Annual Report 2021
FISCAL YEAR JULY 2020 - JUNE 2021
Artwork by Evann Waterman | on Instagram @evannsumner
ABOUT CHINOOK FUND
Chinook Fund seeds community-led, systemic change by mobilizing resources for and trusting in grassroots social justice organizations across Colorado.
Center for African American Health
As we do our work, we are guided by the following values:
Staff Wellness Retreat with Apprentice of Peace
34 YEARS OF SOCIAL IMPACT
funded since 1987
LETTER FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Summer picnic with current and former Chinook Board members. Pictured left to right: Katie Terrazas Hoover, Ken Stern, Crystal Middlestadt, Nancy Hernandez, Angela Daniels, Brenda Sears, Mac Liman (2014-2020), Courtney Banayad (2014-2020), and Donna Chrisjohn (2019-present).
Dear Chinook Fund Community,
I became Chinook Fund’s Executive Director in April 2018, poised to take the organization to the next level and move Chinook further toward our mission to seed community-led, systemic change by mobilizing resources for and trusting in grassroots social justice organizations across Colorado. At the time, we had a staff of two full-time employees, a Board of five, and were still in the early stages of our shift to the Giving Project model of donor organizing and community-led grantmaking.
I write this letter to the Chinook community in January 2022, feeling struck by the tremendous growth and change this organization has experienced and embraced during this time.
In just three years, we’ve doubled our staff to six, exponentially increased grantmaking distributing $526,000 to 80 organizations, and doubled our donor base to over 1,000 — the most grant dollars and donors in our 34-year history!
In 2021, we moved 108 grants to groups across Colorado. Honoring our racial justice commitment, 90 percent of grantee groups were led by Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. Answering calls to action from groups like the Decolonizing Wealth Project, we leveraged our endowment to invest in Oweesta, the Longmont-based and longest-standing Native Community Development Financial Institution serving Native CDFIs and Native communities across the country.
We also bid farewell to Jess Nelson and S. Juliette Lee, two incredible staff members who played key roles in implementing our Giving Project model, increasing our grantmaking, and incorporating joy & fun into our work. We welcomed an inspiring cohort of six new BIPOC Board members, including several grantee leaders and Giving Project alumni, bringing our Board to eleven members. We leaned on leaders within our community to carry us through the staffing changes and recruited incoming staff members from our Giving Project and grantee community.
While we navigate these changes and celebrate our growth, experiencing incredible milestones, we also collectively hold and care for each other through the grief of an ongoing global pandemic, rise in political and white supremacist violence, escalating climate catastrophes, and the growing racial wealth divide.
Protecting and nourishing seeds of hope during these times is perhaps one of the most powerful forms of resistance. On the days when hope feels out of reach, I return to the wise words of bell hooks:
“Hope is essential to any political struggle for radical change when the overall social climate promotes disillusionment and despair.”
I reflect on the powerful question from my dear friend, Michelle Castor: “Who benefits from our doubt, courage, worries, hope, or complacency about the future?*” These words help bring me back to the moment and to the beauty of what’s possible when we build and flex community power. These words remind me that living and taking action rooted in courage and hope are beautiful acts of resistance.
I see the beauty of what is possible when I look to our grantees across Colorado who are cultivating communities of care and building grassroots power:
- Pine River Shares, based in Southwestern Colorado, expanded their mutual aid program providing over $15,000 in economic relief and increasing food security by building a 2,000 square foot garden and dome to grow food year-round.
- Apprentice of Peace Youth Organization, based in Denver, held courageous conversations and took collective action to break mental health stigma and address a rise in violence impacting young people.
- El Alba Cooperative, an Aurora-based worker-owned cooperative, paused their plans to purchase a commissary kitchen opting instead to support catering entrepreneurs by acquiring a food truck. They continue to make moves to support community wealth building and economic stability for immigrant and refugee communities.
Showing up with love and courage, Giving Project donor organizers raised an astounding average of $4,300 per member in 2021! Collectively, they mobilized over 1,000 donors to fund $370,000 in Fall and Spring grant awards, including $100,000 in multiyear grant awards to be disbursed over the next year. We deepened our partnership with Transformative Leadership for Change through the Another World is Possible Fund, expanding the vision to fund resilience across the social justice ecosystem, distributing $256,000 in “Resilience” grants reaching 52 groups.
I believe now more than ever, we must nourish seeds of hope and fund movements like our lives depend on it, because they do. Let us imagine and build the more just and beautiful world we know is possible.
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FAREWELL TO JESS & JULIETTE
This past Spring, we bid farewell to Jess Nelson and Juliette Lee, our two longest-serving staff. Each has contributed immensely to our growth over the past 8 and 5 years, respectively. Jess initiated and led the project to move Chinook Fund to an integrated database for accounting, donation management, and an online grants portal. Juliette’s leadership has been instrumental in strengthening the Giving Project as she directed eight Giving Projects and one Alumni Grant Making Committee supporting 144 members to collectively raise $826,620 from 2,494 donors!
