“Colorado Giving Voice” Blog

Rural Travel Blog: Basalt – Grand Junction – Montrose

  • September 11, 2018
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Kaitlin Johnson, Rural Network Director, Colorado Association of Funders

Kaitlin Johnson is the Rural Network Director at Colorado Association of Funders. Click here to learn more about Kaitlin and check back for more stories of Kaitlin’s travels around the state. 

Early this August, I embarked on a 580-mile journey to the Western Slope to meet funders based out of the area and to learn about the initiatives taking place in the region.

Basalt

My first stop was a visit with Tamara Tormohlen, Executive Director for Aspen Community Foundation. We joined up with Valerie Carlin, Operations & Resources Director, to learn about the data they are using to track key metrics for their Cradle to Career Initiative. While the presentation and the many metrics being collected and analyzed were impressive, they were nothing compared to the data wall that sits in the middle of their office. A floor-to-ceiling map of their coverage area shows key statistics, and lists of categorized data sources cover the remaining wall space. It is clear Aspen Community Foundation is committed to not only funding their initiative and creating change, but ensuring the metrics show the intended change is actually taking place.

Grand Junction

I joined Kim Lewis, Grant Manager for Rocky Mountain Health Foundation, in a quiet coffee shop in Grand Junction. Although they have only completed one year of grants, the Rocky Mountain Health Foundation is excited to be serving a 22-county area and is actively seeking innovative processes to implement in its grant making and application processes because, as Kim questioned, “Why should all the innovation come from the Front Range? Why not Grand Junction?”

My next stop was downtown Grand Junction to meet with Kimberly Bullen, DOLA’s Northwest Regional Manager. Just a year into her job, Kimberly spoke passionately about the communities they are able to serve and the projects they are funding in her region. Though DOLA prefers to see themselves as a last-resort for grant dollars, their presence in the communities often makes them the first call when a new project is being considered in a town, and therefore, a great connector to other potential funders.

The following morning, I ventured to Western Colorado Community Foundation to meet with Anne Wenzel, President and Executive Director, and Tedi Gillespie, Grants and Community Outreach Director. Full of regional knowledge, Anne and Tedi spent an hour sharing their excitement about the Foundation’s growth and their leadership work. I learned about their Blue Print to End Hunger programs, STEM education for K-12 students, and an innovative, tiny-homes program in Montrose to support foster kids as they age out of the foster system.

Montrose

After the relatively quick drive from Grand Junction to Montrose, I met with Sara Plumhoff, Executive Director for Montrose Community Foundation. Sara shared with me the opportunities and challenges associated with being a small community foundation, such as the need to be involved with everything in the community in order to know the key issues in town. Excited about the Foundation’s growth and its ability do more discretionary grant making, Sara is testing new grant focus areas to find what works best in her community. She is considering adding an agricultural focus in the next year or so.

My last day on the road was an all-day conference hosted by the Department of Local Affairs at the Montrose Fair Grounds. The Small Communities Housing Workshop featured a range of speakers and experts to help local community leaders understand and fund their housing projects. Irv Halter, Executive Director for DOLA, started the conference by reminding everyone that, “The first ingredient is local communities deciding they want to do something.” After hearing from city leaders about the work required to plan and finance a housing project (and after googling a few hundred housing-related acronyms), I realized that, in the end, it always comes down to the people in a community and the ones with the passion and willingness to take on hard projects and bring their communities along with them.

Traveling around the Western Slope for four days was an eye-opening and informative time. There are communities there that are thriving, and there are communities there that are simply surviving, but I am encouraged by the foundation and community leaders I met and have no doubt that we will continue to see beneficial, innovative work being done on the Western Slope.

 

Early bird registration open for CAF Annual Meeting

  • August 27, 2018
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Join fellow CAF members for a funders-only event. Converse with local pundits about the previous day’s election results. You’ll hear analysis from both sides of the aisle about how voters decided who will control Congress and statehouses across a deeply divided nation. Learn how numerous Colorado ballot initiatives fared and gain insight on how the results might affect our communities and your work in philanthropy.

CAF Member Early Bird Rate: $65

If you are a funder interested in this event and not a CAF member, please contact email hidden; JavaScript is required.

To RSVP for this event, click here. Early bird registration ends on October 1, 2018.

Historic $120 million gift from The Anschutz Foundation

  • August 24, 2018
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The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus has received a $120 million gift, the largest private philanthropic commitment in its history, to further elevate its stature as one of the country’s top medical destinations. The Anschutz Foundation and its founder and chair, Philip Anschutz, made the unprecedented commitment to accelerate the campus’s growth and development as one of the newest and most prominent academic medical campuses in the United States, the only one in the Rocky Mountain region, and the largest from Chicago to the West Coast. This gift brings The Anschutz Foundation’s total investment in the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus to nearly $300 million since 2000. 

Read more about CAF member The Anschutz Foundation’s gift here.

