As I finish this three-part series on the history of Hands and we continue to celebrate all the women served for the past 20 years, I want to take the time to thank you for the part you played in all of it! Don’t forget to view a video format created to celebrate the anniversary – https://vimeo.com/825240105
One of the most influential years in Hands’ history (apart from 2003) was 2016. The challenge in front of us was that many women looking for help had a failing car or no car at all and needed a solution. Hands was afforded the opportunity to purchase the assets of Good Neighbor Garage, a local nonprofit vehicle donation program that was doing incredible work. Taking this on was more work than any of us could have imagined, yet continues to have significant impact within the collective support of our all clients today.
In 2017, we lost the lease of the auto shop on Kendall street and in miraculous timing, found a one-of-a-kind auto shop with great office space over it…allowing Hands to combine automotive and nonprofit offices together for the first time. Huge shout out to Social Venture Partners who helped us plan/walk through taking on another nonprofit and navigate the impact investments needed to purchase our facility on S. Golden Road.
Hands spent 2018 and 2019 growing in Golden, acknowledging that the time was up for the social enterprise (competing interest between for-profit and nonprofit work was a growing challenge) and working through the strategy necessary to operate the shop full-time serving the community.
I won’t write about much detail regarding the pandemic, but I am so proud of our staff and board for their professionalism and care during a difficult time. 2020 was also a time of strategic planning and incredible hard work to prepare for the future. The time had come to make the difficult decision to focus on specifically serving working single moms, as we prepared for expansion across the entire Denver area. The efforts led to the acquisition of our second facility in Aurora (April 2022) and what will be a third location in the future out in the Northglenn/Thornton community.
Not a day goes by that I don’t count it a blessing and joy to be on this journey with you. The future will continue to bring opportunities and challenges that we will work though together. Your partnership as a Hands Champion is so important to each woman as she battles equally significant opportunity and challenge in her efforts to provide for her children. My heart is also blessed so much by our incredible staff serving and sacrificing day to day, and our board of directors for their unwavering commitment and concern for the single mothers that come to Hands’ doors for hope and help.