Rose Community Foundation Announces Significant Investments in Advancing Racial Justice

Grants Support Broad Array of Local Nonprofits Working to Promote Equity in Greater Denver

DENVER, COIn response to longstanding structural inequities and emerging opportunities to create more racially just systemsRose Community Foundation recently awarded 14 grants totaling $735,000 to Greater Denver nonprofits advancing racial justice. These grants represent the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to equity and build upon additional investments made earlier in 2020 to advance economic inclusion and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 in communities of color. 

This latest slate of grant recipients includes organizations working at the intersection of racial equity and justice and a wide range of other issue areas, from economic and educational opportunity to health equity and environmental justice. The organizations also embody a variety of approaches to combatting systemic racism; some groups specialize in program- or servicedeliverywhile others focus on policy, advocacy and community organizing.

This round of funding comes at a moment when longstanding disparities and inequities have been both highlighted and compounded by COVID-19, and opportunities for change and impact have accelerated following incidents of police-related deaths, nationwide demonstrations, and subsequent dialogue and reforms happening locally and across the country.

“In 2020, national tragedies have focused long-overdue attention on structural racism within our country and our community in very public and personal ways,” said Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, Rose Community Foundation’s president & CEO. Given our long-term focus on equity and inclusion, our grants to racial justice organizations this year are only the beginning of our work in this space. It’s important to talk about these issues but talking is not enough. We are putting dollars where our voice, values and vision intersect.

This round of funding comes after months of active community outreach and conversations between Foundation staff and racial equity leaders across the Greater Denver region. It is also informed by the Foundation’s late-August web briefing about community-driven solutions to systemic challenges that local Black-led, Black-serving organizations are pursuing. That webinar featured a panel of four nonprofit leaders from The Center for African American HealthEmpower Community High SchoolCollaborative Healing Initiative within Communities and Second Chance Centereach of which are Rose Community Foundation grantee partners from previous funding cycles. 

In describing the work of the organizations receiving funding in this racial justice grantmaking slate, Jicelyn Johnson founder and Chief Visionary Officer of The Black Business Initiative, said, “We each tackle issues facing the Black community from different angles, but we have a shared commitment to advancing the well-being of our community.” 

“We are hopeful that the tragedies and challenges of 2020 may be catalyzing in creating real change to advance racial justice” added Chet W. Sisk, cofounder and board member at Co-Lead International, one of the nonprofits receiving funding. “Our collective efforts in Greater Denver inspire hope and real change.” 

Those interested in supporting the Foundation’s future racial justice grantmaking may contribute to its Community Action Fund for Racial Justice. Every dollar donated to the Fund will be deployed rapidly and strategically to local nonprofits on the front lines of racial justice work. 

“We are here to improve the quality of life within our community and support the diverse people that make up and define Greater Denver, and for Rose that means a focus on values-driven philanthropy that is inclusive and equitable; to carry out our mission we must be committed to expanding relationships with organizations on the front lines of racial-justice work in our community,” said Steve Cohen, chair of the Rose Community Foundation board of trustees. 

General operating support was provided to give nonprofits maximum flexibility in deploying the grant dollars, unless funding for a specific project was requested. Details about the grant recipients and their work are outlined below: 

be well Health and Wellness Initiative via The Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities 

  • The Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities’ be well Health and Wellness Initiative aims to create health equity and access for people living in the Northeast Park Hill, Greater Park Hill, East Montclair, Montbello, Central Park and Northwest Aurora neighborhoods by influencing programs, policies and practices. Be well plans to use this funding to help support the organizing and advocacy efforts of community members and create capacity for block captains to grow into leadership roles.

The Black Business Initiative via Trailhead Institute 

  • Black Business Initiative (BBI) aims to grow the Black economy through acumen, mentorship, investment, community and policy. BBI plans to use this funding to help improve its virtual capacity to expand services and increase revenue, ramp up evaluation efforts, and become more engaged in policy efforts using data.

Black Child Development Institute  

  • Black Child Development Institute (BCDI) aims to improve and advance the quality of life for Black children and their families through education and advocacy. BCDI’s Denver affiliate plans to use this funding to help expand awareness, advocacy, engagement and policy efforts to address inequities affecting Black children (prenatal to eight years old).

