Frequently Asked Questions

THE VENTUROUS SPIRIT OF A

Wildcatter for Opportunity

Like our founder Sam Gary, we dare to be bold, working with the urgency our kids and families deserve. We welcome your questions on how we’re fulfilling Sam’s vision.

Who We Are

Who is Gary Community Ventures?

Gary Community Ventures, formerly known as Gary Community Investments and The Piton Foundation, is a Denver-based philanthropy founded by Sam and Nancy Gary to increase opportunity for Colorado kids and families by partnering with our community to deliver breakthrough solutions that leverage business, policy and philanthropy.

Why did the organization change its name?

We’re inspired by the daring spirit of our late founder, Sam Gary, who ventured into the unknown to create opportunity for those who need it most more than 40 years ago. He did more than use his good fortune to invest into the community. With great humility, he worked closely with the community and his partners, in business, policy and philanthropy, to increase opportunities for kids and families. Today, alongside his wife, Nancy, we’re finishing what Sam started, and our new name, and logo remind us that we’re one Gary team, venturing together with our community and partners to reshape the arc of opportunity for Colorado kids and families.

What happened to The Piton Foundation?

Over the last 40 years, many have gotten to know us as either a philanthropic grant-making organization (Piton Foundation) or a for-profit investment company (Gary Community Investment Company). With the name change to Gary Community Ventures, we want our community to know we are one team working to realize the vision of our late founder, Sam Gary and his wife Nancy. From a legal perspective, we manage the nonprofit entity, Gary Philanthropy, and the for-profit entity, Gary Ventures. For all external purposes, we are known as Gary Community Ventures, but you can call us Gary for short.

Is Gary considered a foundation?

In order to leverage business, policy and philanthropy to increase opportunity, we are organized as both a private foundation (Gary Philanthropy) and a corporation (Gary Ventures) that is designated as one of Colorado’s Certified B Corporations. When needed, we describe ourselves as a Denver-based philanthropy.

What makes Gary a Certified B Corp?

Our certification validates our commitment to harnessing the power of private enterprise for public benefit. Together with other certified B Corps, we hope to help change the way business is being done in Colorado so that it is better for our economy, our state, our communities, our workers and the environment. Learn more about becoming a certified B Corp.

Where are Gary’s financial records located?

Anyone can access Gary’s financial records online. Should you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a member of our finance team at info@garycommunity.org

What We Do

What is Gary’s mission and vision?

Our mission is to partner with our community to leverage business, policy and philanthropy, working together, to reshape the arc of opportunity for Colorado kids and families. Our vision is that all children in Colorado have the opportunity to grow up healthy and reach their full potential.

What are Gary’s values?

We LISTEN with humility to our community, partners and one another, learning together to drive action.
We DARE to be bold, driven by the urgency our kids and families deserve.
We DELIVER breakthrough solutions and never do it alone.

What does Gary do to increase opportunity for kids and families?

We leverage business, policy and philanthropy to break down the biggest barriers to opportunity and co-create breakthrough solutions for those who need it most. As we listen with humility to our community, partners, and each other,  we learn together to drive action that guarantees School Readiness, drives Youth Success, and stimulates Family Economic Mobility. Whether we’re growing solutions that already exist, building solutions that don’t yet exist or changing the policy landscape to expand opportunity to those who need it most, we dare to be bold, working urgently with our community and partners to deliver a future where all Colorado kids can grow up healthy and reach their full potential.

What are Gary’s outcome areas?

We ensure School Readiness because all kids deserve a foundation for a healthy life, we aim to reduce preterm births, ensure healthy development for infants and toddlers, and guarantee children enter kindergarten ready to learn.

We guarantee Youth Success because all kids need the skills to chart their own future, we aim to build skills in reading and math, prioritize student mental wellness, and increase access to credentials that unlock the path to choice-filled lives.

We increase Family Economic Mobility because all families deserve the resources to raise thriving children, we ensure more families have access to livable income, housing and childcare they can afford, and pathways to generational wealth-building and mobility.

How We Increase Opportunity

How does Gary break down barriers to opportunity?

As we venture to solve some of the toughest problems facing Colorado kids and families, we start by listening to our community, partners and each other, to develop a shared understanding of the problems as they are lived. From there we welcome everyone to join us in a search for the most bold and creative solutions that will transform our community now and in the future.

How does Gary search for solutions to problems that exist?

We work closely with our community to gather as much insight about the barriers to opportunity that exist. Our Search for Solutions process is an open call for everyone’s ideas, whether you’re a full-scale organization or a parent with a breakthrough idea, your perspective and experience matter. You can learn about our current and upcoming Search for Solutions here.

How does Gary deliver breakthrough solutions?

Where transformational solutions already exist, we help GROW them with our resources and partnership. Where solutions don’t yet exist, we BUILD them alongside the kids and families who need them the most. And, where solutions are hindered by the rules of the game, we work to CHANGE the policy landscape. Learn more about our approach here.

How does Gary use its capital to increase opportunity?

Because part of Sam Gary’s vision was to ensure that all our assets be managed in pursuit of our mission and values, we leverage the power of our entire balance sheet to catalyze market-driven solutions that create long-term impact. To achieve this, we deploy our capital through Mission Investments and Sustainable & Impact Investments. Learn more about how we use our capital here.

Why We Do What We Do

Why does Gary work with such urgency?

We’re on a quest to break down the biggest barriers that inhibit opportunity and scale and deliver breakthrough solutions for kids and families by 2035, when we will have invested all our assets into the community to achieve long-term sustainable impact.

Why does Gary partner with the community to increase opportunity for kids and families?

Like our founder Sam Gary, we’re not afraid to venture into the unknown to set and deliver ambitious goals, but we never do it alone. Grow, build or change the arc of opportunity: whatever the approach, we’re co-creating every step of the way, leveraging our community’s insight, our co-founders’ experience, and our own versatile toolbox of human and financial capital.

Why doesn’t Gary accept traditional grant proposals?

We believe that the best way to solve the challenges facing kids and families is to partner with our community to understand the barriers to opportunity that exist and then work together, pooling a broad range of human, political and financial capital to grow existing solutions that are making an impact, build new solutions ,or change the policy to create transformational results. All our ventures are joint ventures, so if you’ve got an idea about how to solve the challenges facing Colorado, share your ideas here.

Discover New Possibilities

Together, we will create the change our community wants to see. Whether you want to discover more about our ventures, or connect with a member of our team, we want to hear from you.