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Explore Our New Interactive Timeline


Gary Community Investments partnered with Open Media Foundation to create an interactive timeline for our website that details the history of our founder, Sam Gary's, business and philanthropic endeavors. This timeline attempts to show how Mr. Gary's longtime vision has driven us to become the unique organization we are today--one that combines business and philanthropy to improve the lives of children and families in Colorado.

CO Child Care Contribution Tax Credit


As part of our efforts to ensure that all children enter kindergarten “ready to learn,” Gary Community Investments is working to increase awareness among the early childhood, business and policy communities, along with the general public, about the Colorado Child Care Contribution Tax Credit (CCTC), which has the power to increase funding for child care providers, and, ultimately, improve access to quality care in our state.

The CCTC enables qualified child care providers to receive financial donations directly from individuals and businesses. Taxpayers are incentivized to use the credit because they can claim a Colorado income tax credit up to 50% of their total contribution.  

Gary Community Investments supports the CCTC because of the positive impact it can have on the lives of low-income children. Children who have access to quality early childhood education are more likely to do well in school, go to college, earn more money and own their own homes. In addition, research shows that a child’s development before age five is significant and crucial, yet public education dollars are still only allocated to kindergarten and beyond. Therefore, early education remains a shared responsibility of—and benefit to—everyone, and the CCTC enables an ideal collaboration between the public and private sectors.

A coalition of business, community and government leaders, which includes Gary Community Investments, is working to educate the community about the CCTC. The coalition worked with JVA Consulting to develop the below outreach toolkits to help various audiences that are interested in promoting, benefiting from or utilizing the CCTC.

Tools for Child Care Providers: This toolkit is for child care providers and is divided into two sections. The first section provides factual information on the CCTC and walks you through the process of becoming a qualified center and accepting donations. The section section provides you with tools to take advantage of the CCTC and inform others in your community about this opportunity.

Tools for Business Communities: This toolkit provides small and large business with CCTC tax information and explains the benefits for donating. It also includes donation forms and outreach emails for partners.

Tools for Early Childhood Advocates: This toolkit is for early childhood advocates who are interested in helping spread the word about the CCTC. The toolkit includes a FAQ sheet, sample outreach materials, as well as a draft letter you can customize.

Tools for Financial Advisors: This toolkit provides CPAs and financial advisors with information on the CCTC and FAQs that can be used when advising clients on their charitable investments.

Tools for Policy Makers: This toolkit provides policy makers information on the CCTC and includes an outreach letter.

Tools for Other Influentials: This toolkit is for individual donors and philanthropists. It includes a FAQ sheet and a letter to customize for outreach.

Colorado’s Youngest: A 0-5 Profile


Gary Community Investments is committed to helping ensure that low-income children are prepared to enter kindergarten “ready to learn,” meaning they have been exposed to experiences that develop their sensory, language and cognitive skills. Children who enter kindergarten ready to learn are more likely to read proficiently by the end of third grade, a leading indicator of future educational and economic success.

In an effort to provide more insight into Colorado’s early childhood landscape, The Piton Foundation’s Data Initiative just released "Colorado’s Youngest: A Profile of the 0-5 Population," the first in a series of briefs about our state’s youngest children. This demographic profile of children born from 2009 - 2013 who live in Colorado and metro Denver takes an in-depth look at vulnerable births and examines additional indicators that represent the development of young children.  Accompanying the brief is an interactive story map that allows users to view additional data and explore neighborhood level maps. 

Featured Investment: Accion


As part of our two-generational approach to improving the lives of Colorado’s low-income children and their families, Gary Community Investments is committed to helping prepare children for educational success from an early age while simultaneously equipping their parents with the tools they need to create healthy family environments and achieve long-term financial security. One of our strategies for creating community and economic development opportunities for families living in low-income families includes investing in local and national community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that provide credit and financial services to underserved populations.

We recently announce our first CDFI investment in Accion, a nonprofit dedicated to providing social and financial capital to entrepreneurs to support job creation, family economic security and child well-being. Through a combination of philanthropic and social impact investments, we are providing $2 million in funding to Accion over the next two years, helping the organization significantly grow its footprint in Colorado so it can increase its capacity to create opportunities for entrepreneurs, generate and sustain jobs, alleviate poverty, support early childhood growth and academics through family entrepreneurship, and grow small businesses.

Accion provides business loans from $200 to $500,000+, along with training, networking and other support services, to those who own or want to start a business and have difficulty accessing capital from banking institutions. Approximately 80 percent of Accion borrowers are low- to moderate-income income, minority or female individuals. Although Accion has been doing business in Colorado since 2008, our funding will allow the organization to significantly ramp up the number of low-income families it serves over the next two years. 

In addition, Gary Community Investments support is helping Accion move forward with its Sustainability and High Impact Initiative, which will allow the organization to have its costs almost completely covered by its lending program. By 2017, Accion anticipates that 90% of its operating costs will be covered by program income, allowing it to become a permanent, self-sustaining resource for Colorado entrepreneurs to access social and financial capital.

