Beanstalk Foundation

What's right with Colorado is right next door.

Organizations driven by remarkable Leaders

Academy of Urban Learning

The Academy of Urban Learning ensures high schoolers on hard times gain an education

The Academy of Urban Learning (AUL) is a Denver Public Schools' charter school that caters specifically to youth and younger adults in Denver (ages 16 - 21), working through grades 9 - 12, who are in at-risk, impoverished, and facing other difficult situations. Without AUL, most of the 150 students the school serves each year wouldn’t be in school at all. Instead, they might be on the streets, working to support their families, or well, you can imagine a lot that isn’t great. It’s more than a school, it’s an opportunity to gain the tools and experience to make positive impacts in their lives while in school, and in the community immediately after high school, and beyond.

 

Access Gallery

How Access Gallery proves that great works of art are for (and by) everyone.

Access Gallery isn’t a gallery in the wine and cheese way. Access Gallery is a school, and all of the artists featured within (and working within) its walls are disabled. They also run School-Age workshops, a program called Arts For All that gives people of all kinds of challenges the opportunity to create, learn and express themselves through various media, and an Artist in Residency program. The art that is created in those workshops is a part of what populates the gallery space, meaning that recognition goes to people who create great things, rather than telling them their disability inherently holds them back. When you talk to Executive Director Damon McLeese, you understand the mission even more. Access Gallery is about the art. And the exceptional people who create it.

Adam's Camp

Adam's Camp realizes potential in young persons with developmental disabilities to create hope

Adam’s Camp is a different kind of Summer Camp that serves young people (age 1 - 26) with developmental disabilities. Executive Director Karel Horney says, "The focus is on abilities." At Adam's Camp, everyone gets to be involved. The campers get therapy that's more fun because it's disguised as horseback riding, wall climbing and canoeing, plus water slides and joyous games out in nature. A staff of therapists have succeeded in greatly improving campers' development through intensive therapy methods. That aspect of the camp comes at least partially because founders Karel and Bob Horney saw their son Adam (who was born with Cerebral Palsy) take his first steps on his own following intensive therapy, despite doctors' potential predictions that he'd be life-bound to a wheelchair. Right then, the Horneys knew they'd share that success somehow; they created Adam's Camp.

Art from Ashes

Art from Ashes gives the gift of expression, confidence, and creativity one workshop at a time.

Art from Ashes and Catherine O’Neill Thorn help young people and adults discover their voices through poetry and writing workshops. The program helps keep AfA participants off the streets, guiding them through transformational creative workshops wherein each attendee writes a poem, freely associating in 3 minutes. The poems are moments of pure declaration, moments of ownership of the written word and for the author of his or her own life. There is science to back up Art from Ashes’ impact, too. Writing therapy has been used for decades to guide people with post-traumatic stress and other emotional complications to open their minds to what they say and think, but even more importantly, to how they say it, and what it really means. Art from Ashes is a cocoon. And every person who enters leaves the place feeling, at least a little, transformed.

But the most important endorsement comes from one of the graduates we spoke with: “It saved my life, literally saved my life."

Arts Street

Arts Street empowers underserved students to artistic and vocational greatness

Stella Yu founded Arts Street to engage students in the arts, expression and freedom. It provides the opportunity to learn and create to youth whose school life or home life doesn’t afford them an easel, a box of colored pencils, and the space to get out of their heads and into their hearts. Arts Street is also about job-training and practical experience. The program also teaches perseverance, effort, planning, creativity and critical thinking. Students work together to see large art projects and installations through from conception to completion. They call them Team Jobs, and each is designed like a professional contract, allowing the participants to experience working as a team to meet a client’s goals. All of the programs at Arts Street are designed to engage the artistic heart, and to provide the rational mind with valuable experience. Most importantly though, they prove to kids that you can be an artist and make a living.

AspenPointe

AspenPointe brings service opportunities to disenfranchised populations in Colorado Springs.

AspenPointe is a socially innovative healthcare company that provides solutions to some of Colorado Springs’s largest social needs such as access to healthcare, employment and education. Each year they touch the lives of thousands of individuals including at-risk youth, adults, seniors, persons with disabilities, and military men and women. They remove barriers to opportunity by providing behavioral healthcare, coordinated care management, tele-health, and employment opportunities through social enterprise. AspenPointe envisions a community that embraces everyone’s sense of purpose by eliminating barriers and promoting a culture of wellbeing. 

Blue Star Recyclers

Blue Star Recyclers saves the planet while bringing independence to developmentally disabled persons

Blue Star Recyclers, in Colorado Springs, takes on the difficult and highly necessary task of recycling electronics. They make sure all the precious metals and elements in our computers, phones, DVD players and more, that should be reused, and redefined, don’t end up wasted in a landfill. It also provides opportunity and jobs to persons with developmental disabilities. Employment at Blue Star has even demonstrated to be downright therapeutic, leading employees to become more focused through clear tasks, and more social by bringing them to the same warm team environment each day. It’s an innovative business, built by redefining the things we too often just abandon or throw away. Blue Star makes the old new again, but really, they specialize in giving our planet and its people fresh starts.

Book Trust

Book Trust ensures that reading never becomes an exclusive club.

