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


2006 Annual Report

  2006 Annual Report
2006 Annual Report

Our 2006 Annual Report includes information on:



Financial Overview

Annual Report Grantees

2006 Grant Distribution


The Clayton Foundation
For the second grant of a $2 million commitment for construction of the Clayton Educare Center, a high quality, birth to five child care and early education center on the Clayton Campus


Colorado Children's Campaign
For improving outcomes for Colorado's children and families in the areas of education, child health and youth initiatives


Colorado Foundation for Families and Children
For helping to build the capacity, staffing, program management and program support of the Smart Start strategic plan goals

For the staffing of Colorado Early Childhood and School Readiness Commission that analyzed a comprehensive state system for early care and education for children in Colorado 



Qualistar Early Learning
For a multi-year grant to expand its rating system that measures and improves early care and education in Colorado


Rose Community Foundation
For a collaborative grant to engage an early childhood education planning facilitator to consult and identify the critical needs for supporting a comprehensive early childhood system



9 to 5 Colorado
For public policy work on welfare, low income child care, unemployment, work-family and discrimination issues


Colorado Center on Law and Policy
For developing the Online Self-Sufficiency Benefits Calculator, an online tool that provides consolidated information and resources about economic self-sufficiency, work and income supports and services

For the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute's research and publication of the Self-Sufficiency Standard Demographics Study, a report that will guide the development of policy and programs for families lacking sufficient income




Girl Scouts-Mile High Council
For completion of a multi-year commitment for a Nature Center room dedicated to environmental science, astronomy and math programs at Magic Sky Ranch, the largest outdoor resource for girls in Colorado


Global Fund for Women
For women's organizations around the world working to address critical issues such as economic independence, increasing girls' access to education and preventing violence against women


The Women's Foundation of Colorado
For completion of a $3 million commitment for the new Chambers Center for Advancement of Women, home to the Women's Foundation of Colorado and the Women's College


Women's Funding Network

For the Quantum Leap Donor Circle and to leverage its resources to increase funding for the creation and support of women's funds


Women's Health
For family planning and reproductive health services for low income women and to support general operations



Communities Foundation of Oklahoma
For matching endowment funds, re-granting dollars, research and operations for the Women's Foundation of Oklahoma


Montana Community Foundation
For operating support to continue the growth and development of the Women's Foundation of Montana


Wyoming Community Foundation
For operating support to continue the growth and development of the Wyoming Women's Foundation



The Bell Policy Center
For a multi-year commitment to identify and promote policies and improve systems that help individuals and families access opportunities and move toward self-sufficiency


For a multi-year commitment to encourage community based philanthropy to increase resources to nonprofit organizations working for social and economic justice and equality


Inspired Legacies

For philanthropic and legacy advising services to individuals, donors and families


NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Foundation
For public education and community organizing projects that promote access to reproductive rights and health care in Colorado


Planned Parenthood Federation of America
For the Power the Promise Campaign initiative that will build social action and public education


Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains
For comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services, advocacy and educational programs in the Rocky Mountain region


Political Research Associates
For research and public education efforts that rebuild and revitalize a progressive movement around a common vision for an open, democratic and pluralist society



City and County of Denver
For the first grant of a $2 million commitment for the construction of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at Quigg Newton Denver Municipal Auditorium


Colorado Ballet
For a challenge grant to encourage renewed community support to help sustain the organization and fund the ballet's operational needs

For strengthening the ballet as a world class dance institution in Colorado




Colorado Public Radio
For the Music Reference Library at the Bridges Broadcast Center, the newly renovated home of Colorado Public Radio

For public radio programming in Colorado



Colorado Symphony Association
For providing a broad spectrum of quality musical performances and programs in Colorado


Denver Art Museum
For completion of a $1 million grant to support the expansion and addition of galleries and special exhibition spaces in the new Frederic C. Hamilton Building at the Denver Art Musuem

For the Grand Opening Gala of the newly expanded Denver Art Museum

For the museum's comprehensive collection and exhibition of art





Denver Center for the Performing Arts
For the 2006-2007 season of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and the Denver Center Theatre Company


