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Head to Washington with us in March for annual Foundations on the Hill meetings

  • January 27, 2017
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#FOTH17 Registration Now Open

Join us in Washington as we visit our representatives in Congress for Foundations on the Hill (FOTH) on March 20 – 22, 2017 in Washington, DC!

FOTH brings together philanthropy leaders from across the country to DC for meetings with Congress about key issues of importance to foundations and philanthropy. FOTH is presented by the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, in partnership with the Alliance for Charitable Reform and Council on Foundations.

CAF is working to schedule meetings on Capitol Hill and organizing a delegation of Colorado foundation leaders to represent the sector as we discuss the work of Colorado philanthropy with members of Congress. You can view additional details on the event, including a schedule of events, on the FOTH 2017 webpage.

Foundations on the Hill is the one time each year when philanthropy speaks with a strong, collective voice on Capitol Hill. This will be more critical than ever for #FOTH17, which is scheduled just a few months after the start of a new administration and a new Congress. We need to ensure that Congress understands the value of philanthropy to our communities and our country, and to stress the importance of doing all that we can to encourage more charitable giving to benefit our communities — particularly as discussions of tax reform become more prominent in Washington.

Go here to register!


“You make a difference”: Remembering Sheila Bugdanowitz

  • December 9, 2016
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Sometimes you wish you could bottle up an experience and spread it everywhere. Rewind it and watch it again. Really absorb all the goodness and pass it on to others.6170683380_753fce98e2_o

This is how I felt driving away from an extraordinary funeral at Temple Emanuel on Tuesday afternoon. And this is how I feel now — sifting through old emails, jogging memories of my many brief encounters and long conversations with Sheila Rae Bugdanowitz. As her former communications guru Phil Nash said in a Facebook post this week: “It seemed like everyone who knew Sheila felt that their friendship was special . . . Her rich and complex life was guided by a simple one-word principle: Relationships.”

I had seen Sheila at events but really first met her in person when she greeted me for my interview for the Executive Director opening at Colorado Association of Funders. She was chairing the search committee and immediately hugged me and put me at ease in the lobby of the Gill Foundation before she took me back to meet with a dozen other CEOs who would be peppering me with questions, instead of the other way around.

Sheila was a go-to source years earlier when I was covering business and philanthropy at the Rocky Mountain News. I once called her to dish some personal details about her long-time friend Barry Hirschfeld for a profile I was writing about him. I remember her telling me about his collection of hundreds of “Swatch” watches and noting that he was always late to meetings anyway — even to everyone’s funerals. (For the record, he wasn’t late to your funeral Sheila. He arrived well ahead of schedule and sat in the front row.)

When I learned about Sheila’s sudden passing on Sunday from her good friend Linda Childears, my instant reaction was to weep. All I could think to write in reply in the moment was, “Sheila lived an amazing life. We’ll work to do our part to honor it. For now we cry.”

Entering the sanctuary for the Jewish service was more than cathartic for many of us. Retired Rabbi Steven Foster, who delivered the final remarks, talked about how Sheila made a difference in so many ways. The way to honor her — the way to move beyond grief — was to do the same. “You make a difference,” he urged all of us.

Sheila’s door was literally always open. And the answer to a request was almost always, “yes.” Except when it came to snow days. Rose Community Foundation hosted CAF’s offices for many years and we were privy to “all office” email blasts, weekly staff lunches and even Sheila’s famously personal holiday gifts. Whenever it snowed, however, you could almost always count on a 5:30 a.m. voicemail letting you know the office was open but to drive safely and take your time coming in. She worked hard.

Sheila put a high premium on family and friendship. When she learned of my husband’s Jewish heritage, we were invited to Passover at her home. My then eight-year-old scrawled a drawing for her on a huge piece of flip chart paper and it remained on her office door for weeks. Kids loved spending time at Rose. They were always welcome and they were always guaranteed unlimited access to the bowls of chocolates that Sheila wanted on all the conference and board room tables. Expecting moms could always count on exquisitely planned office showers. There were birthdays and wedding celebrations, going away parties and summer picnics.

There were obviously community issues to champion and tackle along the way in her work at Rose. Education, Early Childhood, Health, Aging and Jewish Life, among many others. And she was devoted to our work at CAF, whether it was as Board Chair, supporting and cheering on our advocacy work every step of the way, or taking on the challenge of chairing our Disaster Philanthropy Task Force and overseeing the long-term flood recovery fund. She assured me that, “If you (CAF) didn’t exist, we’d have to create you.”

