In 2016, Rose Community Foundation launched a philanthropic challenge to answer the question, What idea could you bring to life to empower youth to make the community better? The effort awarded $250,000 in grants and support to implement the winning ideas.

A total of ten projects were awarded the grants. Four of these projects were youth awardees, or ideas submitted and implemented by youth in our community, and six were youth-adult partnerships. The youth projects each received $5,000 in support, and the youth-adult partnerships each received $30,000.

Winning Projects

  • Youth Awardees

    • 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 high school juniors.
    • Juniors for Seniors, Emma Mantooth, Amanda Doe, and 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

    • 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.
  • Youth-Adult Partnership Finalists

    • Little People, BIG Changes, Lauren Fine, Emily Yerkes and student leaders from DCIS Montbello
      Developing student-driven, social-impact leadership for the next generation.
    • The Relationships You Deserve: A Multi-Media Project, Project PAVE
      Creating a film and multi-media campaign to educate teens about breaking the cycle of relationship violence.
    • Teens Helping Teens – Natural Helpers Project, Aurora Welcome Center
      Creating a curriculum and training for immigrant and refugee youth to become peer mentors on social and cultural issues.

History of Innovate for Good

Innovate for Good, a philanthropic challenge to find and fund new ideas, was created in 2015 by Rose Community Foundation. In its first year, nearly 400 ideas were submitted by people, nonprofits, businesses, government and community groups in response to the question, “What new and innovative idea would you bring to life to make the Greater Denver community a better place to live?” After a community review process, nine winners were awarded funds totaling $250,000 to make their projects happen.

  • 2015 Winners

    • Bright by Text
      Submitted by: Bright by Three (formerly Bright Beginnings)
      An educational text-messaging system that sends parents evidence-based tips to support the development of very young children. This iteration will expand to also provide parents with localized community resources and information.
    • Clean River Design Challenge
      Submitted by: The Greenway Foundation
      A design competition for students attending Metro State University of Denver, created as a mechanism to remove trash from the South Platte River.
    • Creative Youth Take Flight – La Alma Connection
      Submitted by: Arts Street
      Underserved youth will learn about urban design, creative placemaking and economic development by producing a master art plan and public art series encouraging pedestrian use of the light rail and 10th Avenue, in the La Alma neighborhood.
    • Fresh Food Connect
      Submitted by: Groundwork Denver
      The Fresh Food Connect application (app) will feed families, reduce waste and provide income to low-income youth by allowing home gardeners to donate extra produce for distribution at food banks and through affordable sale. The app will connect gardeners to youth who will be employed to pick up and deliver donated produce using bikes and trailers.
    • Race, Policing and Community Justice Advocates
      Submitted by: Shorter Community AME Church
      This program will forge a partnership with other community stakeholders to engage high school kids in becoming peer presenters in the areas of racial equality, community awareness based policing and justice advocacy work.
    • Shakespeare in the Parking Lot
      Submitted by: Denver Center for the Performing Arts
      This “food truck for the arts” will provide affordable, high quality theatrical performances to high school students in school parking lots followed by actor-led workshops to support classroom teaching and learning.
    • The Stompin’ Ground Games
      Submitted by: Warm Cookies of the Revolution
      The Stompin’ Ground Games is a monthly, year-long Olympics-style competition between Denver neighborhoods where arts, culture and history are combined in the name of civic pride and engagement.
    • Veterans in Food Deserts
      Submitted by: Denver Botanic Gardens
      Military veterans will help grow and sell fresh produce and share knowledge about planting, harvesting and nutrition through farm stands in neighborhoods with limited access to healthy foods.
    • Workshop on Wheels
      Submitted by: Be the Gift
      A workshop on wheels truck will be outfitted with all of the tools and materials ‘Be the Gift’ volunteers need to complete home repair projects for single mom families.

Community partners – CoBiz Bank and 9News – helped us make this unique program possible in 2015 and 2016.