In Good Health

The Colorado Health Foundation’s blog is designed to share perspectives, personal stories and what we are learning in our efforts to ensure that, across Colorado, each of us can say: “We have all we need to live healthy lives.”

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I remember what it was like working on the nonprofit side of the funding equation. I remember thinking of foundations as a “big black box” where your grant application goes in and (if you’re lucky) a decision comes out months later, often without any context. I remember the guessing game, and thinking program staff were powerful, even scary. Every site visit elicited anxiety from myself and my coworkers. The whole experience was stressful, and the unbalanced power dynamic was uncomfortably obvious.

When I transitioned to the funder side of the equation, I made a promise to myself to remember what that was like, and to treat people differently both inside and outside of the Foundation. In my role as a

I woke up in Durango on my first day back in the office this year to hear from Coloradans who are experiencing homelessness, food insecurity and addiction – an opportunity I take often in my role to connect directly with Coloradans and their families. This never fails to ground me.

I visited a local homeless camp and a soup kitchen, met with youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer, and spent time with staff from area nonprofits. At one of these visits, I ran into a woman I met last year. I’ll call her Amanda to protect her privacy. 

Amanda Reminded Me Why We Must Listen

As Amanda caught me up on her life, I noticed her young

Policies enacted at the local, state and national levels have substantial impact on the health of individuals, their families and communities. As we look back on 2019, it’s clear that decisions at every level of government are important forces underlying each of the Foundation’s four focus areas – and advocacy engagement is more critical than ever. 

In coordination with partners around the state, we have spoken out against a wave of proposed federal regulations that would make it more difficult for Coloradans living on low income to access vital health, housing and nutrition services. Individually, each would have a negative impact on people living on low income and those who have historically had less power and privilege. Cumulatively, the impact

A while back, a staff member at the Foundation asked me about the possibility of participating in a sabbatical program. I was immediately intrigued. The very idea of someone having the opportunity to step away from daily professional responsibilities in exchange for rejuvenation felt spot on… for the nonprofit sector (not necessarily for someone employed by our Foundation).

Nonprofit leaders work tirelessly in support of their organization’s mission. Long days in the office or out in community and nights spent “burning the midnight oil” signal their undeniable commitment to their organization, its staff and the people they serve. Yet far too many nonprofit leaders go without the time they need – and deserve – to reflect, rest, rejuvenate and return