Seven years ago, I sat in my favorite coffee shop (Kaladi Bros near DU), highly caffeinated but perhaps more jittery by the excitement of the moment. My college friend, Joseph Teipel, and I were signing the paperwork to incorporate Revision International with the state of Colorado.
We were young - I was 25 and Joseph only 21 - and we had no business starting, well, a business. Coming out of college we both wanted our life's work to make a difference in the world.
Not seeing an organization that we wanted to work for, and not wanting to accept another unpaid internship, we did the logical thing - we started a nonprofit that represented our ideals and we set out to conquer the world! Failure seemed almost inevitable as we had no money and no idea of how to run an organization. However, both of us embraced that we would make mistakes along the way. If we failed, we’d at least gain some valuable experience, right?
Today I am pinching myself at the realization that it is our 7th birthday - what an incredible experience it has been!
What began as a dream and an aspiration to create a new model of community development has slowly become a reality. Looking forward we see that we have a long way to go. But looking backwards at how far we’ve come, I am proud yet humbled by the journey.
It is with great excitement that today, on Re:Vision’s 7th birthday, we officially announce our biggest news to date - the City of Denver’s Office of Economic Development has awarded Re:Vision a $1.2M grant to acquire property for the future home of the Westwood Food Cooperative!
The Westwood Food Cooperative, located on Morrison Road, will be the first food cooperative in the country that vertically integrates low-income, urban food producers with value-added food processing and a retail food outlet. This community wealth building approach is truly unique as it creates a for-profit business, owned by the people growing the food, and then shares profits with the community it serves. Read more about it here.
You may have also recently noted our new logo. Earlier this year we went through a rebranding to emphasize the place-based community work of our organization. We decided to part ways with the International aspect (really it was in name only) and dig our roots deep into the Westwood and southwest Denver communities. Our new brand represents our evolution and maturation as an organization, reinforcing a bold vision on the horizon that is rooted in the most humbling element of all, the soil.
Over seven years we’ve have had many successes but also many failures too. At the end of the day, we are slowly making strides to turn around one of Denver’s most underserved communities and transform it into a model of health, self-sufficiency and resiliency.
Having been embedded in every step on this journey over the past seven years, I sometimes find myself looking down at my feet on the trail instead of looking up and appreciating the scenery. Today is a good reminder to be thankful of all the people that have helped Re:Vision along the way - donors, volunteers, friends, mentors, supporters, community members, board members, staff, interns, partners, even those people with whom we’ve had disagreements. It’s also a good reminder to stop once in awhile and celebrate.
Eric Kornacki, Executive Director and Co-Founder