While it’s a bittersweet time for me and our team, I am truly honored to have worked alongside such dedicated, brilliant, and authentic leaders. Please join me in wishing Jess and Juliette a fond farewell.
(Nov 2016-May 2021)
(May 2013-May 2021)
V.J. Brown, Giving Project Caucus Facilitator
Zach Booz, Giving Project Caucus Facilitator
Ken Stern, Finance & Investment Committee
Lucy Loomis, Finance & Investment Committee
Mac Liman, Finance & Investment Committee
Nancy Hernandez, Finance & Investment Committee
Christopher Newton, Development Committee
Marissa Saints, Development Committee
Brian Jan, Spring 2020 Alum
Ky Hamilton, Spring 2020 Alum
Jess Whetsel, Fall 2019 Alum
Grantmaking Committee (pictured L to R)
Crystal Middlestadt, Chinook Fund Executive Director
Courtney Banayad, Chinook Fund board member (2014-2020)
Neha Mahajan, Transformative Leadership for Change Executive Director
Tania Valenzuela, Transformative Leadership for Change Program Director
Judith Marquez, Chinook Fund Grants Manager (Fall 2021-current)
From L to R: Mac Liman (former Board Member), Katie Terrazas Hoover (Board Secretary, Spring 2017 Giving Project alumna), Crystal Middlestadt (Executive Director), Courtney Banayad (former Board Co-Chair, Fall 2018 Grantmaking Committee alumna), Erik Ortiz (Board Co-Chair, Fall 2016 Giving Project alumnus), Jess Nelson (Operations and Grants Manager), Cassandra Cordova (Former Development and Communications Manager, Spring 2017 Giving Project alumna)
THE GIVING PROJECT
The Giving Project is an innovative program for leadership development and social justice philanthropy. Over 6
months, we work closely with a diverse group of 25 people from all income levels who are passionate about social justice and want to strengthen their skills in fundraising, grantmaking, and grassroots organizing. They develop a shared analysis of race, class, and power within society, make a personal donation of an amount that is meaningful to them, then collectively raise and grant money to grassroots organizations working for social change in Colorado.
The Spring 2020 Giving Project granted
to 15 organizations*
The Fall 2019 Giving Project collectively granted
to 18 organizations**
*Includes $30,000 in multiyear grants • **Includes $70,000 in multiyear grants
Giving Projects have been especially successful at reaching traditionally underrepresented communities, including young people and BIPOC leaders, in Colorado and throughout the US. We are proud to collaborate with 10 other community foundations across the country to develop this innovative model for social justice philanthropy and donor organizing.
WE BUILD MOVEMENTS
Since 2016, Chinook Fund’s Giving Project has:
new donors and supporters
for social change work in Colorado
FALL 2020 GIVING PROJECT
Hannah Julaine Scarince
Hannah Rose Baker
”Wow! The race-focused training through the Giving Project was phenomenal and greatly increased my understanding and appreciation of BIPOC-led organizations and the challenges they face in the traditional philanthropic environment.
SPRING 2021 GIVING PROJECT
”This was an invaluable experience. I thank the entire Chinook team for making
this incredible opportunity available to me and past
and future cohorts. It’s life-changing. Hard in every
way possible, but extremely gratifying to support grassroots organizing in our community.
Claudia Garcia Curzio
2021 DONORS BY REGION
ABOUT THE ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE FUND
In grants to 47 organizations; grant awards were $6,000 in 2020 and $4,000 in 2021
From national and local foundations, and over 200 individual donors since launching in May 2020
Of awardees were BIPOC-led organizations; 19% were based in rural communities
LETTER FROM JUDITH MÁRQUEZ
CHINOOK FUND GRANTS MANAGER
The Another World is Possible Fund is a vehicle to invest in the social justice organizations who are fighting for both a just response to COVID-19 in the short term AND a visionary future for our world in the long term. The fund was launched in May 2020 through an innovative partnership with Transformative Leadership for Change (TLC). TLC is a new initiative that supports the sustainability, healing, solidarity, and radical visions of BIPOC people leading social justice organizations.
In the second year of the fund, we focused on the resiliency of grassroots leaders, organizations, and communities. The fund continues to be a vehicle to provide rapid response dollars for crisis and emergent situations, but our team felt it was critical to expand the vision to include funding for ALL the ways communities build resilience across the social justice ecosystem through rest, joy, celebration, collaboration, solidarity, restorative & transformative justice, community care, storytelling/reclaiming narratives, healing, grieving, visioning – and more.
As an AWIPF grantmaking committee member, the vision of this fund has truly inspired me to dream about what is possible. From recognizing that the pandemic was an opportunity to support the deep radical work needed in our communities, to working in a committee with long-time organizers, movement leaders, and friends. Our AWIPF committee supported each other through the pandemic as organizations adapted to respond and as we personally navigated healing, grief, growth, and change in our own lives.
This fund also lifted Chinook Fund and TLC’s profile in Colorado’s philanthropic sector thanks to our long history of supporting BIPOC leadership and TLC’s centering and expansion of BIPOC leadership. This enabled us to advocate for increased funding for our shared networks.
