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Jim Bye Memorial Fund

Established 2015 to benefit the communities of Globeville, Elyria, & Swansea (GES)

Since 1925 The Denver Foundation has supported local communities through philanthropic action and in partnership with local philanthropists. In 2015, Denver philanthropists Joyce and Kenneth Luff created The Jim Bye Memorial Fund at The Denver Foundation with two goals in mind:

•      To unify the communities of Globeville, Elyria and Swansea (GES) in Metro Denver
        and to represent the concerns and needs of those communities as the residents
        themselves identify

•      To honor the memory of their friend and mentor, local attorney James E. Bye, who
        supported community activities in GES during his lifetime.

Residential realities in Globeville-Elyria-Swansea

The history of the GES communities is a troubled one involving significant environmental pollution from long-time industrial operations, changing racial and ethnic demographics, and an extremely low income population. The area is bisected by the railroad and the Platte River, overshadowed by I-70, and has poor access to public transportation. It is both a food desert (without substantial sources of fresh food for at least a five-mile radius) and a food swamp (overrepresented with fast food and convenience store offerings of high-calorie but low-nutrition value snacks). Diabetes and obesity are at crisis levels among young and old residents alike. In addition, although the National Western Stock Show is located in the area, it is not connected to the residents in the GES communities. As billions of dollars pour into the area through planned investments in the National Western Complex, a branch of the CSU Veterinary School, the I-70 expansion from I-25 to Colorado Boulevard, and expansion of light rail, the community and its residents stand to reap little economic benefit.

Community Assets in GES

Despite these challenges, the GES communities have significant assets, including engaged community centers, vibrant churches, the outstanding Valdez Perry Library, active parents connected to schools with educational leaders, and a health clinic that provides medical and educational services in a multi-lingual setting. Also, since 1998, The Denver Foundation has provided support in GES via grants from the Strengthening Neighborhoods Program, which provides grassroots grants to help communities improve from the inside out.

The Luffs themselves have had a long-term commitment to GES through funding a health services clinic in Swansea for over a decade. Given their personal interest, these community assets, and the looming decade of change and construction, the Luffs committed to partnering with The Denver Foundation to identify and support resident-led programs in Globeville, Elyria, and Swansea. They do this work in memory of Jim Bye, who was also deeply involved in supporting the GES community.

Established in February 2015, The Jim Bye Memorial Fund has made the following initial grants:
•      To Clinica Tepeyac for health & medical programs
•      To The GrowHaus for convening and planning around food access
•      To El Sistema for music education at Garden Place and Swansea Elementary Schools, and at
        Bruce Randolph Middle and High School

For information about community convenings, resident engagement, and possible funding partnerships email jimbyefund@denverfoundation.org

James E. Bye
1930-2007

Jim Bye was a local attorney who committed himself to his family and to his community. A brilliant professional and an extraordinary mentor, Jim was a quiet but active philanthropist who invested his “time, talent, treasure, and testimony” to help others and improve life broadly in the community. During his lifetime, Jim was honored by The Denver Foundation , the Mile High United Way, the Volunteers of America, and The Boy Scouts of America, to name just a few. Predeceased in 2006 by his beloved wife, Pat, Jim was survived by his children, Anne Bye Rowe of Denver, who is a member of the Denver Public Schools Board of Education, and David Bye of the San Francisco Bay Area. Jim leaves a legacy of dedication, vision, generosity, and friendship, as evidenced by the Luff family commitment to support community change in his name. Ken and Joyce Luff share their gratitude for Jim's influence in their lives: "Jim guided us to The Denver Foundation and by example nurtured us to community giving of time and resources to those less fortunate."