Working down the hall from Sheila was a privilege and a blessing. Miraculously, it seemed you barely ever needed an appointment — if you could just catch her in her office. A quick hello often turned into an hour-long talk about life. It’s as Larry Mizel said when he related the story of Sheila informing him that women have 20,000 words they need to use every day. I used many of mine with Sheila over the years.

During one of those talks after both our moms had recently died, she gave me her copy of “Being Mortal.” Yes, we’re all mortal, but we also know that Sheila’s legacy lives on in so many ways. We’ll carry on in our work, but also in nurturing our personal relationships and making everyone feel special, while also wishing we could just have one more hug.

Sad news from Rose Community Foundation

Dear Friends of Rose Community Foundation,

On behalf of Rose Community Foundation’s staff and Board of Trustees, I am deeply saddened to share news of the unexpected death on Sunday, of our President and CEO Sheila Bugdanowitz.

Sheila has stewarded the organization since 1998. She embodied the Foundation’s values of philanthropy, justice and non-discrimination and its mission to make the Greater Denver community a better place. Her leadership shaped what Rose Community Foundation is today.

Sheila was legendary for her deep connections and relationships. She brought people together to make the community a better place for all and she dedicated her life to improving the world around her. We grieve the loss of her leadership and her warm and generous spirit, which echoes through the philanthropic community and the community as a whole.

I have appointed Chief Financial and Operating Officer Anne Garcia to serve as Interim President and CEO in order that the Foundation can continue its important work in the Greater Denver community, without interruption. Anne, the staff and the Trustees will ensure the Foundation continues to operate in the ways you have come to expect.

A funeral service in honor of Sheila’s life will be held Tuesday, December 6 at 1:00 p.m. at Temple Emanuel, 51 Grape Street.  More information regarding the service can be found here.

In accordance with her family’s wishes, gifts in Sheila’s honor may be made to Rose Community Foundation online or sent to 600 South Cherry Street, Denver, CO, 80246. You may also send notes or remembrances to Sheila’s family in care of the Foundation at the address above, to the attention of Todd Fahnestock.

Please join me and all the staff and trustees in keeping Sheila’s family in your thoughts and prayers in the days and weeks to come.


Jerry Glick

Chair, Board of Trustees

Rose Community Foundation

West Virginia responds to devastating floods

In response to the devastating floods in West Virginia, many friends, neighbors and leaders across the country are asking how they can help citizens and communities recover. Our colleagues at Philanthropy West Virginia have compiled a list of resources to volunteer, donate, and provide immediate and long-term recovery assistance.  Please see the Disaster Philanthropy Playbook for disaster recovery resources.

After Texas v. United States: What’s Next for Immigrants, Communities, and Philanthropy?

Following last week’s Supreme Court announcement, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) is organizing a one-hour national webinar for funders on Tuesday, June 28th, 10:00-11:00 a.m. PT/11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. MT / 12:00-1:00 p.m. CT / 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET.

We are partnering with our national network, The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers (Forum) and GCIR, to get the word out about this informational briefing for funders. (See details below.)

If you are a funder interested in learning more about the ramifications of the SCOTUS news for immigrants and their families, you can take part by signing up via the following registration link:

Our June 1 partners luncheon is almost full!

Join us for this popular event and annual networking luncheon. DU Business Ethics Professor Corey Ciocchetti will deliver a compelling keynote on “Living an Authentic Life” at our annual luncheon open to CAF members, nonprofits and other partners.

June 1, 2016

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Denver Public Library

The deadline to register is May 25. Please register here.

Engaged in Family Philanthropy? Don’t miss our Family Giving Symposium

  • April 21, 2016
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Barring another blizzard, we’re all set for our Family Giving Symposium on May 12.

Who should attend?

• Staff and trustees of family foundations

• Community foundation staff who work with donor families

• Donors with donor-advised funds at community foundations and family offices

Register for this special event today!

