Coming Together Through Giving: Barb Mellman Davis and Yael Trainer

Rose Community Foundation fundholders Barbara Mellman Davis and Yael Trainer, mother and daughter, typically go about their giving independently. “In the past, my mom and I have given individually to organizations we personally care about,” explains Yael. “We are of different generations and have our own unique interests, ideas and goals.”

However, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Barb and Yael have been in regular dialogue about how they can collaborate to maximize their philanthropic impact and reach. Each offers a unique perspective about how they can best collectively support individuals and organizations that have been impacted by the virus.

“The process of giving with Yael has opened my eyes to new opportunities for helping people,” Barb says. “I have a set group of organizations I usually give to, and Yael has encouraged me to think about other places where our dollars will make an impact right now.”

The pair has made COVID-19 response grants to the Governor’s COVID Relief Fund at Mile High United Way and Colorado Restaurant Response, a program created in response to the pandemic that re-hires restaurant workers to make and distribute meals to unemployed service workers, food insecure families and frontline workers. Yael also individually directed funds to Florence Crittenton Services.

Through the collaborative process, they have exposed each other to organizations they find personally meaningful.

“I’ve given to Mile High United Way for years,” Barb says. “I think they play a meaningful role as a central location that can allocate dollars to organizations who need it. And I figured if anyone knew where the needs were, it would be the Governor’s office.”

“My mom and I look at things differently,” shares Yael. “I have always given to smaller places, so United Way wasn’t even on my radar before she mentioned it.”

Yael, who has friends in the restaurant industry, led the pair’s grantmaking to Colorado Restaurant Response.

“I’ve seen the impact of this virus on restaurant workers up close,” says Yael. “I know so many people who are in the restaurant industry living paycheck to paycheck, so I pushed for us to support that issue.”

“It’s important to me that my kids are able to give where their hearts are,” Barb adds. “It’s been heartwarming to go through this process with Yael and get to see that up close.”

The pair has collaborated closely with Rose Community Foundation’s philanthropic services team to research COVID-19-relief funding opportunities that have emerged over the past few months.

“We’ve been very fortunate to work with Sarah Indyk [the Foundation’s Vice President of Philanthropic Services], who helped us come up with the right questions to ask before we gave and figure out our standards for making grants,” says Yael. “We never would have found the Colorado Restaurant Response without her help.”

“When we work with the staff at Rose, it’s a team effort,” explains Barb. “Each of us has different pieces of information that, combined, allow us to make the most effective gift possible.”

Barb and Yael say this experience supporting people and organizations on the front lines of COVID-19 relief has brought them closer than ever. Working together in service of others, they say, gives them hope at a time when optimism is hard to come by.

“It’s been a special way for us to connect during this otherwise scary time,” says Yael, who is the mother of a two year old and a four-month-old baby who was born just before the pandemic reached Colorado. “Even though we’re physically apart, this gives us something to be hopeful about.”

Barb echoes her daughter’s sentiment. “Doing this with Yael has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”

In this time when we cannot physically reach out to others in our community, we CAN come together through our giving. Interested in supporting Rose Community Foundation’s ongoing, equity-focused response to the medical, economic and social impacts of COVID-19 in seven-county Metro Denver? Consider giving to our R.E.S.P.O.N.D. Fund today!

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