VFW Post 1 Veteran’s Cultural Center
In July 2014, and after many years without a home, Post 1 moved into its current location – a historic building at 841 Santa Fe Drive in the heart of Denver’s Santa Fe Arts District. This building was purchased outright, as a result of the sale of Post 1’s previous building, and Post 1 is mortgage free.
This veteran center needs major renovation to be brought up to Assembly Use code. Once this is accomplished, then Post 1 can begin generating self-sustaining revenue by renting out the second floor as office space and by providing the main gallery floor for events. Continue reading below.
VFW Post 1 Foundation is a
501 (c) (3) non-profit and charity.
Please contact Michael Mitchel for donations exceeding $10,000. Michael@vfwpost1.org
History of VFW Post 1
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1 is the first and oldest VFW Post in the world. It was founded in Denver in 1899 by returning veterans of the Spanish-American War, and it is an all-volunteer organization.
VFW Post 1 has earned a 501 (c) (19), veteran-specific IRS designation, and we focus on providing a variety of much-needed programs to former servicemen and women. These programs include art and art therapy, 1-1 mentoring, job preparation, health and wellness programs and much more. VFW Post 1’s services are available to all U.S. military veterans, whether or not they are members of our organization. That’s why in October 2014, Post 1 created the VFW Post 1 Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit to assist us in raising funds to support these efforts.
Who We Are
We support over 20 different veterans programs and many different Veterans Service Organizations.
We are not your traditional VFW Post. Our membership is as diverse as our veterans. From WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq; Medal of Honor recipients, Professionals, Politicians, student Veterans, small business owners, retirees- people just like you.
While most VFW Post’s operate Canteens (bars) as a business model, Post 1 does not have and will not operate a Canteen. Post 1 focus its efforts on programs and will rent out office space/gallery space as an added source of revenue.
Our number one goal is to help maintain the essential “esprit de corps” that our members need and want most of all that sense of belonging, a feeling of purpose and the common thread of experience and understanding that military veterans will forever share. Our objectives are expressed through our program offerings: improved mental health; physical wellbeing; opportunities to learn and grow in new or continuing careers; artistic expression; and the reassurance that fellow members will always “have your back.”
Programs at Post 1
At VFW Post 1, our mentoring program provides a venue for veterans to build connections with other veterans with a special focus on recently discharged veterans and those who have relocated to the Denver-metro region. Read More
Veterans Arts Council
VFW Post 1, has launched the Veteran’s Arts Council (VAC), the first of its kind in the country.; showcasing and mentoring artists of all mediums who have served in the Armed Forces. Veterans of all generations have a something to say, and the VAC at VFW Post 1 will be a platform to express that voice. All veterans involved in the arts are eligible to join VAC activities. The goal of the VAC is to both empower Veterans to transform their experiences into media that allow civilians to understand them and to contribute to the creative community in Denver; a community that enriches civic life for all citizens..
Career Training and Development
Post 1 partners with local employers, Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve (ESGR), local colleges and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment for the hiring of veterans.
Yoga with Veterans by Veterans
Registered Yoga Instructors teach yoga, meditation, and mindfulness to fellow veterans at Post 1 each Tuesday night and typically have 15 to 20 students per night.
Operation Holiday Heroes
Since 2012, Post 1 has held a holiday party for veteran families in need. At the celebration, the families are not singled out and identified; rather they are welcomed as a part of our own veteran “family.” The event itself is a large, mixed social gathering with Post members so that each participant can celebrate the holidays, enjoy a meal and receive gift cards (supplied by the Foundation) to purchase winter clothing.
Annual Veterans Health Fair
Each year, VFW Post 1 collaborates with the 9Health Fair to offer medical screening, vital blood testing, eye exams and other critical preventive screenings.
Veteran Home Care
We provide care to WWII veterans (including a Medal of Honor recipient) or veterans and service members who are suffering from serious illnesses.
