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What We’re Reading: Foundation Impact Investing Is Gaining Steam. But Can Proponents Answer These Four Questions?

  • April 18, 2018
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In an article in Inside Philanthropy, David Callahan writes:

I’ve long been a fan of more impact investing by foundations. It’s always struck me as nuts that these institutions use only their pinkies to advance their missions, keeping the vast majority of endowment capital—the “other 95 percent”—off to the side, invested in whatever the bean counters say will yield the best returns.

Foundation leaders never tire of stressing how paltry their grantmaking budgets are relative to society’s problems, and they’re exactly right. So it’s been exciting to watch more of these leaders break the glass to get at the real money.  

This week, it’s the Nathan Cummings Foundation making a move. And it’s going all in, pledging to “align 100 percent of our nearly half-billion dollar endowment with our mission.” NCF is the largest foundation to take this step, and it follows most directly in the footsteps of the F.B. Heron Foundation, which made the shift to 100 percent alignment under the leadership of Clara Miller. In contrast, the other major foundations engaged in impact investing—an increasingly long list—have mostly committed only small portions of their endowments to this approach.

It’s not surprising to see Nathan Cummings make such a bold move. This progressive foundation has long been innovative about leveraging its investments. Under a past president, Lance Lindblom, it became a leader in shareholder advocacy to push corporations to change their ways. It says that it’s filed “nearly 200 shareholder proposals” related to “environmental, social, and governance issues.”  

Still, even as I’m inclined to cheer NCF’s big move, I have a few questions about impact investing by foundations.

Click here to read the article and see Callahan’s questions.

CAF Welcomes Two New Members

  • April 16, 2018
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Colorado Association of Funders is excited to welcome two new members to our network of 80+ funders.

The Edmund T. and Eleanor Quick Foundation is a private foundation created by Mary Eleanor Quick in honor of her husband, Edmund T. Quick. The foundation makes grants in rural Colorado and along the Front Range. Its target areas are basic needs organizations, youth programs, religious organizations, domestic violence programs, historic preservation, early childhood, women oriented programs, animal shelters, and veterans programs.

Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) works in partnership with local governments and communities statewide to provide funding for projects and disaster recovery relief. DOLA provides state and federal funding to private housing developers, housing authorities, and local governments to increase the inventory of affordable housing. In addition, DOLA provides expertise through technical assistance programs to help with community planning, property taxation, and tax appeals.

Click here for a full list of members. Those interested in joining can read more here: http://coloradofunders.org/who-we-are/join-us/

CAF Member News: Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation Announces New Mission Statement

  • April 12, 2018
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To elevate the well-being of Coloradans by improving oral health equity.

Click here to learn more about how Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation is expanding its focus.

Learn about the Housing Landscape in Colorado

  • April 11, 2018
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On May 8, CAF is presenting a two-part program on the housing landscape in Colorado. Exclusively for CAF members, this program will provide information on data, trends, and innovations in housing and an opportunity to connect with other funders working in this area.

Attendees are invited to join either or both of the following sessions:
Part 1: Housing Overview and Context from Experts in the Field | 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
The following panelists will describe housing market trends, data, and innovations from their unique perspectives.
  • Felicia Griffin, Executive Director, United for a New Economy
  • Irv Halter, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Local Affairs
  • Melinda Pollack, Vice President, Enterprise Community Partners
  • Dr. Phyllis Resnick, Executive Director, Colorado Futures Center
Part 2: Funders Supporting Housing | 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
The following foundation leaders will describe their organizations’ diverse approaches to housing, including transitional and permanent housing, supportive services, community land trusts, and collaborative initiatives.
  • Julie Lerudis, Grants Program Director, Boettcher Foundation
  • Maria Sepulveda, Vice President, Wells Fargo
  • Dave Younggren, President and CEO, Gary Community Investments
Facilitators: Davian Gagne and Zoë Williams 
Both sessions will include breakout activities to connect, discuss, and brainstorm with other funders in attendance. Refreshments will be provided. The event is free for CAF members.
For more information and to RSVP, click here.

Participate in the Grantmaker Salary & Benefits Survey

  • April 5, 2018
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Colorado Association of Funders is among 10 regional associations partnering with Council on Foundations on the 2018 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Survey.

CAF Members who complete the survey will receive a free copy of the report, which will be available in September. For more information and to request an invitation to participate, click here.

The Exchange 2018 – Conference Information for CAF Members

  • March 28, 2018
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Colorado Association of Funders is excited to extend an invitation to The Exchange 2018 conference on May 23-24 in New York City, presented by the Social Impact Exchange and Morgan Stanley. Thanks to our collaboration with the Social Impact Exchange, CAF Members can register at the discounted rate of $895.

