A year ago, businesses and individuals grappled with a new reality: how to operate in a pandemic. More than a year later, the new normal seems to be shifting once again. As vaccines become more available workplaces have to determine what’s next. Will businesses remain fully remote? Will they immediately return to fully in-person work? While each business is different, some combination of those options seems like a likely reality.

As we continue to navigate an ever-changing landscape of hybrid work environments and increased vaccination rates, some yearn for a workspace away from home. From a Denver coworking space to coffee shops, here is the official round up of our favorite workplaces… away from home:

1. Serendipity Coffee Bar (1536 Wynkoop St #1130, Denver, CO 80202)

Serendipity coffee bar, coffee shop in the Alliance Center

Serendipity combines modern with cozy. Modern chairs and tables nestle alongside brick walls, airy windows and thriving succulents. They serve delicious teas, snacks, meals and coffees, including Pablo’s. The staff are incredibly kind and can offer helpful suggestions on which beverage to select and which options are vegan, vegetarian and gluten free. Whether you need a relaxing spot to check your inbox or the coffee shop ambiance and background noise, Serendipity will meet your needs.

Not sure where to go when you get there? Serendipity is located inside The Alliance Center’s state of the art building and Denver coworking space!

2. The Alliance Center (1536 Wynkoop St, Ste 100, Denver, CO 80202)

desk in denver coworking space with views of lodo

The Alliance Center, a Denver coworking space, offers flexible options for those times when you need a desk or conference room and a professional environment. Wondering if it’s safe to work in an office building during a pandemic? The Alliance Center is the first nonprofit commercial building in the United States to be awarded the rigorous WELL Health-Safety rating. The building offers sweeping views of LoDo, high speed internet, is dog friendly and perhaps, most importantly a professional space away from home.

Joining the Alliance’s membership program is great way to get access to discounted, flexible coworking spaces and other benefits.

3. Whittier Cafe (1710 East 25th Avenue, Denver, CO 80205)

outdoor seating at whitter cafe, tables and heat lamps

If you’re looking for a spot with great outdoor seating, check out Whittier Cafe. Whittier Cafe is a black owned expresso bar in the City Park neighborhood. On chilly days their patio offers a perfect spot to settle down with your computer amongst their heat lamps. They serve pastries, sandwiches and an assortment of delicious beverages. Looking to meet up with friends after work? They serve beer and wine for your post-work drink!

4. Mark’s Coffee House (2019 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80206)

exterior of st. mark's coffee house, patio, with black tables and chairs, red building

St. Mark’s has plenty of choices for both indoor and outdoor seating and provides a laid-back work environment. Located on 17th Ave. in the City Park neighborhood, ample free parking is available nearby. St. Mark’s opens their garage style doors to maximize ventilation throughout the spacious seating area. If you prefer, their outdoor patio is a prime dog and people-watching spot. When you stop at St. Mark’s we highly recommend their scrumptious cookies!

5. PigTrain Coffee Co. at Union Station (1701 Wynkoop St, Denver, CO, 80202)

exterior of union station in denver, co

The stunning, newly renovated interior of Union Station maintains the historic feel of the building while adding a modern flair. Inside, you’ll find an assortment of plush couches, games and food and drink options to choose from. We love to settle down with a laptop and a macchiato from PigTrain. Looking for another reason to love Union Station? Their building is Gold LEED certified!

 

What is your favorite place to head when you need as respite from being home? Have you tried a Denver coworking space, like The Alliance Center? Let us know on Twitter (@thealliancecntr)!

 

As early adopter, The Alliance Center achieves WELL Health-Safety Rating

 

DENVER – More and more frequently students are returning to their classrooms, restaurants are reopening and as time progresses we are getting closer to the light at the end of the tunnel. For office workers the return to work comes along with concerns about whether their workplace is a safe space to be. The Alliance Center is happy to announce it has received the WELL Health-Safety Rating to assure customers their building is safe and allow them to feel more comfortable about returning to the office. 

The Alliance Center, a 40,000-square-foot collaborative working space in the heart of Lower Downtown (LoDo) Denver, has been a leader in the sustainability movement since its founding in 2004. The 113-year-old facility continues to be recognized as a leader in environmental performance and was recently identified as the most energy efficient building in LoDo and 9th in all of Denver. 

