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Urgent Call to Action: Charitable Sector Threatened in Tax Reform Scenario

  • November 14, 2017
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Colorado Association of Funders, along with our partners and our national network United Philanthropy Forum, have all been expressing our deep concerns about pending tax reform legislation that would cause harm to the charitable sector and charitable giving. But both are under serious threat right now — especially the impact of the charitable deduction. Members of Congress need to hear from constituents — including influential philanthropy leaders right now.

We’re urging our members to do the following immediately:

1. Contact Sens. Bennet and Gardner and urge them to support an amendment to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act offered by Sens. Wyden (D-OR) and Stabenow (D-MI) that would provide for a universal charitable deduction, allowing taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions to take an above-the-line deduction for charitable contributions, subject to limitations. (This is critical because both the Senate and House tax reform proposals would almost double the standard deduction and leave very few taxpayers in a position of being able to take advantage of the century-old charitable deduction.)

2. Contact your Representative and urge him or her to vote NO on the House Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1). CAF and our national Forum network, as well as Colorado Nonprofit Association and its national network opposes this legislation because it would cause serious harm to the charitable sector, both through the loss of charitable giving and the interjection of politics into the sector.

The timing of all this is urgent.

Thank you for your efforts. Please let us know how we can help or whether you’ve attempted to reach out to Congress on these important matters. Your voice does matter and we need to know that sufficient numbers of people are speaking up for our sector.

Caring for Colorado, Aspen Community Foundations sponsor our annual meeting featuring Center for Effective Philanthropy CEO

  • October 19, 2017
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We’re thrilled to be bringing the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s President Phil Buchanan to Colorado to keynote our annual meeting and luncheon on Nov. 30 at History Colorado Center in Denver.

The leader of one of the sector’s most influential organizations, Buchanan will lay out an argument for what

funder effectiveness looks like, drawing on new and historical examples and data to make his case.

We’ll also be reporting on our accomplishments and future plans, as well as electing 2018 board officers and new directors. Take advantage of the early-bird rate by registering now.

A big thanks to our sponsors:

 

CAF Board Member named Executive Director at Dresner Foundation

  • October 13, 2017
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The Dresner Foundation announced that Virginia Romano has been appointed Executive Director. Ms. Romano joined the Foundation in 2014 and previously served as Managing Director of Programs. Virginia currently serves on the CAF Board of Directors.

The Foundation’s Board of Directors stated, “after thoughtful consideration, the decision to promote Virginia to executive director was due to her unique combination of extensive experience and knowledge of the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.”

The Foundation also announced that board member Kevin Furlong will serve as the Board of Directors’ Chair, as well as, the Foundation’s Chief Financial Officer.

New leader for Rose Community Foundation

  • October 5, 2017
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Rose Community Foundation named Lindy Eichenbaum Lent as the next president and CEO of Rose Community Foundation. Please read on for the update from Rose Community Foundation. 

Today, we are announcing that, following an extensive national search, Lindy Eichenbaum Lent will be the next president and CEO of Rose Community Foundation.

Lent comes to the Foundation from the nonprofit Civic Center Conservancy, where she has served as executive director since 2009.

Rose Community Foundation began its search for a new president and CEO following the unexpected death of its 18-year leader Sheila Bugdanowitz in December 2016. Lent will assume the role on November 27, 2017.

“We are very excited to bring Lindy’s energy, vision and passion for the community to Rose Community Foundation,” said Jerry Glick, chair of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and the search committee. “We strongly believe that she is the right person to lead the Foundation in its next chapter.”

As executive director of the Civic Center Conservancy, Lent led the organization’s nationally recognized public-private-nonprofit partnerships to revitalize downtown Denver’s historic Civic Center Park through advocacy, capital improvements, community engagement, fundraising and programming – including the creation of Denver traditions like Civic Center EATS and the annual Independence Eve concert and fireworks. Prior to leading the Civic Center Conservancy, Lent served as communications director and senior advisor for then-Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.

“There is no greater honor than to follow in Sheila Bugdanowitz’s legendary footsteps and build on the legacy of community impact that she created with Rose Community Foundation’s incredible staff and board members – past and present,” said Lent. “I am grateful for the opportunity to lead an organization so rich in history, values and mission while giving back to the Greater Denver community I love. I am eager to work with the Foundation’s staff, board and philanthropic partners to bring creative and sustainable solutions to important issues facing our community.”

