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48 Miles on a Purple Stallion - a Story by Groundwork Denver Director of Youth Programs, Joseph Cordova

the project

Groundwork Denver is raising funds to buy a 12- passenger van for our youth. This van will be used to transport youth on our Green Team to project sites across the Denver metro area and to explore natural areas outside of city limits, such as Colorado’s amazing state parks, Rocky Mountain National Park, or other sites in the mountains. Through the Green Team, Groundwork Denver provides paid job training and leadership opportunities for local youth to work on community-initiated solutions to community-identified health and environmental challenges. The program works with low-income youth of color and was developed in direct response to a community-identified need for youth jobs, leadership development, and support in addressing environmental health concerns.

the steps

October – December 2021: monitor the vehicle market, and when the time and price are right, purchase a van!

January 2022: Own a van and begin transporting our youth outdoors!

why we're doing it

People who love the outdoors often take for granted the ability to get there. Groundwork Denver believes that everyone deserves the right to enjoy the outdoors, whether within the bounds of our city or in our beautiful Rocky Mountains. Our Green Team youth often come from lower-income backgrounds and may lack personal means of transportation to project sites. Further, significant public transportation barriers to outdoor experiences make access to transportation alternatives vital; public busses and other low-cost transportation often do not service parks, waterways, and other outdoor spaces.

For the last few years, we have been renting vans as needed, but now we are growing too big to do that anymore. We need reliable, safe transportation that we can take across town and up the mountains. By purchasing a van to meet all transportation needs year-round, we will ensure each team member’s ability to attend, work for, and learn from the program. The purchase of one van will secure our transportation needs for the foreseeable future, enabling Green Team members to gain valuable employment experience for a potential future career while improving Denver’s public and natural spaces for all.


Disbursed Budget 11.9.21: 

All $8,879.38 will go towards our original budget of $50,000. We have raised $40,846.00 in offline donations to reach our total goal. 

TOTAL RAISED = $9,154.00
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $274.62

Original Budget: 

Total Budget Needed: $50,000

Budget Breakdown:

  • Purchase of new van: $30,000

  • 1 year of maintenance and operations: 

    • Fuel: $2,000

    • Repairs and Maintenance: $7,000 

    • Insurance: $10,000

    • Registration: $1,000

  • Offline donor match: -$11,000

Total Crowdfunded Budget Needed: $39,000

ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)

Please note: ioby fees are estimated and will be calculated based on totals at the end of the campaign.


48 Miles on a Purple Stallion - a Story by Groundwork Denver Director of Youth Programs, Joseph Cordova

This story begins years ago, in the city of Sheridan as a young 19-year-old Joe Cordova wakes up just before 5 am for work. Why so early you ask? Joe wakes up early to begin the first half of his 48-mile daily commute from home to work at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge (RMA). It takes about 3 hours, 2 trains, 2 busses, 2 bike rides and 24 miles each way. Every day, each day, for months on end! This may sound like an unbearable journey for some, but for me, Joe, this was simply a routine, as I had been walking, busing, biking, and doing whatever I must to get to work since I was 14.  

So daily I would wake up early, eat a quick bowl of instant oatmeal and rush out the door without a minute to lose. I quickly learned that RTD busses wait for no one! This commute was always difficult but with practice, lessons learned and a trusty 10-speed this young man was up for the challenge. After all, how many people can say they have ridden their bikes through one of the most beautiful open spaces in the state to get to work? (Trick question at the time the RMA was closed to bicyclists, and I was the only one able to ride through as an employee) 

However, on one specific morning, I was in for quite a surprise. As I walked out the door of the “stable” A.K.A my mom’s garage I noticed a big problem…. a flat tire. With no spares or pumps in sight, I walked to the corner store to use the air pump. To my dismay the flat was unrepairable. What was I to do? Lie on the ground and contemplate life? Call for help? Miss work? No. I knew I had to do what I signed up for. After all, to be able to work at the RMA as an intern for Groundwork Denver was a dream come true. I was able to operate and maintain tractors, teach students in local schools about bison, feed the ferrets and even participate in wildland firefighting!  

