“Colorado Giving Voice” Blog

Registration Now Open: 2016 C3 Forum!

  • June 3, 2016
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The Colorado Association of Funders, Colorado Nonprofit Association, and Community Resource Center will host the seventh annual C3 Forum on Tuesday, August 2nd. This full-day event aims to strengthen relationships and increase understanding among nonprofits and funders through networking, dialogue, educational trainings, and issue based discussions.

For more information about the day, and our special focus on advocacy and community engagement, please click here.

To view ticket options and register, please click here!

Learn About Refugee Integration: Expanding Perspectives Webinar

  • June 2, 2016
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World Refugee Day: Expanding Perspectives on the Integration of Refugees

CAF is co-sponsoring a webinar with Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) on June 20 in honor of World Refugee Day! This webinar: Expanding Perspectives on the Integration of Refugees, is the latest in GCIR’s series: Philanthropy, Refugees, and the Global humanitarian Crisis.

Speakers include: Jamie-Rose Edwards of Young Women Empowered (Y-We), Kabzuag Vaj with Freedom, Inc., and Ted Wang of Unbound Philanthropy. Aryah Somers Landsberger with GCIR with moderate. Additional co-sponsors include: Connecticut Council for Philanthropy, Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, International Human Rights Funders Group, Philanthropy New York, and San Diego Grantmakers.

For more information on this webinar, please click here. For more information on World Refugee Day, please visit the UN’s site here. For more information about the global refugee crisis, please click here.

Register for the June 20th webinar here.

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.


A new leader for philanthropy visits Colorado

  • January 31, 2016
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Guest Blog Post by David Biemesderfer, President & CEO, Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, Washington DC


Last week in Denver I had the pleasure of engaging with several Colorado foundation leaders in a meeting coordinated by the Colorado Association of Funders (CAF) and hosted by the Boettcher Foundation. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the thoughtful, impactful philanthropic activity going on in the state, and to hear the foundation leaders talk about the tremendous value they get from their CAF membership and their pride in watching the growth of CAF in recent years.

At the meeting I spoke about my new role as President & CEO of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, which is a vibrant and growing organization in the philanthropy sector. The Forum is the largest network serving philanthropy in America, consisting of 33 regional philanthropy associations—including CAF—with more than 5,500 participating organizations. The Forum Network’s greatest strength is that we bring together the dual assets of deep regional roots and a broad nationwide reach. No other organization in philanthropy brings these assets to the table in the way that we do.

The Forum supports and advances the work of CAF and its regional association colleagues in many ways. We offer staff professional development and peer-to-peer networking opportunities to help people be effective in their regional association work. We strengthen philanthropy’s voice in public policy by building regional associations’ capacity to engage in policy work. We provide an effective vehicle to allow regional associations to share data, information and resources. And we help regional associations pool their resources and expertise to better serve their members.

The Forum operates as a true network that relies on the contributions of all of its regional association members, and the Colorado Association of Funders is an active contributor to the network.

CAF Executive Director Joanne Kelley serves on the Forum’s board of directors and on our governance committee and government relations & public policy committee. She also serves on our community foundation task force and has served on our grantmaker education committee and several conference planning committees. Her expertise and experience in communications and public policy, among other areas, add great value to our network.

In my meeting with CAF members I discussed how the Forum will begin implementing a new vision over the next two years that builds on our unique skills and expertise in the philanthropy field. We plan to broaden our network to bring together the assets of the Forum Network with the assets of national philanthropy-serving organizations—specifically national issue-based, identity-based and practice-based affinity groups—to create a “one stop shop” for philanthropies to find and engage others with similar interests, share knowledge and advance policy. In short, we envision the Forum as the place where philanthropy’s infrastructure comes together.

National affinity groups have deep content knowledge in their specific areas of expertise, whether it is knowledge of a particular funding issue, population group or philanthropic practice, and RAs have deep knowledge and connections in our regions. Under the Forum’s new vision, we will bring the two together in a much more comprehensive and systematic way than what is occurring today. We believe this will reduce duplication and increase collaboration in philanthropy’s infrastructure, and will greatly enhance how we all work to support, inform and advance the philanthropy sector.

We will be putting our new vision into action through an inclusive, collaborative, iterative and co-designed process with current and new partners, guided by a design team comprised equally of representatives of regional associations and national affinity groups. The team is co-chaired by Kathleen Enright, President & CEO of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, and Chris Essel, President & CEO of Southern California Grantmakers.

I’m honored to be taking over the helm of the Forum at this pivotal moment for the organization and for the philanthropy field. Working with wonderful members and partners like the Colorado Association of Funders, I am committed to making significant progress in how we support, connect and advance philanthropy in our country.

