“Colorado Giving Voice” Blog

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!

Connecting the dots

Scott Downes, The Colorado Trust

‘Connecting the Dots’

The Colorado Trust’s Scott Downes talks about “collective impact” and how “interconnected strategies will help move us closer to making sure that every Coloradan can get the coverage and care they need to stay healthy.”

To read his blog post about his participation in the Colorado Children’s Campaign‘s It’s About Kids retreat in Pueblo, click here.

Please join the conversation by adding a comment below or by letting us know what you think at email hidden; JavaScript is required

CAF Legislative Review Offers Mixed Review on Session

Reported by Christie McElhinney, Vice President of Communications & Public Affairs, The Colorado Trust

A panel of Colorado lawmakers offered mixed reviews this week as they recapped the just-concluded legislative session for members of the Colorado Association of Funders .

Senate President Brandon Shaffer, Senate Majority Leader John Morse, along with House Minority Whip Claire Levy, represented the Democrats. House Speaker Frank McNulty and Sen. Shawn Mitchell offered the Republican view on the session.

Speaking to foundation leaders and funders gathered at the Denver Public Library, the panelists discussed the challenges presented by having a different party in control of each chamber. This year marked the first time since 2002 that the chambers have been split — with the Democrats in control of the Senate and Republicans in control of the House.

The panelists agreed that compromise was key.

“We spent some time learning how to operate in a mixed environment,” Levy said. “What suffered were the core missions within each party.”

Sen. John Morse

Morse noted that “The results were mixed, just like the Legislature.” He added that he felt the media spent too much time focusing its coverage on the fights.

Still, the panelists pointed to a number of accomplishments. Shaffer said the Legislature “accomplished three or three and one-half of our five priorities.” Passing legislation to balance the budget, create a health care coverage exchange and overhaul the unemployment insurance trust fund were among the goals achieved, while agreement was not reached on constitutional reform or redistricting.

In response to a question posed by moderator Vincent Carroll of the Denver Post about whether the K-12 education system would likely suffer more cuts in the future, panelists offered disparate views while largely agreeing that the answer was “yes.”

Mitchell said, “Resources for K-12 and the postsecondary education systems, and other vital services, requires a rebounding economy.” However, he said, he doesn’t think the state’s education system is underfunded.

While noting that the state’s education systems now account for about 54 cents of every $1 of the general fund, Senator Morse expressed concern that more funding is needed, particularly in light of a spike in special needs kids. Still, he agreed that the legislature would most likely be required to make as many cuts to education next year as they did this year.

The panelists offered very different points of view when asked about the health care coverage exchange, which Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law earlier in the day.

House Speaker Frank McNulty

Speaker of the House McNulty said he “does not support federal health care reform,” and is “concerned about the effects this [federal law] could have in Colorado. We need to build a firewall.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Senator Shaffer said the health care coverage exchange is “about providing affordable access for Coloradans.” Noting that the idea of an exchange originated in the bipartisan plan developed by Colorado’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Healthcare Reform, Shaffer said “We need to focus on what we can do here in Colorado.”

McElhinney is a member of the Colorado Association of Funders’ Communications Committee.

Celebrating philanthropy in Colorado

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

We created this blog so we would have a way of regularly sharing stories and news about philanthropy in Colorado.

Once a year, almost 1,000 people come together to do the same. National Philanthropy Day has become an annual tradition in Colorado. It’s a chance to reflect on the important work of philanthropists, grantmakers, fundraisers and volunteers. Celebrating their good work helps to raise awareness about what can be accomplished when we reach out to help others.

The deadline for nominating worthy candidates for 11 different awards is July 22 — less than two months away. You can visit www.npdcolorado.org to learn more and to download nomination forms.

We hope to see you at the awards ceremony on Nov. 18th.