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


2008 Annual Report

  2008 Annual Report
Chambers Family Fund 2008 Annual Report

Our 2008 Annual Report includes information on:



Financial Overview

2008 Annual Report Grantees

2008 Grant Distribution


Clayton Early Learning
Construction of Clayton Educare Center, a high quality birth-to-five early education center that is part of a national network to improve the early education system (Multi-Year Capital Support)



Colorado Children's Campaign
Development of a cost model that examines major funding streams and cost drivers of the state budget and assists policymakers with fiscal planning and decision making (Project Support)



Qualistar Early Learning
Expanding the quality improvement rating system that measures and improves early care and education in Colorado (General Support)



Endowment challenge gifts, re-granting funds and operating support to expand women’s philanthropy and provide a permanent resource for women and girls in the states where the Chambers family’s oil business operated

North Dakota Women’s Network




Women’s Foundation of Montana




Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma




Women’s Fund of Fargo-Moorhead




Women’s Fund of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Region




Wyoming Women’s Foundation



Colorado Center on Law and Policy
Support for a second update to the Colorado Self-Sufficiency Standard and to develop a statewide marketing and messaging plan for the Colorado Self-Sufficiency Calculator (Multi-Year Project Support)



Global Fund for Women
International grants for women’s groups that increase girls' access to education and advocate for and defend women's human rights around the world (General Support)




The Women's Foundation of Colorado
The final payment of a $1 million commitment to the Power the Change Endowment Campaign, an effort to double the endowment and increase grantmaking to impact economic self-sufficiency of women and the future of girls in Colorado (Multi-Year Endowment Support)



Women's Funding Network
Women Moving Millions, an initiative to cultivate new $1 million donors to women’s funds (Multi-Year Project Support)

Quantum Leap Donor Circle to leverage resources for the creation and support of women’s funds (Project Support)




Women's Health
Support for family planning and reproductive health services for low income women (Project and General Support)



The Bell Policy Center
Public education, nonpartisan research and policy development to create opportunities for individuals and families to move toward self-sufficiency (Multi-Year General Support)

Technology improvements to increase organizational efficiency (Project Support)




Social change philanthropy that strengthens society by addressing root causes of problems through public policy, education, advocacy and communications (Multi-Year General Support)



Colorado C3 Roundtable
Coordination of civic engagement work among Colorado nonprofit organizations through strategic communication, collection of data and voter education projects (General Support)



Research and publication of Women Lead the Way, a book that offers advice for engaging women's leadership in policy debates and decisions (Project Support)



Latina Initiative
Provide information and training to encourage Latina women to become civically engaged in issues important to their families and community (General Support)



NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Foundation
Prevention First Colorado, a project to prevent unintended pregnancy and provide resources that improve the health, educational and economic opportunities for women and their families (Project Support)



Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Power the Promise Campaign, an initiative to change the social climate and build effective strategies to ensure women’s choice and access to reproductive health and rights (Multi-Year Project Support)



Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains
Challenge grant for construction of a new high quality reproductive health care and community education facility in a broadly accessible Denver location (Multi-Year Capital Support)

Comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services, advocacy and educational programs in the Rocky Mountain region (General Support)





Political Research Associates
Progressive thinking, action and support of movements that build a more inclusive and democratic society through research, analysis and referrals (General Support)



UC Berkeley Foundation
Establish the Center on Civility & Democratic Engagement to promote civil dialogue in discussions that seek to resolve current policy issues (Project Support)



The White House Project
Advance women’s leadership and increase the number of women running for political office by providing training to be successful and effective leaders (General Support)



Funding for Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art is a priority for Chambers Family Fund.

The museum and its nationally important display of 20th-Century decorative arts, Colorado art history and artists and retrospective of Vance Kirkland (General Support)


Capital support for art acquisitions and the purchase of property adjacent to the museum for parking and possible future expansion (Multi-Year Capital Support)



City and County of Denver
Construction of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at Quigg Newton Denver Municipal Auditorium (Multi-Year Capital Support)



Clyfford Still Museum
Challenge to establish an endowment fund for future operations of this new museum to be built in Denver (Multi-Year Endowment Support)



Colorado Ballet
Superior quality classical ballet and innovative dance through performances, training and education programs that enhance the cultural life of the community (General Support)




