In 2023, Rose Community Foundation awarded $555,000 to 26 organizations to support strong and inclusive civic engagement in the Greater Denver region. Grants were made to nonprofits and programs that focused on elevating the voices and priorities of those furthest from opportunity through voter participation and engagement, community organizing and leadership development.
Communities with powerful civic engagement opportunities – where everyone has a seat at the table – leads to a more informed and active public, fostering a sense of community and better representation in decision-making processes.
Through civic engagement, community members gain a voice and closer proximity to the systems in place that affect their daily lives. Participation and involvement can take many forms and these grants aimed to support a broad scope of civic engagement activities both leading up to and outside of election seasons.
One grantee organization, Latina Initiative is focused on increasing the impact of Latina voters for positive change within their community today and for future generations.
“This support from Rose Community Foundation helped the Latina Initiative reach 30,000 Latina voters in Colorado during the November School Board Election. We encouraged Latina voters to be the voice on behalf of Latina students by participating in their local elections,” says Katherine Archuleta, co-founder of Latina Initiative. “We delivered nearly three million impressions over a 5-week period with culturally relevant, bilingual ads.”
Community Resource Center, another grantee, received funding to support The Participation Project, a program which provides guidance, training and support to direct service nonprofits to offer nonpartisan voter registration and education to their communities. Through working with nonprofits, the Participation Project is able to reach individuals who are often left out of the voting process.
“Each year, we are reenergized by engaging individuals who are voting for their first time – whether they are a newly naturalized citizen, a youth who has just turned 18, an individual with a past felony conviction, or someone who has simply never been told their voice matters – these interactions are the highlight of our program and what keep us going,” says Alex McHenry, Community Resource Center’s director of civic engagement.
Another nonprofit, The Alliance Center, a coworking space and event venue, cultivates a collaborative environment that brings people together to solve systemic problems. With support from the Foundation, The Alliance Center hosted two rounds of their “School House Rock” Policy101 and Advocacy 101 webinars, which were presented remotely, free of charge and simulcast in English and Spanish. Additionally, they hosted a community Advocacy Day at the state capitol, which allowed teams of community members to conduct face-to-face meetings with legislators to discuss several bills focused on creating a more sustainable and equitable community.
“Thanks to the support of Rose Community Foundation we were able to not only create deeper connections in historically marginalized communities, but actually slow down and move at the speed of trust, to show the community how dedicated the Alliance is to empowering them to advocate for themselves,” says Jolie Brawner, director of the Coalition for a Regenerative Future. “The Alliance does not just show up to listen to a community with the goal of creating a report to sit on the shelf; when we show up in the community we listen, we then stay and work collaboratively with folks to create programming and opportunities that reflect their desires and needs. Without the support of Rose our transformative civic engagement work would just not be possible.”
Below is a list of all 2023 Civic Engagement grantees: