Denver, CO – Rose Community Foundation recently awarded $1,370,000 in support of 33 organizations working to advance social-emotional learning (SEL) in schools. The programs and projects receiving funding aim to equitably integrate efforts to better meet social and emotional needs and strengthen academic learning for students PreK-12, addressing adult mindsets and skills as well as school and district policies.
“Social-emotional learning experiences play an important role promoting educational equity and outcomes,” said Christiano Sosa, Rose Community Foundation’s vice president of community impact. “The wellbeing of young people is a key part of the conversation around pandemic recovery, with trauma-informed social-emotional learning emerging as a top priority for schools.”
The organizations receiving funding represent a diverse slate of grantees; their approaches, budgets and populations served vary considerably. This funding opportunity was intentionally focused on supporting practices and systems serving populations furthest from opportunity. Ninety-one percent of grants will support organizations serving BIPOC youth, teachers and parents, 17 percent will support organizations serving those with disabilities, and 16 percent will support those serving LGBTQ+ youth. Rose Community Foundation staff estimates that this funding allocation will serve nearly 90,000 students, providers and educators in the Greater Denver Region.
The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines SEL as “the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions, achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.” Many studies have shown consistent evidence that social-emotional learning leads to improved academic outcomes and behaviors, and that when students have opportunities to develop SEL skills their academic learning accelerates.
“Recent data confirms that Colorado youth are experiencing increasing depression and mental health issues, particularly among LBGTQ+ teens and youth of color, and support for students’ social, emotional, and mental health remains the top area school leaders and teachers report needing additional support to lead schools effectively,” says Emily Love, chief of staff at the Colorado Education Initiative (CEI). “This funding enables CEI to provide expanded professional development for school districts over the upcoming school year.”
Details about the grant recipients and their work are outlined below. Of the 33 organizations, 42 percent are new to the Foundation’s Community Impact grantmaking.
To support the placement of 16 Resident Teaching Artists across 8-10 schools in the Adams 14 and Jefferson County school districts collaborating with school staff to engage approximately 3,200 students in creative learning opportunities intended to foster social-emotional growth and increased school engagement.
Aurora Public Schools Foundation
To support Aurora Public Schools’ capacity for a comprehensive school behavioral health system that supports every student through the creation of a social-emotional learning program. The foundation for this program is an adult SEL curriculum that will be designed through a community values framework.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado
To support intergenerational youth mentoring programs and ensure that adults (mentor + parent/guardian) provide each youth participant with a network of positive support.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver
To support mental health programming by strengthening the organization’s social-emotional learning framework. Through this, youth receive mental and behavioral health support, are provided with a place of physical and emotional safety and develop a sense of belonging.
To support coaches, teachers, and administrators in promoting and improving schools’ practices of equity, inclusion, anti-oppression and social-emotional support by facilitating individual, interpersonal, and systemic reflection and transformation.
Catholic Charities and Community Services of the Archdiocese of Denver, Inc.
To support the home-school connection; promote healthy social, emotional and academic development at both home and school, and build on current Trauma-Informed Practices.
To support the training of a cohort of school-based AmeriCorps members in social-emotional skills and positive youth development. Equipped with this knowledge, corps members will model productive behaviors, build developmental relationships and foster personalized learning environments.
Collaborative Healing Initiative Within Communities, Inc.
To support the aligned activities of core partners in community educator development with the goal of improving social-emotional outcomes for youth.
The Colorado Education Initiative
To support the Youth Connections partner districts through adult professional development that builds their capacity for trauma-informed restorative practices in a K-12 context.
Denver Public Schools Foundation
To support the alignment of social-emotional curriculum, common language, and practices in before-, during- and after-school programming.
To support social-emotional programming and professional development for employees, supporting their ability to provide exceptional advisement, thought partnership and support for students served by the organization.