As the immediate response to the COVID pandemic began to subside, The Alliance Center turned its attention to how to provide tenants and visitors of their space the assurance needed to return to the building with peace of mind. This focus pointed towards the International WELL Building Institutes’ (IWBI) WELL Health-Safety Rating. The rating requires third party verification on topics such as reducing surface contact, planning for healthy re-entry, supporting mental health recovery, monitoring air and water quality and more.

“We were pleasantly surprised that many of the features identified by IWBI as helpful tools to promote a safe office were already in place at the building. We simply needed to document those practices and policies to achieve the rating” Chris Bowyer, director of building operations for The Alliance Center, said. “We are excited to be one of the first in Colorado to achieve WELL Health-Safety, but we are even happier this will provide our community with additional reassurances we are doing our absolute best to provide a space that will allow our tenants and guests to feel safe in their work environment” he continued.  

The Alliance Center was able to accomplish this rating by redoubling their efforts on human health and wellbeing, which have been a cornerstone to their ongoing operations since their founding. Some elements like replacing push button soap dispensers for automatic ones, adding directional signage and installing plexiglass dividers were common sense improvements to incorporate as an early response to COVID. Many more, such as maximizing outdoor air, documented emergency procedures and teams, annual air quality testing and providing progressive benefits to their staff, were in place well before the pandemic began. The Alliance Center will use this new rating as a framework to educate its community about how buildings impact human health along with everything The Alliance Center is doing to improve occupant health and wellness.  

As the light on the horizon continues to brighten, The Alliance Center is excited to welcome more of its community members back and provide them a safe space where they can be at ease and focus on their important work. The accomplishment of receiving the WELL Health-Safety rating serves as an important tool in this process and displays The Alliance Center’s neverending dedication to the wellbeing of everyone who enters their doors.  

About the Alliance Center

The Alliance Center is a nonprofit focused on holistic sustainability with an event and collaborative working space in the heart of lower downtown Denver. We demonstrate sustainability in action and mobilize change agents to accelerate solutions. The Alliance Center is a model for innovative green building practices, collaborative working techniques and engaging educational programming—all designed to scale up the sustainability movement. For more information, visit thealliancecenter.org and follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.

Quick Facts

  • The Alliance Center utilizes its building as a living laboratory, demonstrating sustainability in action and testing innovative green building practices to improve sustainability in the building sector and the wellness of building occupants.
  • The International WELL Building Institute develops and administers the WELL Building Standard (WELL), a roadmap for creating and certifying spaces that advance human health and well-being. Backed by the latest scientific research, WELL sets pathways for accomplishing health-first factors that help everyone do their best work and be their best selves by supporting our physical and mental health across ten core concepts.

Available for comment

  • Chris Bowyer / Director of Building Operations / The Alliance Center
  • Jason Page / Chief Operating Officer / The Alliance Center

