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


2015 Annual Report

  2015 Annual Report
Chambers Family Fund 2014 Annual Report

Our 2015 Annual Report includes information on:



Financial Overview

2015 Annual Report Grantees

2015 Annual Report Grantees


9to5 Colorado, National Association of Working Women
Advancement of public policies that strengthen working women's ability to achieve economic justice and equal opportunities
(General Support)


Ascend at the Aspen Institute
Two-generation strategy for moving families beyond poverty
(Project 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 and Project Support)


Global Fund for Women
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
Improve women's economic self-sufficieny and positively impact girls' futures in Colorado (General 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


Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma


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


Women’s Foundation of Montana


Wyoming Women's Foundation $25,000


Colorado Children's Campaign
Improvement of outcomes for Colorado's children and families in the areas of education, child health and youth initiatives
(General Support)


Early Milestones Colorado
Bridge high-impact ideas with key stakeholders to accelerate innovation and promote systemic change in early childhood
(General Support)

Statewide parent and caregiver awareness and engagement communication collaborative (Project Support)





Tools of the Mind/Third Sector New England
Increase children's future academic success by developing and expanding this new pre-school curriculum (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 (General Support)

Colorado's participation in a national project of Public Works to improve understanding of and support for the role of the public sector (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 Smithsonian Institution
New museum to highlight the richness and diversity of the African American experience and foster a spirit of reconciliation and healing (Capital Support)


State of Colorado, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)
Collaborative funding to sustain the Colorado Family Planning Program (Project Support)



Arts and Culture

Aspen Music Festival and School
Chambers-Grant Fellowships Fund for Minority Students
(Scholarship 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
Construction of the Clyfford Still Museum to advance the understanding and appreciation of Clyfford Still's art and legacy (Multi-Year Capital Support)


Colorado Ballet
New Home Capital Campaign to renovate a bulding for administrative offices and dance studios (Multi-Year Capital Support)

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)


Denver Art Museum
Groundbreaking exhibition of Women of Abstract Expressionism, celebrating often unknown women artists of this art movement (Project 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)


The Symphony Fund
A new endowment to support the Colorado Symphony
(Multi-Year Capital Support)



North Shore Country Day School
Scholarship fund for African American or Latina girls in the Upper School (Scholarship Support)



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

Antiphonal pipe organ capital campaign (Project Support)




Grants Under $10,000 $41,803



Matching Gifts








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2015 Annual Report Highlights

Annual Report Highlights

Early Care and Education

Chambers Family Fund provided start-up support of strategic and business planning for Early Milestones Colorado, a nonprofit organization that advances success for young children across Colorado. Milestones works with public and private partners across Colorado and nationally to improve outcomes for children, prenatal to age eight, and their families. The organization fills a unique niche within the Colorado early childhood landscape by intentionally focusing statewide on accelerating efforts in all areas of early childhood development that are essential for young children to thrive. The demand for Milestones’ services is already evident from the number and type of projects it has been asked to manage. Ongoing and continuous evaluation of both the organization and the projects it takes on will measure impact and financial return on investment and ensure that lessons learned from each endeavor are rapidly diffused throughout the early childhood system.

Chambers Family Fund partnered with Bezos Family Foundation to plan the dissemination of Vroom brain building messaging for parents and caregivers in Colorado. In May, we hosted a demonstration of the Vroom tools for early childhood stakeholders. Chambers Family Fund also formed a funding collaborative to advise and create a dissemination plan for Vroom in Colorado.

The Early Childhood Colorado Framework was originally developed in 2008 as a resource and guide for a comprehensive early childhood system. In 2015, the Early Childhood Leadership Commission (ECLC) coordinated an inclusive and collaborative process to ensure the critical work of updating the Framework would be accomplished. Chambers Family Fund secured collaborative funding and foundation staff co-chaired the steering committee that updated the Framework. Public and private partners contributed resources to support the effort. More than 600 key stakeholders, including early childhood experts and providers, policymakers, foundations, early childhood coalitions and state agencies and departments participated in the process to ensure the Framework reflected future strategies and outcomes in early childhood in Colorado.

