In neighborhoods across Colorado, homes are being purchased, flipped, and sold for big bucks. That’s precisely what’s happening to a home in Cherry Hills Village… but with a “good cause” twist.
Last year, Nancy Fitzgerald bought a house on South Clermont Street and renovations started not long after.
“It’s going to be amazing when it’s all finished,” she told CBS News Colorado’s Kelly Werthmann.
Fitzgerald didn’t buy the house for herself, but rather to support The Butterfly Foundation.
“The Butterfly Foundation is my heart and soul,” she said. “It’s for whoever has had a tragedy in their life, and we give them a hand up, not a handout.”
Fitzgerald started the nonprofit years ago and it has helped numerous Colorado families in their time of need. Like a wife who lost her husband at war, Fitzgerald explained, or a family needing support paying their utility bills.
“We get them whatever they need physically, financially, spiritually, emotionally,” she said.
When architect Ron Wells learned of The Butterfly Foundation’s mission, he got an idea. “I could help here!” he joyfully said.
Using his expertise in home renovation, Wells is donating his time to help Fitzgerald flip the house on Clermont Street. When it sells, they said every penny made will go directly to the foundation.
“Why not share [my] talent with Nancy and have it be good? Have it result in somebody that needs help when they otherwise wouldn’t get it,” Wells said.
Somebody like José Guzmán.
“We didn’t expect that at all,” Guzmán said.
Last spring, Guzmán was diagnosed with bladder and kidney cancer. During his treatment, he couldn’t work for months and his job as a freelance videographer didn’t give him an opportunity to take paid leave. That left his wife and children without a steady income and left Guzmán feeling hopeless.
“After receiving so much bad news that year,” he said tearfully, “I almost started believing that there’s no more good news.”
But that all changed when a friend nominated him for a Butterfly Foundation grant. Guzmán got a call from Fitzgerald and was gifted $6,000 to help his family pay for medical bills and other needs.
“If I need something, I want something, I work for it. Nothing has ever been given to me, so it was a great surprise. It was exactly what our family needed,” Guzmán said as he choked back tears.
It is that life-changing difference that has Fitzgerald so passionate about growing her foundation’s impact.
“So passionate!” she proclaimed as tears fell from her eyes. “I love the work that we do. We really do change lives, and it’s all about Colorado and it’s all about Colorado families.”
Her passion is infectious. So much so that a general contractor and interior designer also jumped in to donate their time and skills to help Fitzgerald transform the house.
“I’ve not been shocked at all that Colorado businesses would step in and try to help out with something so wonderful as this,” she said. “This whole process, the butterfly effect, is paying it forward. That’s what we’re doing with this house and with my team.”
Much like the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly, the house will evolve this summer from a construction zone to a beautiful home. And in doing so, it will transform the lives of families across Colorado.
“It’s a labor of love… literally!” said Wells.
Fitzgerald said she hopes to flip at least one home every year to support the foundation. If you would like to pitch in or nominate someone to receive a grant from The Butterfly Foundation, visit: https://coloradobutterflyfoundation.org/.