Contact

This interview is with Sofia Corley, Member Services and Admin Assistant at Colorado CarShare (formerly eGo CarShare).
What does your organization do and how long have you been around? 
Colorado CarShare started in Boulder in 1997 as “The Little Red Car Co-op.” Since then we have remained focused solely on serving our neighbors in the Denver/Boulder area. We are proud to be an institution that contributes to making Colorado the best place to call home. We are Colorado’s first, only – and one of the nation’s longest running – nonprofit carshare organizations working to make a positive impact on the environment and local residents’ health, wealth and community.
What specific programs, practices, or priorities is your organization most focused on right now on? How have these programs, practices or priorities evolved over time?  
Currently, we are very focused on electrifying our fleet, increasing our vehicle locations to be more inclusive throughout low-to-mixed income communities and building back up our organization’s safety net during and after the impacts of COVID-19. Being the nation’s first all electric car share nonprofit has been a goal of ours for a long time, but we have recently taken great strides in bringing this dream to fruition.
We recently received a grant from the City and County of Denver for six new electric vehicles and another grant is in the works for two more. We foster inclusivity through strategic locations, partnerships and heavily discounted rates to serve low-to-mixed-income and older communities. Especially now, vulnerable members of our community who do not own cars depend on us to fill the gaps necessary to create efficient connections with other affordable transportation options. We do our best to strategically place our shared vehicles where people live and near public transit to make it possible to live a car-free lifestyle in the Denver/Boulder area.
In what ways could The Alliance Center community help you achieve your mission? Are you looking for partnerships, advice, connections?
With over 50% of our members having annual family incomes of less than $50,000, many of them participate in qualified low-income housing programs, including Denver Housing Authority (DHA), Habitat for Humanity (HFH), Boulder Housing Partners (BHP) and others. Providing these families with access to our fleet wouldn’t be possible without these incredible partners. We are always looking to expand our collaborations to grow our capacity for supporting our communities that are most in-need.
What is unique about your organization that you could offer to the community? 
Colorado CarShare is unique among The Alliance Center community because we are equal parts environmental and social equity nonprofit and small business. This duality allows us to serve our community and protect our environment by offering an essential service at an affordable price – all the while reducing greenhouse gas emissions from one of the biggest polluting industries: transportation.
What does success look like for you as it relates to sustainability and your organization’s mission? 
Our goals are based on reduction in single occupancy vehicles (SOV), an increase in the use of alternative mobility modes and an increase in personal wealth and access to vital services in disadvantaged communities. We measure these impacts through:
  1. Data from our carshare vehicle use
  2. External national studies
  3. Direct member surveys
We translate our data to quantified carbon and other impacts based on the fact that on an annual basis, every round-trip station-based carshare vehicle in service results in the following:
  •  Replaces 9-13 personally owned vehicles
  •  Reduces an ~ 150,000 vehicle miles travelled (VMT)
  •  Averts over 8,000 gallons of gasoline from being used (Electric vehicle savings are greater)
  •  Prevents over 73 tons of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere
  •  Helps our members drive an average of 44% less and save around $6,500 in car expenses
By multiplying that by ~50 vehicle fleet and over 3,500 Colorado Carshare members you can calculate our overall local community impact. Through a unique combination of partnerships, strategic vehicle locations and affordable rates, we work to connect the mobility dots to complete affordable, sustainable transportation options for all Coloradans, especially those who are otherwise disadvantaged.
What is your proudest achievement as an organization?
We are proud to be Colorado’s only, and one of the country’s longest running, nonprofit carshare organizations. We were sharing before the “shared economy” as a concept existed. We’ve watched many of the multi-national and venture capital backed, supposed disruptors come and go, most of whom had zero interest in supporting our local community.
What we do is innovative as our fleet of strategically placed vehicles allows our members to maximize their transportation options while saving money, mitigating traffic and supporting a cleaner environment. This includes reducing personally owned vehicles, miles, gas consumption and carbon emissions. On top of that, our goal is to be the country’s first nonprofit EV carshare organization. This includes supporting mixed income communities that are typically underserved when it comes to affordable mobility options. In doing so, we are creating a scalable, replicable model that can be expanded across Colorado and nationally.
What is a specific challenge your organization has faced and how have you overcome it?
Over the years, we’ve faced many multinational mobility businesses entering the market, some as start-ups with deep pockets and others that were started by automobile manufacturers. What most of them didn’t understand is the unique needs and challenges at a local level and as a result most of them have come and gone.
More recently, the current public health and economic crisis almost knocked us out. Even though we are a nonprofit, most of our revenue is from earned income (carshare member use).  Starting in March of 2020 when the first stay-at-home order was activated, we lost over 85% of our earned income pretty much overnight. We overcame it by getting out in front of the issue with early and proactive fleet sanitization, member and public communications and “furloughing” a significant portion of our fleet in order to drastically cut expenses. All of our staff took voluntary pay and time cuts so that we didn’t have to let anyone go, which helped along with the CARES Act’s PPP loan and several emergency COVID recovery grants.
How long has your organization been connected with The Alliance Center?
We have been tenants of the Alliance for over a decade, including having one of our carshare vehicles on-site and available for Alliance staff, tenants and the community. We are currently adding an all-electric carshare vehicle there as part of a solar to EV pilot project that will include feeding the vehicle’s battery storage back to the building during peak demand, which we’re super excited about.
Why did your organization choose the Alliance over other working spaces?
One thing that makes Colorado so special is the numerous organizations whose sole mission is to help the environment and communities in need. The Alliance Center is home to so many of these organizations, which is why Colorado CarShare chose it as a working space. Being surrounded by these inspirational organizations reminds us that we are not alone in the pursuit of our goals. As part of this community, we are more confident in our ability, as an organization and as a society, to reduce our collective impact on the planet.
What’s your favorite memory of being in The Alliance Center? 
We loved the sustainability related in-person events where we could come together with like-minded organizations and people to meet, network and share vision and action.

