GCI Announces Elevation Community Land Trust


Gary Community Investments has partnered with The Colorado Health Foundation, Bohemian Foundation, Gates Family Foundation, The Denver Foundation, Mile High United Way and Northern Trust to catalyze $24 million in private investment to launch Elevation Community Land Trust, a new community land trust (CLT) that will foster stewardship of permanently affordable housing in neighborhoods across metro Denver and ultimately statewide.

Recognizing the need for a strategic, cross-sector intervention around the growing issues of housing affordability in metro Denver and beyond, Gary Community Investments has led an effort to mobilize local funders in raising the capital needed to create a sustainable platform that provides a permanent solution for families and other underserved populations in need of affordable, safe and decent housing choices. 

Rather than being concentrated in a single neighborhood, Elevation CLT will use a “scattered site model” that has the flexibility to scale to any community at risk of gentrification and displacement. To further support low-income families in the communities it serves, Elevation CLT eventually aims to align itself with comprehensive supportive services programs that provide residents with increased access to health care and healthy food, early childhood education, workforce training and placement, and wealth-building opportunities. It will complement other affordable housing efforts being undertaken by public and private organizations at the local and state levels.

Within the next five years, Elevation CLT’s stewardship will support the creation of more than 700 CLT homes via the acquisition of single-family homes in neighborhoods across metro Denver and land for the development of new construction townhomes and condos. At this scale, Elevation CLT will be financially sustainable within its first five years, and it has the power to become a new platform that can be leveraged to support communities across Colorado. 

Learn more about Elevation Community Land Trust in recent coverage by The Denver Post and Denverite

$1M Early Childhood Innovation Prize: Now Accepting Ideas!


The first few years of a child’s life lay the foundation for future success. But too many young children are not reaching their full potential because existing approaches to early learning and development are not sufficiently addressing today’s challenges. That’s why we are partnering with OpenIDEO on the $1 Million Early Childhood Innovation Prize, which is seeking innovative solutions to the urgent question, “How might we maximize every child’s potential during their first three years of life?”

Now through February 2018, we are calling on innovators and organizations of all kinds to collaborate with a global community to build early childhood solutions that are novel, more effective, efficient or scalable than current ones. We are looking to harness the brainpower of thinkers from diverse background who are willing to offer innovative ideas, lend mentorship and expertise, and invest capital to solve this problem together.

Winning innovators will be eligible for a share of up to $1 million in funding and recognition as one of the most promising early childhood innovation ideas in the country, along with access to mentorship and engagement with an ecosystem of innovators, experts and investors.

Visit the prize website to engage in this new initiative, and learn more about how the Early Childhood Innovation Prize fits within GCI’s strategy for catalyzing innovation in early childhood.

Our Committment to Catalyzing Innovation in Early Childhood


Because we believe now is the time to catalyze innovation within the early childhood sector, Gary Community Investments is making a multi-year, multi-million dollar human and financial capital commitment to surfacing, piloting, supporting, and scaling new solutions to improving early learning and development.

While there has been significant progress made in understanding how to improve early childhood development and learning, one-third of U.S. children do not enter kindergarten ready to learn, with 80 percent of those children coming from low-income families. More momentum and different types of capital are needed to ensure the school readiness and long-term success of all children. Harnessing the power of science, technology and business practices, combined with access to capital, can help pave the way for early childhood solutions that are novel, or more effective, efficient or sustainable than current ones.

Our Approach to Catalyzing Early Childhood Innovation

As an organization that blends philanthropic and social impact investing, GCI is able to assume more risk, embrace experimentation and pursue new approaches to creating transformative change. Through our school readiness innovation strategies, we are placing a more deliberate focus on innovation in our portfolio by sourcing more varied solutions, deploying capital differently and better coordinating our investments around problems that need solving. As we work to catalyze new ideas, initiatives and investments that improve the school readiness of Colorado’s children, we will focus on the following strategies:

  • Early Childhood Prize: Now through February 2018, the $1M Early Childhood Innovation Prize is seeking ideas that answer the question, "How might we maximize every child's potential during their first three years of life?" A partnership between GCI and OpenIDEO, the Early Childhood Innovation Prize is calling on innovators of all kinds to collaborate with a global community to build early childhood solutions that are novel, more effective, efficient or scalable than current ones. Participants will have access to mentorship opportunities and could be eligible for a share of up to $1 million in funding. Learn more about how we are using open innovation to source solutions to early childhood challenges.

