For more than a decade, Chambers Family Fund has consistently funded policy and systems change in early care and education. Significant developments in 2012 advanced the early care and education system in Colorado. The governor established the Office of Early Childhood in the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) by Executive Order. This new office will consolidate public programs and funding streams within CDHS that serve young children and their families. Legislation will be required to expand this office to include programs from other state agencies, and the establishment of the new office was a major step forward for the early care and education system in Colorado.
Chambers Family Fund supported the state’s application for the Early Learning Challenge Fund in two ways. First, in partnership with several other foundations, we provided a grant to the Colorado Children’s Campaign for the writing of the revised grant application. Second, Chambers Family Fund assisted in planning, reviewing and providing feedback on drafts of the application. Colorado will likely receive $30 million to support early care and education systems building activities and programs.
Clayton Early Learning, the Colorado Children’s Campaign and Executives Partnering to Invest in Children (EPIC) collaboratively submitted a proposal to the Birth to Five Policy Alliance requesting support for an expanded and coordinated early childhood policy initiative in Colorado. The alliance required a match to fund staffing for policy research and development. In partnership with the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation and Rose Community Foundation, Chambers Family Fund made a matching grant to leverage funding from the Birth to Five Policy Alliance and to create a new policy position at Clayton Early Learning.
Chambers Family Fund partnered with Rose Community Foundation to support the Denver Women’s Collaborative. The collaborative is comprised of nine organizations serving marginalized women, girls and their families. Its purpose is to craft a collective voice in response to opportunities in policy reform, advocacy and two-generation strategies. The foundations funded the strategic planning process and provided general support to the organizations to participate in the collaborative. The Denver Women’s Collaborative plans to create a greater collective impact to assist women and their families attain social, emotional and economic well-being.
For the second year, Chambers Family Fund contributed to the work of Ascend, a program of The Aspen Institute. Ascend designed and facilitated the 2012 ThinkXChange conference. The conference engaged experts and strategic partners and elevated conversations on two-generation strategies that simultaneously address early childhood education and development and economic outcomes for their parents.
The Colorado Initiative was launched in 2007 with the goal of reducing the rate of unintended pregnancy among low income and uninsured women and girls in the state. The initiative’s partnership with the Colorado Department of Health and with public schools to provide low-cost or free contraception has had a significant impact on reducing unintended pregnancy. Chambers Family Fund supports the advancement of this work in Colorado, linking the reduction in unintended pregnancy to women’s future economic security and positive outcomes for low income children. In 2012, Chambers Family Fund also provided office space for the initiative.
Since the Bell Policy Center was co-founded by Chambers Family Fund in 2000, the foundation has provided annual operating support for the Bell’s leading research and collaborative work. This financial support has benefited the Bell’s work in addressing Colorado’s fiscal challenges, a priority for the foundation in 2012. Funding of the Bell reflects our ongoing support of organizations that address systems change over many years, making progress on reform and meeting new challenges. We believe that the Bell’s leadership is essential for the state to make fiscal reform a priority for the future of its citizens.
Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art receives annual funding from Chambers Family Fund, enabling it to maintain a nationally significant decorative arts collection and to provide a permanent venue for the display of Colorado art. Kirkland Museum hosted more than 13,000 visitors in 2012. The museum opened the exhibit Colorado Art Survey VII, featuring work by Colorado artists from the collection ranging from the 1880s to 2012. The museum showcased Colorado sculptor and painter William Joseph in a solo exhibition.
A portion of Chambers Family Fund’s grant and other restricted contributions allowed the museum to enhance the collection with 885 new objects, including 205 works by Colorado artists. Objects from the museum’s collection were loaned to shows at five institutions, including Denver Art Museum, Denver Public Library, Arvada Center and a first-time loan to Milwaukee Art Museum.
In recognition of the important role they play in our state, the foundation makes grants to select organizations that fall outside of our program areas. In 2012 Chambers Family Fund was pleased to provide essential operating support for several arts organizations, including the Colorado Symphony, Opera Colorado, Colorado Ballet and the Clyfford Still Museum.
The Chambers Family Fund board of directors is grateful to the many outstanding organizations in Colorado and around the country that work each day to provide opportunities for success and improved quality of life for those who need it most.
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