Perspectives

GARY COMMUNITY VENTURES

Perspectives

Featured Perspective

December 12, 2023

Sustaining and Growing Denver’s Diverse Talent: 7 Insights from the Piton Fellowship

By Liloni S.Ramos

I’ve long believed that leadership sits at the intersection of identity and purpose. When I stepped in to lead the Piton Fellowship at Gary Community Ventures over a year ago, I had the chance to build on this belief not only for myself, but for rising leaders across Denver. 

What does changing the face of leadership mean? At The Piton Fellowship, it’s a commitment to partnering with Denver’s next generation of civic leaders, particularly leaders of color who, despite having all the promise and potential, have been historically denied access to the careers and lives they want to build here in Colorado.

With an acknowledgment that we’re still actively leaning into our own DEI practice, a process that is never complete, we also wanted to share and amplify insights from the early career fellows that have supported our continued commitment to finding, connecting, and learning from and with diverse civic leaders. In the story are seven insights from our experience.


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youth athlete practices at sports program

My Spark Denver is billed as a first-of-its-kind program in the country, aiming to help low-income students.

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MyFriendBen works to increase access to basic necessities such as food and heat.

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In 2023, we consistently saw change happen at the intersection of business, impact investing, philanthropy, policy and new ventures, which is how Gary Community Ventures is designed to operate

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youth practice at school of breaking

Middle school students in Denver Public Schools who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch are eligible to apply for debit cards loaded with $1,000 for sports, art and music activities

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If we’re going to change Denver’s face of leadership, we must partner with those who’ve historically been denied access to leadership roles.

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Denver Mayor Mike Johnston and City Councilmembers Diana Romero Campbell and Chris Hinds pose with students at a kids town hall

El alcalde Mike Johnston, Gary Community Ventures y Mile High United Way anuncian $4 millones de inversión público-privada en programas extraescolares.

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Denver Mayor Mike Johnston and City Councilmembers Diana Romero Campbell and Chris Hinds pose with students at a kids town hall

Mayor Mike Johnston, Gary Community Ventures and Mile High United Way announce
$4 million public-private investment in afterschool programs.

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More than $1.1 million in grant funding was awarded to 20 organizations across our School Readiness, Youth Success and Family Economic Mobility impact areas.

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By leveraging the organization’s policy entity Gary Advocacy, Reilly will advance opportunities to invest in a thriving policy ecosystem and ongoing improvement of public systems that advance the promise and potential of kids and families from low-income backgrounds and BIPOC communities

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While Colorado had strong economic recovery coming out of the pandemic, a critical question remains: How can we help more families benefit from it?

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The Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth, honor sthe ingenuity, innovation, hope and determination embedded in the hearts of people who traversed uncharted territory for the opportunity to OWN a piece of the American dream.

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Our inescapable network of mutuality and the single garment of destiny mean that we are all connected, and it is incumbent upon all of us to root ourselves in the experiences of the Black community.

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Stories of Impact

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.

Learn more about the breakthrough solutions below that are reshaping the arc of opportunity for kids and families in Colorado.

Rear View Of Family Standing Outside New Home On Moving Day Looking At House

COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project

Outcome Area:
Family Economic Mobility
Approach: Grow

Preventing mass evictions and homelessness during and after the pandemic.

beautiful happy boy with painted hands

Colorado Emergency Childcare Collaborative

Outcome Area: School Readiness
Approach: Build

Providing free childcare to essential workers during the pandemic.

Yes on Amendment B Ballot Measure

Outcome Area:
Family Economic Mobility
Approach:
Change

Protecting teachers, first responders and small businesses during the pandemic.

The RISE Fund

Outcome Area: Youth Success
Approach: Grow

Helping academic institutions rebound from the COVID crisis and create equitable innovations to improve student learning.

COVIDCheck Colorado

Outcome Areas:
School Readiness & Youth Success
Approach: Build

Creating safe schools for students, teachers and staff during the pandemic.

YES on Proposition EE Ballot Measure

Outcome Area: School Readiness
Approach: Change

Building a coalition to expand free preschool to every 4-year-old.

Female Owner Of Start Up Coffee Shop Or Restaurant Turning Round Open Sign On Door

Apis & Heritage Capital Partners Fund

Outcome Area:
Family Economic Mobility
Approach: Grow

Helping workers of color own their own futures.

Urban Land Conservancy

Outcome Area:
Family Economic Mobility
Approach: Build

Leveraging valuable real estate to create equitable communities in Colorado.

Denver Preschool Program

Outcome Area: School Readiness
Approach
: Change

Pioneering childhood education in Colorado.

Learn Start II

Outcome Area: School Readiness
Approach: Grow

Creating the largest, most detailed pipeline of global education technology companies.

Tax Help & Get Ahead Colorado

Outcome Area: Family Economic Mobility
Approach: Build

Increasing access to free tax preparation services and tax credits for families.

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.