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

We have been through a lot this year. Spring saw an unprecedented spike in unemployment due to the coronavirus, summer witnessed the largest racial awakening in a generation and this fall will host a presidential election. 

With so much happening, our attention has been divided, and many of us have been focusing on what the future will look like. This November, Coloradans will be asked to vote for the president, a senator, congressional representatives, state senators and state representatives, all of whom will be instrumental in shaping the policy of the future. 

But Coloradans also get to vote on 11 state ballot measures that will shape ecosystem health, paid medical and family leave, how their communities are funded, who gets to vote, abortion, the future of the electoral college and how the state combats the vaping epidemic.

Below are descriptions of some of those ballot measures and The Alliance Center’s stances on them to serve as a tool to help you navigate this year’s election.

The last day to register to vote and still receive a ballot in the mail in Colorado is October 26, and election day is November 3. Register to vote and manage your registration here. 

 

The Alliance Center Stances on 2020 Ballot Initiatives

Denver Residents:

Denver Climate Action Sales Tax Increase – the Alliance recommends a YES vote.

The Denver Climate Action Sales Tax increases sales tax in Denver by 0.25 percent to fund the city’s Climate Action Task Force. 

By voting yes, you would be supporting the funding of projects that make Denver’s homes, buildings and streets more energy efficient. One of these proposals would retrofit buildings to emit fewer greenhouse gases and incentivize clean energy sources like solar panels. This would also fund the transition of car-first roads to multimodal streets that prioritize a carbon-free fleet of buses, bikes, electric cars, and electric bikes. The sales tax would not be imposed on essential products that are already subject to a lower tax rate. 

We think that Denver residents should support this sales tax because it prioritizes and funds projects that will be dedicated to the community with “a strong lens toward equity, race, and social justice,” which is directly in line with The Alliance Center’s vision. With its job creation clause, the measure will also build local workforces by training and creating new careers for under-resourced individuals in renewable and clean energy technology and natural resources management, which aligns directly with the objectives of our Sustainability Skills Initiative. Similar ideas were discussed at the Alliance Center’s Emergence Series this summer and would position Denver favorably to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and fight global warming equitably. 

Read the full bill here

 

All Colorado Residents:

Colorado Proposition 114, Reintroduction and Management of Gray Wolves – the Alliance recommends a YES vote.

Proposition 114 creates a commission tasked with planning and implementing the reintroduction of gray wolves to Colorado. 

Gray wolves have been absent from Colorado since the 1940s and were classified as a federally endangered species in 1978. In 1996, gray wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park with great success. This measure would ensure that the reintroduction does not negatively impact the ecosystem by requiring the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to plan the reintroduction with public input, transparency, and compensation methods for lost livestock. 

We recommend you vote yes since apex predators are essential to the health of ecosystems. Gray wolves’ reintroduction would be a win for conservation and ecosystem health in Colorado.  

Read more

Colorado Amendment B, Repeal Gallagher Amendment – the Alliance recommends a YES vote.

Amendment B will repeal the Gallagher Amendment that requires a residential to non-residential property tax ratio through altering property tax assessment rates. 

Voting yes to repeal the Gallagher Amendment would freeze residential tax assessment rates at 7.15 percent, and any future change to this would require voter approval. Since its passage in 1982, the Gallagher Amendment has lowered the residential assessment rates from 21 percent, which has left rural communities with a shrinking tax base and unfunded essential services. Amendment B has bipartisan approval in the state legislature. 

We think you should vote for the Gallagher Amendment’s repeal because it would empower rural Coloradan communities by making it easier for them to fund their essential services. When essential services are cut, our least fortunate neighbors are always impacted first. Ensuring equity in our communities is critical to Colorado’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and future growth. 

Read more

Colorado Proposition 118, Paid Medical and Family Leave Insurance Program – the Alliance recommends a YES vote.

Proposition 118 establishes a paid medical and family leave program to provide 12-16 weeks of paid leave.

By voting yes, you support creating the paid medical and family leave program for employees who are pregnant, facing a serious health condition, or need leave related to a family member’s military deployment. You are also supporting a job protection clause that prohibits retaliation against an employee who takes paid family or medical leave. The funding for this program comes from a premium split by employers and employees, and there are provisions for employers with fewer than ten employees and local governments to opt-out of the program. 

We think you should support this measure because it will reduce barriers for employees and increase retention of minority employees, who are disproportionately dealt  the burden of choosing between paying bills and taking care of their health. 

