“Colorado Giving Voice” Blog

Don’t miss our funder exchange on 9/15!

CAF members: Are you trying to keep up with all the changes happening at colleague foundations? Strategic priorities? Focus areas? They continue to shift as foundations look to increase their impact. On top of that, many foundations have new leaders and staff. By popular demand, we’ve developed a program that will allow members to come together to make sense of it all. Be prepared to share and learn in a session facilitated by Adrienne Mansanares of the Denver Foundation.

Learn more about registering here.

Colorado Trust CEO, Colorado Health VP appointed to CAF board through 2015

  • May 19, 2015
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We’re pleased to announce our board voted unanimously to approve the appointments of two new directors — Ned Calonge of The Colorado Trust and Amy Latham of The Colorado Health Foundation — to serve through the end of 2015.

Dr. Calonge, President and CEO of The Colorado Trust, will fill the director and Board Secretary officer position previously held by Gay Cook, who left The Colorado Trust earlier this year.

Before joining The Trust in 2010, Dr. Calonge served as Chief Medical Officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Dr. Calonge was also Chief of the Department of Preventive Medicine for the Colorado Permanente Medical Group and a family physician for 10 years. Dr. Calonge’s academic appointments include Associate Professor, Family Medicine, University of Colorado Denver (UCD) School of Medicine; and Associate Professor of Epidemiology, UCD School of Public Health.

Dr. Calonge serves on the boards of Delta Dental Foundation and LiveWell Colorado. Nationally, he is past Chair of U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and a member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Task Force on Community Preventive Services. He is Chair of the CDC’s Evaluating Genomic Applications for Practice and Prevention Workgroup, and is a consultant for and past member of the Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children in the Maternal and Child Health Bureau in the Health Resources and Services Administration. Dr. Calonge is a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and the Elimination of Health Disparities. He is a past member and President of the Colorado Medical Board.

Dr. Calonge earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from The Colorado College, a Master of Public Health degree from University of Washington and a Medical Doctorate from University of Colorado. He has been board-certified in Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine, and was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2011.


Amy Latham, Vice President, The Colorado Health Foundation, has been appointed to fill the director position held by Kelly Dunkin, who is leaving the foundation at the end of May to move to Peru with her family.

Latham is currently serving as interim vice president of philanthropy at The Colorado Health Foundation, leading all of the foundation’s grantmaking teams to invest in nonprofits throughout the state. She also serves as the portfolio director for health care and health coverage. In that role, she oversees the Foundation’s efforts to ensure that all Coloradans have health coverage, as well as the Foundation’s strategies to ensure that Coloradans achieve health with support from a network of primary health care and community services. She has been with the Foundation since 2008, serving in program officer and communications roles prior to her current position.

Amy moved to Colorado from Missouri, where she was director of communications and public policy for Missouri Family Health Council, a nonprofit health care organization. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later did public relations and strategic communications for a telecommunications company before entering the nonprofit world. Amy holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Tulane University and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Missouri.

Update: Nepal disaster relief resources

For those wishing to respond in the aftermath of the earthquake in Nepal, our colleagues at the Center for Disaster Philanthropy have posted some information here. The center has also set up a recovery fund page for funders wishing to help with the medium- and long-term rebuilding and recovery efforts.

A webinar from noon to 1 pm mountain time will be held on Friday, May 1, to discuss needs and funding opportunities in Nepal. Register for the webinar here.

Nonprofit blogger Beth Kanter has compiled information here: www.bethkanter.org/nepal/. And here is a link to a donor’s guide to giving published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. If you follow us on Twitter (@coloradofunders), we will also be sharing updated information there.

As always, we encourage our members to let us know what they are doing to aid the immediate relief and/or longer-term recovery efforts so we can share it with members.


Think knowing one foundation means you know one foundation?

  • April 7, 2015
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Turns out there are a few key things successful funders have in common. And it starts with the chief executive. 

CAF members are encouraged to take part in this special program to learn from experts both near and far and network with fellow leaders and peers. The program will include an interview with Fay Twersky, Director of the Effective Philanthropy Group at California-based William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, who will elaborate on findings in her report “Foundation Chief Executives as Artful Jugglers.”

A lively round robin with panelists from Colorado will capture viewpoints of several of our own leaders at various stages of foundation CEO experience:

  • Sheila Bugdanowitz, President & CEO, Rose Community Foundation
  • Lauren Casteel, President & CEO, Women’s Foundation of Colorado
  • Patrick Gaston, President, Western Union Foundation
  • Gary Steuer, President & CEO, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation

All CAF members are encouraged to take part in this special afternoon program and reception at History Colorado Center. Trustees, CEOs and staffers are all invited to participate!

Bonus: You can check out History Colorado Center’s 1968 exhibit while you are there.




Philanthropy’s Awareness Gap?

When I started in this role more than five years ago, philanthropy had just discovered that fewer than two in 10 influential Americans — think policymakers, for instance — could name an example of a foundation’s impact on their community or an issue they cared about.

The research project known as the Philanthropy Awareness Initiative showed that only a little over one-third of these engaged individuals — elected officials, business leaders, government and nonprofit leaders — could even name a foundation at all.

This multi-year study concluded, among other things, that it won’t be a one-time effort to keep policymakers informed but rather an ongoing process of building connections and relationships.

Just this week, I ran across a blog headlined, “Does Philanthropy’s Awareness Gap still exist?

It was written about a Rockefeller Foundation convening of public officials working on disaster recovery and community resilience. The Philanthropy Northwest blog reported that those in attendance at the Seattle meeting seemed to have little understanding about philanthropy in their communities. But there were a couple of examples specifically mentioned by officials in the room, including the Colorado Association of Funders’ disaster planning and response work with the governor’s office here.

