For more than a decade, Chambers Family Fund has consistently funded policy and systems change in early care and education. Significant developments in 2013 advanced the early care and education system in Colorado. In partnership with Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation and Rose Community Foundation, Chambers Family Fund made a matching grant to leverage funding from the national Alliance for Early Success to support early childhood policy work in Colorado. The Colorado Children’s Campaign, Clayton Early Learning and Executives Partnering to Invest in Children (EPIC) formed a coalition to apply for this funding and work together toward a common agenda for policy change. In addition to providing a matching grant, foundation staff served on the project’s advisory team. In 2013, the policy coalition prioritized work in the following areas:
- Redesigning of Colorado’s tiered quality rating and improvement system
- Proposing policy to provide state funding for quality improvement grants to ECE programs participating in the Colorado Preschool Program
- Reinstating basic elements of quality and child health in the state’s draft rules for child care licensing
- Improving Colorado’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) to expand
access and promote healthy child development and school readiness
Over the course of 2013, Chambers Family Fund convened a small working group of early childhood leaders to evaluate the landscape of services in Colorado for children, prenatal to age three, and their families and caregivers. The outcome of this work will be the identification of opportunities to:
- Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of available family support services, such as home visitation programs or resource and referral services
- Expand access to resources and programs for underserved populations
- Highlight promising parent and caregiver education programs and policies
that could be scaled up to address gaps and improve child outcomes
- Identify policy priorities
Chambers Family Fund continued to work closely with the leadership of Ascend at the Aspen Institute to promote the use of two-generation strategies to provide educational and economic opportunities for low-income women and their children. Ascend has chosen to invest in Colorado because the state exhibits a number of strengths and characteristics that make it well-poised for innovative two-generation approaches to address a rising poverty rate. To support two-generation efforts in Colorado, Ascend hired a full-time staff person for whom Chambers Family Fund provided pro bono office space. We have partnered with Ascend to convene a group of cross-sector leaders to create an overview, or landscape, of two-generation work in Colorado.
In September 2013, the foundation participated in a national Early Childhood Forum organized by Ascend and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to elevate two-generation innovations in the early childhood field. We have actively supported the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) to introduce and expand two-generation strategies. CDHS is partnering with the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) to plan the launch of a statewide children’s savings account program for low-income families that will build family assets for education and increase financial literacy.
Since the Bell Policy Center was co-founded by Chambers Family Fund in 2000, the foundation has provided annual operating support for the Bell’s leading research and collaborative work. This financial support has benefited the Bell’s work in addressing Colorado’s fiscal challenges, a priority for the foundation in 2013. Funding of the Bell reflects our ongoing support of organizations that address systems change over many years, making progress on reform and meeting new challenges. We believe that the Bell’s leadership is essential for the state to make fiscal reform a priority for the future of its citizens.
To achieve its mission of justice and economic security for all Coloradans, the Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP) works in collaboration with others and embraces the need for a multi-pronged strategy for reducing poverty. In partnership with All Families Deserve a Chance Coalition (AFDC), and with funding from Chambers Family Fund and The Kresge Foundation, CCLP published the Colorado Works Handbook in 2013. The handbook explains the major parts of the Colorado Works Program, also known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Written for consumers, the handbook provides information on support services, including child care, to help clients navigate the system and avoid the cliff effect as they become independent and self-sufficient.
Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art receives annual funding from Chambers Family Fund, enabling it to maintain a nationally significant decorative arts collection and to provide a permanent venue for the display of Colorado art. Kirkland Museum hosted more than 12,000 visitors in 2013. The museum opened the exhibit Colorado Art Survey VIII, featuring work by Colorado artists from the collection ranging from the 1880s to the 1980s. The museum showcased Colorado painter Phyllis Hutchinson Montrose in a solo exhibition and displayed newly acquired decorative art objects in its exhibition entitled New Explorations in International Design, 1878-1993.
A portion of Chambers Family Fund’s grant and other restricted contributions allowed the museum to enhance the collection in most major categories including painting, sculpture, furniture, glass, ceramics, textile and metal. Objects from the museum’s collection were loaned to shows at seven institutions, including Denver Art Museum, Denver Public Library, Arvada Center, Byers-Evans House Museum and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.
In recognition of the important role they play in our state, the foundation makes grants to select organizations that fall outside of our program areas. Chambers Family Fund was pleased to provide essential operating support for several arts organizations in 2013, including the Colorado Symphony, Opera Colorado, Colorado Ballet, Aspen Music Festival and School and the Clyfford Still Museum.
The Chambers Family Fund board of directors is grateful to the many outstanding organizations in Colorado and around the country that work each day to provide opportunities for success and improved quality of life for those who need it most.
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