Concurrent Efforts (with The Denver Foundation's Inclusiveness Project)


The ten-year focus of The Denver Foundation on expanding inclusiveness in the nonprofit sector has been associated with a number of concurrent effects in the metro Denver community. Because the foundation has elevated the issue of inclusiveness in a time of dramatically shifting demographics, many forces have converged to encourage additional efforts on inclusiveness in the broader nonprofit sector.

The Colorado funding community has long used a tool called the Colorado Common Grant Application (CGA). In 2008, the funding community and numerous nonprofit partners gathered to revise the CGA. The revised version contains - for the first time - a question specifically related to inclusiveness: "Describe how the organization strives to be inclusive in its programs, staff, board, and volunteers, and describe the progress to date." The widely referenced User's Guide states, "Being inclusive helps organizations be more responsive to those they seek to serve and more effective at creating and delivering relevant and successful programs. Inclusiveness also leads to a broader and richer pool of board, staff, and volunteers." 

In addition to this sector-wide shift, inclusiveness practices are influencing specific areas of community focus. Nine years ago, a group of funders called Advancing Colorado's Mental Health Care (ACMHC) gathered to examine the status of mental health care in Colorado. The Denver Foundation staff leader involved in the project was also involved in the inception of the Inclusiveness Project. She ensured that ACMHC's initial report, "The Status of Mental Health Care in Colorado," contained information on mental health outcomes for people of color and other marginalized groups, despite the fact that this information was not part of the initial research scope. When the project concluded with an update to the report, all of the funding partners required that such outcomes be included in the scope of the research, and these data were essential to the release of "The Status of Behavioral Health Care in Colorado."