Rose Community Foundation Announces Six Youth-Adult Partnership Awardees and Four Youth Awardees of Innovate for Good 2016

$250,000 in grants and technical assistance awarded for projects that empower youth to make the community better

Denver, CO—Last night, at an awards celebration at The Cable Center, Rose Community Foundation announced the winners of its five month-long philanthropic challenge, Innovate for Good 2016, created to empower youth to be agents of change in the Greater Denver community. More than 250 people gathered to watch videos and hear a series of pitches from each project. The audience then voted to determine who would be funded. A total of $250,000 in grants and support was awarded to six Youth-Adult Partnership projects, as well as four Youth-led projects.

With the criteria to be innovative, empowering, poised for impact, just getting started, feasible and implementable within one year, and consistent with Rose Community Foundation’s mission to enhance the quality of life in Denver, awardees were chosen for their fresh perspective and insight in answering the question, What idea could you bring to life to empower youth to make the community better?

“We have been impressed to see the innovation and courage these young people have brought to their projects to solve tough issues facing our community in new and fresh ways,” said Lisa Robinson, Rose Community Foundation trustee and chair of the Innovate for Good 2016 Committee. “Youth are natural innovators and we have been nothing short of inspired as we have watched this process take shape over the past several months.”

The awarded projects differ in many ways, from population and neighborhoods served, to focus, approach and audience. And yet all of the winning projects promote human connection and in-person interaction, making a powerful, unexpected statement about how young people from a “digital generation” view giving back to the community.

The six Youth-Adult Partnership awardees will each receive a grant of $30,000. The four Youth awardees will each receive $5,000.  In addition, all awardees and finalists will receive year-long training, coaching and skill-building from the San Francisco-based and nationally-recognized Youth Leadership Institute. Amounting to $50,000 in additional support, the training will help with project implementation and create positive social change.

“The talent and energy of these young awardees have already inspired so many of us in the community,” said Sue Hermann, senior vice president and director of communications at CoBiz Financial, Rose Community Foundation’s Community Partner for Innovate for Good 2016. “We are thrilled to have been part of making Innovate for Good 2016 happen, and we look forward to seeing what these young leaders accomplish through their projects in the year ahead.”

Youth Awardees include the following:

  • artsC (East High School Theatre Students), offering youth tools to explore difficult social issues in a safe, honest and compelling way
  • CEC Early College Mentoring Program (Jayr Cardenas), guiding high school freshman with mentor-matching from older high school students
  • Juniors for Seniors (Emma Mantooth, Amanda Doe, Micaiah Miller), building one-on-one relationships between teen volunteers and nursing home residents
  • Stories Worth Saving (Rebecca Chapman), recording the stories of assisted-living residents – documented by teens

Youth-Adult Partnership Awardees include the following:

  • Community Cypher (Creative Strategies for Change), using stories, music and applied theater to address the school to prison pipeline
  • Community Interpreters Project (Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning), training refugee and immigrant teens as interpreters for their families and communities
  • Empowering Native Youth in Metro Denver (Spirit of the Sun, Inc.), engaging Native youth from across the Greater Denver community in a leadership conference
  • Neighborhood Harvest: Youth-Built Gardens (GreenLeaf), empowering youth to help residents of Northeast Denver create home gardens to grow vegetables
  • Thunderbolts Building Bridges (Lainie Hodges and student leaders from Manual High School), building relationships between students at Manual High School and law enforcement
  • Youth-Led Bicycle Repair Workshop (Westwood Unidos), creating a youth-led and youth-staffed bicycle library and repair workshop in the Westwood neighborhood

All of these projects submitted applications, including brief videos, in May. The Foundation received 65 submissions; and more than 200 community members reviewed and scored all submissions to select the finalists.

About Rose Community Foundation

Rose Community Foundation uses leadership, grant making and donor engagement to invest in strategic and innovative solutions to enduring problems and emerging issues. The Foundation has granted more than $246 million, since it was founded in 1995. To learn more, please visit

About Innovate for Good 2016

On May 2, Rose Community Foundation began accepting idea submissions for Innovate for Good 2016. Rose Community Foundation believes youth are often an untapped resource, so Innovate for Good 2016 asked, what idea could you bring to life to empower youth to make the community better? The project is supported by Community Partner, CoBiz Financial and Media Partner, 9NEWS.  For additional information about Innovate for Good 2016, please visit

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