Phase 1 | $1,200,000
The first phase is the most capital-intensive phase. Because our building was constructed in 1899 – more than a century ago — it now requires vastly improved HVAC, electrical, plumbing and serious structural updating. At present, the building does not have any HVAC system other than one boiler and 12 radiators.
HVAC units for the main and second floors will be installed first. Units for the basement will be added in phase 3. We will also refurbish the bathrooms to accommodate assembly size gatherings and to ensure ADA compliance.
Life/Safety issues will also be addressed by bringing sprinkler and fire alarm systems up to code and by building connecting stairways from the basement to the second floor.
In addition, plans include constructing a separate entrance from the street level directly to the second floor. This will allow Post 1 to maximize office accessibility and enhanced rental opportunities.
In this final renovation phase, our aim is to create a professionally designed archive for military artifacts dating back to 1899. These historical treasures will be securely stored for future research and preservation. Our plan will also include a computer Lab that will be available for job searching, career development and to allow Post 1 to expand its job training programs for veterans.
Another feature of the basement will include a recreation area for veterans and our veteran members. A 2010 UCLA study shows that Veterans who maintain the camaraderie that they experienced while on active duty contributes to the Veterans success as a civilian. Our goal is to continue fostering that protective layer for the good of the individual and future of VFW Post 1. This will help ensure future leaders of the organization.
With the completion of the renovation, the Post will be able to expand current programs and offer additional programs for veterans around job training, health/exercise, art programs around writing, film making, painting, music and other art programs.
Further, Post 1 collaborates with volunteer Veteran Service Organizations such as Volunteer of America Veterans Services, Rocky Mountain Human Services, Denver Veteran Homeless Reintegration Program, Project Sanctuary, Bo Matthews Center and more to provide the use of the building. Renovations will expand these offerings.
The new Assembly Use code rating will allow Post 1 to become financially self sufficient by renting the second floor offices and main gallery. Post 1 will offer a discounted rental rate for all nonprofits.
Continue Reading Below
VFW Post 1 partners with community organizations such as:
Volunteers of America, Rocky Mountain Human Services, City and County of Denver (Homeless Veterans program), Comitis Counseling Center, 9Health Fair, Veterans Passport to Hope, Art of War Project, Team Rubicon, Team Red White & Blue, Vetbikes.org, Bo Matthews Center, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Aurora Chamber of Commerce, MSU Denver, Johnson & Wales University, CU Denver, Union Pacific, Level 3, Time Warner Cable, RTL Networks, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), Denver Film Society, Colorado National Guard and Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design.
The skills of Post members are being well used, and in turn our Post is able to slash expenses relative to demolition and interior painting. This volunteer effort is providing us with a cost saving of at least $75,000. A local Army Construction Reserve unit is doing construction/demolition as part of assigned drill duties.
VFW Post 1 Foundation is currently collaborating with a professional grant writer to create general operating and program-specific proposals. With this guidance, we are targeting the most likely grant opportunities, and we are designing a comprehensive, year-round grants calendar.
Kind Donation Activity
Post 1 is stretching the dollar as far as possible. In kind donations and steep discounts are being solicited at every turn and with great success! For example, Trustile Door Company has donated all interior doors; Armstrong Worldwide is donating ceiling material and more.
Our Members & Board
At VFW Post 1, we represent and we serve a widespread constituency. Our membership base and service population extends from the veterans of WWII and the Korean conflict, to the men and women who have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and more recent conflicts. That same group features a spectrum of ages, genders, ethnicities, socio-economic levels, educational levels, physical and mental capabilities, and more. In addition, Post 1’s Board of Directors has strong representation from the GLBT community.
As indicated in our anti-discrimination statement, VFW Post 1 is a fraternal organization that requires deployment to a foreign war as a requirement for membership, but does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability status, marital status or military status in regard to services, programs, or the selection of volunteers and vendors. VFW Post 1 and the VFW Post 1 Foundation are committed to providing an open and inclusive environment for all U.S. military veterans and their families.