The updated Framework is a shared vision for early childhood in Colorado across early learning and development, health and well-being and family support and education. The plan incorporates the latest research in early childhood, including the importance of early learning and development prior to age three, the transition from preschool to kindergarten and the integration of social emotional development and health. The work was completed in six months and the Framework was released at a press conference with Governor Hickenlooper in September.

Women’s Economic Self-Sufficiency

Ascend at the Aspen Institute invited 50 local, state and national cross-sector leaders from the fields of human services, early care and education, health and well-being, workforce development and postsecondary education to meet with government and policy institutions at a 2Gen Policymakers Institute in October. Representatives from seven states participated and Colorado had the largest and most diverse representation. From this meeting, the Colorado participants developed a road map for two-generation policy in Colorado and recommendations for practice and policy in 2016.

Chambers Family Fund supported Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP) to update the Colorado Self-Sufficiency Standard report. The report was released in June and the updated Basic Needs Budget Calculator was released in October. The self-sufficiency report analyzes how much income Colorado families in each of the state's 64 counties must earn to meet basic needs without public assistance, and the report offers one of the most comprehensive measures of economic security available. It is often referenced by managers of workforce training programs, direct service providers, policymakers, legislators and the media as a barometer for wage adequacy and policy effectiveness. The Basic Needs Budget Calculator enables policymakers, researchers and advocates to calculate the resources that a family of a given size and composition in different Colorado counties requires to meet basic needs. It also calculates the value of work supports (such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and SNAP) available to families as their earnings rise or fall.

Justice, Equality and Opportunity

For seven years, Chambers Family Fund followed the progress of the Colorado Initiative to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy, funded by the Susan T. Buffett Foundation. This initiative expanded the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Family Planning Program and had significant and quantifiable health, economic and societal impacts. It was a major public health success for the state and a model nationwide. Since the initiative began, the program provided more than 36,000 low- or no-cost birth control devices or implants to low-income women in Colorado, resulting in a 48 percent decrease in teen births. During the 2015 legislative session, long-term funding for the expanded Colorado Family Planning Program failed to pass the legislature.

Chambers Family Fund collaborated with foundations to provide more than $2 million to continue the expansion of the Family Planning Program. CDPHE relied on this short-term financial support to ensure that women had access to these services with minimal barriers. The bridge funding from the foundations allowed time for the state legislature to reconsider a long-term funding solution for family planning services in 2016.

Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Arts

Chambers Family Fund is providing funding for the construction of a new building that will house Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art near the Denver Art Museum and the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver's Golden Triangle Museum District. The new museum will offer visitors an enhanced experience while staying true to the salon style and intimate atmosphere for which the Kirkland is known. Groundbreaking was held at the new museum location at 12th Avenue and Bannock Street in September, and the new museum will be completed in fall 2017.

Honored Commitments

With the incentive of a new challenge and match from a private foundation, the Colorado Symphony created The Symphony Fund, a new endowment that will support the symphony. Chambers Family Fund made a $1,000,000 grant commitment to The Symphony Fund, anticipating that this early commitment will encourage others to contribute.

Chambers Family Fund made a $1,000,000 multi-year grant commitment to the Denver Art Museum for its capital campaign to renovate the North Building, also known as the Ponti-Sudler Building. This project will complete the Denver Art Museum campus, strengthen programs for all age groups and further engage the community.

In recognition of the important role they play in our state, the foundation made grants to other arts and culture organizations, providing essential support for Opera Colorado, Colorado Ballet and Aspen Music Festival and School.

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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2015 Annual Report Financial Overview

Assets and Net Assets – Income Tax Basis
As of November 30, 2015

Cash and Cash Equivalents   $ 1,797,719
Investments at Cost     38,744,411
Land and Construction in Progress - Kirkland Museum 11,108,774
  $ 51,656,204
  $ 51,654,576
  $ 67,586,868

Revenues, Expenses and Other Changes
in Net Assets – Income Tax Basis
For the Year Ended November 30, 2015

  $ 2,051,723
Grants Paid 1,985,944    
Direct Charitable Programs 204,957    
Grant Administration 83,302    
General and Administrative 151,196    
Investment Expenses  75,070    
Excise Taxes     33,606    
TOTAL EXPENSES   $ 2,534,075

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      Seeking upstream solutions