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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.

Updates from The Women’s Foundation of Colorado

  • June 12, 2017
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The Women’s Foundation of Colorado, a member of Colorado Association of Funders, recently announced several exciting opportunities. Read on to learn about their new strategic plan, grant guidelines, and direct service grantmaking committee.

New Grant Guidelines:  At the heart of its new strategic plan, WFCO seeks to dramatically increase the number and percent of women in the state who earn a livable wage, which they believe is the gateway to greater opportunity and prosperity. In addition to research and policy efforts focused on livable wages, WFCO will also provide a limited number of grants to nonprofit organizations across the state.

In 2017, WFCO will make grants to support two areas: public policy and direct service efforts focused on advancing and accelerating women’s progress toward livable wages. Selected grantees in both areas will participate in two to three convenings annually, as part of a community that will learn, measure impact, and improve economic outcomes for Colorado women and families together, and will be invited to re-apply annually for up to three total years of funding as part of this cohort.

Grant applications are due Aug. 3, 2017. Find out if your organization is a fit within the grantmaking guidelines.  If you have questions about applying, sign up for one of the learning sessions this month in Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Vail Valley, Boulder, and Fort Collins or a webinar on June 21.

Seeking Grantmaking Committee Members:  The Women’s Foundation of Colorado is seeking to build an inclusive, thoughtful, and dynamic committee to support the implementation of the grantmaking priorities identified by our recently released strategic plan for the years 2017-2021. Please click here for more information on the committee, member responsibilities, and how to show interest. Please note that committee interest forms are due on Friday, June 30, 2017.

Registration closing soon for Vu Le at Powering Partnership Luncheon

  • May 30, 2017
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Join us for a compelling keynote by nationally recognized speaker Vu Le at our newly named Powering Partnership Luncheon proudly presented by Community First Foundation.

Please register here by June 1.

Le, a nonprofit executive and author of the popular humor blog, Nonprofit with Balls, will share his unique take on how foundations and nonprofits alike have room for improvement  while also offering uplifting commentary on the critical work both sectors do in our society.  

This 8th annual gathering aims to connect Colorado Association of Funders members with nonprofit and community partners. All nonprofits and other partner organizations are welcome to register for this popular program. 

 

Funders invited to “The Facts on Immigrants and Refugees” on May 24, 9 am to noon

  • May 1, 2017
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Presented in partnership with Rose Community Foundation, this half-day program is designed for foundation staff, trustees and donors:

Informed Philanthropy: The Facts on Immigrants and Refugees

Featuring special keynote by Muzaffar ChishtiDirector of the Migration Policy Institute, New York University School of Law

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

8:45 a.m. – noon 

Lewis I. Sharp Auditorium, Denver Art Museum

100 W. 14th Ave. Parkway, Denver, CO

Issues surrounding immigration and refugees broadly affect the work we do in our communities – from philanthropic investments in our schools to health and human services to workforce development and many other areas. To inform this work, it is important to understand where we have been and where we are now. Mr. Chishti is a national expert in the field and will present on the history and context of U.S. immigration issues. He will be followed by a panel of local experts who will discuss issues pertaining to immigration and refugees and their impact on Colorado.

Funders are encouraged to invite staff colleagues, trustees and donors to attend this nonpartisan, educational conversation that will provide facts on immigration and refugee issues.

Light refreshments will be served. Space is limited. There is no registration fee but an RSVP is required by May 17. Please note there is an afternoon session of this program geared toward nonprofit organizations.

Program begins promptly at 9:00 a.m.

A look at the Southwest giving landscape: Join funders and nonprofits on April 24 in Colorado Springs or April 25 in Denver

  • April 7, 2017
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In partnership with Colorado Association of Funders, Center for Nonprofit Excellence and Community Resource Center,

Philanthropy Southwest will be in Colorado Springs and Denver to present a regional overview of grantmaking by private and community foundations.

 

Register Here for Colorado Springs Monday, April 24, 2017

2:00 p.m.  –  4:00 p.m.

El Pomar Foundation

Penrose House-Carriage House

1661 Mesa Avenue

Colorado Springs, CO 80906

 

Register Here for Denver

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

The Alliance Center

1536 Wynkoop Street, Suite 100
Denver, CO 80202

 

Philanthropy Southwest’s third landscape giving study provides an in-depth analysis of foundation investment in Denver, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the Southwest region along such interest vectors as rural and urban disparities and areas supported, from the arts and education to human services, health and the environment.

Open to both foundations and non profits, you will:

* Learn about current philanthropic giving trends in Denver, Colorado Springs, Colorado and the Southwest region

* Gain a perspective which helps establish organizational priorities and recognizes areas of collaboration

Presenter:   Kathy Jankowski, Founder and Research Director, Jankowski Associates, Inc., Poolesville, MD.  Jankowski Associates, Inc. has provided data for the last three Philanthropy Southwest landscape giving studies.

Refreshments will be served!

