Chambers Family Fund
Chambers Family Fund Foundation, creating women's funds foundations, children early care and education, systems change, Merle Chambers, Denver Colorado, Chambers Center for the Advancement of Women, economic self-sufficiency, democratic values, funding for women and girls, philanthropy


From the President                 2017

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.

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.


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 improve and expand systems that ensure 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.

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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      Seeking upstream solutions