Coming Together Through Giving: The Barish Family

“We know that a lot of people need a lot of help right now. We can’t cure them, but we can hopefully help fund solutions that will make a real difference in their lives.”

Elise Barish and her family have dramatically stepped up their giving in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past month, they have utilized their donor-advised fund (DAF) at Rose Community Foundation to support organizations leading emergency relief efforts, as well as nonprofits whose fundraising has likely been stalled by the crisis.

“Besides staying at home and social distancing, we decided that the best thing we can do to help at this time is to support those organizations that are on the front lines – medical organizations and those serving vulnerable populations, particularly the elderly and food insecure,” says Elise. “However, we also recognized that there are many nonprofits that may not be leading the COVID-19 response but are important to our community, who may not be getting the support they need right now.”

For example, the Barish family made general operating support grants to the Melanoma Research Foundation and the Denver Jewish Community Center, a pair of organizations whose work remains important during this fiscally challenging time. The Barish family typically make gifts to both groups later in the calendar year, but were able to rush funding to the organizations in March thanks to the flexibility of their DAF.

“We feel very fortunate to have a DAF at Rose,” says Elise. “Because this money is already set aside and earmarked for philanthropy, we can maintain our giving levels regardless of how the economy is doing. It also gives us a lot of flexibility regarding the timing of our gifts during the course of the year.”

The Barish family’s COVID-19 direct relief grants focused primarily on supporting medically-vulnerable and food-insecure individuals. They made a grant to the Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, which will help fund clinical lab staffing, COVID-19 testing resources and personal protective equipment for caregivers. They also funded National Jewish Health, where Elise is a former trustee, which has deployed its intensive care practitioners to cover hundreds of ICU beds in hospitals across five states.

They also funded the Denver Public Schools Foundation’s Food Security Fund and doubled their annual gift to Jewish Family Service, whose COVID Emergency Relief Fund will help provide food, supplies and emergency financial assistance to individuals and families in need. “When I think of people without food, it just hurts my heart,” expresses Elise.

“I believe philanthropy plays a key role in dealing with this crisis,” she says. “Nonprofits on the front lines do not have the reserves to step up their work at a necessary scale without the support of philanthropy.”

“We have been honored to partner with the Foundation for the past few years and are even more so now, when Rose is among the leaders addressing the needs in the broader community.”


In this time when we cannot physically reach out to others in our community, we CAN come together through our giving.  Rose Community Foundation has created a resources page with giving opportunities and will keep it updated as we learn more. Thank you for working collectively with us to support the community we all love.


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