To learn more about Gary Community Investments' investment in Accion, read this article from the Denver Business Journal. 

Explore Updated Community Facts Tool


After nearly a year of planning and development, the Data Initiative is excited to announce that the updated Community Facts tool is now live! This updated version of Community Facts is the first web-based application that was created with the Data Initiative's newly expanded, 7-county regional view. By offering free, neighborhood-level data for the Denver metro region, Community Facts is able to provide data and analysis about the health and well-being of metro Denver's families and communities, helping to support community change initiative across the region. Explore the updated Community Facts tool.

Tax Help Colorado Provides Free Assistance to 10,800 Families


This past tax season, Tax Help Colorado, a partnership between The Piton Foundation and the Colorado Community College System, offered free tax help to Colorado families with incomes less than $52,000. Our 26 free tax preparation sites helped nearly 10,800 families claim more than $20.5 million in refunds, including more than $7.5 million from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The program helped save low-income Coloradans more than $2.8 million in commercial preparation fees.

We appreciate our many community partners, who helped us distribute more than 1.2 million educational materials through our Tax Credits for Working Families Public Information Campaign. Because of the help of these valued partners, we were able to link eligible families to the EITC and free tax assistance. 

To read about Tax Help Colorado in the news during the 2015 tax season, check out the media coverage below: 

  • Colorado Public Radio aired a story on the Earned Income Tax Credit that features interviews with clients at our Tax Help Colorado free tax sites.
  • Aurora's Channel 8 did a segment on free tax filing through Tax Help Colorado at the Community College of Aurora tax site. 
  • Colorado Community College System President Dr. Nancy McCallin discusses Tax Help Colorado on 850 KOA. 
  • FOX31 featured a segment on the students at Adams City High School.   

Learn more about how Tax Help Colorado positively impacts the lives of families by reading client stories from the 2015 tax season.

Children's Corridor Update


While the Children's Corridor's place-based approach has been sucessful in other cities, we have realized that geography should not be the primary driver of our work. The Children's Corridor laid out a commitment to focus on the needs of low-income children in specific areas of Denver, but subsequent work has taught us that the challenges Denver faces are not limited by geography. Gary Community Investments will continue our committment to children in Denver while extending our coverage to even more families in need. Learn more.

Transforming the Early Childhood Workforce Grantees Announced


Six partnerships were recently selected to participate in the Transforming the Early Childhood Workforce in Colorado Initiative, a public-private partnership led by Early Milestones Colorado that includes Gary Community Investments, Buell Foundation, the Colorado Department of Education, and the Colorado Department of Human Services.

Grants, ranging from $25,000 to $250,000, will help advance innovative solutions that focus on the recruitment, retention and compensation of early childhood teachers and caregivers. Projects were selected based upon their strong partnerships, flexible approaches to improvement, and willingness to tackle Colorado’s workforce challenges by testing innovative ideas that hold the promise for long-term, systemic and sustainable change.

The selection process was highly competitive: 43 proposals were submitted, reflecting 47 of Colorado’s 64 counties. Proposals included unique partnerships from a variety of lead agencies, including local governments, early childhood programs, institutions of higher education, school districts, nonprofits, and early childhood councils. This round of funding is the first in what is anticipated to be a multi-year initiative.

The following is a summary of the proposed work and the lead agency for each project:

  • Child Care 8000 (Compensation and Targeted Recruitment) – Focused on improving compensation through business efficiencies. Led by Mesa County Public Health.

  • Compensation Parity in Summit County (Compensation) – Development of a county-wide salary schedule and shared services approach to benefits management. Led by Early Childhood Options.

  • Denver's Early Childhood Workforce Initiative (Targeted Recruitment and Education and Career Pathways) – An apprenticeship project aimed at increasing diverse and bilingual educators. Led by Denver’s Early Childhood Council.

  • Expanding Professional Possibilities in Early Childhood (Targeted Recruitment, Education and Career Pathways, and Working Conditions) – ECE cohort program using a hybrid model of classes and placements in supportive work environments. Led by Early Childhood Council of Larimer County.

  • La Plata County & Southern Ute EC Workforce Initiative (Targeted Recruitment and Education and Career Pathways) – Expansion of education pathways through a concurrent enrollment program. Led by Early Childhood Council of La Plata County.

  • Pathways to Teaching (Targeted Recruitment and Education and Career Pathways) – Launch of a concurrent enrollment project coupled with internships and externships. Led by St. Vrain Valley School District.

Learn more about our investment in the third phase of this initiative.

 

The Data Initiative pioneers a data-driven culture that puts neighborhood-level information in the hands of people who can effect change for low-income communities. As a service to the metro Denver community, the Data Initiative provides nonprofits, governments and other agencies that are working to improve our region with limited technical assistance such as neighborhood mapping and analysis and the creation of visualizations. In addition, we are looking to expand our partnerships with like-minded organizations by participating in more in-depth research projects. 

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