Foothills Art Center
For Colorado Modernism: 1930-1970, an exhibition of Colorado artists celebrating their place in our country's modernist art tradition


KBDI Public Television
For informing, educating and entertaining Colorado audiences with a wide variety of television programming


Music Associates of Aspen
For this internationally renowned classical music festival and school that presents world class music in an intimate Colorado mountain setting


Opera Colorado
For bringing outstanding performances and educational programs to Colorado

For the 2006-2007 Season Opening Gala





University of Denver
For the Graduate School of International Studies 2006 Korbel Dinner and the school's contributions to the community




St. John's Cathedral
For providing leadership and faith-based resources to the church and community



Episcopal Church Foundation
For advancing the mission of the church and its work


Special Designation

The Denver Foundation
For grants to support the arts



Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art
For a special designation from the Estate of Evelyn Chambers supporting the museum and its exhibitions


Disaster Relief

Episcopal Relief and Development
For global disaster relief and sustainable development programs that identify and address the root causes of poverty



Grants Under $2,500




Matching Gifts


Memberships and Affiliations






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Annual Report Highlights

  2006 Annual Report Highlights

We documented what we learned from our initiative to create women’s funds in a case study, Creating a Women’s Fund Within a Community Foundation, which we hope will influence the growth of women’s funds in underserved and less populated regions of the country.

2006 was a remarkable year for the women’s funds of Wyoming and Montana as they each exceeded their $1 million endowment goals and are now well established. Merle served on the advisory boards of the funds since they were launched by Chambers Family Fund in 2000, directly participating in the growth and progress of the funds. Thrilled with their success and confident that the board members in each state will grow and guide the funds, Merle no longer serves as an active member on these boards. She continues to serve on the advisory board of the Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma.

In response to new opportunities to strengthen the infrastructure of women’s funds and provide the resources and support they need to be effective grantmakers, we are transitioning from direct work with the women’s funds to encouraging the formation of women’s funds across the country. In a partnership with the Women’s Funding Network, we are supporting women’s philanthropy within community foundations, to fill the gaps in funding the needs of women and girls in their communities.

In January, Chambers Family Fund invited representatives of the Wyoming, Montana and Oklahoma women’s funds and the Women’s Foundation of Colorado to meet in Denver to identify successes and challenges and to share solutions and information. The funds exchanged fundraising strategies and marketing plans and shared grantmaking successes.

Strategic alliances were components of the funding and work of Chambers Family Fund in 2006. As always, the Fund moved forward, seeking collaborative opportunities to leverage influence and funding, understanding that the most effective work is often done in partnership with other organizations and funders.

Chambers Family Fund joined other foundations with common interests in economic self-sufficiency in forming a funders learning group. The group meets three or four times a year to share information and look at trends and opportunities in this funding priority area. Many of the foundations in this group supported Colorado Center on Law and Policy’s creation of an online Self-Sufficiency Benefits Calculator. The calculator will be online in 2007.

Using the Self-Sufficiency Standard, Colorado Center on Law and Policy conducted a demographic study to determine the challenges that working families face and how they are impacted by wage trends that result in the “cliff effect”, where a small increase in in­come causes a significant reduction or total loss of assistance and work support benefits designed to help low-wage workers. The study researched where these families live, whether race, gender, education or occupation plays a role and the impact that different patterns of work have on self-sufficiency. Chambers Family Fund supported the research and publishing of this report.

We completed our funding commitment to The Women’s Foundation of Colorado to build the Merle Catherine Chambers Center for the Advancement of Women. In both design and purpose, The Chambers Center is a place that houses and fosters collaboration among women’s organizations dedicated to the advancement of women and girls. The Women’s Foundation of Colorado, The Women’s College of the University of Denver, The White House Project and Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) are each housed in The Chambers Center. Through education and programs that support economic self-sufficiency and policy change, women’s political leadership and the advancement of women in higher education administration, these organizations are able to interact with one another to reinforce their missions. Together, they produce the synergy where the ideas, talents and skills of women are valued, developed and utilized. 

With strong institutional partners, committed and talented individuals, and funding to support these efforts, we are optimistic that opportunities for those who are most marginalized in society will multiply.

