Toulouse-Lautrec.

15. Woody’s Parking Lot
In the early 1990’s, as part of the Holland House foreclosure and Table Mountain Inn (TMI) development project, the Golden Civic Foundation purchased the empty lot at 1313 Washington Avenue, just to the east of Woody’s. Several years later, in 1997, the Golden Civic Foundation sold the lot to TMI to provide additional, valuable parking for both TMI and Woody’s customers. Thank goodness as parking in our bustling, little downtown is not as easy as it used to be!

16. Adolph Coors Statue
Positioned in the heart of downtown Golden, with a proud view straight down 12th Street towards the Coors Brewing headquarters, is a life-size bronze sculpture of Adolph Coors created by Sarah Maloney in 2001. The statue was commissioned by the Golden Civic Foundation with major funding provided by the Coors Foundation.

17. Golden Farmers Market and Art Festival
Over the years, the Golden Civic Foundation has invested significant funds to help support community-centric projects such as the Golden Farmers Market and the Fine Arts Festival. These beloved summer events help to bring the Golden community together in a fun way while also helping to stimulate the local economy and help small businesses. Please shop local, shop Golden whenever you can!

18. Checkmate Sculpture
The larger than life bronze sculpture, Checkmate by artist Herb Mignery, which is the centerpiece of Golden’s public art collection, was jointly funded by the Golden Civic Foundation, the Golden Public Art Partnership, and the Golden Rotary Club in 2004. In 2006, the piece was temporarily placed near Highway 93 and Pine Ridge Road but was more prominently positioned on the 19th Street “lid” covering Highway 93 in 2016.

19. City of Golden
Over the past 50 years, the Golden Civic Foundation has provided several hundred thousand dollars in funds for City “beautification” projects. Some of these projects include public art, flower planter boxes and lighting, trash receptacles, parking lots, gardens, parks, holiday decorations, “Howdy Folks” arch refurbishment, cemetery irrigation and improvements, street paving, and landscaping. These projects have allowed for Golden to grow as a tourist destination along with bringing joy to the local Golden community.

20. Christian Action Guild
As directed by our founders, the Golden Civic Foundation provides annual financial support to the Christian Action Guild, a nondenominational, non-profit food bank and thrift store that is run by a very small staff and hundreds of volunteers and serves as a resource for the Golden community. In the mid-1990s, community philanthropist, Barbara Foss, purchased the land, directed the construction of the Christian Action Guild building and established the Barbara Foss Fund to be managed by the Golden Civic Foundation. Since then, the Golden Civic Foundation has managed growth of this Fund and provides quarterly donations to support operations of this important community service organization.

21. Ulysses Baseball Fields
There are few parks in Golden that have not been improved by the Golden Civic Foundation. One park that is especially well used and beloved by the community is the Ulysses Sports Complex, located just behind Bell Middle School. The Golden Civic Foundation, in partnership with the Lions Club, provided significant funding and improvements to this community asset that features very busy baseball and soccer fields and a skateboard park.

22. Lions Club
The Golden Civic Foundation’s long-running partnership with the Golden Lions Club has resulted in many successful projects including the development of most of Golden’s public parks, as well many years of the Golden Lions Club’s annual 4th of July community celebrations. Over the past three decades, the Golden Civic Foundation has provided funding support for the purchase of several hundred chairs and tables used at the event, as well as fireworks for the Lions’ dazzling aerial displays. We thank the Lions for partnering with us and for all of their contributions to our community.

23. Ben Nighthorse Campbell Sculpture
The commanding “Nighthorse on the Mesa” bronze sculpture, created by artist Jeff Rudolph and located in the center of the roundabout at South Golden and Johnson Roads, was unveiled to Golden in 2003 and celebrates our western heritage. The statue, which was commissioned and funded primarily by the Golden Civic Foundation, with installation support by the City of Golden, is twenty feet tall and nearly eleven feet long and depicts Native American, United States Senator, Ben Nighthorse Campbell on his black and white paint horse.

24. Buffalo Bill Days
The Golden Civic Foundation has helped to support Golden’s best known holiday, Buffalo Bill Days, for many years by serving as an event sponsor and helping to provide funds for entertainers, equipment and other event needs.

25. “Friendship Gardens” 
Beautifying our community has long been a Golden Civic Foundation priority and the Golden Civic Foundation has supported landscape projects throughout Golden for many decades. Two projects of note include funding support for irrigation, plant materials and signage for the Table Mountain Garden Club’s two Friendship Gardens located at the Golden History Museum and just south of the Billy Drew bridge at the west end of Clear Creek History Park.