The conference will address key issues of collaboration and the vital importance of working across sectors, and will combine both knowledge sessions and opportunities for taking direct action. There will be specific issue tracks in education, health, economic mobility, the environment and impact investing. Featured speakers include Hilary Pennington, Executive Vice President for Program, the Ford Foundation; Don Howard, President and CEO, The James Irvine Foundation; Kathleen McLaughlin, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, Walmart Inc., and President, Walmart Foundation, Stephen Heintz, President, The Rockefeller Brothers Fund; Mandell Crawley, Head of Private Wealth Management, Morgan Stanley; Jeffrey Hollender, Co-Founder and former CEO, Seventh Generation; Hadi Partovi, Founder and CEO, code.org; Kyle Peterson, Executive Director, Walton Family Foundation; John Kania, Global Managing Director, FSG; and Alan Alda, renowned actor, writer, and advocate for science communication.

To take advantage of the discount, please register here and indicate that you were invited by Colorado Association of Funders which will automatically generate the discount at checkout.

 

Gates Family Foundation to host convening: Schools as the Unit of Change

  • March 14, 2018
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Schools as the Unit of Change: Building on Progress in Denver

Hosted by Gates Family Foundation

April 13 | Denver Museum of Nature and Science | 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Over the past decade, Denver Public Schools has been at the leading edge of the nationwide movement to reinvent public education. What will it take for Denver to remain a leading-edge district for the next decade? How can more empowerment of educators, families, and communities at the school level continue to transform the system and increase opportunities for more students?

Hosted by Gates Family Foundation, this half-day convening will feature an Opening Plenary with Michael Bennet and DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg, panel discussions with local education leaders and innovators, and a keynote lunch with Nate Easley, CEO of Blue School Partners, a new “education quarterback” organization launched by local education leaders and funders.

This event is invitation only; interested CAF members can email email hidden; JavaScript is required to be added to the guest list.

 

CAF Member News: Rose Community Foundation Announces “Changing the Narrative”

  • March 12, 2018
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Changing the Narrative is a cutting-edge awareness and communications campaign to create a more just, inclusive and age-integrated Colorado. Integrating evidence-based communications strategies developed by the FrameWorks Institute with local training, organizing and earned and social media campaignsChanging the Narrative seeks nothing less than changing the way people think about aging.

Learn more on Rose Community Foundation’s website: https://rcfdenver.org/what-we-do/programs-and-initiatives/changing-the-narrative/

 

What We’re Reading: 12 Common Criticisms of Philanthropy–and Some Answers

  • March 8, 2018
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Karl Zinsmeister, creator of The Almanac of American Philanthropy, a new encyclopedic reference to the field recently released by The Philanthropy Roundtable, describes the criticisms he heard about philanthropy while traveling around the country to talk about his new book. For example:

3. Charitable donations are just a drop in the bucket!
America’s nonprofit sector now commands 11 percent of our workforce and 6 percent of GDP—not including volunteer time, which, if we attached a reasonable hourly wage to it, nearly equals the $360 billion we donate in cash every year.

The Gates Foundation alone now distributes more overseas assistance than the entire Italian government. It is estimated that in just its first two decades, its overseas vaccine program alone will save the lives of 8 million preschool children. Then consider that members of US churches and synagogues—just one division of America’s larger philanthropic army—send four and a half times as much money overseas to poor people every year as the Gates Foundation does!

The fact that most philanthropy takes place out of the public eye—in small doses, and often in private or even anonymous ways—makes it easy to overlook its size and power. But getting seduced by the giantism of official aid is an egregious mistake. Small actions can and do converge into mighty rivers of cumulative effort.

Read the full article here: http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/12_common_criticisms

 

Submit your Colorado Health Symposium Fellowship Applications and Exchange Session Proposals Today

  • March 6, 2018
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The 2018 Colorado Health Symposium, hosted by the Colorado Health Foundation, will be held Aug. 1-3 at the Keystone Conference Center in Keystone, Colo. The Symposium, a national health conference, is a unique chance to interact with cross-sector experts and dedicated professionals who are leading the way in addressing health equity. This year’s theme, Achieving Equity in Behavioral Health, focuses on the complex ecosystem of behavioral health and the role that inequity plays, from prevention to recovery. From a worsening opioid epidemic to pervasive issues with access to care, Coloradans are facing tough barriers that keep health out of reach.

Now open for applications, the Foundation offers several fellowship programs for individuals from Colorado to attend the Symposium. Applicants must meet specific criteria to be considered for a fellowship. The general fellowship will provide support for Colorado professionals from rural-based, minority-led and/or community-based organizations to join us in Keystone. We encourage people who are bringing health in reach for Coloradans, but who may work in other areas outside of traditional health care industries – such as environmental, housing, education or advocacy organizations – to apply. We also offer social media fellowships and Symposium University fellowships, for current students in health or health-related fields. Learn more about our fellowship programs and apply by March 14.

New this year, the Foundation is currently soliciting proposals for the afternoon exchange sessions during the Symposium. Sessions should address how systems, polices, innovations and advocacy can drive what attendees need in order to help Coloradans address mental health disorders, suicide, substance abuse, trauma and culturally competent care. Submitted proposals must include clear learning objectives, be relevant for attendees and offer a clear connection to the Symposium’s theme of Achieving Equity in Behavioral Health. Learn more about our exchange sessions and submit a proposal by March 14.

Registration for the 2018 Colorado Health Symposium will open mid-May.