Colorado Symphony Association
Quality musical performances and programs that contribute to the cultural vitality of Colorado (General Support)



The Denver Foundation
Restoration of the historic electric fountain in Denver's City Park and establishment of an endowed fund for maintenance (Project Support)



Music Associates of Aspen
World class music education and performances presented by this internationally renowned classical music festival and school (General Support)



Opera Colorado
Promotion of opera to a wide audience through educational and cultural activities that create passion and excitement for the art of grand opera (General Support)




Hastings 1066 Foundation


To increase scholarship funding for students attending Hastings College of the Law (Endowed Scholarship Fund)




Christ Episcopal Church of Aspen
Renovation and upgrade of the facilities to enhance the church's capacity to carry out its mission to serve the community and minister to people in need (Capital Support)

Emergency relief for cyclone-stricken villagers in the Irrawaddy delta region in Myanmar, Burma (Project Support)





Episcopal Church Foundation
Advance the mission of the church and its work (General Support)



Saint John's Cathedral
Leadership and resources for the church and its outreach to the surrounding community (General Support)


Grants Under $10,000




Matching Gifts


Memberships and Affiliations






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2008 Annual Report Highlights

2008 Annual Report Highlights
Chambers Family Fund made 129 grants in 2008 totaling nearly $3.7 million in a continuing effort to strengthen democratic values, change systems, support policies that positively impact the lives of women and children, and enhance arts and culture organizations in Colorado. As we have consistently done in prior years, we exceeded our grant payout requirement in 2008.

For our women’s funds initiative that created new women’s funds, another milestone was reached. In its fifth year, the Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma successfully matched our challenge grant and reached its $1 million endowment goal. The Wyoming Women’s Foundation and the Women’s Foundation of Montana continued to grow their endowments, each reaching the $1 million mark in 2006. We continued to make annual operating support grants and provided technical assistance to these women’s funds.

Beginning in 2007, Chambers Family Fund was the first funder to support the Women’s Funding Network’s capacity building program to launch the Women Moving Millions Campaign. This initiative raised the bar for women’s philanthropy, increasing the number of women making gifts of $1 million or more to women’s funds throughout the world. By year-end 2008, the campaign had raised $123 million toward its goal of $150 million for women’s funds. Chambers Family Fund participated in the campaign by making a multi-year capacity building grant to the Women’s Funding Network and a $1 million grant to The Women’s Foundation of Colorado.

The Colorado Self-Sufficiency Standard (the Standard) is an objective measure of what it costs for families and individuals to meet their basic needs without public or private assistance. Unlike the one-size-fits-all Federal Poverty Level, the Standard takes into account geographical differences and ages of children in the household. These factors significantly impact a family’s ability to attain self-sufficiency. Several counties throughout the state are currently using the Standard to advocate for affordable housing, set wage scales for county employees, create child care programs and increase cash assistance through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs. State legislators use the Standard as a foundation for discussion of the disbursement of reserve TANF funds.

Chambers Family Fund provided a multi-year grant to the Colorado Center on Law and Policy for a second update to the Standard and to develop a statewide marketing and messaging plan for the Colorado Self-Sufficiency Calculator (the Calculator). The updated Standard was released in February 2008. The Calculator is being used by social workers for case management and in community colleges to counsel students on financial literacy and career choices. Fourteen training sessions on the use of the Calculator were held throughout the state.

At the national level, the Colorado Center on Law and Policy is working with partner organizations to promote the national adoption of the Standard as an alternative measure to the Federal Poverty Level.

In December 2007, three of our grantees partnered to publish Looking Forward, a report projecting state spending and revenue through fiscal year 2012-2013 and the projected consequences and challenges of maintaining current services into the future. We partnered with Rose Community Foundation and facilitated a discussion with other foundation representatives to learn more about the collaborative and encouraged multi-year support of the organizations’ fiscal reform work. The meeting led to two other funder forums focusing on the fiscal future of Colorado.

Chambers Family Fund provided a capital funding challenge grant to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains for its Building the Future Campaign. In August of 2008, Planned Parenthood opened its new state-of-the–art flagship building. The new building houses the administrative headquarters and provides increased access to reproductive health care for residents of Denver and the surrounding region.

The Iliff School of Theology in Denver hosted one of two national historic events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. We sponsored the Celebration of Courage event, honoring the Little Rock Nine who led the way 50 years ago.

