Dear friends,

Goodness. What an exciting year of growth and accomplishments.

There is so much to celebrate at Community First Foundation! In 2015, we commemorated 40 years of powering community, increased community resources and moved into new offices.

After purchasing and renovating a 16,000 square-foot building, we are settling into our new offices and enjoying our location closer to the heart of Olde Town Arvada and the new light rail station that will open this fall. The building gives us room to grow and includes beautiful new meeting space that nonprofits can use free of charge for meetings, trainings and retreats. continues to transform online giving. On Colorado Gives Day 2015, donors opened their hearts again and gave a record $28.5 million to 1,884 nonprofits. Another Colorado Gives Day record was also set when the Schlessman Family YMCA received a $1 million donation — the largest ever made on Colorado Gives Day!

In 2015, we sowed the seeds of a new program that are coming to full bloom this September. The Innovators Society is a collaborative effort to improve community mental wellness by investing in fresh, new ideas. This first-of-its-kind program is accelerating nonprofit innovations in mental health and engaging hundreds of community members in the joys and challenges of strategic grantmaking. Read more about this unique community program inside.

The new Red Rocks Community College Health Sciences at Arvada building is nearing completion. When it opens in fall 2016, it will offer training for high-demand health care professionals. We proudly provided a grant to help build the facility that will positively impact Jefferson County for generations to come.

As you will see throughout this report, we are proud to serve Jefferson County, the Denver metro area and beyond as a connector, partner, collaborator and resource to fuel the power of community for the greater good. Thank you for all you do to help us in this work.


Marla J. Williams

President & CEO

Peggy E. Jennings

2015 Board Chair

Explore our Strategic Priorities


Colorado Saint Bernard Rescue finds new homes for unwanted, neglected, abandoned and abused Saint Bernards.

Donor-Advised Funds Support Engaged Giving

Individuals, families and businesses partner with us in a variety of ways to support causes that matter to them. By establishing a donor-advised fund at Community First Foundation, highly engaged donors can enjoy the giving process without the administrative burdens. With our expertise and extensive connections in the region, we can provide support and resources for a satisfying charitable plan.

Griffith-McVey Family Fund:
Giving through the Generations

Julie and Jonathan McVey have always believed in giving back. Their parents impressed upon them the importance of giving and now the McVeys want to model the way for their own two children.

Julie Griffith McVey, a long-time Lakewood estate planning attorney, said a donor-advised fund has provided an excellent vehicle for the family to engage in philanthropy together. Moving forward, the McVeys hope their children will take a larger role in decision-making for the fund. “It’s about encouraging them to discover areas of need they are passionate about and finding nonprofits they want to support as they get older,” Julie said.

The McVeys have roots in Wheat Ridge and Lakewood and decided to establish their fund with Community First Foundation because of the Foundation’s mission and commitment to Jefferson County. Julie said the Foundation came alongside them as a partner in setting up and administering the fund and made their giving more streamlined and efficient.

The Griffith-McVey Family Fund has supported a variety of local and international nonprofits, including faith-based charities, local news organizations and food banks.

The Womanist Empowerment Fund:
Addressing the Needs of Women and Girls

Charitable giving comes naturally to JoKatherine Holliman Page, a third-generation Coloradan with a background in civil rights and social justice issues that impact marginalized people. “It’s always been a part of my life to give,” she said, “as a neighbor, friend and churchperson.”

Establishing a donor-advised fund, which she named The Womanist Empowerment Fund, allows her to focus her giving on specific goals, like helping women impacted by depression, domestic violence or lupus.

The fund also honors her daughter Leslye, a former executive for Nike, who died from lupus at the young age of 41. Like her parents, she was committed to social causes and served on the boards of the YWCA, the Urban League and the Reproductive Rights Initiative.

“I chose Community First Foundation to manage this fund because of the amazing projects they support,” said JoKatherine. “The Foundation is very people-centered, approachable and open to supporting causes that may otherwise fall through the cracks.”

Online Giving Continues to Grow

Online giving through our website reached $38.6 million in 2015, the largest annual amount since the site was launched in 2007. More than 2,000 organizations were profiled on the website.

These are just a few of the organizations that benefit from online giving through

Amount donated on since inception (May 2007-2015)

Fundraising Pages Are Easy and Affordable

As interest in crowdfunding grows, so too does the growth in Fundraising Pages. Featuring only a two percent third-party processing fee, it’s an affordable option for donors and nonprofits alike.