26. Golden Police Department National Night Out Support
Every summer, the Golden Police Department hosts “National Night Out,” a police awareness event that brings police together with the Golden community. For many years, the Golden Civic Foundation has helped to underwrite the event in order to provide community members with an opportunity to meet and get to know their local public safety personnel and vice versa!

27. Lions Park
Located next to the Golden Community Center, Lions Park is one of Golden’s most popular parks and it is often used for community events, sports and social gatherings. As with many of Golden’s public parks, the Golden Civic Foundation provided funding, along with additional financial support, planning and labor from the Lions Club, to improve this park and make it an ideal spot for locals and tourists to spend free time in Golden.

28. Golden Optimists Club
The Golden Optimists is a non-profit organization that strives to bring out the best in children, their community and themselves, and, over the past 25 years, they have fixed and donated thousands of bikes to people in Golden who need them. The Golden Civic Foundation is proud to have helped to support this active organization with grant funding for numerous efforts including the construction of their workshop and bike shed off of Johnson Road, the purchase of software to run their programming, numerous bike helmets and school supplies for young riders, and, a portable tent for community outreach at events.

29. Gateway Station
Located on the northeast corner of Washington Avenue & 13th Street, the Gateway Station building (once occupied by the Hesteds Department Store) now houses ¾ of a block of mixed-use residential and retail spaces including beloved businesses such as Indulge, Golden Sweets and the Urban Escape day spa with private residences above. In order to support this project, which the Golden Civic Foundation saw as critical to the “turnaround” for downtown Golden development, we provided a large “bridge” loan to the developer, Nexcore, in 2011 until permanent financing could be put in place.

30. Butterfly Sculpture
In 2005, the Golden Civic Foundation partnered with local artist (and Golden Civic Foundation Board Member!) Pat Madison for the addition of three giant, bronze butterflies to Golden’s outdoor public art collection. Madison, who funded the project himself, wanted to create artwork featuring a subject that is native to the Golden area while also creating pieces that look light but are actually made of very heavy bronze to withstand the elements as well as “love” from visitors. Madison received installation support from the City of Golden, Golden Rotary and Parfet Company and the pieces were placed along the creek trail across from the Visitors Center where they are enjoyed daily by visitors and the community alike!

31. Golden Hotel
In 1995, the Golden Civic Foundation purchased a 1.75-acre lot at the corner of Washington Avenue & 11th Street in order to build a much needed second hotel to better accommodate Golden tourists and business guests. At the time of the purchase there were two badly run-down automotive shops on the property, as well as significant environmental contaminants. After property demolition and remediation, the Golden Civic Foundation awarded the project to developer, Scott Coburn, who completed construction of the Golden Hotel in 1999.

32. Support for Firefighter, Tom Young
The story of Golden firefighter, Tom Young, is a Golden story that beautifully summarizes our community’s spirit. In July of 1990, Tom, who grew up in Golden and had recently been promoted to Fire Department Manager, was critically injured and paralyzed in the line of duty while assisting with a hang glider crash on Lookout Mountain. The Golden Civic Foundation was one of many local organizations that stepped up to help with everything from an emotional parade by Tom’s hospital window at St. Anthony’s Hospital, to the purchase of specially equipped vans and home modifications to simplify daily living. When Tom eventually returned to the fire department to manage the department’s media services he demonstrated all that can be accomplished with strong determination and community support.

33. Beverly Heights Park
As with many of Golden’s public parks, the Golden Civic Foundation provided funding to create the Beverly Heights Park. Located at the bottom of Mount Zion this picturesque park now serves as a great place for picnickers or bikers to rest and enjoy the views after descending the mountain.

34. Shelton Painting
Born in 1916, Golden artist, Hal Shelton, was also a prolific cartographer. Shelton’s work as a topographic engineer with the US Geologic Survey originally brought him to Golden where he settled and enjoyed a very successful 50-year career. He is well known for introducing the concept for illustrated aerial maps of the Colorado ski resorts and he was also a skilled landscape painter. Among many other works, he created two very large size paintings in 1957 for the Holland House (where Table Mountain Inn is today). When the Holland House went out of business in the 1970’s, the Golden Civic Foundation preserved these paintings. His giant Colorado Today painting, owned by the Golden Civic Foundation, now hangs in the Golden Community Center, and, The Founding of Golden is owned by, and housed at, Stevenson Automotive. Shelton died in 2004, but, many of his descendants still live in Golden and Shelton Elementary was named in honor of him and his wife, Mary.