To support the implementation and expansion of the Sustainably Integrated Trauma-Informed Education Framework (SITE), an innovative, capacity building, sustainable approach to trauma-informed, brain-based educational practices in schools in Adams, Denver and Jefferson Counties.
Empowering Communities Globally
To support professional development programming that puts classroom teachers at the center and seeks to address culturally and linguistically relevant gaps in Adams, Arapahoe and Denver counties, elementary schools, and six early childhood learning centers.
To support the enhancement of evidence-based learning strategies, interventions and activities to equip teachers and parents with the tools to support the social-emotional learning of 60 low-income preschool students.
To support building a culture of social-emotional learning in five Denver school communities, especially with low-income students and students and educators of color.
To support training and support for educators and staff to deepen integration of social-emotional learning concepts into all programming, with the goal of growing an organizational culture of mental health and wellbeing.
To support a culture of belonging in schools by providing staff with social-emotional training, consulting, and grade-level coaching, and creating a belonging committee to make the work community-informed and sustainable.
To support the expansion of the Pyramid Model training and implementation support in Pre-K settings across the Denver metro area. The Pyramid Model is a national professional development system that fosters and sustains evidenced-based practices to support the social-emotional development and inclusion of children.
To support training for educators in conducting relationship-building home visits with students and families, providing educators a deeper understanding of the student to better support their academic success.
“I Have a Dream” Foundation of Boulder County
To support programming that deepens social, emotional, and mental health skills for BIPOC youth to explore their varying identities with the goal of increasing positive identity development, cultural pride and wellbeing.
To support a shift in the culture and operations of the Laradon School which serves students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, resulting in well-trained staff with longer tenures and with deeper connections and relationships with students.
To support Healing Centered Engagement programming in public schools by enhancing the existing “Your Voice” program through a pilot effort.
To support high school sports coaches’ acquisition of techniques inclusive of social-emotional learning outcomes for student athletes. With this training, coaches will be better equipped to use tools that incorporate resiliency, empathy, integrity and respect for others.
Resilient Communities Resilient Futures
To support Black educators and educators of color who experience racial stress and create programming that increases their capacity to address and heal from racial trauma and works to retain educators of color.
To support expanding staff and leadership capacity with increased, integrated restorative practices and community partnerships that raise Northwest Denver students’ confidence and passion for heritage and education.
To support the creation of school culture that builds a model of social-emotional learning that is culturally informed, trauma-responsive and rooted in a culture and practice of equity.
Sewall Child Development Center
To support a culture of social-emotional learning for children, families, teachers and therapists in the school’s early education programs while also enhancing existing wellness programs.
To support the scaling of the Social-Emotional Learning Specialist role at eight STRIVE Prep schools who will lead school-wide programming impacting 2,240 students and 308 staff in historically underserved communities.
University of Colorado Foundation
To support A Queer Endeavor (AQE) and The Research Hub for Youth Organizing (The Hub) to integrate the knowledge of teachers, administrators, and high school youth to build supportive learning communities. Both AQE and The Hub are housed at the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder and work in partnership with Colorado school districts and youth-serving adults.
To support the multidisciplinary Social Wellness Team (SoWell) focused on academic achievement, mental health and social skill development with a focus on the whole child.
To support and empower underprivileged and underserved youth with essential social-emotional and leadership skills to help them develop positive mental, behavioral and health behaviors.
To support training for youth-serving staff in evidence-based social-emotional learning principles, in addition to providing youth staff with Leaders on the Rise training and coaching.
Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism
To support in- and out-of-school intergenerational racial healing with BIPOC youth, educators, and wellness professionals.
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 $355 million to over 2,000 organizations and initiatives, including $60 million in facilitated grantmaking from donor-advised funds. The Foundation also supports 75 nonprofit organizations in creating and growing endowments to sustain their vital work into the future, currently stewarding $61 million in endowed assets. The Foundation has $366 million in total assets under management, with annual grantmaking of over $20 million.