So, as I weighed out my options while speed walking home, I knew there was no one to help as my mom was already off to work as well. As I paced through the yard looking for another bike, spare tube, anything, I found my answer. A brand-new single gear shiny purple and green bicycle my little sister had gotten a week earlier. So, there I was, a face full of sweat, legs burning, in boots and thick double layer Carhartt work pants to make everything even more comfortable, riding through Denver on my little sister's “Purple Stallion”. 

Even though my mind was flustered, and my body tired I arrived at the wildlife refuge with a soaked shirt and a smile. Not only did I do what seemed impossible, but I wasn’t late. And to top that off I was laughing at the idea of the people, whose coffee hadn’t even had the chance to kick in yet, seeing this young man in full work gear riding viciously on a tiny purple bicycle.  All through the city, on the bus, and through the refuge. All that, just to work a full 8 hours and do it over again! Unfortunately for me, the trusty “Purple Stallion” got a flat on the way home.  

Though this story may be a great laugh and, unfortunately for me, very true, I didn’t just write this story for the sake of amusement. I wrote this story to shed light on what it’s like for many youths who work at Groundwork Denver who must get themselves to work every day. Not every family can afford a car, bicycle or even bus passes. Therefore, I am asking for your donations to buy a van for Groundwork Denver so our youth can have safe and reliable transportation to be able to complete more community projects, go on more trips and not have to ride their little sister’s bike to work!  

So please if you are able to give, share and spread awareness of our crowdfunding campaign, myself, Groundwork Denver, and little sisters who are missing their bikes would very much appreciate it! 😊 

Thank you!  

- Joseph Cordova 

Quick Storytime

Hello Everyone,

We are 4 days into our 10 Days of 10k event, and we have raised almost $1,500. This is awesome progress and has re-energized us to work even harder to get to our goal!

We wanted to share a brief story that happened recently that reminded us of the reason why we are working on this campaign and the importance of purchasing a van for GWD's youth programs. 

This past weekend, Groundwork Denver spent one-morning tabling at an awesome event held at a local urban farm, and 2 of our Aurora Green Teamers came to join us. They helped spread GWD's mission, connect with community members, and were all-around splendid company. However, as we were sitting and chatting to pass the time, one of the youth members, Vital, mentioned that more of his fellow Green Teamers had planned on coming to the event, but were unable to because of transportation complications.

It felt like an incredibly tangible example of the reason why this campaign is so vital to our organization. For many of our youth's families, reliable transportation is difficult to come by. These families work very hard, and don't always have time to spare to drive their kids to events. Not to mention, some of our youth are as young as 13 years old, and don't even have the capacity to drive by themselves. 

Transportation acts as a barrier and keeps our youth teams from attending and experiencing all that GWD has to offer. Because of these difficulties, Groundwork Denver has made a pledge to meet all transportation needs of our youth team communities, and owning our own van would get us one step closer to achieving this goal. 

So please take a second and read through our campaign, learn a bit about us, why we're raising the money, and if you connect with us and want to give, do so in the next 6 days and make 2x the impact!

Thanks for the ongoing support, we couldn't do it without you!


10 Days of 10k

We are officially 1 week into our crowdfunding campaign and have raised nearly $3,000! We want to graciously thank all of our donors and those who have shared and supported our project, we couldn't be doing this without you.

We are entering an exciting new phase of our campaign, our 10 Days of 10k Celebration! Thanks to a generous offline donor, Groundwork Denver has attained a $10,000 match! This is huge news, and we are so excited to work towards this match with you all.

This means that for the next 9 days, until September 30th, every single donation will be 2x matched until we reach that $10,000. This means that if you donate $50, GWD will receive $100! So if you are looking to make an impact in your community, these next 9 days are the time to do it.

Join us in supporting GWD's youth teams, and purchasing a van for one of the most vital programs in our organization. 


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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