I long for a Colorado in which everyone is engaged, accepted, and loved. I long for a world where every individual, community, and culture is given dignity and respect. As a friend and mentor of mine once said, we all need to learn to love our love and hate our hate.
A lot has changed in the world since we came together as the first cohort in the Chinook Fund’s Giving Project. Never in my lifetime has the threat to human rights and social justice been so great. Never in my lifetime have people been so energized to stand up for what they believe in. We know that in order to create change in the world we need to put in the work. We need to educate ourselves, challenge ourselves to grow, and we need to act effectively and with authenticity. We need to appreciate diversity, build relationships, and walk together towards equality and strengthened communities.
Through the Chinook Fund’s Giving Project I was given this opportunity. As we started our first session it became clear that this was a group of people that wanted to make real impact in society. It was an incredible opportunity for a diverse group of people to put in the work together to push towards real, long-term social change. Last month I joined many other Giving Project alumni from all walks of life to continue our work through the newly revised Joint Caucus. If you are interested in helping create change, come join in on our movement for a just society – attend an information session on joining the Giving Project.
You can read more about my experience in the re-cap below.
My name is Brandon Peterson and I feel grateful to be a member of Chinook Fund’s first Giving Project. I grew up in Boulder County and, while exposed to a terrific amount of diversity of thoughts and lifestyles, was sheltered from the systemic biases that negatively affect the lives of so many people in our society. Through my time spent studying at the University of Colorado Boulder and Metropolitan State University of Denver as well as travelling in developing countries, I began to see the inequity of our world and the role that my life played in it. Eventually, I was inspired to study political science and economics on an international level in order to work to bring more equity and justice around the world. But through various local projects I realized that there was an overwhelming amount of inequity my own community and I found that it would be more appropriate for me to work within the communities I’ve been a part of my entire life.
For the past seven years I have worked in various capacities in the non-profit and public policy sector. I have worked for numerous people and projects, including a state senator, an international social enterprise development organization, and a socially conscious art gallery. Currently, I work for Interfaith Alliance of Colorado where I have the opportunity to work on a range of social justice issues:
- We work side-by-side with homeless advocates to address Denver’s inhumane policies directed at people living on the street. Together, we work to create practical and immediate solutions to provide shelter and stability to those that don’t feel safe in the shelter system.
We authentically engage in striving for racial justice by learning about the systemic racism that exists, and by owning our own places of privilege and/or oppression in our society.
- We push back against people who use their religion as a reason to discriminate against people who are LGBTQ or around women’s reproductive rights.
- Ultimately, we promote tolerance and acceptance of all people’s beliefs and identities.
Last year, Chinook Fund helped support these efforts by funding the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado to stand up against discrimination in all of its many forms. They saw the value in our work to bring diverse communities of faith together to push back against fear and hate in our communities. It has been an incredible experience to have recently gone through their funding process as both a grantee and now as a member of their Giving Project. It’s extremely encouraging to see the Chinook Fund be such an important part of so many small, truly grassroots organizations that often do not have access to traditional philanthropy.
It’s been a pleasure and truly meaningful experience to be a part of Chinook Fund’s Giving Project. I have been able to bring my own perspective to the process, but more importantly have grown from the diverse perspectives and life experiences of the group. It‘s an incredible gift to join together with such passionate people to learn about organizations that are doing extraordinary work to overcome the wrongs in our society and then go out and raise money and awareness for social justice in our community.
P.S. You can support the inspiring work being done by grantees like The Interfaith Alliance & the Giving Project today – members of our cohort have created an IndieGogo campaign – click here to give today.