Read more

Colorado Amendment 76 – Citizenship Qualification of Voters – the Alliance recommends a NO vote.

Amendment 76 changes the wording of Colorado’s constitution to read “only a citizen” of the United States can vote. 

By voting no, you oppose the change in language, which is currently “every citizen” of the United States can vote. Federal and state law already requires citizenship to register to vote but allow local municipalities to enfranchise non-citizens to vote on local measures. There are currently no municipalities in Colorado that grant such privileges. 

We think you should vote against this amendment because it serves as a disenfranchisement tool and aims to solve a problem that does not exist. It would discourage voting from anyone who is an immigrant or has an undocumented family member. In doing so, it disproportionately impacts Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities as an intimidation tactic. At The Alliance Center, we believe citizens that are fully engaged with democracy are necessary for a sustainable and equitable future.

Read more

Colorado Proposition 117, Require Voter Approval of Certain New Enterprises – the Alliance recommends a NO vote.

Proposition 117 adds a voter approval requirement for new enterprises that will make more than $100 million in five years. 

By voting no, you are supporting the state legislature’s ability to create and secure new enterprises. Enterprises are government-owned businesses that provide a service for a fee or surcharge paid by the service recipient, in contrast to an agency that receives funding from tax revenue. Recent enterprises include the Health Insurance Affordability Enterprise that expanded financial support to individuals and hospitals facing uncompensated care. You can find a list of current state enterprises here

We think you should vote against this new regulation because it is an expansion of TABOR and ultimately hurts our state’s economy. Enterprises are a sound method of revenue generation for the state, and funding from sources like these will likely be essential to realizing the Regenerative Recovery Coalition’s goals. Opposing this measure would reduce the friction the coalition faces in leading Colorado’s equitable recovery.  

Read more

Colorado Proposition 115, Prohibit Abortions After 22 Weeks – the Alliance recommends a NO vote.

Proposition 115 establishes an abortion ban at 22 weeks of pregnancy. Currently, Colorado has no limit on abortion based on the duration of the pregnancy. 

By voting against proposition 115, you do not support a change in Colorado’s abortion laws that would ban abortion after 22 weeks. The proposal does provide for physicians to perform an abortion after 22 weeks if it is immediately necessary to save the mother’s life. The measure imposes a fine for performing an abortion on physicians and suspends their license for three years.

The Alliance Center aligns our work with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We take this position against proposition 115 since abortion rights are a fundamental part of gender equity, women’s’ rights and reducing inequalities. This proposition would disproportionately affect low-income communities, who are additionally the most adversely affected by the effects of climate change. At The Alliance Center, we seek to honor women and their right to make decisions related to their own bodies and families.

Read more

Colorado Proposition 116, State Income Rate Reduction – the Alliance recommends a NO vote.

Proposition 116 decreases state income tax from 4.63 percent to 4.55 percent. 

By voting no, you will be maintaining the current income tax rate of 4.63 percent. The coronavirus pandemic has already created a multi-billion dollar deficit for the state, and losing revenue from income tax would hurt the state’s ability to fund essential services like K-12 education.  

We think you should vote no because this would further increase the state’s deficit and make it more challenging for Colorado to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The Alliance Center is leading Colorado’s recovery through the Regenerative Recovery Coalition. To realize the full potential of Colorado’s equitable recovery, the state cannot afford to lose any more funding. 

Read more

Click here for more information about all ballot measures this November. 

These stances were voted on by the Board of Directors of The Alliance Center, and this article was written by Kavitya Sarma, Programs Intern.

Logo for Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education logo against aspen trees.

Interview with Kat Riley, AmeriCorps program coordinator for the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education.

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

The Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE) was established in 1989. We support the many types of educators who teach concepts we all need to understand: how natural systems work, what we must do to interact responsibly with the environment, and how we can protect natural resources for future generations. We are the largest network of environmental educators in Colorado, serving over 800,000 learners. Collectively, we inspire educators, schools, and communities to impact conservation, education, social justice, health and wellness, and positive youth development.

What specific programs, practices, or priorities is your organization most focused on right now?

We’re most focused on how to best support and uplift the field of environmental education through times of COVID-19 transmission. More than ever, environmental education (EE) is so important as it helps to lower disease transmission by offering open, outdoor learning spaces for school-aged children. EE is also changing the way we learn by not only teaching individuals about their natural environment, but by developing lifelong skills in critical thinking, sense of belonging, ownership, and justice which leads to responsible action, and creating long-term behavioral change through increased awareness. 