This symposium will help philanthropic families and those who serve them to:

• Understand trends that may challenge their decisions about governance, family engagement, and giving vehicles

• Uncover hidden assumptions about how they’ve historically structured their philanthropy, as well as hidden assumptions about its future success

• Learn how other families and foundations are evolving in their practices to succeed in both their philanthropic and family engagement purposes

• Take home tools and tips that help families discuss trends, challenges, and choices shaping their philanthropy

We’re bringing GEO to Colorado

The way your organization approaches its grantmaking can make the difference between pretty good performance and achieving the best possible results. CAF is bringing GEO to Colorado to lead its most popular half-day workshop based on extensive research into practices and principles of high-performing grantmakers. 

Smarter Grantmaking: Practices & Values that Drive Results
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
In developing this workshop, GEO found that grantmakers that most effectively support the success of nonprofits share similar traits. Explore the eight practices of “smarter grantmaking” and how to align values and culture to enhance your approach to supporting grantees. 
Register today to learn with your peers during this one-time local opportunity.
Location: The Colorado Trust, 1600 Sherman Street, Denver, CO 
Space is limited. Please register today!
Cost: $75
Breakfast will be served
Registration deadline: Monday, May 2, 2016

Will you join us at Foundations on the Hill?

We are putting together our delegation for this year’s trip to Washington to meet with our members of Congress to share stories about philanthropy in Colorado. PleaFOTH2016ad960x300FINALse let us know if you can join us April 12-13, 2016.

For more information, and to register, please visit the FOTH website.


Colorado Foundation Giving At Record High

Colorado Foundation Giving Hits Record High

Contributes to overall annual giving of more than $4 billion by Coloradans

DENVER – Giving by Colorado’s foundations reached a record $803 million in 2013, increasing 11 percent from the previous year and 150 percent over the past decade, according to a new report by Colorado Association of Funders, the statewide network of grantmakers. Combined with donations by individual Coloradans, annual charitable giving in Colorado totaled almost $4.2 billion.

“This is the time when Colorado’s charitable organizations depend on year-end donations of any amount, so it’s heartening to see that Coloradans continue to give,” said Joanne Kelley, Executive Director of Colorado Association of Funders. “We’re also pleased to report that overall foundation giving continues to expand to record levels after several bumpy years following the Great Recession.”

The 2015 report, produced in partnership with the Foundation Center in New York, provides an updated snapshot of the scope of charitable giving in Colorado.

Other findings in the data for 2013, the most recent year for which complete information is available:

  • Colorado is home to more than 1,350 grantmaking foundations supporting nonprofits and other social causes.
  • In 2013, Colorado-based foundations held more than $12 billion in charitable assets. Overall grantmaking rose to $803 million, up 11 percent from $724 million in the previous year. Over a 10-year period, giving by Colorado foundations has increased 150 percent from $321 million in 2003.
  • Colorado’s foundations distributed the largest share of their grant dollars to health (33 percent) and education (31 percent), followed by human services (11 percent).
  • Colorado foundation giving far outstrips giving by other states in the surrounding eight-state mountain region, with Nevada ($324 million) and Arizona ($281 million) ranking a distant second and third overall.
  • Grant recipient organizations in Colorado also receive significant funding from non-Colorado foundations. In addition to the $803 million in giving by Colorado foundations, grantmaking foundations based outside the state gave a total of $240 million in grants to Colorado, with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation contributing $44.7 million.
  • Of the overall $4.2 billion in charitable giving by Coloradans and Colorado foundations in 2013, 78 percent was contributed by individuals. Foundations account for 19 percent of overall philanthropic giving in the state, while bequests made through wills make up the remaining amount at 2.5%. (See data on individual giving based on IRS statistics in “The Charitable Deduction in Colorado.”)

More information about Colorado foundation giving and individual giving can be found on CAF’s website.



Established in 1956, Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. Foundation Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants— a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit Foundation Center’s website each day and are served in its five library/learning centers and at more than 450 Funding Information Network locations nationwide and around the world. For more information, please visit or call (212) 620-4230.



The Colorado Association of Funders is a statewide network of more than 80 private foundations, community foundations, family foundations, corporate funders, federated funds and workplace giving programs. As the only organization in Colorado dedicated to serving the full spectrum of funders, the Colorado Association of Funders acts as a key local resource for foundations and other funders seeking to promote philanthropy, share ideas and expertise, and collaborate on funding strategies to expand their reach across the state and beyond. We honor the diverse missions of our members while working toward shared goals that advance the sector and benefit Colorado. For a list of our members and for more information, please visit or call (303) 398-7454.