The Denver-area nonprofit Jessie’s Homes for Families is one of a number of local initiatives focused on the needs of homeless families. Currently partnered with Colorado Coalition for the Homeless in the construction of a housing complex designated to serve homeless families in transition, Jessie’s Homes for Families aims to provide shelter, social service counseling and advocacy, and child care for parents while they seek work or reintegrate into the workforce. Some authorities estimate that today’s homeless families in the United States include more than 1.5 million children.
Homelessness takes a heavy toll on families’ physical, mental, and emotional health. Many remain invisible to the public and the media, as they live in their vehicles, double up with other low-income households to temporarily share living space, spend nights in campgrounds, or house children with relatives or friends to avoid taking them to homeless shelters.
Members of a homeless family may suffer from depression or emotional trauma that makes navigating existing social service networks difficult. Young children’s development may be delayed in numerous significant ways. And homelessness disrupts older children’s educations and makes it difficult for them to maintain friendships and self-confidence.
Thanks to organizations such as Jessie’s Homes for Families, Denver families struggling with homelessness now have an additional resource to help them regain their self-sufficiency and stability.
Rick Schaden, Consumer Capital Partners’ founder and chairman, has long served his Denver, Colorado, community as a supporter of organizations whose programs combat homelessness. In addition to receiving an award from California’s state legislature for his involvement in efforts to assist lower-income citizens, he earned a McKinney-Vento Award in acknowledgment of his advocacy for those coping with homelessness.
These awards are named in honor of the contributions made by two United States Congressmen who wrote the first, and to date the only, major legislation aimed at combating the problems associated with homelessness. President Ronald Reagan signed the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 into law shortly after McKinney’s death. A Republican representative from Connecticut, McKinney partnered with Minnesota Democrat Bruce Vento to create the law.
In its current state, and after amendments over the years specifically expanding the rights of homeless children, the McKinney-Vento Act promotes the education of all young people, regardless of their residential status. It requires each state to review the full extent of its policies and practices that affect homeless individuals and families, and to revise them to eliminate barriers that prevent access to free, public education.
Among Rick Schaden’s fellow recipients of the McKinney-Vento Award over the years are Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, Food Network star Sandra Lee, and writer Barbara Ehrenreich. The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty presents the awards.
Currently working with Jessie’s Homes for Families to construct temporary residences for homeless families in transition, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) has more than a quarter-century of experience as a community advocacy organization. Established in the mid-1980s, CCH is a nonprofit corporation focused on promoting legislative efforts to lower the rate of homelessness, safeguard the rights of homeless individuals, and support the growth of affordable housing for everyone.
CCH’s work over the years to blend housing, social services, and medical care into an easily accessible package has made a difference. Since CCH expanded its Stout Street Clinic in 1985, the organization has become the major source of medical care for homeless men, women, and children throughout the state. The clinic offers assistance to individuals coping with addiction and mental health conditions, fills prescriptions, operates a vision clinic, and assists with dental care. In 2012, the Coalition opened a new satellite location of the Stout Street Clinic in conjunction with a 101-unit building that provides a range of support services.
A few years ago, CCH partnered with the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force, which operated with the goal of reducing poverty by 50 percent over the succeeding decade. The task force assisted with the passage of eight legislative bills into law, including one that enhanced the capability of cities and developers to work together on affordable housing projects.
Supported through the generosity of businessman Rick Schaden and other members of its boards of directors and advisors, America’s Road Home (ARH), a nonprofit organization that works to end homelessness among the nation’s families, strives to fund programs connecting homeless families with the resources they need to become self-sufficient. ARH has lent its support to groups such as Urban Peak, which focuses on offering vital services to homeless and at-risk youth in Denver, Colorado, as well as Nexus C.A.R.E.S. in Dallas, Texas, which serves young women and girls trying to break habits of substance abuse.
ARH recognizes that the majority of today’s homeless individuals are people in family groups with young children. Affected by the serious economic downturn, they are people who have lost the ability to pay rent regularly and must often live in their vehicles or on the streets. Some sources estimate that more than 1.5 million children will experience homelessness in any given year in the United States.
America’s Road Home aims to work with government and nonprofit agencies to call attention to successful programs striving to end homelessness or alleviate its effects. Through a model of “causal capitalism,” ARH assists in fostering connections between donor funds and hundreds of organizations around the country that deliver direct services to families.
Smashburger, a leading fast-casual “better-burger” restaurant with more than 250 franchises, recently earned a sixth-place ranking on Forbes’ annual list of America’s Most Promising Companies. The list, which is in its third year, recognizes privately held companies with high growth and strong management and business models. Each year, Forbes chooses 100 companies for the list from hundreds of applications. The new list will appear in the February 2014 issue of Forbes.
“2013 was another strong year for Smashburger, and we are thrilled to be a part of Forbes’ annual list once again this year,” Scott Crane, Smashburger CEO, said in a press release. “The fast-casual industry has clearly resonated with the American consumer, and we are pleased to be recognized as the only fast-casual player on this list.”
