Thanks for your interest in Intercambio: Uniting Communities! Intercambio was born in 2000 from a desire to help immigrants in Boulder County improve their quality of life. My friend, Shawn Camden, and I initially addressed this need by providing English classes that would help bridge the gap between immigrants and non-immigrants. In the beginning, we ran the organization out of my basement.
We soon learned that the language was not the only barrier — immigrants expressed feelings of deep loneliness and alienation. In order to help with the difficult cultural transition, we hosted events and gatherings to build a sense of community, and to give back to Boulder County.
Here’s a brief timeline of how Intercambio transformed from an idea to a real organization providing opportunities for hundreds of immigrant families and for the volunteers who teach them.
Timeline of Major Events
October: Shawn Camden and Lee Shainis hatch the idea of Intercambio
January: Becomes official under a fiscal sponsor
May: Receives funding from City of Boulder Office of Human Rights
June: Expands classes into Lafayette and Longmont
September: Receives NOVA award in education from the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County
October: First intercultural La Fiesta draws a diverse crowd of 1,300 people!
January: Separates from fiscal sponsor to become independent 501(c)(3)
September: Opens doors to serve immigrants from all countries, not just Latin American countries
March: Opens second office in Longmont
March: Receives Champions of Diversity Award from YWCA
April: Buys an office condo in Boulder
May: Completes drafts of 6 interactive, life skills-based English books
June: Intercambio Denver affiliate begins
August: Receives Boulder County Business Report’s IQ Award for innovative nonprofit
September: Receives Nonprofit Business Citizen of the Year Award
March: Receives Leadership in Inclusiveness Award from the Mile High Red Cross
April: Publishes The Immigrant Guide: What Every Immigrant Needs to Know guidebook and launches www.livingintheus.org/ website
Runner-Up for 2010 Best Non-profit Organization in Boulder County – People’s Choice Award
Partnerships Award – Boulder Housing Partners
Trains 320 professional teachers nationwide to train volunteer teachers and use The Immigrant Guide: What Every Immigrant Needs to Know to teach laws and discuss cultural differences
Rolls our donor database and revenue-generating activities in Sales Force database
Distributes over 20,000 copies of The Immigrant Guide: What Every Immigrant Needs to Know
Shares the Intercambio model with communities in Michigan, Georgia, Missouri, Rhode Island, California, Oklahoma and Arizona
Rebrands the organization with an updated name (changed from Intercambio de Comunidades to Intercambio: Uniting Communties) and launches new logo
Completes first two levels of our revised and improved English curriculum
You can help Intercambio’s mission to build understanding, respect and friendship across cultures through educational and intercultural opportunities. Visit our Volunteer and Donate pages for more information. Thanks for your support!
Executive Director, Intercambio: Uniting Communities
Author, The Immigrant Guide