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 foundationcenter.org 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 coloradofunders.org or call (303) 398-7454.






Colorado Nonprofits Applaud Congress for Supporting Charities and Communities They Serve

  • December 18, 2015
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Today, Congress approved The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, which includes several items that benefit donors, charitable organizations and the communities they serve. In particular, The PATH Act enacts permanent tax incentives for donations of food, land for conservation purposes, and cash from Individual Retirement Accounts.

Although these policies have been part of the tax code for the nearly a decade, Congress originally approved these policies on a temporary basis. On several occasions, Congress allowed the policies to expire for particular years or renewed late in the year, which limited opportunities to make qualifying donations and left donors uncertain of how these tax incentives would be applied to their contributions.

“For years, these tax policies have helped our state’s nonprofits meet Coloradans’ food needs, conserve wildlife habitat and recreational spaces, and encouraged seniors to give back to organizations that make Colorado a great place to live. Nonprofits signed our letters and contacted members of Congress to make their voices heard.  We applaud Congress for passing The PATH Act and making these charitable giving incentives available to donors permanently,” Colorado Nonprofit Association, Director of Public Policy Mark Turner said.

Nationally, since 2006, the incentives have enabled land trusts to conserve over two million acres of land.

“This legislation has been a national policy goal for the Colorado land conservation community for many years,” says Amanda Barker, Executive Director, at the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts.  “We applaud the Colorado Nonprofit Association and the coalition of supporting nonprofits for their efforts to get this passed. The permanent tax deduction is an incredibly valuable tool for Colorado landowners deciding whether to protect their land and water with a conservation easement. We have so much to celebrate today!”

These tax incentives have helped food banks access over 70 billion pounds of nutritious food that would otherwise be wasted and generated hundreds of millions of dollars in IRA gifts to charities.

“Community foundations supporting critical needs in our state rely on the IRA charitable rollover to raise crucial funding each year,” said Joanne Kelley, Executive Director of the Colorado Association of Funders, the statewide network for foundations and others supporting philanthropic causes. “We have been working in partnership with others to make this a permanent, year-round option for donors to ensure it has the maximum impact on charitable giving.”

The PATH Act also permanently makes several tax credits to help working families including the Child Tax Credit (CTC), the American Opportunity Tax Credit, and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). If Congress had allowed these policies to expire, nearly 264,000 Colorado families, including 129,000 children, could have fallen into or deeper into poverty when key pieces of the EITC and CTC expire in 2017, according to the Colorado Fiscal Institute.




Announcing our 2016 officers and new directors

Our board slate was unanimously approved by members at our annual meeting on Nov. 5, 2015. Thanks to all who attended.
We are delighted to announce our board officers for 2016:
  • Chair: Marla J. Williams, President and CEO, Community First Foundation (Continuing by virtue of a previous election to a two-year term)
  • Vice Chair: Mark D. Andersen, Executive Director, Yampa Valley Community Foundation
  • Secretary: Ned Calonge, President and CEO, The Colorado Trust
  • Treasurer:Joseph Ignat, Representative, Nord Family Foundation
The following directors have been elected to a first term starting Jan 1, 2016 and ending Dec. 31, 2018:
  • Ned Calonge, President and CEO, The Colorado Trust
  • Heather Carroll, President, Joseph Henry Edmondson Foundation
  • Anne Garcia, Chief Financial and Operating Officer, Rose Community Foundation
  • Amy Latham, Vice President of Philanthropy, Colorado Health Foundation
  • Gary Steuer, President and CEO, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation
  • Abel Wurmnest, Program Officer, Anschutz Family Foundation
The following director has been elected to a second term starting January 1, 2016 and ending Dec. 31, 2018
  • Ruth Rohs, Executive Director, IMA Foundation
Continuing on the board by virtue of a previous election:
  • Mark D. Andersen, Executive Director, Yampa Valley Community Foundation
  • Joe Ignat, Representative, Nord Family Foundation
  • Gary Butterworth, Senior Vice President, El Pomar Foundation
  • Ellen Sandberg, Executive Director, CH2M Foundation
  • Lynne Valencia, Vice President Community Relations, 9News/TEGNA Foundation
  • Marla J. Williams, President and CEO, Community First Foundation
And many thanks to directors completing their board service at the end of 2015: 
  • Rob Greenlee, Executive Director, Greenlee Family Foundation
  • Alyssa Anne Kopf, CEO, Community Shares of Colorado
  • Sue Renner, Executive Director, David & Laura Merage Foundation
  • Tamara Tormohlen, Executive Director, Aspen Communtiy Foundation
  • Chris Wiant, President & CEO, Caring for Colorado Foundation
Thank you to all of these individuals for their service on behalf of the sector.