Policy & Advocacy

Supporting Systems Change

The Denver Foundation has a long and rich history of supporting resident leadership and community organizing. Beginning in 1995, the Foundation began rooting itself alongside community leaders and lifting their voices. We know our community leaders strengthen the fabric of our community and make Colorado thrive.

Our grant investments are part of a very patient and trusting long game that builds capacity over time. For example, our early support of embedded community leaders led to innovative, game-changing, constituent-led organizations like the Montbello Organizing Committee and Westwood Unidos. These groups have engaged in transformational leadership within their communities, bringing forward multi-million dollar projects like the FreshLo Hub and winning campaigns to bring needed services like bus routes to their neighborhoods.  

The Foundation has long invested grant support in organizations providing direct public policy advocacy, civic engagement, and nonpartisan education to Coloradans. We provided funding to create systems-level change at local and state levels. These dollars supported efforts at intersections of education, health, housing insecurity, and economic opportunity. The Foundation also committed $1.4 million to support advocacy for behavioral health and substance use treatment across the state. Additionally, in 2017, the Board of Trustees enabled the Foundation to begin active involvement in public policy efforts, lending real-time support to nonprofit partners in furthering their advocacy agendas.

Since the start of the COVID-19, the Foundation has invested over $400,000 in efforts to pass legislative efforts that will help Coloradans recovery from the pandemic. This includes support of the now passed Cigarette, Tobacco, and Nicotine Products Tax (HB-1427), Paid Medical and Family Leave, and Denver Ballot Measure 2B. Additional bodies of work will inform the local and state advocacy, including original research on the mental health needs of LBGTQ communities and galvanizing health care workers to become advocacy champions for BIPOC communities.

2020 Report to the Community