History of The Lowry Foundation


After the closure of Lowry Air Force Base in 1994, The Lowry Redevelopment Authority
(LRA) was formed to lead the transformation of the old military base into a new
mixed-use community. Four years later, based on a Resolution of the LRA’s Board of
Directors, The Lowry Foundation was born.

The Lowry Foundation was incorporated on April 30, 1998 and received its 501(c)3
status from the Internal Revenue Service in June 1998. The Articles of Incorporation
state that the primary purpose of The Lowry Foundation is as follows:
To assist the Lowry Economic Redevelopment Authority in fulfilling its purposes,
including but not limited to, raising revenue for the purpose of constructing public
improvements, including parks, recreational and athletic facilities, within or for the
benefit of the Lowry Community.

The detailed narrative description of activities that appeared on the Form 1023
application to IRS for 501(c)3 nonprofit designation said, “The purposes of the
organization are connected with the development of the former Lowry Air Force
Base…The planned activities are as follows:
(1) To finance, design, construct and maintain parks, public areas (such as
plazas, walkways, and open space), public art, public improvements (such as
drainages and pedestrian underpasses), all open to and accessible by the public,
on the site of the former Lowry Air Force Base.
(2) To finance, design, construct, rehabilitate and maintain historic buildings and
areas of historical interest on the Lowry site,
(3) To promote and conduct community-building activities in the Lowry
community through educational, volunteer and civic programs.
The early work of The Lowry Foundation was primarily purchasing and installing a
collection of public art pieces for Lowry parks that was funded, through LRA, by one of
the Denver Urban Renewal Authority’s (DURA) “percent-for-art” programs. The
Foundation currently owns and maintains 13 pieces of art that dot the Lowry Community
and additional art and structures that populate the Lowry Reading Garden.
Then, in 2008, the Lowry Redevelopment Authority transferred ownership of the historic
Eisenhower Chapel to The Foundation which has had sole responsibility for the
Chapel’s maintenance and use for the last eleven years. This Chapel is especially
important because it is on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated
an historic landmark in 1981 by the Landmark Commission. Under The Foundation’s
management, the nondenominational Chapel has become Lowry’s Town Hall and is the
site of such events as lectures, concerts, meetings, church services, movies, weddings
and funerals.

Since the beginning, the stated mission of The Lowry Foundation has been to enhance
the quality of life and public spaces in Lowry. In addition to the artwork and Chapel, The
Foundation has worked to achieve its mission by providing a free lecture series, a small
community grants program and an Art Show and Sale among other activities. In 2019,
in an acknowledgement of the unique intersection of Lowry’s history and its new form as
an urban community, The Foundation board approved a restated mission” to preserve
the legacy and strengthen the community of Lowry”. This restatement has led to a new
emphasis on rehabilitating the Chapel structure, offering tours of the historic Air Force
sites that still exist in the community, and leading the team that is planning the 25th
anniversary celebration which will commemorate the closing of the Air Force Base and
the birth of the Lowry Community. In addition, a new Silver Ropes Volunteer Corps has
been launched that is reminiscent of a Silver Ropes group that existed on the old Air
Force Base.

The former Chair of the Lowry Redevelopment Authority who signed the Resolution
founding The Lowry Foundation recently explained that the LRA thought it would need a
501(c)3 organization to receive grants that LRA hoped to receive to help with the
community development. In the end, they only needed The Lowry Foundation for the
DURA’s percent-for-art grants which became the funding stream for the primary work of
the Foundation for many years and still requires funds for art maintenance. LRA is
completing the development of its final parcel, Boulevard One which will be completed
in a few years after which LRA will probably sunset leaving The Lowry Foundation as
the prime keeper of the Lowry spirit.