  • Bridging Unusual Suspects: To introduce new actors and ideas from the private sector, finance and technology to the early childhood field, we curated the first-ever track of early childhood-focused sessions at SOCAP, the largest annual social entrepreneurship and impact investing conference in the world that attracts entrepreneurs, academics, investors and foundations focused on using private capital to create impact. Learn more about highlights and takeaways from the early childhood conversation that happened at SOCAP17.

  • Early Childhood Fund: We are committed to creating an early childhood investment fund strategy to spur investment opportunities and catalyze private sector activity that leads to more companies creating transformational outcomes for young, low-income children. 

By approximately 2035, we intend to invest all of our assets into community and business vehicles that address the challenges facing low-income families. To help reach this goal, we are focused on developing our own innovation mindset, and we are committed to using a mix of innovation tools to catalyze entrepreneurial activity among nonprofits, for-profits, governments and academics. As part of our 20-year strategy, we seek to unearth new, sometimes risky and disruptive, ideas that have the potential to transform programs, organizations and sectors to meet the needs of low-income children and their families in game-changing ways.

While seeding innovation is an important tool in our school readiness investment strategy, we will also continue to invest in effective programs that have the potential to create transformative change while supporting policy efforts that are aligned with our mission.

We will be regularly sharing more insight into our school readiness innovation strategy on our Shared Knowledge blog, and we encourage you to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date with the latest on this work.

Highlights from SOCAP17’s Early Childhood Spotlight


As part of our commitment to catalyzing early childhood innovation, Gary Community Investments partnered with Social Capital Markets to curate the first-ever track of early childhood-focused sessions at the SOCAP17 conference, held October 10-13 in San Francisco.

The two days of SOCAP17 Spotlight sessions on early childhood brought the energy of the world’s largest impact investing conference to the early learning and development conversation and reinforced the social and financial value of investing in the future by focusing on children during their first five years. Plenary and breakout sessions featuring experts and thought leaders from across the country introduced the latest in early childhood research, entrepreneurship and investment opportunities to an audience that was eager to learn more about the value of investing in our youngest children.

Learn more about the highlights, takeaways and lessons learned from SOCAP17’s early childhood conversation:

  • Read our Shared Knowledge reflections from day one and day two of the conference, which covered everything from the role technology could play in supporting parents and child assessment to the mechanics of Pay for Success models.

  • We announced our $1 Million Early Childhood Innovation Prize, a partnership with OpenIDEO that is seeking innovative solutions for maximizing every child’s potential during their first three years of life.

  • Follow the conversation that happened on social media by exploring the #SOCAP4Kids and #SOCAP17 hashtags. The #SOCAP4Kids hashtag generated more than 1 million impressions during the conference. Users shared their key takeaways from the sessions, speaker quotes and questions on the future of the sector.

Stay updated on our efforts to catalyze innovation in early childhood by signing up for the GCI newsletter, or following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Renew ITIN Now to Avoid Tax Refund Delays


An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a number issued by the IRS to help individuals who cannot obtain a social security number to file their taxes. In the past, a taxpayer applied for and received an ITIN only once. Recent changes to the ITIN program include a requirement that taxpayers renew their ITINs. These changes will require every ITIN holder to eventually renew based on when their ITIN was issued.

Certain ITINs have already expired as of January 1, 2017 and more will be expiring at the end of the year. Taxpayers with expired ITINs may be ineligible for certain tax credits or face delayed tax refunds. To avoid refund delays, taxpayers with expiring ITINs are encouraged to renew as soon as possible.

  • Learn who is affected this year and how they can renew by downloading this informational flier in English and Spanish.

  • Utilize our outreach toolkit in English and Spanish, which includes e-mail and newsletter copy, talking points and social media posts.  

  • Learn more about the ITIN renewal process from the IRS website.

GCI Invests $1 Million to Establish Denver’s First Collective Impact Workforce Platform


Gary Community Investments recently joined the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Community College of Denver and Mayor Michael B. Hancock to announce a collaborative workforce partnership that will provide job training and support services to local families, who will take part in a first-in-Colorado local hire program requiring that 20 percent of the Central 70 redevelopment workforce be hired from 15 neighborhoods adjacent to I-70 in Denver and Aurora.