This interview with with Alliance Center tenant, Skillful

What does your organization do and how long have you been around? 
Skillful focuses on workforce and economic mobility through skills-based practices. We’re a nonprofit dedicated to enabling all Americans – particularly those without a four-year college degree – to secure good jobs in a changing economy. In partnership with Microsoft and others, Skillful is developing skills-based training and employment practices in collaboration with state governments, local employers, educators and workforce development organizations.
What specific programs, practices, or priorities is your organization most focused on right now on? How have these programs, practices, or priorities evolved over time?
We’re focused on career coaching and employer and digital solutions for middle skilled workers. These programs have evolved from only direct user to business-to-business programming.
In what ways could this community help you achieve your mission? Are you looking for partnerships, advice, connections? 
The Alliance Center community could our mission through partnerships for coaching work, expansion of skills-based hiring practices among Alliance organizations and partners and leveraging digital solutions to expand our programs.
What is unique about your organization that you could offer to the community?
Skillful focuses on helping all US workers achieve greater economic sustainability by focusing on skills. We advocate for career coaching and pathway planning based on skillsets to help workers see career trajectories formerly unforeseen to them. We also promote for the adoption of skills-based hiring practices for employers to remove barriers economic mobility for middle skilled workers and create a more inclusive talent management process.
What does success look like for you as it relates to sustainability and your organization’s mission? 
Success would include skills as the common currency for all workers in the economy allowing economic sustainability and mobility for all including those without a college degree.
What is your proudest achievement as an organization?
Our organization’s proudest achievement is definitely creating over 50,000 better pathways for middle-skilled workers and working towards systems change throughout the state of Colorado and in the US as a whole.
What is a specific challenge your organization has faced and how have you overcome it?
We are constantly working to overcome the stigma around career mobility and skills. This has been a barrier in both employer and coaching work for Skillful.
How long has your organization been connected with the Alliance Center?
Skillful has been at The Alliance Center since 2016.
Why did your organization choose the Alliance over other working spaces?
We chose The Alliance Center because it provides a collaborative environment and focuses on community.
What’s your favorite memory of being in the Alliance Center? 
Some of our favorite memories of The Alliance Center include the monthly happy hours, fika and events hosting outside speakers that allowed for community-building and partnership creation.

Are you a tenant of the Alliance Center and would  like to be featured in an upcoming Tenant Spotlight? Fill out this form! 

Human health and well-being is top priority for LoDo’s greenest building

The Alliance Center is focusing on wellness for building occupants in the recovery from COVID-19 and beyond.

 

DENVER –  Over the last year, the commercial real estate market has changed, likely forever and perhaps not all for the bad. It is the responsibility of those working on the forefront to ensure that when people return to their place of work, they do so with confidence. The Alliance Center is leading in this effort of elevating workplace wellness by providing safe and healthy spaces for their community in real ways. As they prepare for their building’s occupants to return at the one-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic in Denver, they are committed to this effort and sharing resources and lessons learned along the way.

The Alliance Center, a 40,000-square-foot collaborative working space in the heart of Lower Downtown (LoDo) Denver, has been a leader in the sustainability movement since its founding in 2004. The 113-year-old facility continues to be a recognized leader in environmental performance and was recently identified as the most energy efficient building in LoDo and 9th in all of Denver. 

“Our accomplishments over the years have been many as it relates to a holistic approach to sustainability. While we will continue those efforts, we are placing extra emphasis on how our building directly impacts our tenants’ workplace wellness,” Chris Bowyer, director of building operations for The Alliance Center, said. 

The Alliance Center recently submitted documentation towards achieving the WELL Health-Safety Rating to the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). This rigorous rating was crafted as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic to identify tools and practices to ensure a safe return to work. The rating requires third party verification on topics such as reducing surface contact, planning for healthy re-entry, supporting mental health recovery, monitoring air and water quality and many more. 

