Public Policy Framework and Principles


The Denver Foundation has always led on issues of importance to our community.

We believe we have a responsibility to take bold steps to advance racial equity and drive meaningful systemic change. Our community believes we have this responsibility, too.

To that end, the foundation has added resources to develop a Public Policy Framework and Principles to inform our activity in policy issues at the local, state, and federal levels in alignment with our mission, vision, and core values.

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Policy Principles


Economic Opportunity. We will consider policy proposals that strengthen community wealth-building and workforce development opportunities across Metro Denver.

Education (K-12). We will consider policy proposals that prioritize racial equity in the K-12 public school system and increase school funding equitably.

Environment and Climate. We will consider policy proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create resilient communities across the Metro Denver region.

Housing. We will consider policy proposals that increase the affordable housing supply and establish systemic support to address barriers to housing security.

Transportation We will consider policy proposals that make equitable investments into public transit to address the current challenges impacting ridership.

Philanthropic Giving and Nonprofit Sector. We will consider policy proposals at the federal level to further charitable giving, deepen collaboration between philanthropists, nonprofit organizations, and government entities, and address evidence-based concerns of the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.

Read more about our 2023 policy principles.

 

Policy Positions


Read more about our 2022 policy positions on our blog.

 

Meet Our Policy Team


Naomi Amaha Gollnick Headshot

Naomi Amaha, Director of Policy & Government Affairs

Naomi Amaha is a public affairs leader with a reputation of excellence in local and state, and federal government relations. She has more than a decade of experience in advocacy, nonprofit leadership, and civic engagement.

Contact Naomi
Janet Lopez Flor

Dr. Janet Lopez, Senior Director of Policy, Partnerships, & Learning

As the Senior Director of Policy, Partnerships, & Learning, Dr. Janet Lopez seeks to deepen relationships with nonprofit leaders, donors, and policymakers throughout metro Denver to increase The Denver Foundation’s impact on critical needs and solutions to those needs. Her career has focused on increasing access and opportunity for BIPOC communities.

Contact Janet

Public Policy FAQs


Have a question about The Denver Foundation’s Public Policy?

The Denver Foundation has always led on issues of importance to our community. We believe we have a responsibility to take bold steps to drive meaningful systemic change. Our community believes we have this responsibility, too. Community feedback during our Strategic Framework process guided The Denver Foundation’s decision to deepen its work in policy efforts. We recognize grantmaking is not enough and work in public policy and advocacy is necessary to further deepen our commitment to a strong, healthy, and equitable Metro Denver. Our public policy principles will drive the Foundation’s engagement on policy proposals, including legislation, ordinances, regulations, and ballot measures at the local, state, and federal level.

The Foundation has previously provided funding to create systems-level change in education, health, housing insecurity, and economic opportunity at local and state levels. The Foundation has also served as a member of the Council on Foundations and participated in federal advocacy efforts regarding charitable tax deduction and IRA distribution.

The public policy framework and principles guide the Foundation’s commitment to advancing systemic change through policy and advocacy efforts. The framework outlines how we will engage with policy proposals. The policy principles, to be updated annually, outline the issues areas on which The Denver Foundation will take positions.

The Denver Foundation will engage on policy issues at the state and local level that align with the issue areas defined in our community grants program and strategic framework: economic opportunity, education, environment and climate, housing, and transportation. At the federal level, the Foundation will also engage on policies impacting philanthropic giving and the nonprofit sector.

Our Board of Trustees along with our Policy Committee, which includes community members, helps guide our decision-making about policy positions and our level of engagement.

Yes! Donors can give directly to or direct grants from their donor-advised funds to The Denver Foundation’s Civic Fabric Fund. The Civic Fabric Fund is a new grantmaking opportunity that provides nonprofit organizations with funding to support their policy and advocacy work.

Guided by their respective federal tax designations, missions, and constituents, our peers in Colorado do engage in various efforts to advance public policy through advocacy and lobbying at all levels of government.

We are deeply rooted in the principles of Racial Equity as it guides and connects to all of our work. When taking positions on policy proposals, we will assess if and how the proposal addresses racial equity and systemic support for the most vulnerable populations in Metro Denver in the areas of economic opportunity, education, environment and climate, housing, and transportation.

We will take positions on ballot measures on issues outlined in our policy principles: economic opportunity, education, environment and climate, housing, and transportation. We will not endorse any political candidate.