Chambers Family Fund provided lead funding to create the Center on Civility & Democratic Engagement, located in the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. The Center will promote civil dialogue in discussions that seek to resolve the issues of the day. Partnering with the Goldman School, the Center on Civility & Democratic Engagement will study and promote the practices of civility on which democracy and good policymaking depend. Center events will promote open-minded and productive exchanges about timely and controversial problems facing societies today.

We partnered with Rose Community Foundation and The Piton Foundation to fund a new Early Childhood Systems Office within the Colorado Lieutenant Governor’s office. These early care and education system reform efforts led to funding for full day kindergarten and to eliminate the waiting list for at-risk children ages three and four who qualify for state funded preschool programs.

The new Early Childhood Systems Office developed a visual framework called Early Childhood Colorado. This early childhood system map communicates the vision for comprehensive early childhood services in the state and illustrates the goals, outcomes and strategies to guide and organize systems change and policy decisions.

2007-2008 was the first school year for the new Clayton Educare Center that we funded on the Clayton Early Learning (formerly known as Clayton Foundation) campus. An evaluation of the first year indicates positive gains for the students and the program. A revealing outcome is that most Early Head Start families chose to stay at Clayton for Head Start. Parent training and involvement, a primary strategy of the new Educare Center, is making a difference in early education outcomes and evaluation of students’ progress shows significant gains in one year, especially for Spanish speaking students.

Clayton Educare Center’s partnership with Denver Public Schools (DPS) is working well. The goal is for families with preschool children at Clayton to make a seamless transition to Barrett Elementary or to other DPS schools. A Head Start classroom from Barrett Elementary has been moved to the Educare Center and Clayton is providing parental involvement training to the DPS teachers at Barrett.

The Bounce Learning Network, a partnership of Educare Centers, continues to fund evaluation of the eight Educare Centers located in various states across the country. Clayton Educare shares what it has learned in its professional development institute and successful public school partnership with Centers in other states.

In addition to general support grants to 27 arts and culture organizations in 2008, we made an initial grant of $25,000 to establish an endowment for the soon to be constructed Clyfford Still Museum. The remainder of Chambers Family Fund’s $250,000 challenge to build an endowment for the Clyfford Still Museum was delayed until 2009. The timing and strategy of the endowment challenge grant was revised so the museum could focus on its goal of securing capital gifts during a critical period of the fundraising campaign.

Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art continues to be a priority and major focus of Chambers Family Fund’s grantmaking. We provide ongoing general operating support to this unique nationally recognized museum. In 2008, Kirkland Museum had an impressive increase in visitors and a fortuitous opportunity to purchase property located directly across from the museum. We made a capital grant for the purchase of the property that includes a building and a parking lot with additional parking spaces for guests. The property will provide an enhanced and welcoming experience for the museum’s guests and visitors.

Like many other foundations, Chambers Family Fund experienced a decline in assets in 2008 and made decisions that we shared with prospective grantees on our website. Our first step was to look inward and reduce our operating budget for 2009. Next, we assured our grantees that we would honor all prior grant commitments and make those payments as they were originally scheduled. However, the board decided that the foundation would not make new grant commitments or fund new initiatives in 2009.

Chambers Family Fund recognized the need to stay focused on long term goals because the problems we seek to address will remain after this economic crisis has passed. We made a commitment to work with our grantees to find ways to leverage our creative capital and assist our nonprofit partners to withstand these economic hardships and continue their vital work long into the future.

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2008 Annual Report Financial Overview

Cash Basis Balance Sheet
As of November 30, 2008

Cash and Cash Equivalents   $ 5,102,243
Investments at Cost
  $ 38,573,038
Leasehold Deposit   $ 3,597
  $ 43,678,878
  $ 43,678,878
  $ 50,581,626

Cash Basis Statement of Revenues and Expenditures
For the Twelve Months Ended November 30, 2008

  $ 2,468,428
Grants Paid
$ 3,683,311    
Other Program Expenses
$   316,407    
Administrative Expenses
$   203,260    
Total Grants, Program and Administrative
  $ 4,202,978
Investment Management Expenses
  $ 154,787
Excise Tax   $ 77,843

Our 2008 Grant Distributions

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      Seeking upstream solutions