“Our aspirations are high for meeting this new benchmark, and we are excited about the future of providing a safe workplace for our community. We have equally high hopes about how we can share innovation and lessons learned to the broader real estate market regarding this effort through our Living Laboratory program,” Bowyer said.

“The Alliance Center continues to lead the way in how to model sustainability in buildings and communities. It is exciting to see them expand their focus on workplace well-being to benefit the people who use their building every day,” Rachel Hodgdon, president and CEO of IWBI, said. “We have followed The Alliance Center’s work since its founding, and this next step will establish the organization as a focal point in providing the evidence-based health and safety measures needed to instill confidence and return to the workplace.”  

As The Alliance Center strives to earn the WELL Health-Safety Rating and prepare for their occupants to return, they are committed to ensuring the community feels safe within their building’s walls and enabling others to learn from their progress.

About the Alliance Center

The Alliance Center is a nonprofit focused on holistic sustainability with an event and collaborative working space in the heart of lower downtown Denver. We demonstrate sustainability in action and mobilize change agents to accelerate solutions. The Alliance Center is a model for innovative green building practices, collaborative working techniques and engaging educational programming—all designed to scale up the sustainability movement. For more information, visit thealliancecenter.org and follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.

Quick Facts

  • The Alliance Center utilizes its building as a living laboratory, demonstrating sustainability in action and testing innovative green building practices to improve sustainability in the building sector and the wellness of building occupants.
  • The International WELL Building Institute develops and administers the WELL Building Standard (WELL), a roadmap for creating and certifying spaces that advance human health and well-being. Backed by the latest scientific research, WELL sets pathways for accomplishing health-first factors that help everyone do their best work and be their best selves by supporting our physical and mental health across ten core concepts.

Available for comment

  • Chris Bowyer / Director of Building Operations / The Alliance Center
  • Jason Page / Chief Operating Officer / The Alliance Center

Contact

Shay Hlavaty / The Alliance Center / shlavaty@thealliancecenter.org

This March, in honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we are featuring four women leading the intersectional environmentalism movement. Climate change disproportionately affects communities of color. These women are leading the charge to change the way we think about environmental and climate solutions!

1. Dr. Carolyn Finney

Carolyn Finney

Dr. Carolyn Finney authored the book Black Faces White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors. In her book, Finney explores the histories of slavery, Jim Crow and racial violence in the United States and their continued relationship to present day perceptions of who should and can have access to the “great outdoors”. Finney utilizes her unique perspective as a cultural geographer and storyteller to address how privilege affects the course of environmental action, policy and leadership. Check out her 2020 TEDx talk at Middlebury College and her continued work in the environmental movement.

2. Sonrisa Lucero

Sonrisa Lucero is a Sustainability Engineer and expert with experience in the public and private sector, committed to climate justice. She works as the Sustainability Strategist in the Office of Sustainability for the City of Denver and owns and operates a sustainability firm Sustainnovations, LLC. Locally, Sonrisa serves as a board member for The Alliance Center and Conservation Colorado. Previously, she served as a board member with Groundwork Denver. Learn more about her climate justice work in her 2020 TEDx talk, “Stopping Climate Change Starts with Heart and Latinx Communities” and listen to her discuss the Paris Climate Agreement on our latest Climate Bridges podcast episode.

3. Leah Thomas

Leah Thomas is an environmentalist and the founder of the Intersectional Environmentalist Platform. The Intersectional Environmentalist platforms shares resources, information and actions to dismantle systems of oppression in the environmental movement. In her 2020 Vogue article entitled “Why Every Environmentalist Should be Antiracist” she explained, “The systems of oppression that have led to the deaths of so many Black people were the same systems that perpetuated environmental injustice. This realization pointed me to the term ‘intersectional environmentalism,’ and compelled me to introduce it into environmentalist dialogue—to spark conversation and mobilize the environmental community to be anti-racist and not complicit.” Learn more about Leah here.

4. Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

Ayana Elizabeth Johnson speaks during the Unplugged Session at TED2019: Bigger Than Us. April 15 - 19, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a marine biologist, author and policy expert. She founded the think tank, Urban Ocean Lab and OceanCollectiv, a conservation consulting firm rooted in social justice. Johnson’s work centers on building community to create climate solutions. Her diverse body of work includes her podcast How to Save a Planet, academic publications, editorials and public speaking.

Interview with Chandra Rosenthal, Rocky Mountain Field Office Director for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

What does your organization do and how long have you been around?

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is a national alliance of local, state and federal resource professionals. PEER’s mission includes educating the public and speaking out, as well as defending those who speak out, about environmental ethics and compliance with environmental laws. Since our founding in 1992, thousands of scientists, law enforcement officers, land managers, attorneys and other professionals have worked with PEER to help make the government accountable to the public and to protect employees who are committed to protecting our natural resources.

What specific programs, practices, or priorities is your organization most focused on right now on? How have these evolved over time? 

The previous administration mounted unprecedented attacks on scientific integrity and conservation, and PEER has seen a corresponding surge in the calls for help we receive from conscientious civil servants. We expect those calls to continue under the current administration, though they will hopefully lessen somewhat in intensity. Our challenge now will be to rebuild demoralized agencies that have been hollowed out and restore their institutional capacity for sustainable regulation and science-based policymaking.

In what ways does being part of The Alliance Center community help you achieve your mission? 

As a one-person satellite office of a national organization, Rocky Mountain PEER benefits greatly from being a part of the Alliance Center community. We frequently partner with other regional organizations on litigation, advocacy and strategy; having access to the shared space helps us grow and cement our connections with aligned groups. I would love to continue developing these partnerships at The Alliance Center.

What is something you bring to The Alliance Center that no one else does?

PEER works with federal and state employees, who often choose to remain anonymous, but can provide expertise to conservation groups working in similar conservation areas but from a different perspective. PEER is often given information about changes in agency structures and policy changes before they are made public, which can give groups a heads up when developing their priorities. PEER is committed to defending and strengthening the legal rights of public employees who speak out about issues concerning natural resource management and environmental protection. We provide free legal assistance when necessary.

What does success look like for you as it relates to sustainability and your organization’s mission? 

Rocky Mountain PEER works with conscientious public employees to hold their federal, state, local, and tribal environmental agencies to high standards of accountability and integrity. Success is when these agencies prioritize resource conservation and the public good, rather than catering to the needs of regulated industry.

What’s your favorite memory of being in the Alliance Center? 

I have a favorite memory of one of the first times I walked into the first floor hallway. I could see the side of a yellow dog pressed up against the glass of the front offices — it definitely called for a double take — and I thought that this was one of the more welcoming places to be!

Interview with Andrew Miller, Program Manager for Cottonwood Institute.

What does your organization do and how long have you been around?

Since 2004, Cotttonwood Institute has been transforming the way we empower Colorado Front Range students to be leaders and problem-solvers. We collaborate with schools and youth organizations to provide high-quality, impactful environmental education programs that inspire youth to make change in their communities.

What specific programs, practices, or priorities is your organization most focused on right now on? How have these evolved over time? 

Like everyone else, we’re adapting our programs to better fit the needs of the communities we serve during the pandemic. We would love to be out in the field with our students, but until we can do that safely we’ve been offering online and remote programs so students can get off their screens and spend some time outside, reconnecting to the natural world. This year has also given us a great opportunity to connect with new community partners and think about ways we can adapt the things we do well to fit the needs they have right now. It’s been a fun challenge to reimagine some of our programs and I think we’ll come out of this stronger for having done so.

In what ways does being part of The Alliance Center community help you achieve your mission? 

Collaboration is everything for us. Nearly all of our programs culminate with an Action Project, in which students choose an environmental issue in their community and then design and implement their own solution. We are always looking for partner organizations to support students’ learning and efforts on their chosen projects. Also, we are looking to develop relationships with private land owners near the Front Range to provide land access for our programs in exchange for environmental stewardship projects.

What is something you bring to The Alliance Center that no one else does?

During COVID, we’ve adapted our award-winning school programs into various new online, in-person, and hybrid formats. We would love to bring these programs to your school, learning pod, or community organizations in your neighborhood. We can also collaborate on grants to fund these and other educational programs for students that need them.

What does success look like for you as it relates to sustainability and your organization’s mission? 