 

Support These Efforts


Civic Fabric is a new grantmaking opportunity that provides nonprofit organizations with funding to support their policy and advocacy work. Funding opportunities will be directed as resources are available. Fundholders can make gifts to this fund directly from an existing donor-advised fund. If you are not a fundholder and want to give to the Civic Fabric Fund, you can make a gift here.

Policy Blog Archive


2022 Midterm election recap

The Denver Foundation spoke up about several ballot measures that impacted housing, climate, and funding for important services, like K-12 education.

Civic Fabric Fund awards a total of $115,000 to nonprofits working to Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) this November

Through the Civic Fabric Fund, The Denver Foundation provides nonprofits with funding to support their policy and advocacy efforts, including the critical activities of voter registration and engagement.

The Denver Foundation 2022 Ballot Guide

One of our values as an organization is to be a catalytic leader that engages in critical issues and accelerates systems change. Our involvement in policy issues impacting our community is one way we bring these values to life.

August is Zero Fare for Better Air

Throughout the entire month of August, RTD invited everyone to ride on public transit – for free. “Zero fare for better air” was a collaborative effort to increase the use of public transportation and reduce harmful emissions.

The Denver Foundation supports environmental efforts amid new Supreme Court ruling

The Supreme Court’s recent ruling in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency will make it harder for federal agencies to regulate emissions that contribute to global warming. We partnered with the Colorado Health Institute to develop a Climate Health Index that can help us think about climate differently.

Denver Extends Nationally Recognized Supportive Housing Program

Providing homes and wraparound supportive services to individuals experiencing chronic homelessness has had a lasting impact in Denver. Lives are changed, stability is achieved, and taxpayer expenses for costly emergency services are significantly reduced. These are the results seen through Denver’s recent Supportive Housing Social Impact Bond (SIB) initiative.

Ways to Engage: After the 2022 Legislative Session

Throughout the 2022 legislative session, The Denver Foundation took positions on several policy proposals. We were thrilled to have Senator Coleman and Senator Lundeen join us on June 9 to discuss the session (pictured). View a recording of the event here.

2022 Policy Positions – Legislative Session Wrap Up

It’s been an exciting legislative session. This represents the start of deeper involvement in policy and advocacy from The Denver Foundation. We were grateful to be part of such meaningful conversations about how to improve our communities.

2021 Election Recap: Voters and Denver Foundation Align on Key Initiatives

The Denver Foundation and our fundholders have long invested in solutions to address social change through grantmaking. As articulated in our new Strategic Framework, The Denver Foundation is developing a broad strategy to guide our work in public policy and advocacy and deepen our commitment through systemic change.

Denver Foundation November 2021 Ballot Measure Positions

Through analysis and review of all the ballot measures voters in Metro Denver will consider, The Denver Foundation decided to support and oppose these November 2021 Ballot Measure Positions.

Understanding the ACE Act

The ACE Act establishes new rules for private and community foundations and their respective donor-advised funds specific to deduction eligibility and payout requirements and timelines. This piece of legislation is the subject of a rigorous debate within the philanthropic sector, with strong opposition from the Council on Foundations and others.

New Statewide Immigration Defense Fund Signed Into Law

Universal representation advocates—who promote using the model of the U.S. public defender system in immigrant detention hearings—celebrated on June 25 when Governor Jared Polis signed into law House Bill 21-1194, establishing an immigrant legal defense fund in Colorado.

Denver Foundation Welcomes Naomi Amaha, Director of Policy & Government Affairs

Naomi Amaha has joined The Denver Foundation as Director of Policy & Government Affairs. This position was created under the foundation’s new Strategic Framework, which was launched in February.

Denver’s Immigrant Legal Defense Fund Got A Big Boost This Week

Denver City Council in 2021 approved adding $300,000 to the Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund, which was established to give money to local nonprofits helping low-income undocumented immigrants facing deportation. The money it gives out can also be used to pay for naturalization proceedings and DACA applications.

Defending Our Democracy and Denouncing White Supremacy Through Civic Engagement

Now more than ever, we see it as our duty to ensure that as many Coloradans as possible take advantage of having their voices heard. We urge you to use that voice to denounce White Supremacy, advocate for Racial Equity and Justice and lift up our younger generations who are imagining and designing solutions to the issues we face today, and the ones yet to come.

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Contact Us About Policy Work


If you have feedback on The Denver Foundation’s Policy Framework and Principles please contact Naomi Amaha, namaha@denverfoundation.org.