Registration Fee:  $30.00

 

GroundFloor Media’s Get Grounded Foundation Awards Grants to Seven Programs Serving Denver’s At-Risk Youth

  • January 30, 2017
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DENVER, Jan. 25, 2017 – GroundFloor Media (GFM) and its sister agency, CenterTable, announced today that their Get Grounded Foundation has awarded its latest round of grants to seven outstanding local community programs supporting youth services. More than $20,000 was granted to Child Advocates – Denver CASA, Denver Indian Family Resource Center, Denver Urban Scholars, ECDC – African Community Center of Denver, PlatteForum, Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center and Share Our Strength Colorado’s Cooking Matters. The programs were selected for their efforts to get a new or innovative program off the “ground floor” in the area of child abuse and neglect, youth behavioral health or childhood hunger relief.

 

A volunteer committee made up of individuals from the sister agencies reviewed this round of grant applications. The deadline for applications for the spring 2017 grant cycle is Friday, April 21.

 

The Fall 2016 Get Grounded Foundation Grant Recipients

 

The mission of Child Advocates – Denver CASA (court-appointed special advocates) is to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in Denver Juvenile Court through the services of specially selected and trained community volunteers. The Foundation’s grant funds will support the nonprofit’s new Youth Empowerment Program (YEP), which is designed to make sure that youth in the judicial system, despite their adverse circumstances, become independent and productive adults. Denver CASA will utilize the funding to provide youth in foster care with skill-building activities and opportunities for typical growing-up experiences.

 

Denver Indian Family Resource Center (DIFRC) works to strengthen vulnerable American Indian and Alaska Native children and families through collaborative and culturally responsive services. The Get Grounded Foundation grant will support monthly cultural nights for families served by the organization. DIFRC was also a fall 2015 Get Grounded Foundation grant recipient.

 

Denver Urban Scholars is dedicated to helping metro Denver students, with the greatest need, graduate high school and enter higher education with a meaningful life plan for success. Funds from The Get Grounded Foundation grant will support the organization’s new group mentoring project within its Stepping Stones program, which addresses the unique needs of middle schoolers through a coordinated, integrated approach that combines academic and social support, mentoring relationships and a focus on the future to help every student chart his/her pathway to career and college.

 

The ECDC – African Community Center of Denver (ACC) serves more than 600 newly arrived refugees and asylees each year from countries as diverse as Bhutan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Burma, Congo and others. The organization helps refugees rebuild safe, sustainable lives in Denver through supportive networks of people, services and community activities. The funding from this grant will support the ACC’s Youth 4 Youth (Y4Y) program, a mentor/mentee program that directly impacts youth ages 11-13 who are entering middle school. These young adolescent refugees are vulnerable to bullying, suicide, gang activity, homelessness, malnutrition and substance abuse, and Y4Y offers emotional, social and mental health support.

 

PlatteForum supports contemporary artists and underserved youth in metro Denver through innovative, long-term arts programs that allow the youth to work side-by-side with artists-in-residence. Funds from the Foundation will be used to support a series of intensive workshops that build upon the work of artist-in-residence Kate Speer, an artistic choreographer working at the intersection of social activism and creation by merging theatrical storytelling with athletic, momentum-based movement to engage the audience. Speer will be paired with a group of 25 first through third graders at Strive Prep Ruby Hill in conjunction with the I Have a Dream Foundation. PlatteForum was also a fall 2015 Get Grounded Foundation grant recipient.

 

The Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center (RMCLC) works to transform the lives of abused, neglected and at-risk children through compassionate legal advocacy, clinical services, education and public policy reform. This grant funding will help enable RMCLC to start a new trauma-informed yoga program for children ages 5-18 who are being served within the organization’s four legal service areas. RMCLC was a fall 2015 Get Grounded Foundation grant recipient as well.

 

For more than two decades, Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters Colorado has empowered families with the skills to stretch their food budgets and cook healthy meals so their children get nutritious food at home. With its grant, the Foundation will be supporting the organization’s “Young Caregivers Pilot” Cooking Matters program. This program, offered in partnership with programs serving teen families, such as those from DPS’ Florence Crittenton High School for struggling teen families, will serve low-income, teen parents of young children with an additional two-hour nutrition and food skills lesson during which they’ll focus on the unique needs of this population, including introducing solid foods, preparing homemade baby food, and feeding best practices for optimal emotional and nutritional development of children in their early stages of life.

 

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About The Get Grounded Foundation

The Get Grounded Foundation is based on two pillars of thought already firmly established at GFM and CenterTable. The first is that nonprofits, similar to many startup organizations, are entrepreneurial in their approach, yet often can’t find seed funding to get a new or innovative program off the “ground floor.” Second, it elevates the agencies’ long giving history of focusing on causes that our team members are proud to support, including child abuse and neglect prevention, youth behavioral health and childhood hunger relief. As such, The Foundation provides one-year grants, funded by GFM and CenterTable’s profits, for new or expanded, innovative or entrepreneurial programs or projects within an existing, qualified nonprofit that directly supports the healthy development of at-risk youth between the ages of three and 13 in the Denver Metro area.