The new Mile High United Way Morgridge Center for Community Change is a mission-based community hub in the historic Curtis Park neighborhood. Mile High United Way, the first United Way in the country, has served as a catalyst for social change for 128 years, and it all began in the Curtis Park/Five Points area. The new headquarters, which opened in September 2014, has allowed the organization to truly live its mission to unite people, ideas and resources to advance the common good. It is welcoming place where youth in need receive help to get them on the path to financial stability; thousands of people are connected with essential resources to meet their most basic needs; women learn workforce skills to secure viable and long-term employment; and nonprofits, government agencies and businesses come together to collectively solve community-wide challenges that one organization cannot solve alone.
The design team of PCL Construction and Davis Partnership Architects worked closely with Mile High United Way and community stakeholders, including the Landmark Preservation Commission, Arapahoe Square, and Curtis Park Neighbors, to create a building that feels aesthetically and historically connected to the neighborhood. The building’s verticality and multi-dimensional facade reflect the Curtis Park aesthetic, while its light masonry brick attests to the history of Denver. A pigmented zinc metal panel is used to bring warmth and a contemporary feel, and glazing is used to promote transparency.
The building also includes elements such as glass boxes that anchor the corners along with the bay windows help to create an interesting architectural identity. The building is a LEED Silver minimum and pursuing a LEED Gold Certification, including features such as energy efficient argon-filled glass windows, a roof designed to decrease the urban heat island effect, plumbing fixtures that reduce water usage, and water-efficient landscaping. The building also features 10,000 square feet of conference room space, 10,000 square feet of innovation and nonprofit incubation space, a cafe run by the Work Options for Women program, office space for the nonprofit organization’s headquarters, and an underground parking garage.
Here is an image of the Mile High United Way Mortgridge Center for Community Change, courtesy of Doors Open Denver.
Guided tours and self-guided tours will be offered throughout both days, and will include a peek at the beautiful architecture and many of the mission-driven facilities within the building including:
1. CenturyLink’s Mile High United Way 2-1-1 Center—a free and confidential community referral service that connects callers with resources which provide food, shelter, rent assistance, clothing, child care options, legal assistance and other services to meet basic needs.
2. Bridging the Gap—Mile High United Way’s program helping young adults formerly in foster care address their needs related to education, employment, financial literacy, health and leadership development.
3. CoBank Leadership Center, 6,300 square feet of conference space for community collaboration, available for free for nonprofit use.
4. Comcast Digital Literacy Community Center—gives local citizens and nonprofit organizations access to state-of-the-art technology and free training opportunities.
Additionally, Café United, a social change kitchen housed within the building will be offering family-friendly activities, a free snack, and espresso bar drinks available for purchase.