Book Trust gets books into the hands of children who are eager to read, but whose family, economic or social situation doesn’t allow for them to make frequent trips to the library, or frequent trips to the book store. And by pairing with Scholastic Book Clubs, Book Trust offers kids across the country with credits they can use each month to purchase new books that keep their voracious minds alive and their imaginations energized. It’s an impact of potential. Name a profession, aloud or in your head, where reading is not required. Studies prove that book choice and ownership inspires a child’s passion for reading and contributes to developing strong literacy skills and becoming life-long learners. Book Trust means that young minds are activated, excited, joyous and learning.

Bridge to Justice

Bridge to Justice is helping make the law work for all in Boulder

Bridge to Justice is a 501(c)(3) Colorado nonprofit organization that provides civil legal services to low- and moderate-income Coloradans who do not qualify for free legal aid. They deliver customized legal advice and services at significantly reduced rates.

B2J attorneys have assisted over 700 clients since formation in 2013.
 
Their Services Help Clients:
  • Establish and maintain relationships with their children by securing parenting time orders
  • Obtain and modify child support and maintenance (spousal support)
  • Reduce conflict in divorce and custody cases by working with parties to equitably resolve disputes
B2J Offers a Range of Services in Order to Meet a Client's Individual Needs:
  • One-time consultations
  • Limited Scope ("Unbundled) representation for discrete tasks and hearings
  • Litigation support
  • Appellate brief drafting
  • Full-scope representation
Brunch With A Purpose

Susan Stocks unites neighbors and plays Santa for foster kids in need of Holiday cheer.

Susan Stocks started Brunch With A Purpose in 2008. BWAP unites friends, neighbors, community leaders, restaurants and other sponsors to purchase holiday gifts for kids in the foster care system. BWAP wraps and delivers the gifts too, always keeping the gifter’s name anonymous. Rather than toys, many of the kids who benefit from BWAP each year receive the necessities: clothes without holes, in their size, and other small, life accessories that would mean they’d fit in at school. It's about about helping these kids find a sense of normalcy amid their, often better-off, peers. Brunch With A Purpose is a campaign to better children's lives one smile at a time. For more in-depth history, notes about how Susan picks the kids, and how you can participate, check out www.brunchwithapurpose.org.

Cafe 180

Cafe 180 unites Englewood residents through meals and service

Cafe 180 was born when Catherine Clements, Libby Whitmore and Julie Mihevc went to SAME Cafe. They were so inspired by SAME’s mission of ending hunger and offering dignity to patrons of all walks on a pay-what-you-can basis that they decided then and there to bear the torch too. Since that day in 2009, Cafe 180 has been serving meals on South Broadway in Englewood to a wide client base of professionals, families, students, the unemployed and underemployed, and people living on the streets.

Because there are no set prices, people from all walks of life and economic realities can be a customer. Each person decides if they will pay what they typically pay for a meal, pay a bit more, OR volunteer in exchange for a meal. It’s a remarkable barometer of goodness in the community too. In 2012, Cafe 180 served 14,000 meals, and received an average donation per meal of nearly $10, with 30% of patrons volunteering to pay for their meal, and 20% paying more to “pay it forward.” Cafe 180 is on the forefront of Local Food, and a little thing called food justice… bringing all people together around food and a passion for compassion.

Carson J Spencer Foundation

The Carson J Spencer Foundation's innovative approach to suicide prevention engages people across the lifespan using humor and entrepreneurship.

Sally Spencer-Thomas started the Carson J Spencer Foundation after her brother Carson died by suicide. The organizations primary goals are to prevent what happened to him from happening to others, and to celebrate the gifts he brought to the world like entrepreneurship, business leadership and humor. She, the CJSF staff, and board now focus on achieving this cultural shift by delivering innovative and effective suicide prevention programs for working-age people, by coaching young leaders to develop social enterprises for mental health promotion and suicide prevention, and by supporting people bereaved by suicide. They currently offer 4 programs, each addressing suicide from a diverse and essential angle: 

 

  • The FIRE Within charges and inspires entrepreneurs and young leaders to solve the causes of suicide in their communities.
  • iCare Packages donates bundled resources, gifts, and materials for families grieving the loss of a loved one, designed to let them know that there is a community who supports them.
  • Working Minds guides businesses in the best ways to offer suicide prevention services (still surprisingly unavailable through many employers) to their employees.
  • Man Therapy takes an innovative, open, and humorous approach to getting men to discuss their feelings, problems and concerns in a forum.
Challenge Foundation

The Challenge Foundation guides students toward the path for success, and beyond.

The Challenge Foundation ensures that students with boundless potential have the opportunity to apply it, and that the inequalities and circumstances that stand between some students and their shot at glory are razed. The foundation uses a five component, whole-student method to give their students a shot at the stars that includes independent college prep courses, a summer program, advisement by adults (garnering a 90% retention rate), and long-term support and guidance. 100% of Challenge Scholars who graduate from high school DO attend college, and a level of success like that requires long-term dedication. The Challenge Foundation is leveling the playing field, and making success a real possibility for young people all over Colorado.

Colorado Military, Veterans, & Families

Izzy Abbass’s “Colorado Military, Veterans, & Families” holds the fort for Rocky Mountain service members

Military service is a serious matter. Months and years of dedication, risk and sacrifice mean that a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine return home to a changed world. “Colorado Military, Veterans, & Families” is Izzy Abbass’s life focus. It exists to ensure that the program's veterans need to succeed is created, funded, and protected. In 2013, Izzy and his amazing community raised funds to build a special resource website to help vets re-entering higher education make the complex transition from battlefield to classroom. Izzy’s own work with the University of Colorado and the VFW will create future opportunities, too. The list of issues returning Colorado Veterans face is long, but with Izzy Abbass’s focus and expertise, they have a real champion in their corner.

