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


2010 Annual Report

  2010 Annual Report
Chambers Family Fund 2010 Annual Report

Our 2010 Annual Report includes information on:



Financial Overview

2010 Annual Report Grantees

2010 Grant Distribution


Clayton Early Learning
Construction of the Clayton Educare Center, a high quality, birth to five child care and early education center on the Clayton Campus (Multi-Year Capital Support)



Colorado Nonprofit Development Center
Promote cross-sector thinking and action in early childhood education to develop a unified and strategic direction for systems change (General Support)



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



Colorado Center on Law and Policy
Secure justice and economic security for all Coloradans, with special
emphasis on women's economic self-sufficiency (General 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
Underwriting of the welcome reception for the Women's Funding
Network conference (Event Support)



Women's Funds Initiative
Endowment challenge gifts 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



Wyoming Women's Foundation


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



North Dakota Women's Network




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



Colorado Nonprofit Association
Educating nonprofits about the state's fiscal and constitutional challenges that impact funding for services they provide (Project Support)



NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Foundation
Public education and community organizing projects that promote access to reproductive rights and health care in Colorado (General Support)



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





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



Arts and Culture

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



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



Clyfford Still Museum
Construction of the Clyfford Still Museum  (Multi-Year Capital 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)



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)





Episcopal Relief and Development
Project support for critical assistance and long-term recovery and rehabilitation aid in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake (Project Support)


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



Grants Under $10,000 $55,166



Matching Gifts


Memberships and Affiliations






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2010 Annual Report Highlights

2010 Annual Report Highlights
Chambers Family Fund made grants of nearly $2 million in 2010 that included past multi-year grant commitments and a small number of new grant commitments. Fiscal reform and reproductive rights were priorities. Since 2007, we have funded The Bell Policy Center, Colorado Children’s Campaign and Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute and have supported their partnership to address fiscal reform issues in Colorado. This Looking Forward collaborative work will continue in 2011 to engage Coloradans in a conversation about expanding opportunity, identifying the appropriate role of the public sector, ensuring a prosperous future and what we are willing to do to ensure that future.

Additional grants to The Bell Policy Center and Colorado Nonprofit Association for fiscal reform allowed these organizations to educate Coloradans and nonprofits about the catastrophic impacts if our state continues on its current fiscal path.

Years of hard work paid off for The Bell Policy Center in May 2010 when Governor Bill Ritter signed the payday lending bill into law. The Governor singled out the Bell at the signing ceremony, saying its work had been critical to the bill's success. In 2002, the Bell identified predatory lending as a crippling practice that holds back too many families, preventing them from building wealth and achieving economic self-sufficiency. The Bell conducted research on payday lending, its victims and impacts and laws in other states and published reports on payday lending and the devastating impact it was having on Coloradans.

The women’s funds that Chambers Family Fund created and supports continue to thrive and address issues relevant to their states. Addressing the gender wage gap through policy and public education is a priority for the Wyoming Women’s Foundation. On a national level, women are paid 78 cents for every dollar a man is paid. In Wyoming, women make only 63 cents for every dollar a man is paid, the largest gender wage disparity in the United States. The women’s foundation adapted the WAGE Project model to Wyoming and provides wage negotiation workshops across the state. Also, the women’s foundation created an email alert entitled Legislative Watch 2010 to provide updates on bills during the 2010 legislative session that impacted women of Wyoming.

In October 2010, the Wyoming Women’s Foundation hosted a luncheon in Cheyenne to mark its tenth anniversary and celebrate ten years of grantmaking to benefit Wyoming’s women and girls. Merle Chambers was recognized for creating the women’s foundation. In her remarks at the luncheon, Merle reflected on why she started the foundation, the importance of the work the foundation does and progress that has been made in women’s philanthropy during the last two decades.

The Women’s Foundation of Montana led a payday lending reform ballot initiative in 2010 and allocated $25,000 to support the effort. Under Montana law, lenders could charge up to 650% annual interest on payday loans and 300% annual interest on car title loans. Between 2005 and 2008, more than $35 million was paid in interest and fees to predatory lenders in Montana. On November 2nd the initiative passed, capping the annual interest rate on payday and car title loans at 36%.

The Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma partnered with the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition and Smart Start Oklahoma to collect data and recommend an action plan to increase continuing education for low income single mothers. With funding from the women’s foundation, the partners anticipate a two to three year implementation plan followed by evaluation in year five. “Higher Education Opportunities for Oklahoma Single Mothers” will include policy recommendations that increase educational access and affordability for women.