To help guide the future of environmental education in Colorado, CAEE partnered with the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) to convene over 65 community feedback calls with hundreds of environmental and outdoors learning providers from across the country. This resulted in the formation of the eeGuidance for Reopening Schools, which outlines several specific areas where environmental and outdoor education programs can help schools, students, teachers, and families.

We’re also currently working on other projects, such as the Careers in Natural Resources Initiative and the Environmental Education Corps (eeCorps) AmeriCorps Program. The Careers in Natural Resources Initiative provides young adults with stepping stones towards pursuing a career in natural resources, and the AmeriCorps Program places AmeriCorps members with EE host sites across the state to meet the goals of the Colorado Environmental Education Plan. 

In what ways could The Alliance Center community help you achieve your mission? 

We will be offering professional development and learning opportunities to our AmeriCorps members, so it would be great to have them learn about the work that The Alliance Center tenants are doing. If there’s ways for them to get involved, especially as part of their mandatory Days of Service, let us know! If any organizations have existing committees that our AmeriCorps members can participate in, this would work towards their training hours commitment and provide them with professional development surrounding leadership and advising. 

We also want to extend a hand in case we can assist any of you with your education efforts. We can offer technical assistance and training in education best practices. We currently have 850 members across Colorado; if you’re looking for a particular partner to help with educational development, we can make those connections for you. We chose The Alliance Center over other working spaces because it’s a major part of our mission to connect with others and create partnerships.

What is your proudest achievement as an organization?

The formation of the Colorado Environmental Education Plan (CEEP), which was adopted in December 2012 by the State Board of Education in partnership between CAEE, the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, and the Colorado Department of Education. It was designed to promote, coordinate, and sustain standards-based environmental education across the state. The CEEP is also the basis for our AmeriCorps Program.

 

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

Logo for Healthier Colorado against a sky.

This is an exciting time for Healthier Colorado as we announce that we have officially broken ground on the Colorado Health Capitol. This new space will serve as a collaborative environment for non-profit organizations invested in improving the mental, physical, social, economic, and environmental health of all Coloradans. Among these organizations includes The Bell Policy Center, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI), and One Colorado, with whom we are thrilled to embark on this journey.

The Alliance Center has been an incredible home for Healthier Colorado over these last six years. Together, we’ve transformed into one of Colorado’s leading health policy organizations and have founded Healthy Air and Water Colorado to help bring health professionals into the climate conversation. We are now taking the next step to formalize a home for other organizations championing health policy through the state. The Colorado Health Capitol will be a space that meets the challenge of our current and likely future reality, shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, in which non-profits need high quality, flexible space, and the ability to collaborate and operate efficiently to meet their goals.

Located in the heart of Uptown at the intersection of 17th and Grant, the Health Capitol will occupy 26,000 square feet and provide state-of-the-art amenities including a conference and event center, full-time community manager, a large shared kitchen, on-site cafe, fitness center, parking garage access, five private conference rooms, three phone booths, a media production room, as well as a maternity and meditation space.

While the physical element of this project is certainly exciting, what it represents for Colorado’s growing health movement is far more significant. To drive a cohesive health movement, advocates of mental, physical, social, economic, and environmental health must first recognize our shared purpose in the same way a person passionate about conservation efforts recognize each other as “environmentalists.” This is the vision we cultivate at Healthier Colorado, and the establishment of the Colorado Health Capitol is a physical manifestation of that vision. Our hope is that as these organizations come together under one roof, each respective element of health we fight for will coalesce for the benefit of all Coloradans.

The new space is designed to accommodate Coloradans who share our vision. Our Community Access Program will allow mission-aligned organizations and individuals to use Health Capitol amenities at no cost. The same access will be provided to individuals and under-resourced organizations within Denver who have temporary needs. Together, we will use the public policy process to engage with the full range of health issues and continue raising the voices and serving the interest of regular people.

As the new home to great non-profit organizations working together to uplift the well-being of Coloradans, The Colorado Health Capitol will elevate each organization’s mission as well, bringing attention, collaboration, and shared resources to the great work we all do. As Mayor Hancock said, working together under one roof will bring these organizations closer, forging a connection and promoting the growth of a cohesive health movement in Colorado. Colorado’s Health Capitol exists to address health issues that affect us all regardless of age, ethnicity, political affiliation or economic opportunity. The perspectives within will reflect the diversity of our state and represent the interests and needs of every Coloradan.

 

Written by Kyle Piccola, Healthier Colorado’s Senior Director of Communications.