Courageous Women, Fearless Living

Courageous Women, Fearless Living is a 5-day retreat supporting women touched by cancer.

Courageous Women, Fearless Living, run by Adana Barbieri with support from the Shambhala Mountain Center, helps women with cancer discover the courage to be fearless in the midst of their cancer journey. Through the 5-days of the retreat, discussion, and group activities, an intimate journey unfolds that helps each participant uncover their inherent strength and wisdom. It empowers women to face their fears and gives them effective ways to work with their mind, their emotions and their physical challenges. Barbieri and CWFL's trained instructors provide attending women and their loved ones and caregivers the community support, knowledge, and contemplative training to help them better care for themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Participants learn tools like mindfulness meditation, gentle yoga, traditional healing practices, integrative medicine and natural health, art therapy, movement and ritual. 

Cover photo by Barbara Columbo.

 

The Shambhala Mountain Center proudly supports Courageous Women, Fearless Living.

 

Barbara Colombo and 11:11 Productions have proudly provided photography services to Courageous Women, Fearless Living.

 

 

Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

Crow Canyon Archaeological Center keeps Pueblo history alive in southwestern Colorado

Just outside Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and the small city of Cortez, Colorado, stands the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. It is a campus, a super school if you will, focusing on the history of the region and cultivating a true respect and connection with the past—for all its visitors. Crow Canyon conducts long-term archaeological research in the Mesa Verde region,  runs a wide variety of educational programs—like summer camps, residential school programs, and field trips. They work directly with American Indian partners to ensure that these places are carefully studied, interpreted, and respected. Crow Canyon’s archaeologists and educators know that only about 2 percent of human history has taken place since the invention of writing. They believe that everyone’s history matters and that archaeology is the key to learning about the other 98 percent. It is one part laboratory, one part archaeological dig site, one part school, and one part sanctuary, working to preserve Pueblo culture—past, present, and future.

Dolls for Daughters

Dolls for Daughters collects holiday gifts, toys, stocking stuffers, books and more for Colorado kids in need

In 2007, Jessica Bachus started Dolls for Daughters, after her daughter Kenzi was stillborn. She created an annual holiday Toy Drive for Colorado children who would not otherwise have toys during the holidays. Today, Dolls for Daughters collects more than 20,000 toys, stocking stuffers, books, toothbrush/toothpaste kits and more. It's a truly remarkable organization that creates amazing good out of tragedy. Through their small actions, Dolls for Daughters brightens the holidays for children in need, making memories of joy and happiness that resonate through their lives for years to come.

EarthLinks, Inc.

EarthLinks, Inc. serves the homeless and the environment, to benefit the whole world

Since 1996, EarthLinks has worked to help homeless and impoverished people in Denver, through workshops and educational programs that help them to transcend homelessness to rejoin society. The EarthLinks Workshop, a micro-enterprise program, brings homeless and impoverished people to their Peace Garden facilities and craft workshop. Participants set goals with the EarthLinks team, focusing on regaining housing, pursuing education and taking on relationship issues. They grow and harvest food and flowers in the beautiful fenced-in urban space. They keep bees, maintain a worm farm, and create Earth-friendly products, including soap, cards and more. EarthLinks participants gain a feeling of belonging and purpose that benefit recovery and rebuild lives. "The most rewarding part of EarthLinks is to actually grow something,” said EarthLinks participant Muzette Jones-Johnson. “The people here are wonderful. They’re so different from everyone else. The vibe is different." 

EarthLinks takes action, uniting the fortunate, the less fortunate and the planet to build a fully-functional, future-focused, love-generating team.

Ekar Farm

Ekar Farm unites community around growing and giving.

Since its founding in 2009, Ekar has been about planting seeds. Seeds of this years’ crop. Seeds of tomorrow’s promise. And seeds of change. From the platform of our urban farm, Ekar applies the practices of ancient traditions, customs and teachings to engage the Denver community in the solutions to many contemporary issues.
 
Inspired by Jewish values, Ekar works to repair the world, to nurture the Earth, and to nourish their neighbors. They involve the community in growing and giving organic, local vegetables to those without access, working to repair food deserts and end hunger.
 
Ekar's many programs include "Day in the Dirt" workdays, camps for kids, adult education, field trips and more dedicated to encouraging sustainable, healthful living and community building.
Energy Outreach Colorado

In Energy Outreach Colorado, low-income Coloradans find an ally

Energy Outreach Colorado was established in 1989 as the only non-profit, 501(c)3 in the state that raises funds to help thousands of low-income Coloradans afford home energy and remain warm and safe in their homes. With the help of partner assistance organizations and subcontractors across the state, they provide heating bill assistance, emergency home furnace repair and grants to improve the energy efficiency of non-profit and affordable housing facilities.

 

They have helped pass legislation by raising millions of dollars for energy assistance, and our intervention in utility rate cases has resulted in substantial savings for rate payers. Since being created by the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), EOC has raised more than $191 million for energy assistance, energy efficiency grants for affordable housing and nonprofit facilities as well as energy education and advocacy. 

