As Patrice Ravenscroft sees it, much of Colorado Springs is an untapped resource. She’s on a mission to do more for El Paso County’s lower-income population — and get more of the city involved in philanthropy.
Ravenscroft, 34, joined Reach Pikes Peak as director of development last April, and quickly rose to become executive director and CEO in January.
While it’s said that dollars for donations are scarce these days, Ravenscroft sees it differently: “I think there is donor fatigue, but at the same time there are so many people who either haven’t been asked to give, or don’t really know where to put their dollars, or we just haven’t reached them,” she said. “So for me there are plenty of people who are willing to give, but maybe we just keep asking the same group of people. [I] look at our population and ask, ‘How do we get more people engaged in philanthropy?’”
Ravenscroft is already getting results, according to Jennifer Dodd of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, who nominated her.
“As the new Executive Director/CEO of REACH Pikes Peak, Patrice has secured more that $50,000 in corporate sponsorships to enhance the quality of life for low-income families in Colorado Springs,” said Dodd, who described Ravenscroft as “a dynamic leader whose passion for community is unmatched.”
Ravenscroft said she’s always worked in serving roles, but says the El Pomar Fellowship “changed the whole trajectory of my career progression.
“It’s an intensive two-year professional development opportunity that you get an inside look at nonprofit governance and management and financials … the connections and the knowledge totally changed how I thought I could be utilized and the passion I have. I said ‘This is my new dream — nonprofit management is where my heart is,’ and I kept going with it.”
Collaboration in the nonprofit sector is a challenge Ravenscroft is determined to tackle.
“How we’re going to move the needle on some of these large issues is huge, because we have a lot of people doing so many things and sometimes it’s not very cohesive,” she said. “Some of that has to do with ego and pride and everyone wants their agency to be the last one standing, if you will, but to move the needle we’re going to need these big hitters to really focus and come together and figure out how we’re going to fill the holes.
“Our No. 1 priority is partnership, community building and community relationships,” she added.
The greatest rewards come from helping people at critical times of need, Ravenscroft said.
“Sometimes it’s the people you least expect — and they are so grateful when they have something that happens that’s bad in their life and we are able to support them and help them,” she said. “It’s a good feeling knowing that I’m a part of something that’s a lot bigger than I am.”
— Helen Robinson
What do you want to be when you grow up?
An advocate. A person of the people that will be willing to serve. … I just want to be a good role model for my daughter and a good community activist. I want to give more than I take — and that’s something that I wish for other people too.