What We’re Reading: Foundations Should Fund What Nonprofits Really Need

  • August 24, 2018
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The Center for Effective Philanthropy released this blog by Anthony Richardson, an associate director at the Nord Family Foundation in Amherst, Ohio. (Nord Family Foundation is also a member of Colorado Association of Funders.)

A few days ago, a colleague and I had an amazing site visit at a regional organization where staffers — among other things — oozed excitement about their recently implemented case management system. While we were there, the staff also lamented about being uncomfortable asking funders to support expanding their information technology capacity, as some funders are only interested in funding what they think is important for organizations.

Click here to read the full article.

CAF Member News: Mile High United Way Selects 100 Strategic Investment Partners

  • August 21, 2018
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Mile High United Way recently announced that it awarded $6 million to 100 high-performing organizations in Metro Denver. “Working together, we will be changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in our community.”

 

Click here to read the full article.

C(3) Forum focuses on convergence and strengthening partnerships

  • July 27, 2018
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Bringing together funders and the nonprofits they support can go a long way toward encouraging ongoing dialogue, increasing understanding and building bridges for the good of our communities.

That’s why we created the annual C(3) Forum in partnership with Colorado Nonprofit Association and Community Resource Center. This week’s ninth annual, all-day convening around the theme of “convergence” brought the sector together to talk about everything from moving away from lengthy grant applications to laying the groundwork for honest feedback.

This year’s day of sharing and learning was largely inspired by the leadership cohort we formed last year with support from the Fund for Shared Insight and United Philanthropy Forum. We invited nonprofits to join with funders in thinking through what the concept of “openness” means for our sector and how it might be a means of increasing the field’s impact.

We’ve attempted to sum up some of the initial observations and approaches in this publication. We hope it will help to prompt more conversations and that both funders and nonprofits might use it to spark discussions with their staff and boards. The findings are far from scientific and are by no means meant to be prescriptive. We did try to reflect a cross-section of people from an array of organizations around the state. We’ll be doing more work to broaden and deepen dialogue on the topic and hope you will share with us what you’re seeing and learning in the months ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colorado Association of Funders: Exploring Openness

The Community Foundation Boulder County Seeking Proposals to Support Community Culture & Safety Collaborative Campaign

  • July 24, 2018
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The Community Foundation Boulder County has been facilitating meetings between a group of Boulder nonprofits, the Community Culture & Safety (CCS) Collaborative, who are seeking proposals from qualified fundraising professionals for campaign development and implementation services. The campaign will begin with a 3- to 5-month preliminary planning and testing period followed by a multi-year corporate capital giving campaign, with the goal of raising up to $5 Million. The planning and testing period will focus on creating solicitation messaging, draft solicitation materials, and testing the case for giving. Based on the results of this effort, the CCS Collaborative will decide whether and how to proceed with the campaign.

Click here to view the request for proposal. Proposals should be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on August 6. Please direct any questions to Maegan Vallejo at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

What We’re Reading: Three Guiding Principles for Funding and Innovating in the Social Sector

  • July 9, 2018
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“Our first Challenge asked, How might we address urgent global challenges at the intersections of peace, prosperity, and planet in radically new ways? The response was inspiring and humbling. It reflected the diversity of world-changing efforts already underway and offered a powerful reminder that there’s never been so much energy and creativity dedicated to improving life on this planet. As noted by GHR Foundation’s senior program office Mark Guy, ‘We were blown away by the number and caliber of ideas and people looking to be a part of this dialogue and movement through our work with OpenIDEO.’”

Read more on the GRANTCRAFT blog: http://www.grantcraft.org/blog/three-guiding-principles-for-funding-and-innovating-in-the-social-sector

Aspen Valley Community Foundation’s Statement about the Lake Christine Fire

  • July 6, 2018
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Dear community supporters,

The current fire in Basalt and El Jebel has devastated us with the speed and ferocity with which it has wreaked havoc across our neighborhoods and towns. Aspen Community Foundation, with its headquarters and several employees residing in Basalt, is heartbroken yet thankful that the destruction has not claimed any lives. As an organization committed to serving the Aspen to Parachute region since 1980, we are called to action to help those on the front lines and those impacted by the disaster. We can and should do our part on behalf of the immediate response efforts and to address the long-term recovery needs of this local calamity.

Aspen Community Foundation has activated its Community to Community Disaster Relief Fund to channel needed resources to respond to immediate and long-term needs of disaster victims, their families and impacted communities. Monies from this fund are disbursed directly to organizations and entities with the capability to affect the greatest need among individuals impacted by a disaster.

Click here to read the full statement, including ways to help.

Resources and Webinar: Family Separation at the Border

  • June 21, 2018
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David Biemesderfer, President & CEO, at United Philanthropy Forum talks about the intersection of philanthropy and recent policy decisions at the border: “United Philanthropy Forum envisions a courageous philanthropic sector that catalyzes a just and equitable society where all can participate and prosper. What is happening right now on the border is not just and not equitable.”

Click here to read the full article.

On June 27, there will be a webinar for Funders interested in the family separation policy, hosted by  hosted by Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees.

Click here to register and learn more. Register by COB on June 26, 2018.