 
Energy Resource Center

The Energy Resource Center helps Colorado families improve their quality of life through energy efficiency

Since 1979, the Energy Resource Center has been working with Colorado Springs Utilities as well as other utility providers and nonprofits in El Paso, Elbert, Douglas, Fremont and Teller counties. Their mission is to help income-qualified residents make energy efficiency improvements to their homes or apartments that will increase their quality of life, save them money on energy bills. The ERC’s efforts also help to keep southern Colorado families warm and protect them from the risks associated with dangerously low temperatures and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Environmental Learning for Kids

ELK gets urban kids outside to put a wildlife in a child’s life

Since 1996, Stacie Gilmore and her husband Scott founded ELK to guide Denver’s urban youth to nature, providing them experiences beyond the concrete jungle. ELK educates young people in science, math, leadership and careers, too. Programs include mentoring and summer job placement to camping and fishing trips, that has helped them serve more than 114,000 kids since their inception. The majority of ELK’s participating kids are on free or reduced lunch, and may spend their whole lives in the city as their parents battle just to put food on the table. Through ELK, tons of underserved kids and their families get the chance to see the beauty outside the city, sometimes for the first time. ELK will keep guiding urban youth to the magical worlds of nature outside (and inside) the city.

Faith In Action Cathedral Learning Garden

New Faith in Action (FiA) ministry works to end hunger in Metro Denver.

Throughout Saint John’s rich history in Denver and on Capitol Hill, its leaders and members have long sought to serve the city not only within the Cathedral walls but also outside them. As the needs of the city have shifted, so too has Saint John’s shifted to meet those needs. From helping to found the United Way 125 years ago to working for civil rights, Cathedral leaders also established the Saint Francis Center and supported the creation of Metro Caring. These Jubilee (social action) Ministries have been at the forefront of poverty relief in Metro Denver since their creation in the 1980s.

In 2015 Saint John’s responded yet again, creating the Faith in Action ministry of volunteer-led efforts that take place at the Cathedral and focus not only on growing food for hunger relief but also on supportive shelter for women who are homeless.

Key to the FiA hunger-relief ministry is a planned Learning Garden, a targeted response to the urgent need in Denver for spaces to grow fresh, nutritious food. Located on the south side of the Cathedral, the Learning Garden will cover 3,000 square feet and include more than a dozen raised beds for guest gardeners from Metro Caring to grow food. This Learning Garden will be a step toward making sure that no child in Denver is hungry; that families have plenty of fresh, nutritious food; and that even parents holding two or three jobs to keep their families afloat will know how to prepare a healthy meal for themselves and their children.

The Faith in Action ministry leaders at Saint John’s hope that the Cathedral Learning Garden will give our neighbors and friends a better understanding of the life-changing work being done at Saint John’s and be encouraged to use the Cathedral community as a resource.

GreenLeaf

GreenLeaf unites teens around gardening, leadership, and community

GreenLeaf, founded by the amazing Leah Bry right here in Denver,  puts “growth” to use, growing everything from food, to youth leadership, to whole communities, with the mission statement: Cultivating powerful youth and food justice through urban agriculture. GreenLeaf engages youth representing Denver’s most vibrant diversity in transforming vacant lots farms in neighborhoods where fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t readily available. GreenLeaf youth come from working class and low-income backgrounds, many are from immigrant and refugee communities. GreenLeaf offers young people, ages 14 – 18, deep leadership opportunities, giving them the opportunity to earn a fair wage while they grow food for their communities, and they take on real responsibilities running the organization and its farms. GreenLeaf youth farmers explore and take action on the health, nutrition, and social justice that impact their lives.

 

Grow Local Colorado

Grow Local Colorado puts delicious, organic, local produce in the ground near you.

Grow Local Colorado has been tilling, planting and watering to harvest since 2009. Grow Local Colorado plants edible landscaping gardens throughout Denver, re-purposing city-owned park flowerbeds, the Governor's Mansion flowerbeds, and more, to inspire citizens to grow more of their own food. By enlisting volunteers through the Denver Metro area, too, Grow Local Colorado can get the man and woman power needed to plant, maintain and harvest each of the edible gardens. But, the kicker is that ALL of the food they grow and harvest is in turn donated to local food banks and other communities in need because while food may be easy for most of us to access, most of us still isn’t all of us. Led by Director Dana Miller and Project Coordinator Barbara Masoner, Grow Local also works to educate through demonstration gardens, a commitment to cleaner energy and so much more. Grow Local Colorado stands as a solution to so many growing (pardon the pun) concerns across our country, including food prices, civic beauty, healthier options, saving fuel, and environmental betterment. And Grow Local wants to make all of that possible and easy to propagate, for everyone under the sun.

Growing Colorado Kids

Growing Colorado Kids gives refugee youth a place to learn and belong, and a garden to grow.

Growing Colorado Kids, led by local lioness Denise Lines affords refugees in Denver’s neighborhoods that chance to seize the opportunities alluded to in one of our nation’s most notable claims. Lines, who worked at Mercy Housing, discovered that some refugees living near her were struggling to even put food on the table. It started simple, a group gardening and cooking activity, Denise and the kids. But over time, Growing Colorado Kids blossomed into something spectacular. GCK’s youth members, all refugees from Africa and Burma, set their own schedule, make their own rules, and manage the gardens all by themselves. They select their leaders, vote on changes to the way they do things, and learn self-reliance. Most of all, they become part of the community, as Denise, and other GCK mentors guide the youth to relationships with neighbors and businesses, including Brad and Libby Birky of SAME Cafe. GCK provides it’s youthful, driven, amazing members with a home, not just four walls and roof, but a place where they know their neighbors, their neighbors know them, and a place where they belong.

