The Community Action Fund supports efforts to advance racial justice in Greater Denver and build just and inclusive systems and policies.
Racism, in all its forms, endangers people’s safety and security and damages the fabric of our community. The Foundation is committed to supporting the diverse people that make up and define Greater Denver, which means a focus on values-driven philanthropy that is inclusive and equitable.
“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.”
– Jicelyn Johnson, Founder and CVO of The Black Business Initiative, a Community Action Fund grant recipient
History of the Fund
The Community Action Fund was launched at the end of 2016 to respond to emerging issues that threatened the sense of safety and security for communities in Greater Denver. In its initial iteration, those issues were primarily related to immigrant and refugee populations and communities facing hate and discrimination. In 2020, national tragedies focused long-overdue attention on historic structural racism within our community. The subsequent national and local dialogue has created actionable opportunities to advance racial equity.
Give to the Fund
Contributions will fund grants to grassroots organizations in communities of color working to address systemic inequities. Every dollar donated will be deployed rapidly and strategically to local nonprofits.
Racial Justice Grantmaking
In November 2020, the Foundation awarded grants to 14 Greater Denver nonprofits advancing racial justice. The slate of 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 Black Business Initiative via Trailhead Institute 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 (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).
- Breaking Our Chains via Righteous Rage Institute at the University of Denver aims to create sustainable and safe communities for people of color through education and advocacy, overcoming barriers created by institutionalized racism, gentrification and economic disparities. Breaking Our Chains plans to use this funding to help address intergenerational trauma and violence from racial oppression and how it manifests in individuals, organizations and institutions.
- 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 poor communities.
- 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. CBWEF plans to use this funding to help train activists and organizers and educate community members about how policies and systems affect their daily lives.
- 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.
- 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 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 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 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 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.
- 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.
- 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 (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.