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Data Science for Water Justice: Climate Change and Drought in the Colorado River Basin

April 18, 2023

Climate change threatens the hydrological cycle the globe over, increasing the likelihood of extreme events and dramatically altered ecosystems. The impacts of these events are most felt by those least able to adapt or move away from them. This paper uses a global framework to identify key data science engagement points, and illustrates these points in the case of the Colorado River Basin (CRB), a social-ecological system that provides a case study emblematic of many climate change accelerated water justice challenges.

Caring for Colorado Foundation 2022 Annual Report

March 15, 2023

Caring for Colorado works with communities to catalyze and accelerate change to improve the lives and health of Colorado's children, youth and families. We are a grantmaking foundation, created in 1999 from the proceeds of the sale of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Colorado.We are happy to report the results of Caring for Colorado's work to create equity in health, well-being, and opportunity for Colorado's children and families.In 2022 we continued our work to increase access to the COVID-19 vaccine in communities disproportionally impacted by the virus, significantly increased our investments in social and emotional services and support within schools, and designed new funding opportunities to advance reproductive health equity.Our commitment to respond to community health needs resulted in giving 254 grants totaling $17.4 million to 206 nonprofits throughout Colorado to advance our long-term vision of making Colorado the best place for kids to grow up.

Caring for Denver Foundation Care Provision Learning Brief

November 16, 2022

We funded 22 organizations within our Care Provision funding area, to help Denveritesget mental health and substance misuse care that is easier to access, more equitable,higher quality, and better coordinated over time.This brief summarizes grantee insights from end-of-year reporting, providing a snapshotof key themes across experiences and expertise. We use these insights and othercommunity feedback to drive our decision-making and grantmaking priorities. 

Rural Philanthropy in the Southwest

October 1, 2022

Rural communities, while often small, have a large impact on the livelihood of all Americans. As resource centers for water, food, energy, and recreation, rural areas provide many of the resources for communities in urban, suburban, and rural settings to thrive. In fact, 97% of the United States is technically geographically defined as rural,  with much of the Southwest being considered rural, by measures of both geography and population density. Approximately 1 in 5 Americans live in rural communities,  representing 59.5 million individuals. Philanthropy Southwest, with funding support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and administrative coordination from the United Philanthropy Forum, hired Dr. Colton Strawser with Colton Strawser Consulting and the Community Leadership, Engagement, and Research (CLEAR) Institute to do an exploratory study of rural philanthropy in the southwestern United States.  The purpose of this study was to capture the current practice of a small group of foundations, understand innovative approaches to rural grantmaking, and seek wisdom on how funders can shift their grantmaking to support rural communities through different approaches via grantmaking, community leadership initiatives, and community capacity building.

Jointly Prioritizing Time for Social and Emotional Learning in Denver: One of Six Case Studies of Schools and Out-of-School-Time Program Partners

September 15, 2022

This case study is one of a series detailing how schools and out-of-school-time (OST) programs in six communities have collaborated to build students' social and emotional skills. The communities are participants in Wallace's Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative, which has brought together school districts and their OST partners to develop and implement mutually reinforcing social and emotional learning (SEL) activities and instruction across learning settings.The piece features the work of Cowell Elementary School in Denver and its afterschool partner, the Discovery Link program, which is located in the school. The school and program aimed to prioritize time for SEL by making social-emotional instruction and rituals part of the daily routine. The two accomplished this by investing in joint planning, collaboration, and professional development about SEL; dedicating time for SEL in each of their respective schedules, activities, and events; and sharing a social-emotional learning curriculum and rituals.This case study showed that by jointly prioritizing social and emotional learning: Explicit SEL instruction became more frequent. Staff members from both the school and OST program became part of the decision-making about SEL implementation. School and OST program staff members developed common goals and terminology about SEL.

Strengthening Students’ Social and Emotional Skills: Lessons from Six Case Studies of Schools and Their Out-of-School-Time Program Partners

September 15, 2022

This report presents cross-cutting lessons from a set of case studies detailing how schools and out-of-school-time (OST) programs in six communities have worked together to build students' social and emotional (SEL) skills. The communities are participants in a Wallace initiative that has supported elementary schools and their OST partners in incorporating SEL activities and instruction into both the school and OST parts of the day.For five of the case studies, researchers selected a partnership in each community that has done an exemplary job of addressing one of a series of challenges widely shared by participants in the initiative. In one of the cases, the partnership between the school and its OST programs was in an early stage of development, so the researchers focused on what took place during the school day.The case studies explore:developing a brand-new school-OST partnership focusing on SEL (Boston),developing an effective SEL committee that includes a school and OST partner (Dallas),finding and jointly prioritizing time for SEL in the school and afterschool schedules (Denver),engaging teachers, staff members and parents in SEL (Palm Beach County, Fla.),incorporating equity into SEL (Tacoma), andfocusing on adult SEL first (Tulsa). The report summarizes the case studies and discusses nine factors that facilitated progress in carrying out SEL programs and practices, each of which was common to at least two of the cases:Committed school/OST program leaders were the foundation on which SEL work was built.SEL committees guided and supported implementation.Prioritizing time for SEL in school and OST schedules was important to making implementation routine.Starting the efforts by building adults' social and emotional skills proved central.Short SEL rituals were often the first and most widely adopted strategy, setting the stage for more extended SEL instruction.Establishing trusting relationships enhanced the collaboration on SEL in school-OST program partnerships.Formal, written SEL resources facilitated a consistent approach within and across settings.Distributing "ownership" of SEL across staff members and students increased people's buy-in to the effort and its sustainability.Experience with SEL before the pandemic helped schools and OST programs adapt to COVID-19 disruptions.