Their mission: To reduce hunger, improve nutrition, and provide experiential learning opportunities for refugee youth through organic farming.

Growing The Dream

Allen Smith’s Growing The Dream keeps Dr. King’s inspiring, timeless vision alive.

Growing The Dream is an MLK Day held in North Carolina. It was created and originally held in the Montbello and Green Valley Ranch neighborhoods of Far Northest Denver. It raises awareness in the community, its families and its businesses, while also creating stronger ties between neighbors. Allen Smith, a leader and champion in his own right, wanted to celebrate the leaders, students, and accomplishments in Montbello and Green Valley Ranch who go so often unsung. The event is educational, community-building, and honored one of Denver’s most diverse, and overlooked, neighborhoods. It also honors the spirit and mission of Martin Luther King, Jr., building toward his dream of a united and diverse community for our children. 

High Plains Environmental Center

High Plains Environmental Center links neighbors to nature, fresh food, and each other.

The High Plains Environmental Center was conceived in 2001. The HPEC has engaged the community at-large ever since, inviting builders, businesses and residents into their “living laboratory” to participate in a wide range of studies, activities and foci including: Vegetable Gardening, Composting, Vermiculture, Sustainable Horticulture, Cultivating Native Plants, Wildlife, Aquaponics, Wetlands Ecology, Sustainable Living, and Art in Nature. It’s a spiritual, scientific and educational campus. They receive more than 6000 (Yes, that’s 3 zeroes!) volunteer hours per year. The HPEC is actively working to restore the land to its original habitat, to conserve the habitats that already exist, and to integrate the open space into the neighboring communities, by engaging neighbors in the natural world they see every day. It’s also about human beings, living together, working together and having fun together. After all, we’re part of the ecosystem too.

Hour Children

New York City’s Hour Children reunites Mothers and their Children

In 1986, Sister Teresa Fitzgerald and four other Sisters of St. Joseph led the opening of St. Rita’s Convent’s doors. They welcomed the children of imprisoned women. And they took care of them, making sure they could regularly visit their mothers, and making sure that they could remain connected to the neighborhood they began their life in. In 1995,  Hour Children became a registered non-profit organization. Hour Children has 5 residences that released mothers and their children stay in to reunite them and rebuild their lives. Those houses hold more than 60 families. Hour Children doesn’t stop with the kids, they advocate to keep mothers and children together, they offer parenting classes, they provide legal consultation, and family reunification counseling. After mothers are released, there’s housing, childcare, counseling and employment assistance for them. And for the stat heads: In New York, 30.4% of women who have been arrested are arrested again. But of the women who work with Hour Children, only 4% return to prison.

Mi Casa Resource Center

Mi Casa helps working families in the Denver Metro area succeed

Mi Casa is among Colorado’s oldest and largest Latino-serving nonprofit organizations. Since 1976, Mi Casa has been dedicated to advancing the economic success of Latino and working families in the Denver Metro area. Mi Casa offers targeted programs in Career Development, Business Development and Youth & Family Development.

 
They believe that when members of a family have realistic opportunities to pursue professional, educational and entrepreneurial advancement – within a culturally responsive and supportive environment – the cycle of poverty will be broken.
 
Mi Casa launched its social enterprise arm, TalentSource in 2013 to meet the needs of Denver area companies, provide employment opportunities for capable workers, and address the need for bilingual and diverse talent. It is a full-service Denver staffing agency, providing outstanding and diverse talent for contract, contract-to-hire and direct placement employment opportunities. 
 
Mile High Youth Corps

Mile High Youth Corps unites youth with community to benefit all

Mile High Youth Corps is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that gives youth ages 16 to 24 a chance to earn an income and learn hands-on job skills while serving in their communities. In its first year, 20 youth served Denver neighborhoods through a single 10-week program. Today, MHYC engages over 200 youth (called Corpsmembers) every year through several comprehensive programs that integrate paid work experience on community service projects with leadership development, career exploration and education. During its twenty-two year history, Mile High Youth Corps has grown from a small, seasonal, neighborhood-based organization to a comprehensive, year-round, regional program serving 15 counties from two regional offices, Metro Denver and the Southern Front Range. Their mission is to help youth make a difference in themselves and their community through meaningful service opportunities and educational experiences.

Minds Matter Denver

Minds Matter Is Preparing Students For A Brighter Future

Minds Matter, Inc. is a nationally recognized college access mentoring non-profit serving high-achieving, low income students in thirteen cities across the United States.
 
Since its founding in New York City in 1991, the effectiveness of Minds Matter has been affirmed — 100 percent of our students have been accepted into a four-year college. The organization has expanded to thirteen cities, including Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, the Twin Cities, and Washington, D.C.
 
The 2016-2017 school year is the thirteenth year for Minds Matter of Denver (“MMD”) maintaining our high level of success. We have graduated 80 students, and 100% of them have been accepted to colleges with scholarships ranging from CU and CSU to Cornell and Columbia. The Denver chapter, founded in 2004, is the culmination of a grass-roots effort to level educational opportunities for disadvantaged students.
Namaqua Outdoors

Namaqua Outdoors brings Loveland, CO elementary students out from behind their desks.

