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Amanda Blaurock Village Exchange Center

Amanda Blaurock

Co-Founder & Executive Director

Village Exchange Center

Location: Aurora

Founded: 2017

Industry: Nonprofit

As a lawyer and a person raised in a low-income, multi-faith and multi-ethnic household, Amanda Blaurock saw a massive need in the United States to create an inclusive safe place of belonging for refugees and immigrants. She saw an opportunity to create a nonprofit with her stepfather who was a former monk and first-generation Mexican American. And so, she took this opportunity and together, they launched the Village Exchange Center after successfully receiving the donation of St. Matthew Lutheran Church.

The Village Exchange Center is a community center and multi-faith worship space that celebrates religious and cultural diversity by creating an inclusive environment where residents from all backgrounds can practice, interact, share and develop together. The nonprofit’s mission is to assist the immigrant and refugee population to feel empowered to use their existing strengths and unique perspectives to enrich the city’s diverse and inclusive community.

Under Blaurock’s leadership, the Village Exchange Center has grown to become a leader in the refugee and immigrant serving nonprofits in the Denver metro region and in Colorado generally. In its third year of inception, Blaurock led the organization to a $13.6 million income to serve the most marginalized communities.

The organization is in the second phase of its vision to become more vast outside of serving those who have requests for basic needs by strengthening workforce development. “Her vision is also about helping to share the stories of those who have come to this country through jungles, death, war-torn countries, and those who walked thousands of miles in search of hope and life resolution,” said her staff. “Humans connecting with other humans through honoring one another is a strong value for Amanda.”

As a mission-based leader, Blaurock is known for innovative risk-taking, creative problem-solving for complex societal challenges and fiscal accountability. Her efforts have been recognized by the Aurora Chamber of Commerce and the Woman’s Foundation. She was also chosen to be on a transition committee for Mayor Johnston as he came into office because of her on-the-ground knowledge of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

“I knew that transitioning into the nonprofit space, in a city I knew nothing about, would be a massive risk and require huge financial sacrifices for me,” said Blaurock. “However, the opportunity to be in service to others, and utilize my variety of skill sets in such a meaningful way, would be the most rewarding decision I have made in my life.”

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Did you know?

Through my work as a general council, I learned that getting to Yes is the key to success. I am a firm believer in the saying, “if there is a will there is a way.” I approach the needs of my team, the needs of those we serve, and those of our stakeholders as all deserving of a YES. By approaching work in this way, I encourage others around me to problem solve, persevere and to build the grit needed to push through difficult situations.


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