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 2024 policy principles.

 

Policy Positions


2024 policy positions

2023 policy positions

 

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.

Read the 2023 Civic Fabric Voter Engagement Report

Policy Blog Archive


Lessons learned from Foundations on the Hill

This year, I was honored and inspired by all I learned at Foundations on the Hill, the largest annual public policy and advocacy conference dedicated solely to the philanthropic center, held in Washington, D.C., in March. This policy conference is an opportunity for philanthropic staff to meet with members of their congressional delegation to discuss timely policy proposals impacting the sector.

40 Under 40: Naomi Amaha

On March 7, we celebrated Naomi Amaha who was recognized as one of Denver’s 40 under 40. Naomi, our director of policy and government affairs, joined a rock star group of professionals making a difference in our community. She has accomplished so much in such a short period of time and we are very fortunate to have this brilliant and talented woman on our team.

We support legislation to protect tenants from unsafe housing

Senators Julie Gonzales (D-34) and Tony Exum Sr. (D-11) and Representatives Meg Froelich (D-03) and Mandy Lindsay (D-42)’s legislation to protect tenants in Colorado and ensure that they have safe and healthy living conditions, Senate Bill 24-094, passed out of the Senate by a  21-13-1 vote. This legislation would ensure tenants can easily use the state’s current Warranty of Habitability Law to protect them from hazardous living conditions. 

What They’re Saying: Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap 2.0

The Polis administration released an updated Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap 2.0. This important plan lays out a set of near-term actions to reduce emissions across economic sectors and create key new pathways to assist in reaching Gov. Polis’ ambitious goals of cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution in half by 2030, and moving toward net-zero GHG pollution in Colorado by 2050.

2024 Policy Positions

The Denver Foundation is proud to lend our voice to important issues that impact our community. Every year, we engage in policy proposals at the local and state level in the areas of economic opportunity, education, environment, housing, and transportation, and at the federal level on issues that the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. This year, there are several exciting policy proposals that will keep residents safe and healthy at home, preserve affordable housing options, and promote free transit during ozone season.

The Denver Foundation urges action on housing crisis

“Affordable housing is essential to our communities’ well-being. We look forward to working with the legislature and the Governor to advocate for land use policies that protect our neighbors from displacement and increase access to affordable housing, particularly for those with the lowest incomes,” said Naomi Amaha, Director of Policy & Governmental Affairs of The Denver Foundation.

The Denver Foundation is running the fund for one of the mayor’s biggest housing initiatives

On behalf of the City and County of Denver, The Denver Foundation is hosting the All In Mile High Fund, a fund to support the temporary housing resources and wraparound services offered to those experiencing unsheltered homelessness in our city.

Our bike tour visited all 78 Denver neighborhoods and sparked innovative changes

In 2019, our CEO Javier Alberto Soto started the bike tour as a way to get to know the community, to listen and learn about the challenges and goals of each of Denver’s unique neighborhoods. Last fall, we reached a major milestone biking through all 78 Denver neighborhoods!

November elections are right around the corner, we have you covered!

On November 2023, voters in Colorado had the opportunity to vote on two ballot measures on state issues. The Denver Foundation believes a core component of the Metro Region’s civic fabric is voter engagement and ensuring individuals have the tools to be informed voters. We believe everyone should vote and ensure their voices are represented.

Our staff help new mayor set vision for Denver

Mayor Mike Johnston’s transition committees included two people from The Denver Foundation. Naomi Amaha, the director of policy and government affairs sat on Mayor Johnston’s Climate Adaption, Sustainability, and Resiliency (CASR) transition committee, and Dr. Janet Lopez, our senior director of policy, partnerships, and learning was selected to serve on the Migrants and Immigration transition committee.

We hosted an open house for Denver’s elected officials

The Denver Foundation hosted an open house with civic leaders to celebrate the work ahead. Leaders from the Denver City Council, Mayor Mike Johnston’s office, the Colorado State Legislature, and Senators Bennet’s and Hickenlooper’s offices were all present.

Place-Based Policy

As Denver’s population grows and changes, it’s critical that the city’s policies and practices change as well. The Denver Foundation and our donors are engaging in shaping those policies and practices to ensure that everyone has a home.

Ways to Engage: Leading & Learning Focus on the 2023 Legislative Session

Throughout the 2023 legislative session, The Denver Foundation took positions on several policy proposals. We were thrilled that Senator Julie Gonzales and Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer joined us to discuss the session.

2023 Policy Positions

The Denver Foundation spoke up about several ballot measures that impacted Climate and Environment, Economic Opportunity, and Housing.

Denver municipal election run-off June 6: Resources to help you prepare to vote!

This is an exciting time as April 4th approaches. Ballots are in the mail, and voters in the City and County of Denver have the opportunity to select the leaders that will set the vision and take action to tackle many pressing issues impacting our community.

The Denver Foundation joins partners to host mayoral forum

After a crowded race for the Denver mayoral seat, Kelly Brough and Mike Johnston moved on to a runoff election. The seat is one of the most powerful roles in the City and County of Denver, which is why we decided to host a mayoral forum. Not a debate, but a thoughtful discourse about the issues that matter most to our communities.

Stay Up to Date on Our Policy Efforts


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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.