Roots & Branches Foundation Invests in Racial Justice

The 2020-21 Roots & Branches Foundation (R&B) alumni giving circle recently granted over $28,000 to advance racial justice in metro Denver. The unsolicited, unrestricted grants will support nine local grassroots organizations working to address structural racial inequities by cultivating more inclusive systems and communities.

In 2020, national tragedies focused long-overdue attention on institutional racism within our region. Guided by their shared Jewish values and informed by the Jewish people’s own history of oppression, the members felt called to use their dollars to capitalize on emerging opportunities to create more racially just systems.

The grant recipients provide a wide array of services, but their efforts center around three primary themes: empowering and engaging youth of color; lowering recidivism rates and bolstering reentry supports for the formerly incarcerated; and strengthening communities of color. Each organization has a deep understanding of, and relationship to, the communities they serve, with leadership that represents and remains proximate to community.

  • Asian Pacific Development Center received funding to support Asian American and Pacific Islander immigrant andrefugee communities in Colorado through a fully integrated system of care which includes behavioral and medical health services, adult education, youth programming, victim assistance, health policy advocacy and a multicultural interpreter bank.
  • Black Lives Matter 5280 received funding to support a holistic racial justice approach including individual and community health and wellness, relationship-building, educational programming and movement building.
  • Collaborative Healing Initiative within Communities received funding to help families break intergenerational cycles of poverty and violence by strengthening the support and services provided to women and girls in the education, workforce and criminal justice systems.
  • Colorado Circles for Change received funding to reduce juvenile violence, end the school-to-prison pipeline and break generational cycles of trauma for youth of color to heal and reach their full potential.
  • Denver Metro Community Impact received funding to advance equityand generational success by elevating the voices of the systemically oppressed through the facilitation of organizational collective action, led and constructed by the community.
  • Groundwork Denver receiving funding to engage residents in lower-income communities in the planning and implementation process to improve the communal environment and promote the health and well-being of residents.
  • Institute for Racial Equity and Excellence received funding to create inclusive environments and ensure equity and social justice at all levels of society, including dismantling the preschool-to-prison pipeline.
  • Project VOYCE received funding to partner with youth to cultivate transformational leadership that addresses the root causes of inequity in underrepresented communities by training, employing, organizing and building equitable youth-adult partnerships.
  • Second Chance Center received funding to help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully transition back to society and reestablish their lives through case management, mentoring and vital resource assistance.

Roots & Branches Foundation is an initiative of Rose Community Foundation that engages Jewish young adults, ages 25 to 40, in collaborative philanthropy. Each year, R&B members work together to identify community needs, determine a funding priority and make grants to Greater Denver nonprofits. Since 2007, Roots & Branches Foundation has granted more than $915,000 to strengthen the Greater Denver community.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s program was conducted virtually, with a cohort comprised entirely of Roots & Branches alumni from various years of the program who utilized their individual experience, knowledge and curiosity to work together and make a collective impact.

“Being reengaged by Roots & Branches Foundation at this critical moment empowered me to act on the conversations I’m already having at home,” expressed Alison Gillis, a member who had previously participated in the 2010-11 cohort. “Through this process, I’ve learned about some incredible organizations advancing racial justice in our local community and how I can get involved to support their work in new and exciting ways.”

Rose Community Foundation is currently recruiting for the next cohort of Roots & Branches Foundation. If you are interested in applying to participate in the 2021-2022 cohort, click here to learn more about the program, eligibility and meeting dates, and to apply. Applications are due Monday, August 9.

If you know an outstanding Jewish adult aged 25-40 who may be interested in participating in Roots & Branches Foundation, please complete this brief nomination form. We will send them information about the program and how to apply. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the program, please contact us.

AAPI Solidarity Rally, co-hosted by Asian Pacific Development Center (March 2021)

Project VOYCE






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