“Colorado Giving Voice” Blog

CAF members: Mark your calendars for our annual meeting with keynoter Lucy Bernholz

  • May 29, 2014
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We’re looking forward to bringing Lucy Bernholz to Denver this fall to discuss her work with CAF members. Thanks to CAF Board Chair Mary Gunn and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, where Bernholz is a visiting scholar, for connecting us with Bernholz and making her visit possible.

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Bernholz is a visiting scholar at Stanford University and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Bernholz is also a visiting scholar at the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University. A self-described philanthropy wonk, her widely followed philanthropy2173 blog offers insights into her work on the emergence of a “digital civil society.”

Stay tuned for details on our special program with Bernholz on Nov. 5.

Hype or Hope?

We’re delighted that internationally recognized foundation leader Sterling Speirn will be joining us soon for a conversation with CAF members about how various trends in philanthropy have evolved in recent years.  His reflections and remarks, titled “Hype or Hope?” will cover buzzwords such as “collective impact” and “place-based grantmaking.” Speirn’s varied career in the sector took him from Apple Computer to Peninsula (now Silicon Valley) Community Foundation to W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

This program, to be held at the Daniels Fund, is open to CAF members only and is almost full.

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Sterling Speirn to speak with CAF members in June.

Speirn will also be meeting with members of the peer group Colorado Funders for Inclusiveness and Equity from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at The Denver Foundation. All interested funders are welcome to join him for this afternoon conversation about his work in the area of racial healing.

Celebrating philanthropy: A call for nominations

Consider nominating someone who has made a difference through their commitment to philanthropy in Colorado.

National Philanthropy Day Colorado Awards recognize individuals and organizations whose contributions improve the quality of our lives and communities. Unsure about who to nominate?
Visit the National Philanthropy Day Colorado website for more information and a list of past winners.

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You can also watch a video from the 2013 awards ceremony of CAF members Tim Schultz and Marla Williams reflecting on philanthropy.

This year’s nominations deadline is July 21.

The awards ceremony will be held on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014 at the Seawell Grand Ballroom at the Denver Performing Arts Center Complex on Speer & Arapahoe, Denver, CO.

 

Learn about how to help wildfire relief efforts

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Our thoughts go out to those affected by the Black Forest wildfire. Here are some ways to help provide immediate assistance:

Help Colorado Now has information about how to provide financial support to agencies responding to disasters and is a joint partnership between Colorado Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

The Pikes Peak Community Foundation has launched an Emergency Relief Fund to benefit nonprofits providing disaster relief in the region.

 

The Philanthropic Response to Oklahoma; How You Can Help

Our hearts go out to Oklahoma. Click here for information on how to help — from our colleagues at the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers:

On Capitol Hill, a story’s worth 1,000 words

Sen. Michael Bennet catches up today (Mar. 22) with Colorado foundation leaders in the historic Vice President’s Room in the Capitol just before he heads to the chamber to vote on the bi-partisan “crowdfunding” legislation he introduced.

In the news business, some of the best advice I ever got from an editor was: “Show me. Don’t tell me.”

In other words, the most compelling articles are usually packed with descriptions and real examples and people speaking for themselves. You have to go out and talk to people, connect with them, weave it all together. That’s what makes a good story. That’s what makes an impression.

It’s true of most things. And it was true when Colorado foundation leaders traveled to Washington this week for face-to-face meetings with the nine members of Colorado’s congressional delegation.

There were 14 of us in all — representing just about every type of funder making grants to nonprofits in communities all over the state (and every one of the state’s congressional districts.)

We had foundations of every size and stripe.  Some of them fund broadly and others focus on a single issue. Some focus on the entire state, while others invest locally and in rural communities. We had corporate foundations, family foundations, even out-of-state foundations with family connections to Colorado.

It’s no accident that we managed to get ample time with all nine members of our congressional delegation.  Just as a good story captures your attention, our diverse group did just that.

Thanks to all of our members of Congress and their staffers who made time to meet with us this week to exchange ideas and hear about the work our members are doing in communities across the state. Thanks to the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and the Council on Foundations for organizing the annual Foundations on the Hill event.

And thanks to our 2012 Colorado foundation delegation:

Mark Anderson, Yampa Valley Community Foundation

Louise Atkinson, Women’s Foundation of Colorado

Sheila Bugdanowitz, Rose Community Foundation

Linda Childears, Daniels Fund

Ted Harms, The Anschutz Foundation

Mary Gunn, David and Lucile Packard Foundatoin

Heather Carroll, Edmondson Foundation

Susan Steele, Buell Foundation

Paul Major, Telluride Foundation

Monique Lovato, Xcel Energy

Joe Ignat, Nord Family Foundation

Mary Gunn, David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Tim Sweeney, Gill Foundation

Abel Wurmnest, Anschutz Family Foundation

Posted by Joanne Kelley, Executive Director, Colorado Association of Funders

Catching our breath in 2012

Posted by Joanne Kelley

The holiday season is over (for now) but we’re still talking about the various projects that members of the Colorado Association of Funders gathered for throughout the month of December. Thanks to our friend Rachel Mondragon at The Colorado Trust for posting about her experience at The Gathering Place on the foundation’s Community Connections blog and for creating a brief slide show complete with music.

Former CAF staffer Abel Wurmnest heads out in a snowstorm to prepare meals at Project Angelheart with Kumella Aiu, his new program officer colleague from the Anschutz Family Foundation. The Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation staff also shared kitchen duties that day.

Several dozen funders teamed up throughout the city, not only at The Gathering Place, but also at Metro CareRing, Urban Peak/The Spot, and Project Angelheart, to lend a hand and get a closer look at the vital work these organizations do for our communities.

Philanthropy’s ‘network effect’

“None of us is as smart as all of us.”  –Management guru Ken Blanchard

Did you know the Colorado Association of Funders is part of a network of organizations that regularly share expertise so we can all do a better job of serving our members in our respective local communities?
We hosted our colleagues from across the country here in Denver last month for the annual conference of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers.

Jamie Van Leeuwen, senior policy advisor to Gov. John Hickenlooper, visits with Nancy Roberts, president of Connecticut Council for Philanthropy, after speaking about his work with CAF to build connections between the Governor’s office and cabinet and Colorado’s foundation sector.

We met right downtown, which allowed us to show off the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (Thanks to Buell Foundation for connecting us to folks who arranged behind the scenes tours) and the vibrant restaurant scene (Thanks to Craftworks Foundation and Western Union Foundation for sponsoring a great opening reception at the Rock Bottom Brewery. A bike ride along Cherry Creek on Denver B-cycles and a ballgame at Coors Field were also a hit with our visitors.
Aside from the Rocky Mountain backdrop and sightseeing, the main attraction and reason we all make the effort to get together each year is as simple as Blanchard’s observation above.
Collectively, our 35 associations serve roughly 4,000 foundations and funders. And by connecting almost daily through email discussions and conference calls, as well as at our annual conference, we’re able to exchange advice, stay informed and collaborate on the best ways to provide “on the ground” leadership in our geographic regions.

We all exist for the same reasons — to bring funders together and to strengthen philanthropy in our local communities. That work might involve developing new educational programs, improving our advocacy efforts, or finding more cost-effective, innovative ways of collecting data. If one of our members asks us a question and we don’t know the answer, this is generally the first place we turn for help. In this era of doing more with less, our network has become more relevant than ever. To learn more, go to www.givingforum.org.

Posted by Joanne Kelley, executive director, Colorado Association of Funders

Thanks to those who made the C3 Forum a success

Posted by Joanne Kelley

Sincere thanks go out to the more than 375 of you who took part in the C3 Forum in Loveland on July 12.

This was the second year the Colorado Association of Funders collaborated with the Colorado Nonprofit Association and the Community Resource Center to bring funders and nonprofits together to network and learn from each other.

I thought the following note from Jeannine Truswell, executive director of the United Way of Weld County, summed it up well: “There are so many good things happening in our communities across Colorado. With all that is wrong with the world, it was energizing and uplifting to get us all together. For nonprofits to get away from the day to day and to elevate the conversations serves only to bring positive for all.”

You can also listen to Christie McElhinney of The Colorado Trust as she shares her take on the value of the C3 Forum. Click here to watch the video.

Thanks to all our member organizations that took part. For a complete list and to view photos of the day, click here.

Look forward to next year’s forum.

Joanne Kelley is executive director of the Colorado Association of Funders. Contact her at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Reaching out to rural Colorado

Posted by Joanne Kelley, Executive Director, Colorado Association of Funders

I’m pretty sure Rick Cohen was posing a rhetorical question in his recent post about why Colorado’s “Rural Philanthropy Days” works. In his Nonprofit Quarterly  blog, Cohen referred to the mountain region’s version of the event, which took place in Edwards last week.

“Since the last Rural Philanthropy Days [in the mountain region] four years ago, 14 donors increased their grant support to rural areas by 202 percent,” Cohen wrote. “Someone should talk to those 14 grantmakers and ask them what it is that got them to up their rural nonprofit grantmaking.”

You can read the complete Cohen post here.

And here’s an excerpt from the comment I posted in response:

I think a big part of the answer is that this is a year-in and year-out effort aimed at strengthening relationships between funders and nonprofits in the far reaches of the state. The Denver funders know these folks because they keep returning to see and hear about the good work they’re all doing.
Here’s a link to something we wrote about it in our report, “Seeing Potential, Creating Change: The Reach and Impact of Colorado Philanthropy.”

Colorado foundations are headed next to the San Luis Valley in September.

Here’s a blurb from the invite:

“This year’s event will be held in the town of Saguache, listed as one of Colorado’s most endangered places by Colorado Preservation Inc. in 2009. The event location gives attendees a view of the rustic beauty of the Valley and some of the challenges rural isolation poses.”

By the way, Rural Philanthropy Days has worked so well that we realized we could do an even better job of building relationships in the metro areas, too. We launched what we call the “C3 Forum” last year in partnership with the Colorado Nonprofit Association and Community Resource Center, the nonprofit that organizes Rural Philanthropy Days. The C3 Forum is a full day of small group discussions between funders and nonprofits. We’ll be in Loveland on July 12 and expect about 75 funders and 350 nonprofits to spend the day connecting and networking. Come out and join us!