Archive for September, 2017

Community First Foundation’s Noah Atencio Receives Award for Creative Grantmaking

  • September 27, 2017
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We are pleased to share the exciting news that Noah Atencio, Vice President of Community Impact at Community First Foundation, was awarded the 2017 Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking. Check out the announcement below for more information.

COUNCIL ON FOUNDATIONS TO AWARD NOAH ATENCIO OF COMMUNITY FIRST FOUNDATION WITH 2017 ROBERT W. SCRIVNER AWARD FOR CREATIVE GRANTMAKING

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2017
Arlington, VA

The Council on Foundations announced today that Noah Atencio, Vice President of Community Impact for the Community First Foundation in Arvada, Colorado, will receive the 2017 Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking.

Established in honor of the late Robert Winston Scrivner, the award honors an innovative grantmaker who, with a combination of vision, principle, and personal commitment, makes a critical difference in a creative way. Atencio, who was selected by a review committee from a highly competitive field of entries, will be presented with his award in New York City on Tuesday October 10, at a special luncheon in his honor, hosted by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. As part of the award, he will receive a $10,000 prize.

“It’s so important that philanthropists are continually innovating, so that we are not just responsive, but we’re anticipating the rapidly evolving circumstances around us,” stated Vikki Spruill, President and CEO of the Council on Foundations. “That’s why the Scrivner Award is so important. It helps us not just recognize and celebrate excellence in creative problem solving, it serves as a model that inspires more of the same.”

Atencio leads Community First Foundation’s grantmaking, which includes addressing the complex and fragmented mental health field in the Denver region. Recognizing that prevention and early intervention strategies were underfunded and outcome measurement difficult, Atencio saw there were opportunities to curate innovative and impactful work among existing nonprofits in the region. His nomination was based on his leadership in the creation and promotion of The Innovators Society, which funds promising, but not yet proven, approaches to mental wellness. Atencio’s efforts have led to measurable growth of five mental wellness innovations in the Denver area, and the creation of a 512-member network committed to accelerating new solutions for mental wellness.

“As a grantmaker and as a leader, Noah exemplifies the values and spirit of Robert Scrivner,” said Marla J. Williams, president and CEO of the Community First Foundation. “His launch and development of The Innovators Society demonstrates a courageous departure from traditional grantmaking. His creative approach will continue to have a deep impact on mental health and wellness in the Denver area.”

The October luncheon will include a discussion on creative grantmaking featuring past Scrivner winners Geri Mannion (2009 recipient, Carnegie Corporation of New York), Taryn Higashi (2009 recipient, Unbound Philanthropy); Theophilus Gregory (2012 recipient, El Pomar Foundation) and Shelley Trott (2014 recipient, Kenneth Rainin Foundation).

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About the Council on Foundations
An active philanthropic network, the Council on Foundations (www.cof.org), founded in 1949, is a nonprofit leadership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. It provides the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance and sustain their ability to advance the common good. With members from all foundation types and sizes, the Council empowers professionals in philanthropy to meet today’s toughest challenges and advances a culture of charitable giving in the U.S. and globally.

About Community First Foundation
Since 1975, Community First Foundation has been helping generous donors and innovative nonprofits come together to improve the quality of life and create positive change in Jefferson County, the Denver metropolitan area and beyond. It serves as a connector, partner, collaborator and resource to fuel the power of community for the greater good. The Foundation is proud to use its energy, leadership and trusted stewardship of financial resources to energize giving across Colorado, strengthen nonprofits, support donors and find new ways to address community needs. For more information, visit CommunityFirstFoundation.org.

Finding Peers and Meaningful Connections

  • September 15, 2017
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Since starting at Colorado Association of Funders in May, I’ve had a difficult time explaining to politely interested friends and relatives what it is that I do. The best approach I’ve found thus far is to describe it in levels. “There is the community,” I begin, “and nonprofits support the community. Foundations support the nonprofits, and we, Colorado Association of Funders support the foundations.” All of this is accompanied by elaborate hand gestures. Most people smile, nod, and do not ask follow-up questions.

Mari Tanabe, Program and Membership Manager

 So, imagine my relief when I attended the United Philanthropy Forum conference in July. The conference attendees are all staff members at other regional associations (think Colorado Association of Funders but in other states or regions of the country) and national philanthropy-serving organizations. For three days, I was with people who understood perfectly what I do because they themselves do it, too. And so the conversations got deep. They got creative and constructive. We were able to dive into the nitty-gritty of our jobs and to talk big-picture strategy and approach. The people I met at the conference understood the challenges I was facing and helped me brainstorm solutions. They also pointed out new opportunities I hadn’t considered.

 I sense a similar energy during Colorado Association of Funders’ peer and affinity group meetings; attendees have a chance to connect with people who do or fund what they do. There are groups for CEOs and executive directors, community foundation CEOs, human resources and operations professionals, and executive admin staff. There are also peer groups where individuals convene around a shared topic: the Impact Investing Forum, the Early Childhood Funders Network, and the Funders Learning Network on Early Childhood Mental Health.

 The peer and affinity groups convene in person and over the phone anywhere from three to ten times each year. Some groups bring in speakers to stay informed on relevant issues. Others use the meeting time for informal questions of one another: Has anyone else experienced x? How are you all approaching y and z? Some groups are developing shared theories of change and others use the meeting time to update each other about recent initiatives.

 In all these different formats, I sense amongst the meeting attendees the feeling I felt at the United Philanthropy Forum conference: I’m not alone. It’s great to know you have peers who can support you in your work. If you’d like to learn more about CAF’s peer groups and how to get involved, please contact me at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Responding To Hurricane Irma

  • September 12, 2017
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“After taking a destructive path through the Caribbean, Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys on Sunday afternoon. It will continue to wreak havoc as it moves through the state of Florida. States of Emergency has also been issued in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. An incredibly powerful storm, its full impact has yet to be realized.”

Colorado Association of Funders’ national network, United Philanthropy Forum, has compiled a list of responses, news items, resources and programming for philanthropy in response to Hurricane Irma. Click here to see the list.

Florida Philanthropic Network has also compiled a list of ways to serve, ways to give, and disaster philanthropy resources here.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Council on Foundations, and the Southeastern Council on Foundations are hosting a webinar on Thursday, September 14 at 1:00pm MT titled Hurricane Irma: What Funders Should Know. More information about joining the webinar is available here.

Finally, the Disaster Philanthropy Playbook  is a compilation of philanthropic strategies, best practices and lessons learned that have saved and galvanized local economies, nonprofits, and vulnerable populations from entering into a permanent downward spiral in the wake of a disaster.