Starting in 2002, we were founded as FRESC (Front Range Economic Strategy Center). Over the following decade, we built power for working families by advocating for living wages, fair benefits and community benefits in municipal-level policy campaigns. As FRESC, we passed a number of Denver municipal ordinances and created the Campaign for Responsible Development, a national model for winning community benefits agreements in redevelopment projects, piloted at the Gates Rubber factory and Denver Union Station.

Recognizing that in order to build permanent progressive power, FRESC needed to create campaigns rooted in community organizing and grassroots leadership development. Through conversations on people’s door steps, kitchen tables and living rooms, FRESC began to engage more deeply in the community, and developed a sharper analysis of the deep roots of systemic racism in Colorado. In 2014, FRESC formally centered Racial Justice in the work and a membership program was implemented to build permanent organizing infrastructure in 2016. In 2017, the organization transformed into UNE to more directly address racial and economic inequalities.

UNE is a 501(c)(3) organization governed by a Board of Directors with eight staff; all non-management staff members are represented by a union. Our home office is located in Commerce City with our work focusing in Adams County, especially Westminster, Commerce City and Aurora. Our members are primarily low-income, people of color (POC) and immigrant people, who have been consistently marginalized and most disproportionately impacted by social and economic oppression. We activate and mobilize our members to take action on the priorities identified by UNE’s membership as a whole.