Letter from the President 2016
As a family foundation committed to long-term economic opportunity and social justice, our grantmaking has intentionally focused on upstream solutions. Supporting systemic change requires a deeper engagement with our not-for-profit partners and, at times, a longer timeframe for implementation. However, we know that investing in policy change or improving a system will not only help people today, but the whole stream of people who will follow. We believe our commitment to supporting upstream solutions makes the most significant impact in vulnerable populations, and it is with great satisfaction that I share some of the upstream solutions we have recently funded in each of our program areas.
Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art – The foundation is constructing a new building that will house Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art. This is an investment in the future of the museum as a Colorado art institution and will further develop the Golden Triangle Museum District and the City of Denver’s nationally important art scene. The groundbreaking was held in September, 2015 and construction will be completed in 2017.
Early Care and Education – Chambers Family Fund continues to support advocacy and policy initiatives that benefit Colorado’s youngest citizens. The foundation staff participate in collaborative efforts and community planning to create a statewide system that ensures all children are valued, healthy and thriving in Colorado. We partnered with other foundations to create a new organization, Early Milestones Colorado, which accelerates innovation and advances systemic change to ensure the success of young children across Colorado and participated in the update of the Early Childhood Framework, a vision of early childhood systems in Colorado.
Justice, Equality and Opportunity – We are proud of the foundation’s long-term funding of The Bell Policy Center to enact systems change that will provide greater opportunities for Colorado's families to advance toward economic stability. The Bell led an effort to reform payday lending in Colorado, and Coloradans are saving $40 million each year due to these reforms. A recent Pew study, Trial, Error and Success in Colorado’s Payday Lending Reforms (PDF), indicates that Colorado’s payday lending reforms are working and recommends Colorado’s reforms as a model for other states and for the national Consumer Protection Bureau.
Women's Economic Self-Sufficiency – Ascend, an initiative of The Aspen Institute, focuses on two-generation strategies to move parents and their children beyond poverty toward education success and economic security. Chambers Family Fund partners in this initiative with a multi-year grant and by linking Colorado two-generation strategies and reforms to national efforts. We continue to assess strategies that bring parents and their children out of poverty and scale up those impacts. Learn more about Ascend's work.
We invite you to learn more about these and other upstream solutions by exploring our website. It is a privilege to extend our resources to vital not-for-profits that work day in and day out to effect positive change.
Merle C. Chambers
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