Namaqua Outdoors is more than a club. The unique Loveland school program is an exciting outdoor classroom for elementary students of Namaqua Elementary gets youngsters out of the classroom and into their world. These kids learn about their environment, the intricacies of their surroundings, and how to become young stewards of the planet. Students also connect with community through outdoor activities, games, volunteerism and music. In addition, they are currently building the Native Outdoor Classroom and Theater at the school. The outdoor classroom will act as a meeting place for Namaqua Outdoors club sessions, as well as providing a place for teachers to take their students outside during the school day for nature-based cross-curricular activities. Namaqua Outdoors is ensuring that elementary students aren’t anchored to a desk, or to any other indoor object for their entire education.

Phoenix Multisport

Phoenix Multisport uses exercise, friendship, and affirmation to pave a road to recovery

Phoenix Multisport’s mission is to foster a supportive, physically active community for individuals who are recovering from alcohol and substance abuse and for those who choose to live a sober life. Through active pursuits like climbing, hiking, running, swimming, road and mountain biking, and more, they seek to help their members develop and maintain the emotional strength needed to stay sober.

 

They choose activities that have inherent transformative properties, then introduce people to them in a safe, supportive setting. By giving people the tools to participate in and empowering them to excel at new endeavors, Phoenix Multisport helps build confidence and self-worth, while creating sober social networks in which they can comfortably push their boundaries, make new friends, learn about themselves, and recover.

 

Visit phoenixmultisport.org to learn more.

Produce for Pantries

Dana Miller and Produce for Pantries forge a coalition of the feeding

Produce for Pantries unites the best and brightest of Denver’s fighters for healthier lives and sustainable foods. The superheroic superteam includes: Grow Local, Cooking Matters, Plant a Row for the Hungry, St. John’s Episcopal, Yardharvest, Food Bank of the Rockies, Metro CareRing, Slow Food Denver, Denver Urban Gardens, Brighton Shares the Harvest, Denver Food Rescue and HungerFree Colorado.They currently works with 30 food pantries across the city, a connection made through Food Bank of the Rockies. Produce for Pantries connects food pantries with school gardens, community gardens, and home gardens in their neighborhoods to provide locally grown and healthful food and nutrition education to those in need. Local food from local gardens creates a local solution, greatly reducing needs for transportation and preservation, and increasing neighborhood sustainability.

Project Sanctuary

Heather Ehle’s Project Sanctuary helps military families stick together and grow stronger

Heather Ehle's Project Sanctuary understands that everyone in a military family serves... even if they aren’t deployed. Project Sanctuary works to reunite and strengthen military families through therapeutic retreats that also reintegrate them into their communities through education, innovative services, and supportive follow through. Retreats include family activities like Hiking, Boating, Swimming, Horseback Riding, Whitewater Rafting, Fishing, Campfire Cookouts, Archery, ATV Riding, Skiing, Ice Skating, Snowmobiling and more. Retreats also include “Healthy Marriage” and “Money Matters, Family Matters” classes that can help military families cope with the stresses they’ve been under and learn new techniques for managing their lives. And all of it is free. Since its founding in 2007, hundreds of families have attended Project Sanctuary retreats. Remarkably, 90% of spouses remain married. Even more inspiring, no participating military family members have committed suicide. (As of 2012, 1 in 5 suicides in the United States is a military veteran.)

Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute

Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute is changing the way entrepreneurs succeed.

The Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute (RMMFI) is a Community creating economic and social mobility through entrepreneurship. RMMFI helps curious people transform into serious entrepreneurs through skill building, mentorship, and microlending.
 
RMMFI provides a simple and effective approach to business development built around the philosophy that poor planning equals poor results.  First step – does your idea make sense, next step – launch it, and finally – be really successful with it!
Roots Colorado, Inc.

Roots Colorado, Inc. brings new opportunities to persons with developmental disabilities

Roots Colorado, Inc. was established in 2008 by a dedicated small group of parents whose sons and daughters with developmental disabilities faced uncertain futures. They became a 501(c)3 in 2009. Their mission to advocate for the success and happiness of persons with developmental disabilities like autism includes a strong relationships with clients and their families, and the creation of new job opportunities like Dirt Coffee Bar. Through Roots Colorado, Inc. Leader Lauren Thome Burgess and their amazing team seek to build better lives for youth and adults with developmental disabilities across Colorado.

SAME Cafe

SAME Cafe flips the script on restaurants, health food, and combating hunger.

Brad and Libby Birky moved from Illinois to Denver in 2002, and the couple decided to open a restaurant on East Colfax called SAME Cafe. SAME is an acronym for So All May Eat, and its built to eradicate hunger and serve people in need of a healthful meal. SAME Cafe doesn’t charge for its meals in the traditional sense. Instead, you pay what you can. And if you can’t pay much (or at all... No, Really!), they’re happy to get you to help out around the restaurant for an hour. SAME serves a broad client base, ranging from people in extreme need, to hungry lunchers who’ve simply heard the word about their delicious cuisine and constantly changing menu. These are the hardworking single moms, the elderly who cannot retire, the educated and the uneducated, the parents who work 40 hours a week on minimum wage and cannot make ends meet. SAME is about inclusiveness. It’s for everybody. SAME Cafe serves about 15,000 people year, and they never demand a dime from anybody.

Shift Thrift Store

Shift Thrift makes giving easy

Shift Thrift Store is a social enterprise existing to enhance the Colorado Springs Community by creating jobs, preserving the environment, promoting community involvement, and raising funds for charitable causes through recycling of household goods.

