Earlier in 2015, Rose Community Foundation announced its first Innovate for Good challenge, a competition to fund projects with grants aimed at making Denver better. On June 18 at the organization's 20th anniversary celebration, the foundation announced nine winners in the competition.
Applicants responded to the question: "What new and innovative idea would you bring to life to make the Greater Denver community a better place to live?" The response was strong with the competition receiving nearly 400 proposals. A team of 130 community members evaluated applications based on their innovation, creativity, feasibility and the entrants' ability to make a measurable difference within a year.
Sheila Bugdanowitz, president and CEO of Rose Community Foundation, introduced the winners. "We are delighted to announce the winners of our Innovate for Good project tonight at our 20th Anniversary celebration. Every person in the room will have a chance to learn about this innovative work."
The foundation gave out $250,000 in all, including an additional $20,000 to Workshop on Wheels, which won a live audience choice award at the gala. Workshop on Wheels was submitted by Be the Gift. The Workshop on Wheels won a grant to create a mobile workshop outfitted with tools and materials that will use volunteers to complete home repair projects for single-mom families.
The other awards were granted to:
- Bright by Text, a text-messaging system that sends parents evidence-based tips to support young childhood development submitted by Bright by Three.
- The Clean River Design Challenge from The Greenway Foundation, which challenges Metro State University of Denver design students to remove trash from the South Platte River.
- The Arts Street Creative Youth Take Flight – La Alma Connection project to produce a master art plan that will help educate youth about urban design, creative placemaking and economic development to encourage pedestrian use of the light rail and 10th Avenue in the La Alma neighborhood.
- The Fresh Food Connect app submitted by Groundwork Denver to allow home gardeners to donate extra produce for distribution at food banks and through affordable sale. The app will connect gardeners with youth who will be employed to pick up and deliver donated produce.
- The Race, Policing and Community Justice Advocates program submitted by the Shorter Community AME Church to partner with other community stakeholders. The program will help high school students become peer presenters focusing on racial equality, community awareness based policing and justice advocacy.
- Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, a project from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts to provide performances to high school students in school parking lots. The performances will be followed by actor-led workshops.
- The Stompin' Ground Games from the Warm Cookies of the Revolution organization which fosters a year-long Olympics-style competition between Denver neighborhoods focusing on arts, culture and history.
- Veterans in Food Deserts, a project by the Denver Botanic Gardens to help military veterans grow and sell fresh produce at farm stands in neighborhoods with limited access to healthy foods, and share knowledge about gardening and healthy nutrition.
Since Rose Community Foundation's inception in 1995, it has donated more than $277 million aimed at improving Denver.
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