The Gathering Place, A Refuge for Rebuilding Lives

A nonprofit organization

$173,407 raised

The Gathering Place (TGP) is Denver's only daytime drop-in center for women, transgender and nonbinary individuals, and their children who are experiencing poverty. With your generous support, TGP provides a support system that is crucial for those who seek to transform their circumstances. 

Every member's journey is different.

At The Gathering Place, all our members are seen as individuals—individuals that come to us at different stages of their lives and with different needs. Some of them struggle each night to find shelter. Others may take refuge in their cars, and others may have a home that they are working hard to keep. This means that some of the folx we serve come to us primarily for basic needs such as food, clothing, and access to wellness services, while others seek help to find a job, stable housing, and other long-term supports. 

Princess first came to TGP in 2017 to get diapers for her daughter. In 2020, she became pregnant with her youngest son, Bryant, and she started coming in more frequently to get help with rent and preparations for Bryant’s arrival. She was separating from her husband at the time, and she no longer had the stability of another income. 

Her case manager knew how stressed she was and helped her get ready for the challenge ahead. “It took the worry, the anxiety, the stress, everything off of me because this place literally prepared me for everything I might need. Bottles, clothes, socks, bibs, diapers…everything. A changing table! A stroller! A car seat!” 

With help from her case manager, Princess was able to obtain her own place in April 2022, and she has been regaining stability in both her and her children’s lives. 

Through our programming, we are able to meet our members where they are at and help them get to a better place no matter what stage of their lives they are in or what their needs look like. 

Mission

We are a community of safety and hope where positive relationships, choice, and essential resources transform lives.

Beliefs: We are guided by our belief in hope as an important change agent and we hold that hope for everyone. We believe deeply in the power of community and continue working to develop it. Our key values include recognizing individual strengths, building respect and trust, and offering acceptance unconditionally. While we refer to those we serve as "members," the generosity of our donors ensures that no fees are ever charged for our programs or services.

Background Statement

The Gathering Place (TGP) was founded in 1986 by two University of Denver, School of Social Work graduate students: Toni Schmid and Kathy Carfrae. While interning at homeless shelters in Denver, they observed that women and their children did not have a safe place to spend the day and instead spent their limited resources trying to meet their basic needs. Try as they might, women who were experiencing homelessness had little support for activities that would help them become self-sufficient, like finding a job or securing transitional housing. Through their observations, Schmid and Carfrae came to believe that women and children needed a safe place to go during the day. With a $6,000 donation, the two women started The Gathering Place in a small, one-room facility on Santa Fe Drive. Despite its initial size, The Gathering Place offered warmth, protection from the streets, and nutritious meals to women and children experiencing homelessness and poverty. At that time, women and children made up about 10% of Denver's homeless population and approximately 40 women a day visited TGP.

Tina Stein was the first employee at The Gathering Place. In 1986, Stein and her husband (a cab driver) were homeless and staying at a shelter, and when she had spare time she would come by TGP and help out. More than just becoming TGP's first employee, Stein was mother, auntie, sister, grandmother and inspiration for thousands in our TGP community. She remained at The Gathering Place as Director of Guest Services until her death in 2003. From her experiences with homelessness, she influenced - perhaps more than any other single person - TGP's philosophy. She often said that if we had nothing to give other than a safe place and our caring selves, people would still come and always need us. "We are here to do with, not for," Tina ingrained in the TGP philosophy.

As demand for services increased, The Gathering Place moved to an aging office building at 1535 High Street in 1990. The expanded space was adequate for the next decade, but demand still continued to grow. With much though, TGP leaders conducted a feasibility study to determine a solution to the growing space inadequacy. The study determined that tearing down the existing building and rebuilding at the same address was more cost effective than moving or remodeling. In August 2006, demolition and construction began on a new 28,800-square-foot building that was specifically designed to house TGP programs and to be a safe refuge for TGP members. From August 2006 to June 2007, The Gathering Place was temporarily housed at the Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Denver's Park Hill neighborhood. Construction on the new building was completed in September of 2007, and The Gathering Place moved back to 1535 High Street.

Not surprisingly, The Gathering Place has evolved with changes driven by increases in the number of people seeking assistance, intent to provide healthy lifestyle choices, member identified needs, eagerness to implement best practices, and of course, the pandemic. For example, the Education and Job Readiness Program was developed because TGP members recognized that they have education and skill gaps following the prolonged economic downturn and the Physical and Mental Health Program was developed to increase access to health care by bringing partner agencies and pro bono health professionals on site.

Organization Data

Summary

Organization name

The Gathering Place, A Refuge for Rebuilding Lives

other names

TGP

Year Established

1986

Tax id (EIN)

84-1021059

Category

Human Services

Organization Size

Large Organization

Address

1535 High Street
Denver, CO 80218

Service areas

Denver County, CO, US

Phone

303-321-4198

Other

303-996-9048

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