 
GUIDING PRINCIPLES
  • Creating jobs. Shift creates jobs in the community. Shift strives to hire local citizens with various challenges to employment seeking job skills for career enhancement.
  • Preserving the environment. The recycling of household goods keeps unwanted items out of landfills. Allowing a place for community members to purchase these items further reduces environmental damage by scaling the need to purchase new items which are often manufactured in planet-harming ways.
  • Promoting community involvement. Shift is a community hub involved with many charitable organizations in the Pikes Peak Region. Local citizens donate their goods on a daily basis which creates revenue for participating members. This assists these non-profits in their daily activities of enhancing the community. Shift also is an advocate for participating members by promoting their causes through store events, advertising, and more.
  • Raising funds for charitable causes. Shift is a conduit of revenue for participating non-profit organizations through the donation and sale of household goods. Member organizations receive a percentage of total sale prices for items donated on their behalf.
SPROUT Program

Baldwin Wallace University's SPROUT Program helps single parents gain a college education and build successful lives

The SPROUT Program at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio fights to give single parents a chance at a college education. SPROUT is an acronym that stands for Single Parents Reaching Out for Unlimited Tomorrows. They offer a set of tools, to educate and empower, each single parent. The parents are FULL-TIME students and live in their campus based apartments with their children year-round. SPROUT provides only a subsidy to their tuition, so scholarships, loans and work-study are required. Additionally, SPROUT provides advocacy so that parents can access county vouchers to help pay for quality, local day-care for the children. The mandatory SPROUT self-development and educational programs are designed to impart essential life skills. All participants work with BW’s Career Services and have multiple internships and a solid resume by the time they graduate. It’s all about building well-rounded, accomplished, and complete young adults ready to engage the world.

St. Elizabeth's School

St. Elizabeth’s School makes a world-class, personal education possible for children from all walks of life

Denver’s St. Elizabeth’s School emphasizes inclusion through a unique tuition and enrollment program. Tuition works on a sliding scale, that determines “each student’s tuition according to the principle that a family’s financial commitment should be equitable to its financial resources.” As a result, they welcome children from all socioeconomic strata, catering each individual tuition to what works for the child and the family. St. Elizabeth’s is a family, a large, incredible, beautiful connected team that incorporates learning, respect, caring, parental involvement and a faculty and staff that will stop at nothing to ensure that their children are successful, included and prepared for the next step to secondary education. And they cap their class size at 18. St. Elizabeth’s lives by the contributions of its donors and volunteers, and its continued success at providing education to young people from throughout Denver requires community support.

The Beanstalk Foundation

Ted Stolberg and the Beanstalk Foundation focus on human-level philanthropy.

Founded by Ted Stolberg and our Board of Directors in 2008, the Beanstalk Foundation is a publicly-funded 501(c)3 charitable organization. During a successful career in finance and equity management, Mr. Stolberg found that great companies had great leaders. The right CEO would hire the right management and they would hire the right staff. He decided to apply the theory to philanthropy, first by directly backing local leaders, then by engaging their communities. The Beanstalk Foundation has a long and successful history, but what matters most is our future, our leaders, and you. 

The GrowHaus

How the GrowHaus’ "triple-bottom-line" model of people, planet and profit may only be the beginning

The GrowHaus is a 20,000 square-foot greenhouse and community center in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood that hosts countless programs including: The Hydrofarm, a huge year-round hydroponics facility that produces thousands of heads of leafy greens per month; Seed to Seed, an 8-week summer leadership program for teens; Adult education classes for neighborhood residents centered around community organizing, gardening, cooking, and nutrition; Annual 12-day Permaculture Design Course; and Service Learning workshops for school groups that benefit over 800 students per year. The base of it all for The GrowHaus is that “everyone deserves a healthy meal,” and they do the growing, sharing and educating to prove it. The GrowHaus teaches social justice and conflict resolution. The goal is to break down the barriers of race, class and culture to make society sustainable, too.

The Puksta Foundation

The Puksta Foundation affords amazing students the chance to attend college

The Pukstas entrusted John Mulstay with their legacy. They asked him to establish a nonprofit fund that would give some of the best kids in Colorado (ones who didn’t have the means) the chance to go to college. When Eva and Harry passed away in 1999, John Mulstay formed The Puksta Foundation, which offers scholarship and social change opportunities to exceptional Colorado college students with demonstrated need. The organization recruited scholars at Colorado State University, University of Colorado Boulder, and University of Denver. The foundation now has over 171 alumni and current scholars who have received over 2 million dollars in scholarship funding since 2001. Puksta Scholars contribute more than 6,470 hours to their community social change projects each year, and partner with more than 86 nonprofits and community organizations though Colorado. 

The Rise School of Denver

The Rise School of Denver raises the bar on early childhood education

The Rise School of Denver provides unparalleled educational services to young children of diverse skill levels. Through collaboration with therapists, local universities, and families, Rise ensures that students with developmental and learning disabilities receive instruction that will prepare them to succeed in primary school and beyond. The Rise School also advocates for educational reform and change in Colorado and nationwide.

The Wayfaring Band

The Wayfaring Band makes horizons broader for young adults with special needs

The Wayfaring Band equips young adults who experience special needs as well as emerging thought leaders with the social tools to deftly navigate the diverse needs of a global community. They offer road trips, social programs, and leadership for hire. Their programs target people in their late teens to early adulthood. They serve two main populations: young people experiencing special needs, and emerging thought leaders. They also grant one spot per tour to an artist-in-residence.