35. Helping Hands Sculpture
In 2001, the Golden Civic Foundation commissioned artist Cloyd Barnes to create the “Lending a Helping Hand” sculpture to honor business owners and civic leaders, Frederick A. “Heinie” and Barbara Foss. Known as “Mr. Golden” for his entrepreneurial spirit and philanthropy, Heinie was the proprietor of the former Foss General Store and co-founder, and original funder, of the Golden Civic Foundation. Barbara founded the Christian Action Guild. Although both have passed on, the legacy they left in Golden will always remain. Today the sculpture stands at the corner of 13th Street and Washington Avenue in downtown Golden as a reminder of the Foss family’s dedication to our community.

36. The Old Capitol Grill Fire
On November 3, 2005, a nearly catastrophic fire gutted the rear upper floor and heavily damaged the rest of the historic Old Capitol Grill building at the northwest corner of 12th Street & Washington Avenue. Not long after the fire, the interior was stripped completely so that the building could be thoroughly reinforced allowing for a new rear roof and more historically accurate upper story windows to be installed. The Golden Civic Foundation helped with funding to restore the building to make it more historically accurate than before the fire by adding back a distinctive row of chimneys on the 12th Street side that had been missing since modifications made in 1933. Originally constructed in 1863, the red brick building housed the Colorado Territorial Legislature in 1866-67 when Golden served as the capital of Colorado and now is home to the Old Capitol Grill & Smokehouse restaurant owned by local residents, Dean and Aimee Valdez.

37. Bob’s Atomic Small Business Loan
Throughout our history, the Golden Civic Foundation has provided loans to charitable organizations, Golden-based businesses and organizations of good character that provide benefit to our community. Our loan program is intended to complement conventional banking to provide term loans, many of which do not meet the requirements for traditional financing. The Golden Civic Foundation is honored to work with many local, successful, innovative, and community-oriented business owners and believes that the power of entrepreneurship positively transforms the character of our community. One great success story of many is locally-owned Bob’s Atomic Burgers!

38. Annual Gala & Auction
Every year for the past 45 years the Golden Civic Foundation’s amazing team of staff, volunteers and sponsor partners hosts an annual Gala known as Golden’s social event of the year – a festive night with great food and drink, music and auction to celebrate our community! Past auction items have included furs, jewelry, guns, a rattlesnake, ponies, dude ranch vacations, lunch with the Mayor, birthday parties with the fire department, a vintage Cadillac, cookies and eggs every month for a year, and even a vintage mining car! All proceeds benefit community projects and our Community Grant program benefiting non-profit organizations. This year’s event will be a unique, extra special, 50th Anniversary celebration for sure!

39. Astor House Improvements
The Astor House, built in 1867 by Seth Lake and named after the famous Astor House Hotel in New York City, was originally opened as Golden’s premier hotel for Colorado’s territorial government and other elite guests. It has since served in many capacities including a civic meeting place, jail, dog pound, boarding house and history museum. Over the years, the Golden Civic Foundation has helped to fund improvements to the parking lot, repair electrical systems, purchase furniture and signage. In the future, the Foundation hopes to continue to support the Astor House and adjoining backyard “park” as a collaborative community hub.

40. Neighborhood Rehab Project
The Neighborhood Rehab Project (NRP) is a Golden-based, non-profit organization that helps seniors, disabled and limited income individuals and families stay in their homes by addressing their warm, safe and dry needs. The Golden Civic Foundation is proud to have helped them for many years with grant funding for building materials for their “Be a Tool” day. Each year on this day of service, more than 1,000 volunteers work throughout the Golden, Arvada, Idaho Springs and Englewood communities to help households address their living needs, learn maintenance skills and build community relationships. Most recently, in 2019, the Golden Civic Foundation also provided a special grant to help NRP with strategic planning to most effectively manage their growth and future direction.

41. Southridge Park
As with most other parks in Golden, the Golden Civic Foundation provided significant funding for improvements at Southridge Park, located just off of South Golden Road (behind Tequila’s Mexican restaurant). The park, which is maintained by the City of Golden Parks Department, was built in 1980, and just one year later, the Golden Civic Foundation provided additional funding for further improvements. The park, which has since seen additional improvements, now offers something for almost everyone with a modern playground, large shady picnic areas, two tennis courts, a basketball court, a large flat grass area used by local soccer associations and an inline hockey rink.

42. Golden Library
Our Golden Public Library is a well-loved community gathering place that provides information, entertainment and other resources in a variety of formats for the Golden community. Over the past decade, the Golden Civic Foundation has helped the library to expand its programming beyond just books by providing funding to support STEM programs and other innovative programming including the addition of internet access and the development of a “Makers Space” with updated technology including 3-D printers, circuit boards and sewing equipment. These expanded offerings have proven to be extremely popular, not only with young users but also with adults seeking to learn new skills and have been greatly effective in fostering discovery and life-long learning.