We continued our longstanding partnership with The Bell Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank committed to expanding opportunities, promoting economic self-sufficiency and supporting families. The Bell’s important research exposed systemic problems in the state’s fiscal process and the resulting impacts that undermine Colorado’s ability to meet the basic and critical needs of its citizens. In 2006, the Bell’s multi-year focus on the fiscal health of the state and exposing the flaws in TABOR (Tax Payers Bill of Rights) helped create the understanding and consensus that led to statewide policy change. Developing a reputable set of data about future fiscal conditions to define the challenges and educate the public will help create common ground for action and long term solutions that improve the lives of Colorado citizens.

There were unique one-time opportunities to support arts projects in 2006. These projects moved Colorado into the forefront of communities with enhanced opportunities for its citizens to enjoy the arts. We are proud to have been associated with this change.

In September, the much anticipated new Denver Art Museum’s Frederic C. Hamilton Building opened its doors in a whirlwind of activity, including preview events, the Grand Opening Gala and 36 hours of free public access. With additional gallery and event space, the Denver Art Museum will continue to inspire and captivate the next generation of artists and patrons. The Merle Chambers and Hugh Grant Gallery was named in recognition of a gift to support the museum’s expansion. The gallery is a lovely, intimate and welcoming space located on the third floor in the Modern and Contemporary Gallery adjacent to the outdoor Sculpture Deck. 

Our support of performing arts was a beacon of hope at a critical time for Colorado Ballet. Chambers Family Fund joined two other donors to make a $450,000 challenge grant. The challenge succeeded in raising more than $1 million to encourage renewed community support, sustain the organization and allow Colorado Ballet to continue to provide quality performances for the enjoyment of Colorado audiences.

We supported several key advocacy and policy organizations that are preparing the field for more extensive systems change and wider opportunities for children. This funding was in partnership with other foundations and together we formed working relationships with four organizations working on ECE systems change – Qualistar, Colorado Children’s Campaign, Smart Start Colorado and the Colorado Early Childhood School Readiness Commission.

Many believe there is a window of opportunity to improve the early care and education of children in Colorado and guarantee long lasting impacts at the state and local levels. The state needs an early childhood system that is seamless, easily accessible and funded in a cohesive way. Chambers Family Fund partnered with Rose Community Foundation to fund a coordinated planning effort in the Lt. Governor’s office to identify early care and education systems change opportunities, convene key stakeholders and develop comprehensive recommendations and policies for children birth to age five. 

On September 12, 2006, at a ceremony on the Clayton campus, foundation board members, community leaders, Denver’s mayor and Clayton children and teachers celebrated the groundbreaking of a new state-of-the-art early learning center for children from birth to five years of age. Chambers Family Fund contributed the $2 million lead gift to build this new Clayton Educare Center that will open in October of 2007. With funding from other foundations, the Educare Center will be built and two historic buildings on the Clayton campus will be renovated to house teacher training and professional development programs.

Our support of the new Educare Center at Clayton led to further opportunities to improve early learning and promote policies that will build on the network of Educare Centers across the country. Along with philanthropists, advocates and providers from Illinois, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas and Washington, Chambers Family Fund is a participant in the Bounce Learning Network and the Birth to Five Policy Alliance. These organizations serve as resources for stakeholders to strategically leverage policy and influence how every child should learn and to help strengthen partnerships and encourage collaboration. Network members are encouraged to share best practices, have open discussions of national and state opportunities, identify policy strategies for early childcare systems change and address the comprehensive needs of children from birth to age five.

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Annual Report Financial Overview

Cash Basis Balance Sheet
As of November 30, 2006

Cash and Cash Equivalents   $  3,505,912
Investments at Cost

Cash Basis Statement of Revenues and Expenditures
For the Twelve Months Ended November 30, 2006

  $ 3,561,481
Grants Paid
 $ 3,205,927  
Other Program Expenses
  $    266,194  
General and Administrative Expenses
$    104,358  
Total Grants, Program and Administrative
  $ 3,576,479
Investment Management Expenses
  $    199,159
Excise Tax   $      51,000

Our 2006 Grant Distributions

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      Seeking upstream solutions