Raising awareness about philanthropy has become an increasingly important part of CAF’s mission, whether it’s through collecting relevant data or keeping policymakers informed about important work in Colorado’s communities.

We’ll (so far) be joined in Washington next month for our annual meetings with members of Congress by: Rebecca Arno (The Denver Foundation), Heather Carroll (Joseph Henry Edmondson Foundation), Kyle Hybl (El Pomar Foundation), Joe Ignat (Nord Family Foundation), Megan Ledin (Grand Foundation), Tim Schultz (Boettcher Foundation) and Sue Renner (David and Laura Merage Foundation).

All of this work only happens with our members’ support and involvement. Many thanks for all you do.


We’re heading back to DC in March for Foundations on the Hill

  • January 26, 2015
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Working with our colleagues at regional associations across the country, we’re busy planning for this year’s annual Foundations on the Hill program in Washington, DC. I snapped this photo foundationsonthehill-editof the famed cherry blossoms a couple of years ago; I can’t promise they’ll be in bloom this time around — March 17-19. It’s always a memorable experience anyway and we are looking forward to having some of our members joining us on this year’s trip. There’s still time to make plans. To learn more, visit the Foundations on the Hill website here.


Marla Williams begins term as CAF board chair


We’re extremely grateful to our board directors for their service to CAF. Special thanks go to Community First Foundation CEO Marla Williams, who officially became our new board chair this month.

A press release follows:

Marla Williams takes helm of Colorado foundation group board

DENVER, CO – Marla J. Williams has been elected board chair of the Colorado Association of Funders (CAF), a statewide group representing a broad range of foundations, corporate giving programs and other groups that support nonprofit causes.

Williams is president and CEO of Community First Foundation, a foundation helping donors and nonprofits come together to improve quality of life in the Denver metro area. Community First funds community programs, supports the services of nonprofit organizations, and assists individuals with charitable giving. The Foundation is also known for innovative programs such as ColoradoGives.org, an online giving resource that has raised more than $80 million for Colorado nonprofits in five years and is the platform for Colorado Gives Day.

“Colorado foundations and other funders enjoy a strong spirit of collaboration and CAF’s statewide network helps make that possible,” Williams said. “I look forward to working even more closely with the association to build on its work in connecting funders to share ideas, expertise and opportunities for positive impact.”

Before joining the Foundation, Williams served as president and CEO of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado. She continues her service to the foundation as an Honorary Trustee. Prior to joining the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, she was a partner with Holme Roberts & Owen LLP (HRO). At the law firm, Williams represented a number of nonprofit clients and supported them in all aspects of their business.

Williams earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School and an A.B. from Indiana University.

She is active in the community and serves on several boards, including SCL Health – Front Range and Sturm Financial Group. She is past president of Colorado Women’s Bar Association and is the recipient of the Mary Lathrop Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Women’s Bar Association. She has also been honored by the Girl Scouts of Colorado as a Woman of Distinction and named Woman of the Year by the Colorado Business and Professional Women’s Association (now Colorado Business Women.)

“We’re extremely fortunate to have such strong board leadership as we continue to expand our efforts to strengthen the sector and serve as a vital voice for philanthropy in our state,” said Joanne Kelley, Executive Director of Colorado Association of Funders.

Other CAF board officers and directors are:

  • Vice Chair: Mark D. Andersen, Executive Director, Yampa Valley Community Foundation
  • Secretary: Gay Cook, Vice President of Strategy & Philanthropic Relations, The Colorado Trust
  • Treasurer: Kelly Dunkin, Vice President of Philanthropy, Colorado Health Foundation
  • Gary Butterworth, Senior Vice President, El Pomar Foundation
  • Rob Greenlee, Executive Director, Greenlee Family Foundation
  • Joseph Ignat, Representative, Nord Family Foundation
  • Alyssa Kopf, CEO, Community Shares of Colorado
  • Sue Renner, Executive Director, David and Laura Merage Foundation
  • Ruth Rohs, Executive Director, IMA Foundation
  • Ellen Sandberg, President, CH2M Hill Foundation
  • Tamara Tormohlen, Executive Director, Aspen Community Foundation
  • Lynne Valencia, Vice President, Community Relations, 9News/Gannett Foundation
  • Chris Wiant, President and CEO, Caring for Colorado Foundation

Rose Community Foundation challenges community to “Innovate for Good”

  • January 6, 2015
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Here’s the challenge: What new and innovative idea would you bring to life to make the Greater Denver community a better place to live?

You have a month to submit your best pitch here.

Rose Community Foundation will award a total of $250,000 for up to 10 new and innovative ideas. Spread the word. Or enter yourself. Almost anyone can get involved – “artists, engineers, nonprofits, neighborhood associations, teenagers, retirees – you name it,” according to the challenge launched this month.

Stay tuned for the results, which will be announced in June as the community foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary.


Innovate for Good logo

Blueprint 2015

Shout out to Stanford Fellow Lucy Bernholz for keynoting our 2014 annual meeting. Her observations and musings and insights on the Digital Civil Society sparked lively conversation.

We’re getting ready to read her annual industry forecast to see what the next 12 months have in store for the sector. Click here to check her predictions for 2015.


Colorado joins other community foundations at White House in marking 100 years

  • December 4, 2014
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The White House organized and hosted a convening on Dec. 2 to recognize the 100th anniversary of community foundations.

We were joined by  Josie Heath, CEO of The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County and Sheila Bugdanowitz, CEO of Rose Community Foundation as well as other community foundation leaders and regional association leaders from around the country. The day served as an opportunity to reflect on the centennial accomplishments and the future promise of what has been called “a uniquely American innovation.”

Read more.