43. Clear Creek Square
In the late 1990s, the Jefferson County School District decided to close and relocate Mitchell Elementary out of the downtown area. This was a controversial decision since it was a significant site for historical preservationists and community members. As one of the first major redevelopment projects in Golden, it set the stage for the downtown area to be able to grow and change. Through a collaborative effort between the Golden Civic Foundation, the City of Golden and the Golden Urban Renewal Authority, this 5-acre site, now known as Clear Creek Square, was redeveloped into a thriving mixed-use project with historic context and connectivity to downtown Golden.

44. Leadership Golden
For the past three decades the Golden Civic Foundation has helped to support Leadership Golden (LG), a tuition-free education and networking program designed to provide Golden community members with a foundation for volunteerism, leadership, community understanding and participation in all types of community service. The Golden Civic Foundation has provided funding support for operating expenses, a customer relationship management system to manage participant data, an endowment fund, junior leadership and alumni programs, and leadership classes. Since 1984, LG has graduated more than 600 participants as volunteers and leaders – including 100% of the Golden Civic Foundation staff and many of our Board members!

45. Candlelight Walk
For many decades, the Golden Civic Foundation has been a key supporter of our community’s favorite annual events including the Fine Arts Festival, professional bike races, the summer Farmer’s Market and the Candlelight Walk – which has become a very beloved community tradition. We are proud to support the Candlelight Walk for many years and look forward to when thousands of residents and visitors will festively stroll down the main avenue of Golden, candles in hand, singing carols and spreading holiday cheer!

46. Golden Visitors Center
Over the past five decades, the Golden Civic Foundation has purchased many downtown properties in order to help guide our city’s civic development. One very strategic property includes the 1973 purchase of an old Exxon Gas station that was housed at the corner of 10th Street & Washington Avenue. The Golden Civic Foundation purchased that property and later sold it to the City of Golden in 1976. In following years, the Golden Civic Foundation collaborated with the City and the Chamber of Commerce to build a much-needed Visitor’s Center there to support the tourism industry. The Golden Civic Foundation was instrumental in helping to raise the funds needed for the Center’s construction, as well as many years’ worth of ongoing updates and renovation. Today, the Golden Visitors Center is a great resource for residents, visitors, local businesses, civic organizations, and agencies and houses the Chamber of Commerce’s offices.

47. Golden Backpack Program
The non-profit Golden Backpack Program (GBP) was launched in 2008 and has grown into a thriving community effort that provides roughly 5,000 meals per month to qualifying students in Golden’s nine local schools. GBP has also spearheaded the recent BGoldN restaurant food scarcity community initiative. The Golden Civic Foundation is proud to support their important work via community grant funding and project collaboration.

48. Golden Fire Department
The Golden Civic Foundation is so thankful to all of our Golden Fire Fighters! We have proudly supported the Golden Fire Department for decades and have helped fund many important programs and equipment purchases including improvements to the firehouse training rooms, external defibrillators, audio visual equipment for the station, helmets, and water rescue equipment. We support our Golden Fire men and women and are so appreciative of our department’s nearly 150 years of dedication to our community!

49. Golden Community Center
Following a VERY close vote within the community (an 11 vote difference), the Golden Community Center first opened its doors in October 1994. The Golden Civic Foundation was instrumental with funding gymnasium equipment and provided a long-term loan of our giant Hal Shelton painting, Colorado Today, for guests to enjoy in the upstairs Community Room. With how much our Community Center has been enjoyed by the community, it’s hard to believe that we almost didn’t have one!

50. The Golden Civic Foundation
As we close out the year of our 50th anniversary, we would like to celebrate our founders, who, in the late 1960’s, saw that Golden had many needs for which tax revenues and other public funds were simply not available. The group, therefore, founded the Golden Civic Foundation, which, was incorporated on April 14, 1970 under the Colorado Non-Profit Act, and included F.A. Foss, F.J. Pattridge, W.G. Brown, C. Goudge and R.W. Todd on the first Board of Directors. Many of the original founders have had, and still have, family serve the Foundation as volunteers and Board Directors. From seeing a need, to creating a vision, our story was woven together through the selfless work, time and donations of countless people. People, who shared a love of Golden and nurtured a common belief that we are together for the benefit of everybody. That vision echoes through our community to this day and guides us in everything we do.

Through the Golden Civic Foundation’s past 50 years of helping to guide and support the Golden community we have constantly relied on the selfless work, time and donations of countless community members that have partnered with us to help Golden thrive. Volunteers: Golden’s Greatest Gift (produced by the City of Golden’s Communications Department) really highlights the devotion of Golden’s volunteers that support and elevate our community.