Early Care and Education
Chambers Family Fund has consistently funded policy and systems change in early care and education. In 2012, Alliance for Early Success selected our state to receive a grant to expand early childhood policy and advocacy work in Colorado. In partnership with Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation and Rose Community Foundation, Chambers Family Fund provided general support funding as a partial match for the Alliance grant, and the three foundations also serve as advisors to the grant recipients. In its third year, the nonprofit grant partners – Clayton Early Learning and Colorado Children’s Campaign – researched, promoted and advocated for an impressive package of early childhood legislation, setting a record increase in funding for early childhood.
In 2014, Chambers Family Fund and five foundation partners provided start-up funding and support to create a new nonprofit intermediary organization, Early Milestones Colorado (Milestones). This new organization will operate with a core commitment to embrace the Early Childhood Colorado Framework vision of ensuring that children of all backgrounds are valued, healthy and thriving. Aligned with the Framework, Milestones connects community and state partners to innovation, best practices and systems improvements. It works with local, state and national partners to advance opportunities for children and families by bridging high-impact ideas with key stakeholders. As an intermediary organization, Milestones builds connections across the network of individuals who help families promote children’s health, well-being, learning and development. The foundations that created Milestones believe that Colorado will greatly benefit from a nonprofit partner that can innovate and incubate early childhood programs at a systemic statewide level.
Women’s Economic Self-Sufficiency
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. In addition to supporting Ascend’s two-generation efforts, we led the development of a landscape of two-generation work in Colorado and provided pro bono office space for Ascend’s Colorado staff. In 2014, four Colorado organizations were selected to receive grants from Ascend and become members of the Ascend Learning Network that will advance two-generation strategies in Colorado. The Bell Policy Center received a grant from Ascend and is a member of the network.
When Chambers Family Fund partnered with community foundations in 2000 to create new statewide women’s funds in Wyoming, Montana and Oklahoma, our goal was to create a $1 million endowment for each women’s fund. We are proud that all three women’s funds continue to thrive, each with an endowment exceeding $2 million. Some 2014 highlights from these women’s funds include:
The Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma launched the SMART (Single Mother’s Academic Resource Team) Program at Rose State College. This program connects single-parent students to campus and community resources for academic and life success.
- Wyoming Women’s Foundation has been addressing the wage gap in Wyoming – the highest wage gap in the country. The foundation launched the WAGE Project to bring understanding to the causes of the wage gap, benchmark salaries and help women learn how to negotiate for a competitive wage based on education and experience.
- The Women’s Foundation of Montana led a successful state effort to reform payday lending and is focused on women’s leadership.
Justice, Equality and Opportunity
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 2014. We believe that the Bell’s leadership is essential for the state to make fiscal reform a priority for the future of its citizens. Funding of the Bell reflects our ongoing support of advocacy organizations that address systems change over many years, making progress on reform and meeting new challenges.
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 the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), CCLP published the State of Working Colorado 2014. This report highlights the struggle many Coloradans face to make ends meet, even several years after the end of the Great Recession. This report is designed to inform public policy across the state and provide better understanding of how the economy is working for Coloradans.
9to5 Colorado has been instrumental in improving systems that affect the lives of all working women. In 2014, 9to5 was a key member of the CCCAP Collaborative, a diverse group of county workers, child care providers and advocates, and organized low-wage mothers to speak at a national meeting of Office of Child Care administrators and a Women’s Collaborative focused on the challenges of childcare. 9to5 Colorado provides a voice for low-wage mothers to ensure that they are part of systems change efforts.
Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art
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 2014. The museum opened the exhibit Colorado Art Survey IX, featuring work by Colorado artists from the collection ranging from the 1880s to the 1980s.
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 six institutions, including the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma, Denver International Airport, Denver Public Library, and the Arvada Center.
In January of 2014, Chambers Family Fund announced its funding for a new museum building for Kirkland Museum. The foundation’s financial support for the new building is not only an investment in the future of Kirkland Museum as a Colorado art institution, but also in the further development of the vibrant Golden Triangle Neighborhood and Denver’s nationally important art scene. For more information about the new building and relocation, visit the “Press” page at www.kirklandmuseum.org.
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 provided essential operating support for several arts organizations in 2014, 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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