As part of our Women’s Funds Initiative in North Dakota, we funded the North Dakota Women’s Network. Although it is not a women’s fund, this policy organization meets Chambers Family Fund’s goal of statewide impact for women and girls. The women’s network led a coalition to create the North Dakota Economic Security and Prosperity Alliance. It began as a coalition of advocates with an early purpose of promoting passage of a state earned income tax credit (EITC). Although the legislation failed, the coalition continued and has developed a State Fiscal Analysis Initiative (SFAI). The SFAI provides research and analysis of state budget and tax policies, with particular attention to the effects on low and moderate income people.

The annual Women’s Funding Network conference was held in Denver in April, 2010. Chambers Family Fund was a local host along with Jewish Women’s Fund of Colorado, Urgent Action Fund and The Women’s Foundation of Colorado. These four Colorado foundations are members of the Women’s Funding Network. A Welcome Reception for the Women’s Funding Network conference, underwritten by Chambers Family Fund, was held at The Merle Catherine Chambers Center for the Advancement of Women. Chris Grumm, President of the Women’s Funding Network introduced Merle who shared her vision for the building.

Representatives from the women’s funds in Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Wyoming that were created and supported by Chambers Family Fund were in Denver to attend the Women’s Funding Network conference. Chambers Family Fund hosted a meeting to discuss strategy and share information as they continue to learn from their colleagues in other women’s funds within community foundations.

In 2010, a Senate Bill codified an Executive Order that created the Colorado Early Childhood Leadership Commission to effectively coordinate federal and state funded services for children from birth to age eight. Lt. Governor Barbara O’Brien served as Governor for the day and signed the bill making the commission part of Colorado state statutes. Establishing a vehicle to coordinate and seek efficiencies to improve access to quality services for children in Colorado has been a long term goal that has finally been realized.

This new state commission allowed the state to apply for a $1.3 million grant over three years from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for staffing and funding of the Colorado Early Childhood Leadership Commission. Chambers Family Fund partnered with Rose Community Foundation and the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation to fund the cost of applying for the grant for which Colorado received the funding in June.

Chambers Family Fund made the lead gift to build the Clayton Educare Center, one of a network of Educare centers across the country. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Head Start, recognized Clayton Educare as a “Center of Excellence.” This was the first year this award had been designated, and Clayton was among the first ten Head Start programs nationwide to receive the award and the only Educare Center selected. Clayton will receive $1 million in funding over the next five years to provide outreach to other Colorado and national Head Start and early childhood education programs and deepen its unique evidence-based practices.

Chambers Family Fund’s early care and education funding was highlighted at a Council on Foundations site visit to Clayton Early Learning. Along with Chambers Family Fund, Rose Community Foundation and Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation shared the story of foundation support of early care and education for the past decade in Colorado. Attendees also heard about the success of the Denver Preschool Program, a taxpayer-funded initiative to send every Denver four year old to a high quality preschool.

Chambers Family Fund provides annual funding for Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art. In 2010, Kirkland Museum opened a well-received exhibition at the Arvada Center with a show titled Kirkland Museum Collection: 100+ Years of Colorado Art. This exhibition became Kirkland Museum’s first traveling show, continuing to the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art. A show at Kirkland Museum, The Furniture of Eero Saarinen: Designs for Everyday Living, featured the work of Saarinen and decorative art created by architects.

The number of visitors to Kirkland Museum increased in 2010, to more than 13,000. In addition to the hours spent in training, the museum’s docents provided over 3,600 volunteer hours. Kirkland Museum borrowed objects, including furniture and decorative arts, from six lenders for its Saarinen exhibition and 278 objects from the museum’s collection were loaned to four separate exhibitions. We are proud of the growth and national recognition Kirkland Museum has received.

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2010 Annual Report Financial Overview

Assets and Net Assets – Income Tax Basis
As of November 30, 2010

Cash and Cash Equivalents   $ 1,421,850
Investments at Cost
  $ 40,982,231
Leasehold Deposit   $ 3,597
  $ 42,407,678
  $ 42,407,678
  $ 56,529,271

Revenue Collected, Expenditures Made,
and Changes in Net Assets – Income Tax Basis
For the Year Ended November 30, 2010

  $ 1,410,265
Grants Paid
$ 1,947,592    
Direct Charitable Programs
$    131,398    
Grant Administration $    102,520    
General and Administrative $    195,180    
Investment Expense $    135,899    
Excise Taxes $     39,033    
$ (1,141,357)

Our 2010 Grant Distributions

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      Seeking upstream solutions