Sixth Colorado Gives Day Raises $28 Million in 24 Hours

Coloradans opened their hearts again and donated $28.5 million to nearly 1,900 nonprofits on Colorado Gives Day 2015. We also received a record number of donations at an increase of 14 percent over the previous year. Community First Foundation and corporate partner FirstBank each contributed $500,000 to continue the $1 Million Incentive Fund that increases the value of every dollar donated online. A $200,000 gift from Colorado Health Foundation boosted this value even further.

Also this year we received the single largest gift ever donated on a Colorado Gives Day when the Schlessman Family YMCA received a surprise bequest of $1 million from longtime supporter Arlene Seaton.

More than 150 people from Colorado nonprofits attended the Colorado Gives Day 2015 Rally


ColoradoGives Day 2015

Amount donated on Colorado Gives Day since inception (2010-2015)
Colorado Gives Day 2015


Average donation


Most common


Median donation


Average raised
per nonprofit


Largest single donation

Colorado Gives Day is one of the most successful events of its kind. FirstBank contributed $100,000 in cash prizes to build excitement and 16 businesses joined the Corporate Challenge, bringing in more than $500,000 from their employees. The giving day would not be a success without the support of our media sponsors: The Networks of 9NEWS, Univision, Comcast, Denver Business Journal, Rocky Mountain PBS, Colorado Public Television (CPT12, PBS), iHeartMedia, Mile High Outdoor Advertising and 5280 Magazine.


The Innovators Society, powered by Community First Foundation, is committed to funding innovative approaches to improving mental wellness.

Community First Foundation is committed to building strong community by promoting mental wellness

Colorado’s mental wellness field is complex and fragmented. In addition, prevention and early intervention are underfunded. That is why our Board of Directors identified promoting mental wellness as one of our top strategic priorities. We are taking a three-pronged approach to tackle this important social issue.

First, we are investing in early intervention programs that focus on the healthy emotional and social development of children from birth to five years old.

Second, we are partnering with others to improve the systems supporting mental wellness.

Third, we are promoting efforts to change public perceptions of mental illness.

Many of our grants support multi-year programs, such as the Behavioral Health Integration in Pediatric Populations initiative. This collaborative effort is integrating behavioral health into primary care to help pediatric professionals address the behavioral health needs of children from zero to five years old. Overall, we have committed $7.8 million in mental wellness grants over five years.

Financial Charts

You can show or hide legend items by clicking on them.

Improve Systems — $183,333
Improve Systems and Early Childhood Mental Wellness — $4,686,914
Early Childhood Mental Wellness — $847,064
Change Perception — $2,068,013
Increase Knowledge — $27,889
Powering the Innovators

In 2015 we unveiled The Innovators Society. This new, nine-month program accelerates the development of promising, but not yet proven, approaches to mental wellness.

Six local nonprofits were selected to participate in this first-of-its-kind program. Each organization received an initial grant of $25,000 to pay for coaching and pitch practice to help them fully develop their ideas and presentations.

The program culminates in the Community Pitch Showdown where 250 audience members are empowered to award up to $450,000 in Community First Foundation grant dollars based on the nonprofit pitches. One triumphant organization in September 2016 also receives a grand prize of $50,000.

The Nonprofit Innovators

The following innovators have the chance to win funding for fresh, innovative ideas that can improve mental wellness through early childhood intervention, systems improvement or changing perceptions.

· Bright by Three

· Carson J Spencer Foundation

· Center on Network Science, CU Denver

· Clayton Early Learning

· Im’Unique

· Project Helping


Mountain Area Land Trust established an endowment to help save scenic vistas, natural areas, wildlife habitat, water resources and historic land for future generations.

Incentive Grants Help Endowments Grow

Creating innovative and collaborative ways to strengthen nonprofits is a top strategic priority at Community First Foundation. We believe a strong nonprofit sector is fundamental to a community’s strength. For more than a decade our endowment-building programs have helped local nonprofits secure their ability to serve the community now and in the future. In 2015, we launched an Incentive Grant Program to help build the endowments of nonprofits with funds at the Foundation. Our incentives boosted the endowments of 26 organizations. The following are just a few that benefited from the program.

Jefferson Center for Mental Health: Endowment Sustains Services for People in Need

Jefferson Center for Mental Health, a nonprofit community mental health center, began its endowment in 2005 to sustain services for people who could not afford treatment for behavioral health and wellness needs. Jefferson Center’s endowment fund received the maximum incentive grant of $100,000 for its 2015 contribution to the fund.