Practical Guidance: What Nonprofits Need to Know About Lobbying in Colorado

May 24, 2022

Bolder Advocacy's Practical Guidance – What Nonprofits Need to Know About Lobbying state law resource series is designed to help nonprofits determine if lobbying rules in their state might apply to their state or local work, and if they do, how best to navigate them!Each Guide Includes:Summary of lobbyist registration and reporting triggers in the stateKey critical takeaways for nonprofit organizationsFAQs – giving practical perspective on how to interact with the state rulesCase study for a hypothetical small student voting rights organizationList of helpful additional resourcesWho are these Guides For?Nonprofit Advocacy Organizations: Leaders and staff of nonprofit organizations that work on (or are thinking about working on) advocacy initiatives at the state or local levelLawyers: Lawyers and compliance professionals interested in working with nonprofit advocacy organizations doing state and local level workFunders: Funding organizations working to ensure strong organizational capacity and infrastructure for the groups they fund doing advocacy work at the state and local level

The Growing Demand for Physicians in Colorado

April 6, 2022

New research from the American Immigration Council highlights the crucial role immigrants and refugees in Colorado are playing to help address critical physician shortages. To meet the growing healthcare needs of the Centennial State, especially in rural counties, the state will need to implement policies that attract and retain immigrant talent that is complementary to the U.S.-born workforce, and that also builds career pathways for immigrants who already call the state home.

Caring for Denver Foundation Youth Learning Brief

March 16, 2022

In April 2021, we funded 51 organizations working with young people ages 0-26 to provide innovative mental health, trauma, and substance misuse supports. These supports are intended to increase youth's resilience to life stresses and pressures, address mental health and substance misuse early, and provide supports for families and allies of youth to better support youth in their healing. The information below is a summary of insights collected from these organizations as part of their mid-year learning conversations with us.

How Cross-Branch Collaboration Helps States Strengthen Evidence-Based Policymaking

March 10, 2022

Over the past decade, The Pew Results First initiative has worked with 27 states to implement an innovative evidence-based policymaking approach that helps them to invest in policies and programs that are proved to work—ensuring that states moved over $1.1 billion toward more effective services. Although many states have made important gains in evidence-based policymaking, sustaining these efforts can be difficult. Turnover among leadership and staff, inadequate staff capacity to generate evidence, lack of political will to use evidence, insufficient buy-in from stakeholders within and outside government, and an absence of formal procedures between the executive and legislative branches can hinder this work.To overcome these challenges and promote the sustainability of their evidence-based policymaking work, leaders across the country have engaged in cross-branch collaboration, a deliberate effort to create or deepen formal partnerships between executive and legislative branch representatives who use evidence to make budget and policy decisions. This helps to ensure that policymakers in these branches routinely prioritize evidence in the budget process, establish a shared commitment to and ownership of this work across government, and build an ingrained culture of evidence use throughout the decision-making process.Results First has identified three strategies for improved cross-branch collaboration: 1. incorporating collaboration into law; 2. developing diverse advisory groups; and 3. establishing shared tools and processes. Informed by an online review of cross-branch efforts and 30 interviews with executive and legislative branch decision-makers (including legislators and staff, executive agency leaders and staff, and gubernatorial appointees), this issue brief provides a detailed look at how five states (Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, and North Carolina) have implemented the three strategies outlined above, including the challenges they faced and insights they gained.The brief can serve as a resource for policymakers who are looking to advance and sustain the use of evidence in state government through cross-branch collaboration. Although all three branches of state governments perform important and distinct roles in determining and executing policy, this brief will focus only on collaborative efforts between the executive and legislative branches because they are routinely involved in overseeing the state's budget development and implementation.

Caring for Denver Foundation 2021 Annual Report

March 2, 2022

Caring for Denver was created by City ordinance to fund the following purposes:Mental health services and treatment for children and adultsOpioid and substance misuse prevention, treatment, and recovery programsHousing and case management services to reduce homelessness, improve longterm recovery, and reduce the costly use of jails and emergency rooms for those with mental health and substance misuse needsSuicide prevention programsCo-responder and alternative response program funding, and training on how to properly assess and handle people with mental health and/or substance misuse needsThese purposes are addressed through four community-identified, Board-approved funding priorities: Alternatives to Jail, Care Provision, Community-Centered Solutions, and Youth.

Key Funding Streams to Keep Families Supported, Connected and Safe

February 14, 2022

The Family First Prevention Services Act provides an important opportunity for child welfare leaders to support families with Title IV-E funding. However, Family First is just one piece of the puzzle.Developing an array of services to meet family needs requires child welfare leaders to understand funding that is administered by other agencies and to work across sectors to support a broad range of services.This quick, four-page brief highlights federal funding streams that can support a continuum of services to prevent children from entering the child welfare system and foster care. It also shares examples of how communities are leveraging such funding streams at the local level.