Initiative Image


The Initiative is a victim advocacy organization for people with disabilities who have experienced abuse and we specialize in domestic violence and women with disabilities. National Crime Victims Survey (NCVS) reported that the data demonstrate that women with disabilities are 40% to 90% more likely to become victims of crime, specifically abuse than able-bodied individuals in general. Furthermore, domestic violence and disability are two leading causes of homelessness in our community as 70% of the clients are homeless women with children. The Initiative honors all forms of disabilities and all forms of abuse to receive services.

In 2018, The Initiative provided free and confidential advocacy to 378 clients and 401 of their children. Additionally, The Initiative provided free educational presentations to 22 different service providers and groups from the criminal justice system to address systemic and cultural barriers for people with disabilities. This was successfully completed with a small budget and 4 staff members. Through the Direct Service and Outreach programs; The Initiative strives to support and empower survivors as they overcome barriers to safety. The Initiative is the only organization in Colorado, and one of a few in the United States, providing the specialized services that are so critical to abuse survivors with disabilities.

Unfortunately, The Initiative faced  a serious challenge this past winter.

The 23-year-old nonprofit had outgrown its 1,200-square-foot -space near downtown Denver. With the old lease about to expire, the nonprofit faced the possibility of making do with an unpredictable month-to-month lease and too little space. Worse yet, the real estate broker in charge of finding a new spot for an organization that serves hundreds of homeless women and children, had vanished.

“I felt incredibly stressed and wasn’t sure if we had to settle for temporary office space or had to stay in our space for another year,” said Ashlee Lewis, the nonprofit’s executive director Lewis said  “Then we met Ellory Read from Benchmark Commercial and she was our hero! Ellory was very kind professional, who prioritized us with our time restraints and had the patience of an angel that showed us many, many properties until we found the perfect one for us. The new office space is spacious, modern, and beautiful with all the features that we were seeking, at a great location, with unlimited free parking. Ellory also negotiated a great rate for us for the remainder of this year, which allows us time to work towards collecting more funds to cover our rent for the upcoming year. Ultimately at the end, because of the impeccable service that Ellory provided, this move was not stressful at all. We are so grateful to Ellory for providing such great customer service and ultimately at the end, we have made a friend and a lifelong realtor as we keep growing.”

The Initiative had sought a much larger space and needed a building that came with a kitchen and with unlimited parking.

“Ellory was so patient with our needs,” Lewis said. “She made everything so easy for us.”

Read, , an Associate Broker and a creative thinker with experience assisting nonprofits, also worked out a favorable lease that allowed the nonprofit to move into a 2,800-square-foot space on March 1. The deal came with a reduced rental rate until the end of the year. The savings meant a lot and provided sufficient time for the nonprofit’s team to apply for grants to cover a rent increase set to start Jan. 1 2020.

“It was such a pleasure working with The Initiative to help them find their new beautiful office space,” Read said. “The work they provide for persons with disabilities that are victims of abuse is so important.  This non-profit has a big and successful future ahead; finding them a new office space was fun and rewarding!”

For additional information about The Intiative, visit


Amazon Moves to Downtown Denver

Denver may have lost out on a well-publicized national contest to become home to a second headquarters for Amazon, but the most valuable company in the world clearly likes what it sees in the Denver market.

The Seattle-based business giant plans to expand its footprint in downtown Denver.

The company expects to hire 400 high tech jobs, which range from software and hardware engineering, cloud computing, and advertising.

The new hires will be work in Amazon’s new 98,000 square foot office located at Invesco’s 1515 Wynkoop LEED Platinum building in Denver’s LoDo neighborhood.

When coupled with current Amazon jobs at the company’s Boulder campus, the move will more than double Amazon’s current tech workforce in the Denver area.

 “I’m so excited that Amazon is adding 400 more jobs in Colorado. We have a terrific workforce that continues to attract the ideas and businesses that thrive in a knowledge-based economy and we are a great place to do business,” Governor Jared Polis(D-Colorado) said, according to a recent press report. “Amazon’s current Colorado presence spans from distribution centers to robotics, corporate and operations. It’s wonderful to see their continued investment in our community.”

“We’re excited to continue to grow and invest in the Denver area,” Dave Wood, Site Lead for Amazon’s Denver Tech Hub, told a local Denver news station. “Our new office will offer our teams the convenience of a downtown location with an array of outdoor adventures just up the road.”

Amazon has invested over $1.5 billion in Colorado over the last three years, including infrastructure, compensation and Whole Foods Market, according to a recent Business Wire release. The company estimates that these direct investments in the state contributed more than $1 billion to Colorado’s economy from 2016-18. The moves also generated over 8,000 jobs.

Amazon also opened its first Denver-area bookstore in March.

Amazon Books, located at 2787 E. 2nd Ave. in Cherry Creek, is the company’s 19th bookstore across the country. The 4,000-square-foot store will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In addition to its downtown offices, Amazon recently expanded its Colorado footprint with the opening of fulfillment warehouses in Aurora and Thornton.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Denver,” said Jeff Mason, Benchmark Commercial’s co-founder. “This is great news for business growth, and an important sign that Denver is attracting the best of the best. It’s great to see an international company invest in our city and continue to expand their business, along with growth and opportunity for Denver.”

Denver’s Evolution From Cowtown To Budding Global Powerhouse

Not so long ago, Denver was known as a “Cowtown,” hindered by a dull and dormant city center, an aging airport, and an arcane economy tied to the boom and bust cycles of the oil and gas industry.

Those dusty days are long gone. Denver’s downtown is now thriving, with a skyline decorated with construction cranes on nearly every corner.

National and international companies are flocking to The Mile High City as Denver’s resurrection builds momentum.

There are plenty of reasons for Denver’s emergence on the global stage. It’s not just about the scenery and mountains  When one factors in a well-educated employment base, high-level universities, and a Rocky Mountain backdrop, it’s easy to see why companies see Colorado as an up-and-coming player on the international stage.

Reasons Denver can compete globally:

  1. The best large airport in the U.S, according to The Wall Street Journal
  2. The second best place to live in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.
  3. The number one state for labor supply, according to Forbes.
  4. The 5thbest city for working women, according to Magnifymoney
  5. The 6thbest desirable city for Millennials, according to Meyers Research.
  6. The 3rdbest large city to start a business, according to Wallethub.
  7. The 5thbest city for job growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The data does not lie,” said Jason Bollhoefner, a Partner with Benchmark Commercial.  “The research proves that Denver is on the map and part of the lexicon nationally and internationally.”

State organizations and leaders are doing their part to keep the economic engine roaring, with efforts to work with and lure international companies to Colorado.

A recent report from The Downtown Denver Partnership indicated that sales of downtown office buildings to national and international investors represented over 6 million-square-feet of space, worth about $2billion in value.


A recent report by The Denver Business Journal stated that from  2009 through 2018, 177 international companies from 34 countries invested in Colorado and completed 195 projects, created 7,215 jobs, and invested $2.1 billion in capital.  Companies that have recently announced expansion and relocation plans to the Front Range include: Amazon, Astroscale, AveAxis, Karcher North America, KPMG, PD Aerospace, and VF Corporation.

“The entire team at Benchmark Commercial is excited to serve our clients and conduct business worldwide,” Bollhoefner said. “ We making exciting strides to streamline portfolio requirements across the globe.  It’s increasing common for our clients to have offices in major markets across international borders and Benchmark  Commercial is dedicated to servicing our existing clients globally and to working with global firms requiring a Denver presence.”