Named a 2017 Denver Business Journal “Thought Leader” and one of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce’s “Top 25 Most Powerful Women” of 2016, Lent is a member of the Colorado Women’s Forum and currently serves on the Lowry Redevelopment Authority board of directors. She previously served on the boards of the American Jewish Committee/Colorado Chapter, the Denver Preschool Program Advisory Board, the Golden Triangle Creative District  and the University of Colorado Cancer Center Fund. She received her Bachelors in Political Science from Stanford University and a Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University.

Anne Garcia, the Foundation’s chief financial and operations officer, took on the added role of interim president and CEO since last December. She will continue to serve the Foundation as CFO/COO.

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.

 

 

Information on Texas Hurricane Relief Efforts

  • August 28, 2017
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Colorado Association of Funders’ national network has compiled resources on the field’s response to Hurricane Harvey’s impact on our Texas neighbors, including funds that have been established and an upcoming webinar scheduled for Tues., Aug. 29. To learn more please visit: https://www.unitedphilforum.org/news/how-respond-hurricane-harvey.

Our colleague organization, Philanthropy Southwest, has also posted information here.

We will post more information on our website as it becomes available. Please let us know if you have any information to share.

The RED CROSS has provided us with the following update: “The remnants of Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm, continue to move slowly southeastward along the Texas coast bringing life-threatening flooding across much of southeastern Texas and eventually southwestern Louisiana. Thousands of people have been forced to leave their flooded homes, losing everything they own and more families will be impacted as rain continues to fall and flooding persists.

The area of Texas that’s underwater is comparable to the distance between New York and Boston. Tropical Storm Harvey will continue to devastate this large geography for the next several days, delivering as much as another 30 inches of rain. Significant flooding and tornadoes are predicted. Meanwhile water rescues are still ongoing, and all public transportation is at a complete halt. Schools and airports are closed and hundreds of thousands of people are without power.

Red Cross Response

While the American Red Cross is doing all that it can, access into many areas is still quite difficult. The current priority is to keep people safe, while providing relief such as shelter and food. As conditions are safe to travel, the American Red Cross will be expanding its reach into many more affected communities. Preliminary estimates indicate that at least 6,000 people sought refuge in dozens of shelters in Texas Sunday night. ” Learn more.

Announcing C(3) Forum Keynote Speaker

  • August 14, 2017
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Join us for dialogue, trainings, and a keynote by Frances Kunreuther at the 2017 C(3) Forum.

Frances Kunreuther is co-director of the Building Movement Project, which works to strengthen U.S. nonprofits as sites of civic engagement, and co-author of Race to Lead: Confronting the Racial Leadership Gap. Kunreuther’s report begins with a statistic: the percentage of people of color in nonprofit executive director roles has remained under 20% for the past decade. It then identifies and challenges norms and assumptions about race that have been barriers for people of color in becoming leaders.

Join funders and nonprofit professionals for conversations, networking, and learning about equity. Check out the program agenda for more information and click here to register.

 

New Colorado Health Foundation Report Details How Funders Can Influence Policy through Unconventional Investments

  • June 22, 2017
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The Colorado Health Foundation today released a new white paper explaining the Foundation’s decision to create and endow Healthier Colorado, a 501(c)(4) political organization that is free to engage in lobbying and elections. This innovative investment is an example of a critical tool funders can use to influence public policy and to advance their missions.

The Foundation’s Board decided to transition from a public charity to a private foundation in 2011. Under federal rules of the new tax status, the Foundation was no longer able to lobby for or against specific pieces of legislation. Through a thoughtful and transparent process with external partners, Foundation leadership considered how to continue its long track record of engaging in policy and advocacy through a unique opportunity: to form a separate and independent 501(c)(4) organization that would focus on health policy advocacy, lobbying and grassroots political activism in the state.

The white paper, Creating a Healthier Colorado, outlines the Foundation’s transition to private foundation tax status and evolution of policy engagement, the process behind the formation of 501(c)(4) organization and the advocacy work of Healthier Colorado to date. It showcases how funders have the opportunity to support high-profile advocacy and lobbying organizations while staying within the legal confines of a public charity tax status.

Read the Foundation’s blog, white paper and Healthier Colorado’s companion white paper for additional information on how this innovative approach is working to ensure Coloradans have a strong health policy voice.