Climate Strong Initiative via Co-Lead International 

  • Co-Lead International’s Climate Strong Initiative aims to bring together Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) community entrepreneurs to create and develop sustainability ideas aimed at mitigating climate change’s impacts on local low-income communities.

Colorado Black Women for Political Action via Colorado Black Women Endowment Fund

  • Colorado Black Women for Political Action (CBWPA) aims to ensure the well-being of the local Black community through training and education, in an effort to eradicate the policies and systems that promote racism. CBWPA plans to use this funding to help educate, train and mobilize community members about how policies and systems affect their daily lives.

Colorado People’s Alliance 

  • Colorado People’s Alliance (COPA) aims to advance social change locally, statewide and nationally. COPA plans to use this funding in service of its racial justice advocacy work and to help address anti-Blackness within communities of color through relational organizing, a process by which individuals harness their personal relationships to effect community change.

The Kaleidoscope Project 

  • The Kaleidoscope Project aims to equip hubs of organizers within marginalized communities with opportunities to partner and work on behalf of their own communities. The Kaleidoscope Project plans to use this funding to help create a community resource book, expand training of community organizers, and engage community members in addressing economic inequities and food insecurity in their neighborhoods.

Montbello Organizing Committee 

  • Montbello Organizing Committee aims to galvanize Montbello residents and provide them with the tools and resources necessary to develop their leadership skills so that they can proactively address the issues affecting their quality of life. Montbello Organizing Committee plans to use this funding to support community-driven, inclusive efforts to find common ground on issues of social justice.

Project VOYCE 

  • Project VOYCE aims 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. Project VOYCE plans to use this funding to help develop and disseminate a model for youth-driven and youth-led intergenerational community organizing and incorporate a mental wellness framework into their programming model.

Reimagining Community Safety Project via Center for Trauma & Resilience 

  • Center for Trauma & Resilience’s Reimagining Community Safety Project is a community-organized, community-led and community-driven task force of local residents, nonprofits, government officials, faith leaders and experts seeking to learn from the best community safety models in the nation. The Reimagining Community Safety Project plans to use this funding to help deliver a set policy and budget recommendations to the Denver Mayor and City Council for improving all aspects of community safety in Denver.

Righteous Rage Institute for Healing and Social Justice via Breaking Our Chains

  • Breaking Our Chains and its program Righteous Rage Institute aim to create sustainable and safe communities for people of color through education and advocacy, overcoming barriers created by institutional racism, gentrification and economic disparities. Breaking Our Chains plans to use this funding to help address intergenerational trauma from racial oppression and how it manifests in individuals, organizations and institutions.

Sistahbiz via Foundation for Black Entrepreneurship

  • Sistahbiz provides affordable options for coaching, training and services to help Black women build scalable, sellable models and access the back-office support and financial and social capital that they need to play big in business. Sistahbiz plans to use this funding to help raise and distribute business capital to Black women entrepreneurs, increase access to government or corporate contracts, and provide training, coaching and technical assistance to support women in building systems and capacity.

The Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado 

  • The Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado (ULF) aims to continuously improve the professional and social trajectory of minority leaders through effective leadership training. ULF plans to use this funding to help increase its capacity to serve more leaders and better evaluate and communicate its impact.

Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism 

  • Young Americans for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA) aims to build the self-efficacy of youth who desire to make change in our communities and pursue social science degrees and social justice careers. YAASPA plans to use this funding to help build its leadership infrastructure, deepen its presence in policy spaces, and expand and fortify the foundation of its PEACE Collective,” a Black and Brown coalition of leaders.

For a Spanish language version of this release, please contact communications & outreach associate, Ray Barrie-Kivel.

About Rose Community Foundation 

Rose Community Foundation strives to advance inclusive, engaged and equitable Greater Denver communities through values-driven philanthropy. The Foundation envisions a thriving region strengthened by its diversity and generosity, and it utilizes the varied tools at its disposal – grantmaking, advocacy and philanthropic services – to advance this aspiration. Since its founding in 1995, the Foundation has granted more than $318 million to nearly 2,000 organizations and initiatives, including $53 million in facilitated grantmaking from donor-advised funds. The Foundation has also supported nearly 70 nonprofit organizations in creating and growing endowments to sustain their vital work into the future, currently stewarding $46 million in endowed assets. The Foundation has $285 million in total assets under management, with annual grantmaking of nearly $25 million. 


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