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The Community ACTS Fund Announces its First Recipients

16 organizations were selected for funding, with a total investment of nearly $600,000


The Community ACTS (Arts, Culture, Transformation and Science) Fund has announced its first cycle of funding. 16 organizations were selected to receive almost $600,000.


The Community ACTS Fund is guided by a volunteer advisory committee consisting of engaged individuals representing various sectors and counties throughout the Scientific and Cultural Facilities Districts (SCFD). The Community ACTS Fund is administered by the Mile High United Way.


“The goals of this fund, to provide more opportunity for our community, are deeply engrained in our DNA,” said Christine Benero, President and CEO of Mile High United Way. “We are excited to support the fund as it expands arts and culture experiences to new communities and those traditionally overlooked.”


Scientific and Cultural Facilities Districts Tier III organizations that met the funding criteria set by the Community ACTS Fund advisory committee, were invited to submit a letter of intent (LOI). Forty organizations responded. Advisory committee members reviewed and scored each LOI, and 22 were invited to submit a full application. Ultimately, 16 organizations were selected to receive funding with a total investment of $597,755 going toward critical capacity building needs. The funds were disbursed in September 2019.


“Our mission was to build and strengthen those communities with historically limited resources. The organizations we funded have been significant contributors to our cultural landscape, and we look forward to seeing the growth and stability that this infusion of resources will make happen. The SCFD communities will be better for these efforts,” shared advisory committee co-chair, Tony Garcia.

The following organizations were selected to receive funding: Access Gallery, Art from Ashes, Black American West Museum and Heritage Center, Chicano Humanities and Arts Council, Colorado Celebration of African American Arts and Culture, Colorado Folk Arts Council, Downtown Aurora Visual Arts, Fiesta Colorado, Grand Design, Inc, Mexican Cultural Center, Museo de las Americas, Phamaly Theatre Company, Philippine American Society of Colorado, PlatteForum, RedLine and Rocky Mountain Arts Association.


In addition to financial support, organizations will be part of a peer cohort, which will meet quarterly and be eligible for technical assistance and capacity training.


Funds were distributed to organizations whose work is focused on historically underfunded organizations in the arts and sciences. The Community ACTS Fund goal is to address critical needs of organizations whose primary work and leadership is focused in historically marginalized and in under-resourced communities. Those eligible are defined as communities of color (based on race and ethnicity including Black/African American, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, Native American, and multi-ethnic); people who identify as living with physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities; older adults; low-income populations; veterans; and people who identify as LGBTIAQ+.


“It is exciting to complete this first phase of fund distribution that was envisioned by the Tier I’s as a way to address the inequities of many of the smaller, community-based SCFD-funded Arts, Cultural and Science organizations. In upcoming years, we intend to grant funding to a broad cohort of Tier III organizations representing all communities in the District.  This is one of our priorities,” said Benita Duran, advisory committee co-chair.


The Fund was created during the Scientific and Cultural Facilities Districts (SCFD) re-authorization process through an agreement with the five SCFD Tier 1 organizations: Denver Zoo, Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Each Tier I organizations supports the fund with a $150,000 investment per year.


About Mile High United Way


Working side-by-side with the community, Mile High United Way takes on critical human services issues facing our 7county footprint including the Metro Denver, Boulder and Broomfield communities. Our united approach changes the odds for all children, families, and individuals in our community, so that we all have the opportunity to succeed.

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