Smashburger achieved a first-place ranking on the inaugural Forbes list, but it did not apply for the list the following year. The company has expanded worldwide and has plans to double its number of franchises in the next few years. Founded in 2007 on the vision of Rick Schaden of Consumer Capital Partners, Smashburger has a reputation for customized burgers, localized menus, and craft beers.
Three restaurants launched by Denver restaurant developers opened in January 2014 in the Los Angeles entertainment complex L.A. Live. Smashburger, Live Basil Pizza, and Tom’s Urban occupy most of the 24,000-square-foot space. ESPN Zone formerly operated in the location. Tom Ryan and Rick Schaden of Consumer Capital Partners, which created the three restaurants, told the Los Angeles Times that they wanted to introduce the three restaurant concepts to downtown Los Angeles and the tourists known for visiting L.A. Live for the sports and entertainment venues. The L.A. Live complex is across the street from the Staples Center and near several luxury hotels.
“We are big supporters of the resurgence of downtown Los Angeles,” Ryan told the newspaper. “We look for vital trade areas to open our restaurants, where people live, work, and play, and downtown L.A. is clearly moving in that direction.”
Smashburger and Live Basil Pizza offer customized menu items, and the L.A. restaurants will be some of the chains’ first in California. Tom’s Urban offers modern comfort food, and the L.A. location will be its second site in the United States.
Cities around the state of Colorado expressed interest in becoming a host city for the 2014 USA Pro Challenge, an annual cycling event that takes racers through the Rocky Mountains. The 2014 race will include a number of new additions to the event, including the first mountaintop finish, which will take place on Monarch Mountain at the end of Stage 3. So far, the host cities for the first six stages have been finalized. For the seventh and last stage, organizers have turned to fans for feedback about four potential options for starts and finishes in Golden, Denver, and Boulder. In addition, fans may vote for a Denver circuit race similar to the 2013 final stage.
The first stage of the 2014 event will consist of an Aspen circuit race, followed by a trek from Aspen to Mt. Crested Butte during the second stage. Stage 3 takes racers from Gunnison to Monarch Mountain, and Stage 4 involves another circuit race, this time around Colorado Springs. Stage 5 takes riders from Woodland Park to Breckenridge, and Stage 6 presents competitors with an individual time trial in Vail.
Customer loyalty programs are an effective way for restaurants to build a regular customer base. For a long time, businesses have offered cards and other means of tracking purchases for later rewards. Restaurants can take advantage of new technologies to more closely track customer activity and preferences.
While some may question the efficacy of loyalty programs, studies have shown that they effectively convert first-time diners into return customers and even encourage them to visit more frequently than they otherwise would. In addition, a rewards program often encourages individuals to spend more money than they typically would without the promise of rewards.
In addition, restaurants can request customers’ e-mail addresses and other contact information to publicize upcoming promotions through e-mail lists and social media. An instant boost in rewards points at the point of sale in return for providing contact information encourages customers to provide such information. It also creates a wide network for sharing information about new products and events.
A successful Denver businessman, Rick Schaden serves as the chief executive officer of Consumer Capital Partners, a firm that he co-founded. Through CCP, Richard E. Schaden has been actively involved with the operation of several businesses. Among these, Rick Schaden serves Smashburger as the chairman of its board of managers.
A popular better burger restaurant, Smashburger has expanded to 29 states since its inception in 2007. In total, more than 243 Smashburger locations exist around the United States, with new locations slated to open in Boston, Bethesda, and Los Angeles by the end of 2013.
Key to Smashburger’s success is the company’s ability to customize a menu for every market. The restaurant uses only fresh, never frozen, certified angus beef and local ingredients such as fresh cilantro, truffle mushrooms, applewood-smoked bacon, and artisan buns. Smashburger’s commitment to high-quality, fresh, locally sourced ingredients truly sets this fast, casual restaurant apart from the competition. In the spirit of Smashburger’s local offerings, each restaurant features a local craft beer. For dessert, customers can choose from a variety of hand-spun milkshakes made with Haagen-Dazs ice cream.
The co-founder and chief executive officer of Consumer Capital Partners in Denver, Rick Schaden focuses on helping small businesses grow efficiently and sustainably. Outside of work, Richard E. Schaden remains dedicated to giving back to the community. One of the organizations that Rick Schaden supports is America’s Road Home. This nonprofit organization distributes funding to local government programs and charitable organizations that provide services aimed at getting families struggling with homelessness into stable housing situations.
America’s Road Home provides for other organizations around the country. In Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado, Urban Peak draws funding from the organization to connect youths without a home to vital programming. In Dallas, Nexus C.A.R.E.S. uses funding to assist women dealing with substance abuse and their children through a unique treatment program. In Minneapolis, St. Stephen’s Human Services draws on the organization to connect individuals with housing opportunities, emergency services, and employment options. America’s Road Home also funds the Aromor Apartments, a 66-unit building for adults who were formerly homeless and their families.