ROAD TRIPS With an emphasis on engagement in the community, band members enhance their independence and agency on the road with friends. Together, we develop an empathetic and nuanced social skill set while sharing our enthusiasm for adventure. Whether exploring our beautiful home state of Colorado or visiting far-flung destinations, we’re one band that loves life on the road!

SOCIAL PROGRAMS We also plan local outings inspired by our spirit of adventure and discovery. Whether attending sporting events, concerts, art openings, or other creative or cultural activities, the band is always on the lookout for a good time.

LEADERSHIP FOR HIRE The Wayfaring Band managers are available for hire. We can design leadership workshops for executives, speak to organizations or student groups, or facilitate private tours. We are also available to accompany you on a family vacation, creating a more successful experience for your child with special needs while allowing more flexibility for the whole family.

Troop 444

Troop 444 helps build character in generations of Colorado’s young men.

Troop 444 is Littleton, CO's oldest Boy Scout troop. Largely outdoor-oriented, the Troop members test their Scouting skills against other Troops from the Denver area each year. Troop 444 is most proud of their Summer Camp Program. They’ve conducted their own week-long camp since 1964. And the camp comes together because alumni, volunteers, and parents come together to make it happen. The boys, literally, build the camp each year at Wellington Lake. They live there for one-week, and then they take it down before they go home. It’s an inspiring undertaking that requires teamwork, leadership, and perseverance.

Truckers Against Trafficking

Truckers Against Trafficking creates an army for good on America’s highways

Kendis Paris’s Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is fighting to bring an end to human trafficking, the secret market of human slavery, prostitution, and exploitation, by enlisting the very men and women who spend their days and nights on the highways. Human trafficking is a $32 billion/year “industry.” TAT educates truckers and truck stop owners on the signs and behaviors that mark prostitution and human trafficking, and lock them into tools to observe and report to local authorities. It also makes heroes of the truckers and truck stop managers who speak up to stop traffickers. Awareness is a powerful weapon, and engaging a pool of 3.5 million truckers (currently driving, according to the American Trucking Association) means a lot of eyes will be looking. TAT distributes a training DVD, attends expos and conferences, and even uses phone apps to ensure that human dignity is no longer exploited for wealth.

Urbiculture Community Farms

Agriculture and Urban aren’t mutually exclusive terms anymore.

Urbiculture Community Farms has a multi-plot farm, using the repurposed lawns and yards of dozens of volunteers, to turn even the tiniest open spaces in Denver into places where food grows. They rely on a spectacular and aptly named Yard Angels Program through which neighbors can donate their land for farming use. Half of the food grown goes to members of Urbiculture’s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) many of whom are low-income families, farmers markets, local restaurants that are committed to serving organic, local food and the other half to a wide variety of programs. Those programs include the Healing Food program that provides food to SafeHouse Denver and The Family Tree to help women and children in times of crisis. They run No Fruit Left Behind, to harvest trees whose fruits go uneaten. They have a farm at Columbian Elementary School, teaching kids to work with food, and they lead Bring Back the Bees to educate Denverites on our buzzing, pollinating, honey-making, hard-working neighbors. There are more programs, too, they’re growing all the time.

We Don't Waste

Denver’s We Don’t Waste ensures quality restaurant and catered foods live a second life and fill the city’s hungriest bellies.

We Don’t Waste is an innovative provider of food for the hungry. They collect unused food from venues, caterers, restaurants, and other food purveyors and distribute the food to Denver’s underserved populations. Then We Don’t Waste takes it to where it can be put to use again, whether to a shelter, food banks or other community-based non-profits serving vulnerable, high-need populations around Denver. By offering quality, delicious food to people in need, We Don't Waste also deals in dignity. Beyond food, they collect personal hygiene products too. While they’re running around in their trademark van, they’re delivering more than just food or soap. They’re reminding the people who have it the hardest that we still see them and we still care for them. 

WeeCycle

Thanks to WeeCycle, the gear new parents need won't break the bank

Jayme Ritchie’s WeeCycle, an organization that weecycles (get it?) the baby gear that a family with older kids no longer needs and gets it to the new parents who need it most. Through WeeCycle, you can get a used stroller for your new kid, or a used crib, or a used (just about) anything. While easing the burden on new parents is Mission One, Ritchie and WeeCycle are also in it for the planet. Baby gear often gets used and thrown away, clogging landfills with completely usable and useful equipment. It’s a simple idea: uniting community around the cost of child-rearing in a clear and easy way. It’s great because it’s almost universal. Chances are good that most of us could use an organization like WeeCycle one day. And even if we don’t, we’ll know a kid who deserves a safe car seat, a crib to sleep in, and parents who need the support.

WINGS Foundation, Inc.

WINGS Foundation, Inc. works to heal survivors of childhood sexual abuse

The WINGS Foundation has been working to break the cycle, and heal the wounds, of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) since 1982. They provide education, advocacy and support to adult survivors, loved ones, providers and communities. Their program serves anyone aged 18 and over who has experienced CSA, their loved ones and the professionals with whom they work.

 

Through offering referrals to qualified therapists, training and education, and therapist-facilitated support groups to adult survivors of CSA (in English and Spanish), WINGS helps survivors, their loved ones, and their communities to live their fullest, healthiest lives.