Over the next two years, GCI will invest more than $1 million to help establish Denver’s first collective impact workforce platform--a two-generational approach to ensuring that low-income, working families living in communities along the I-70 corridor benefit from the economic development happening around them. Through this investment, we are helping to ensure that families living in communities that are vulnerable to gentrification and displacement have the resources they need to stay in their homes, support their children and share in the benefits of Denver's overall economic expansion.   

“This is a phenomenal collaboration between CDOT, the city and so many great Denver partners that begins to fulfill the promise to our residents to open up access to the opportunities that are created by the reconstruction and development planned in this area,” said Michael B. Hancock. “This center is a beacon of empowerment for our people and critical support for our neighborhoods.”

The neighborhood career training and resource center will offer courses with a flexible training schedule in a facility with work bays, hands-on training rooms and a yard designated for heavy equipment. The center will also host networking opportunities, including job fairs for construction careers, access to CDOT maintenance job listings and outreach for Central 70 job openings. Our funding will support additional training classes along with support programs, like child care, that are critical to securing and retaining jobs in the construction industry.

"GCI takes a two-generation approach to investing that includes helping low-income families increase their financial security," says Dave Younggren, President & CEO of GCI. "We are proud to partner with CCD, CDOT and others who are working hard to ensure that residents living along the I-70 corridor benefit from the economic development happening around them. By providing access to job training and support services, this program will help local families increase their earning potential, which will positively impact their children's education, health and future economic outcomes."

To learn more about this new initiative, read our investment profile and recent media coverage of neighborhood resource and training center opening in The Denver Post, Denver Business Journal and Westword.

Cornerstone Capital's Colorado Impact Report Features GCI


Gary Community Investments is proud to be featured in Cornerstone Capital Group's recently released Colorado Impact Report, which highlights companies and organizations that are actively working to deploy place-based impact capital that will provide more opportunities for low-income communities, small businesses and women-owned businesses. The report provides insight into Colorado's ecosystem of investors, foundations, nonprofits, for-profits and field-building leaders who understand the interplay between financial capital and social change and are committed to ensuring that the positive growth our state is experiencing is felt by all.

Download the full Coloardo Impact Report, including the article authored by our President and CEO, Dave Younggren. 

 

Shift Research Lab’s Year in Review


New on the Shared Knowledge Blog


Chris Watney Joins Boards of Gary Community Investment Company & The Piton Foundation


Last week, Gary Community Investment Company and The Piton Foundation appointed Chris Watney to its boards of directors.

Chris supports individuals, families and organizations through her therapy and executive coaching practice, People and Possibilities LLC, which she created in 2016. Prior to that, Chris served as the President and CEO of the Colorado Children’s Campaign from 2009 to 2016, where she worked to increase access to health care for uninsured children, expand quality early childhood education for our youngest children and advocate for education reform and financing. Before joining the Children’s Campaign, Chris served as a spokesperson for U.S. Attorneys General Janet Reno and John Ashcroft at the U.S. Department of Justice, including serving as spokesperson for the Justice Department at the Oklahoma City bombing trials.

“We are pleased to welcome Chris to our boards of directors,” says Dave Younggren, president and CEO of Gary Community Investments. “As a longtime, committed advocate for Colorado’s children, Chris brings valuable experience and a unique perspective that will strengthen our ability to improve the lives of Colorado’s low-income children and families.”

In addition to serving on the boards of Gary Community Investment Company and The Piton Foundation, Chris is the chair of the Healthier Colorado Board of Directors and she is a mayoral appointee to the Board of Directors of the Denver Preschool Program. She is a 2010 recipient of the Livingston Fellowship for excellence in nonprofit leadership, a 2012 recipient of The Colorado Legacy Foundation’s “Honest Broker Building Trusting Relationships” award; and was named in 2013 as one of the Top 25 Most Powerful Women by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce. Chris has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Northern Colorado.

“Chris has been a trusted partner of ours for many years,” says Sam Gary, chairman of the boards of Gary Community Investment Company and The Piton Foundation. “We are fortunate to have her working even more closely with us to ensure that Colorado is a place where all children have the opportunity to grow up healthy and become productive members of their communities.”

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