Growing Home

We envision the community working together so all kids and families have a place to call home, food on the table, and the opportunity to pursue their dreams. By giving both generations in each family intensive support, we help struggling families find long-term success.

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Dolores Ramirez, Chief Program and Impact Officer
Start Date: 2016

Dolores Ramirez is the Chief Program and Impact Officer at Growing Home. Her responsibility is to oversee programs and program personnel related to a pipeline of services for children ages 0-9. She ensures competitive, evidence-based service delivery by providing exceptional program staff management, program oversight, evaluation, reporting, and continuous improvement. Ms. Ramirez previously served as the Manager of Early Childhood Initiatives, and as a Family Support Specialist.
During her professional career, Dolores has dedicated her work to serve communities in need. From guiding high-risk adolescents involved in drug use, to families and young children living in poverty. Dolores has made it her passion to advocate for underserved communities facing disparities by addressing social determinants of health.
Ms. Ramirez earned a bachelor's degree in communications as well as a certificate in Public Relations from the University of Colorado at Denver, and is currently taking a master's level class at the CU Business School at UCD. She has also been the recipient of a scholarship to participate in the 2017 Hispanic Chamber Aspiring Leaders Program.

Pell Fender, Chief Development Officer
Start Date: 2017

Pell Fender, Development Director, joined Growing Home in early 2015. Pell has 37 years of experience as a fundraiser, working in education and homelessness. Most recently he served as Colorado International School's part-time development director. He holds two degrees from Stanford University, has taught in the California community college system, and spent six years in the wine business.

Anita Deshommes, CFO, COO
Start Date: 2017

Anita Deshommes, MBA, BSW, CFO & COO, has worked in the non-profit/human services field for 15 years. With 11 years of financial management experience in both non-profit and private sectors, Anita brings knowledge and fiduciary expertise to the organization, along with her MBA from Colorado State University. Anita is on her 12th year with Growing Home. Previously, she was responsible for managing operations for a health care revenue recovery organization with a multi-million dollar budget. Anita has shown a life-long commitment to working with diverse groups and individuals. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Haiti, she implemented a micro-credit program to help locals. She has worked with victims of torture as a cultural broker and speaks and writes advanced level Haitian Creole.

Karen Fox Elwell, CEO and President
Start Date: 2018

Karen Fox Elwell is a licensed social worker with a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development from Tufts University and a Masters in Social Work and Masters in Business Administration from the University of Denver. Karen has more than sixteen years of experience working with diverse populations to equip them with vital skills for future success. Karen began her career facilitating youth development programs in Massachusetts and then in Paraguay as a Peace Corps volunteer. During her Peace Corps service, she established the first public library in her community and became fluent in Spanish.
Over the past eight years, Karen has honed her management and leadership skills while serving in senior leadership roles at Mi Casa Resource Center. As Mi Casa's Director of Youth & Family Development, she significantly increased the organization's impact on young people and their families by doubling the resources and staff of the department. As Mi Casa's Vice President of Programs & Integration, Karen led the organization's efforts to implement a holistic, integrated service delivery model that helps low-income entrepreneurs and job seekers advance their economic success and ultimately break the cycle of poverty. Under her leadership, Mi Casa has become a nationally recognized leader in youth & family development, career development, and small business development.
Karen is excited to get started and said, "I am looking forward to working with Growing Home's Board of Directors and staff to build upon the strong foundation and lead the organization through its next chapter. I look forward to leading the organization in delivering impactful programs that improve the lives of children and families as well as advocating for systemic change to address the root causes of poverty. My goal is to make Growing Home a model organization that others will want to emulate."


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Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.