Local planning efforts to establish a resource collaborative as a local intermediary were initiated in 1994 by the El Paso Community Foundation, through its long-standing partnership with the Ford Foundation. By October 1995, these efforts resulted in the El Paso Collaborative for Community and Economic Development (the Collaborative): a partnership among local foundations, financial institutions, utility companies, private corporations, governmental institutions, local businesses and community-based organizations. This collaborative effort resulted from the uniform acceptance of the critical need for investment in the community social and economic needs of El Paso’s neighborhoods. The El Paso Collaborative initial’s mission was to build the capacity of local community development corporations (CDCs) by providing core operating support and technical assistance.

Dwindling resources for this activity led to the Collaborative’s redefining its role to that of administrator of wealth-creation programs that benefit low- and moderate-income households. In late 2003, the Collaborative’s Board of Directors revised the organization’s mission statement.