Community Cycles: Endowment Provides Bikes and Training for Disadvantaged Youth

Composed of bicycle enthusiasts and advocates, Community Cycles repairs donated bikes and teaches bicycle maintenance and safety. Created in 2014, the Luke Harding Scholarship Endowment Fund provides a revenue stream to fund apprenticeships and bicycles for low income, disadvantaged or struggling young people. The incentive grant from Community First Foundation added fresh momentum to the new and growing endowment.

Tesoro Cultural Center: Endowment Helps Preserve Colorado’s Unique Heritage

Tesoro Cultural Center protects and shares the artistic treasures of Colorado’s past through events and programs such as the Indian Market and Powwow. Colorado’s unique heritage of Southwest, Spanish, Mexican, Native American, African American and early European cultures is celebrated through dramatic re-enactments, music, art and cuisine. The incentive program helped motivate donors to contribute to the new Tesoro endowment fund, created in 2015 to preserve the future of Tesoro’s programs.

Harriet L. Hall, Ph.D.

CEO of Jefferson Center for Mental Health

Bill Winn, President

Friends of the Haven

Friends of the Haven: Endowment Supports Scholarships for Women in Crisis

The Haven is a lifeline for women who are pregnant and addicted to drugs. Women often come to this residential treatment program as an alternative to prison. Many are homeless, jobless and struggling with mental illness. The Haven and the Baby Haven childcare center offer a chance to get treatment and support, break the cycle of drug abuse and give birth to drug-free babies. Ninety percent of the women who finish the two-year program stay drug and crime free.

“We’re saving lives and putting families back together,” said Bill Winn, president of Friends of the Haven, a nonprofit that provides financial support to the Haven and Baby Haven programs. “You ask the women where they’d be without the program and most of the time they say they’d be in prison or dead.” An endowment at Community First Foundation supports educational scholarships for women who complete the program. The Foundation provided a $10,000 grant plus endowment-building guidance to encourage its continued growth.

We welcomed the following organizations that established endowments at the Foundation in 2015:

• Bonfils Blood Center Foundation

• Step 13

• Castle Rock Senior Community Center

• Latin American Education Foundation

• SungateKids

• Denver Institute for Psychoanalysis

• Tesoro Cultural Center

New Meeting Space Helps Nonprofits Put Best Foot Forward

When Community First Foundation envisioned its new office building in Olde Town Arvada, we included a spacious meeting area to deliver on our priorities to strengthen nonprofits, build strong community and honor our heritage in Jefferson County. Offered free of charge, the new space was designed specifically for the needs of nonprofits. A variety of rooms, robust A/V capabilities and a commercial catering kitchen help nonprofits put their best foot forward for trainings, meetings and retreats.

Honoring Our Heritage In Jefferson County

Originally the fundraising arm for Lutheran Medical Center, Community First Foundation has strong roots in Jefferson County. To honor and build on this heritage, below are highlights of the ways we helped build strong community in this region in 2015.

$1 Million Grant Expands Health Professions Programs at Red Rocks Community College

Architectural rendering of new health sciences building at Red Rocks Community College — Arvada campus.

Community First Foundation contributed one of the largest gifts in its history to help build the new health sciences building at Red Rocks Community College in Arvada.

The $1 million grant will help the college cluster its health professions programs in one place, accelerate the number of graduates entering health occupations and add vital new training opportunities.

The college broke ground in July 2015 and the facility is expected to open in time for the fall 2016 semester. Once completed, it will transform the Arvada location into a full-service campus dedicated to the health and wellness of Jefferson County and surrounding communities.

Grant Expands Childhood Development Program in Jefferson County Public Schools

Community First Foundation is granting $250,000 over two years to strengthen Tools of the Mind, a program used in several preschools and kindergartens in Jefferson County Public Schools.

This research-based program provides teachers with skills to help young children develop the social and emotional tools they need for learning. The grant will provide the resources to add Tools of the Mind to more classrooms and improve parent and teacher understanding of early childhood development.

Jeffco Public Schools uses the Tools of the Mind approach to ensure every child becomes a successful learner. Courtesy: Jeffco Public Schools

The Arvada Center provides arts and humanities programming–like this production of Memphis–to engage, challenge and inspire. Courtesy: P. Switzer




Cash and Investments

$ 331,673,541

Other Assets


Total Assets



Accounts Payable and Accrued Expenses


Grants Payable


Other Liabilities


Agency Funds


Total Liabilities


Net Assets


Total Liabilities & Net Assets

$ 336,656,202

STATEMENT OF ACTIVITIES — For the Year Ended December 31, 2015



$ 997,709

Other Income


Total Revenue





Other Program Expenses


Supporting Services


Total Grants and Expenses




Net Return on Investments




Net Assets, Beginning of Year


Net Assets, End of Year

$ 306,366,340

For detailed financial reports, visit

Donor-Advised Funds

We are grateful to the generous people who have established donor-advised funds at Community First Foundation.