In 2022, I can’t wait for all the possibilities that this fund will create in our communities, in Colorado, and our world. Because Another World is Possible!
Judith Márquez (she/her/ella)
Chinook Fund Grants Manager
Another World is Possible Fund Committee Member
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NATIONAL GIVING PROJECT NETWORK
Chinook Fund is a proud member of the growing National Giving Project Network (GPN). This network has grown and evolved since 2014, as funds across the country have replicated the Giving Project model originally developed by Social Justice Fund Northwest. Through monthly calls and retreats, we innovate, adapt, and collectively strengthen the model.
To learn more about the National Giving Project Network, visit www.givingprojects.org
To build a base of donor organizers that moves resources to movements that counter the historical and accelerating inequities that exist in the United States.
SINCE 2010, GIVING PROJECTS HAVE MOVED OVER
NATIONAL GIVING PROJECT NETWORK
Click to Expand
To learn more about the National Giving Project Network, visit givingprojects.org
- Bread & Roses Community Fund
- Chinook Fund
- Crossroads Fund
- Cypress Fund
NC and SC
- Grassroots International
- Hawai’i People’s Fund
- Headwaters Foundation for Justice
- Liberty Hill Foundation
Los Angeles, CA
- North Star Fund
New York, NY
- Social Justice Fund
NW, WA, OR, ID, MT, WY
- Transforming Power Fund
Fall 2020 Grantee
IDEA Stages understands that artists and culture-makers have a crucial role in creating the world we are all aching to see. Cultural Organizing connects creative practices and organizing techniques; working to amplify access in all spaces. Their vision is a not-so-distant future where people see important and vital parts of who they are reflected in stories, on stages, behind the scenes, and sitting next to them in the audience. It is their hope that diversity and access become living, breathing experiences, born of how theater- makers work in collaboration to meet more important, human needs that reach beyond entertainment value.
Kaizen Food Rescue
Fall 2020 Grantee
Kaizen Food Rescue, founded by Thai Nguyen, a Fall 2019 Giving Project alumni, is an example of the impact constituent-led work can have in a community. As a Vietnamese refugee, Thai experienced food insecurity first-hand and wanted to change the way we think about food justice and ending food waste. Leaders at Kaizen Food Rescue are actively rewriting the narrative for their communities while fighting for Food Sovereignty, wherein people have access to healthy and culturally relevant food as well as labor rights for agricultural workers. Kaizen’s viewpoint is not disseminated through a lens of whiteness, as traditional food pantries are, because cultural food history is important to and provides dignity for those who pick up free fresh groceries. Kaizen has a power- sharing collaboration with community members affected by food insecurity where impacted voices are uplifted in a safe space and we co-create programs “for the people by the people.”
Pike’s Peak Womxn’s Alliance
A project of Voces Unidas for Justice – Spring 2021 Grantee
Indigenous/Native American Organizing; Rural Organizing; Women’s Rights
Pike’s Peak Womxn’s Alliance is a group for Indigenous womxn in the Pikes Peak/Front Range region to share events, get-togethers, resources, social events, gatherings, hiking, harvesting, gardening, cooking, beading, protests, rallies, sewing, art, poetry, and much more. The Alliance aims to be one spot to share and to stay connected. They actively organize around issues impacting the Indigenous community, host cross-tribal teachings, share lessons learned, and care for each other, children, and elders, keeping their community visible, relevant, and united.
INVESTING IN BLACK, INDIGENOUS & PEOPLE OF COLOR-LED MOVEMENTS
Chinook Fund believes communities are best equipped to solve the challenges they face. By trusting grassroots leadership and providing funding to groups led by and for communities impacted by injustice, we support Colorado’s movements for social justice.
CORE FUNDING CRITERIA
- Constituent-Led The work is led by the people most impacted by injustice.
- Community-Wide The work reflects all members of the constituency, especially those who experience multiple forms of oppression.
- Lasting Effect The work makes change not just for one individual today, but for the community as a whole, and for future generations.
Chinook Fund prioritizes funding BIPOC groups as part of our commitment to racial justice; such groups are chronically underfunded and under-resourced. In the Giving Project model, our racial justice framework centers Black liberation and Indigenous sovereignty given the realities that all wealth in the U.S. is built on stolen land and stolen labor. We are proud to support so many emerging and established BIPOC-led groups organizing for justice.
ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE
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• Support for Social Justice
• Another World is Possible
• Fiscal Sponsorship
Total Program Services
• General Administration
Total Supporting Services
Changes in Net Assets
Net Assets: Beginning of Year
Net Assets: End of Year
FEEL INSPIRED BY THIS YEAR’S WORK?
LEARN Visit Chinookfund.org to learn about the most innovative and effective grassroots organizations and activism in Colorado.
CONNECT Join our Giving Project. Meet progressive people committed to equality, economic justice, and peace.
ACT Give generously. Make a meaningful gift to ensure all communities have a voice and the power to create a better life.
SHARE Like us on Twitter and Facebook!