We believe that students can’t be expected to care about the environment if they never have a chance to explore the outdoors. Our hope is that by exposing our students to the incredible environments of the Front Range, we can inspire them to become environmental stewards for the rest of their lives. Our programs provide a jumping off point, but we always hope to see our students continuing to find ways to make change long after they leave us.

What is your proudest achievement as an organization?

It all comes down to the things our students achieve. We give out the Ripple Effect Award every year to two students who demonstrate exceptional leadership in our programs and inspire their classmates. You can read about our past winners, including 2020 honorees Sawyer Wilson and Anayansi Barrera Martinez here.

Why did your organization choose the Alliance over other working spaces?

We chose The Alliance Center over other coworking spaces because it is the sustainability hub in the Denver area, it is centrally located, and we can commute in using public transit via Union Station.

Interview with Curt Baker, Communications Manager for Denver Streets Partnership.

What does your organization do and how long have you been around?

We’re a coalition of community organizations advocating for people-friendly streets in Denver. Been at it since 2016.

What specific programs, practices, or priorities is your organization most focused on right now on? How have these evolved over time? 

Since our inception, we’ve been focused on affecting the policies that inform our transportation system: advocating for the dollars to build out complete citywide bike, pedestrian and bus networks; actively participating in advisory groups for citywide plans and major projects to ensure people are prioritized and the community is meaningfully engaged; and working to elevate and empower the voices of those that know their neighborhoods best: residents.

Since the onset of COVID-19, we’ve focused on a few specific campaigns to support residents during the pandemic. We advocated for shared and open streets to provide Denverites outdoor space to recreate and exercise safely, successfully reclaiming nearly 15 miles of street space for people walking, biking, and rolling. We’ve also supported dozens of businesses with outdoor seating expansion permits and furniture, focusing on minority-owned businesses that often do not have access to resources, allowing many of them to continue supporting families and the local community.

In what ways does being part of The Alliance Center community help you achieve your mission? 

We welcome organizations that support our mission and vision to consider joining our coalition.

Our mission is: To reclaim Denver’s streets for people walking, rolling, biking, and using transit, and to build safe, healthy and equitable communities.

Our vision is that: On people-friendly streets, walking, rolling, biking, and transit are the first choices of transportation for all people. Streets for people are living, public spaces that connect us to jobs, schools, services and each other and are designed to foster health, happiness, and opportunity for all.

What is something you bring to The Alliance Center that no one else does?

Our work is intimately tied to the Alliance Center’s vision of the world, one where organizations oriented around community, sustainability and collaboration work together towards common goals. Our organization brings together voices that transcend industries and standard transportation issues, bringing together a coalition of partners that represents Denverites with a uniquely-comprehensive voice. Our coalition provides unparalleled, comprehensive expertise and perspective to inform the conversations to reduce our city’s dependence on cars and design communities that prioritize people. We can all agree: safer and better transportation options benefit everyone. Organizations interested in joining our coalition can visit our website.

 

I don’t vote. After living in, working in and contributing to this country, including paying taxes, for 15 years, I still do not have the right to vote. Voting, as it turns out, is not just the responsibility of American citizens, it is also their privilege. Together with other millions of immigrants, most of whom just like me have contributed to this country for many years, I do not have that privilege to choose the people who represent me.

That is not to say I don’t have a voice. I do not have the power of my vote; yet I have power in other ways. I have the power to educate myself about politics, speak up at town hall meetings, help educate others, donate my money to the candidates who I feel deserve it and call and send letters to my city’s representatives. I can also volunteer with political campaigns by calling voters or canvassing. Additionally, I can ensure other people who are eligible register to vote. Yes, there are so many ways to contribute, and yet, the most consequential of all is the actual act of voting.

One day I will have the honor to once and for all become an American citizen. Until that day comes, I will continue to make my voice heard in any way I can.

If you are lucky enough to be able to vote, do so. Vote for yourself and do it for those who can’t because of immigration status, age or any other personal situation outside their control. Do it because it is the right thing to do and because you have the power to do so. Do it because it is a privilege. Do it because it is such a simple and beautiful thing to do for this state and nation we call home.

Written by Isabel Mendoza, Alliance Center Programs Manager