Nonprofit Endowment Partners

We value our relationships with the following nonprofits that are dedicated to enriching our communities. In 2015, the following organizations entrusted us with stewarding endowment funds.

For additional fund and gift listings, visit our website at

2015 Community First Foundation Board of Directors

Marla J. Williams

President & CEO

Peggy E. Jennings

Board Chair
Audit Partner, Eide Bailly LLP

David L. Bomberger

Chief Investment Officer
Pinnacol Assurance

Felix W. Cook, Sr.

Retired, Director of Technical Service Center
Bureau of Reclamation

Janet Heck Doyle, Esq.

Retired CEO & President
Kramer Junction Company

William P. Ernstrom

Voyant Technologies, Inc.

Christopher J. Massey, Esq.

Board Secretary
Attorney, Stinson Leonard Street LLP

Christopher J. Ott, M.D., FACEP

MNDOG Group Chief Medical Officer
Centura Health & St. Anthony Hospital

Donovan J. (Jerry) Paul, CFA

Senior Vice President of Fixed Income
& Portfolio Manager, ICON Mutual Funds

Hereford Percy

Board Treasurer
Retired President, FirstBank North

Emily S. Robinson

Board Vice Chairman
Regional President, FirstBank

Cynthia Stevenson, Ph.D.

Instructor, School of Education & Human Development, Univ. of Colorado - Denver

Malcolm A. Tarkanian, M.D.

Arvada Eye Associates

John U. Trefny, Ph.D.

President Emeritus
Colorado School of Mines

Lynne D. Valencia

Vice President Community Relations

Sally Woolsey

The Evergreen Group

Welcome New 2016 Board Members

Russell W. Kemp, Esq.

Ireland Stapleton

Shelley A. Marquez

Senior Vice President and Community Development Manager, Wells Fargo

Ron Meyer, M.D.

Retired Community Pediatrician
Pediatrics West

Christine Woolsey

Senior Vice President Chief Communications & Marketing Officer SCL Health

Robert Urwiler

Executive Vice President & Chief Information Officer Vail Resorts Inc.

2015 Community Committee Members

Russell W. Kemp

Governance Committee
Attorney, Ireland Stapleton

John E. Litz

Community Impact Committee
President, J.E. Litz & Associates, LLC

Jodi Thomas

Audit and Compliance Committee
President - Arvada, FirstBank

Welcome New 2016 Community Committee Members

Felix W. Cook, Sr.

Audit and Compliance Committee; Retd, Dir. of Technical Service Center Bureau of Reclamation

Elycia R. Cook

Community Impact Committee
Executive Director, Friends First

William Enstrom

Finance and Investment Committee
Founder, Voyant Technologies, Inc.

Aaron Azari

Governance Committee; Senior Wealth Advisor & Trust Officer, Colorado State Bank and Trust

Malcolm Tarkanian, M.D.

Governance Committee
Arvada Eye Associates

John U. Trefny, Ph.D.

Development Committee
President Emeritus, Colorado School of Mines

2015 Community First Foundation Staff

Marla J. Williams

President and CEO

Cheryl Haggstrom

Executive Vice President

Kenneth R. Kirwin

Chief Financial Officer

Noah M. Atencio

Vice President of Community Impact

Vickie M. Wilson, Ph.D.

Vice President of Development

Kayla Arnesen

Director of Strategic Communications

Nathaniel Beck

Administrative Assistant

Angela Bevacqua

Senior Communications Specialist

Valerie Brown

Meeting Space Administrator

Neelamai Chunlapak

Senior Accountant

Kelly Degering

Administrative Assistant

Jennifer Griffis

Program Associate

Lisa Lujan

Online Giving Coordinator

Lynn Malloy Homenick

Executive Assistant

Christine Moreland


Paul Mulligan

Grants & Donor Services Manager

Karen Newcomb

Accounting Clerk/Receptionist

Dana Rinderknecht

Director of Online Giving

Bryce Wilkinson

Senior Online Giving Specialist

Welcome New 2016 Staff

Samantha Barlow

Communications Coordinator

Lynda Ricketson

Director of Development

Abigail Smith

Donor Support Specialist

Art Garage is a neighborhood gathering place that provides creative expression through art classes, camps and school programs.