Announcement, News, Press Release

GreenLight Fund Launches GreenLight Denver, its 13th Site

Feb 8, 2024


Fund commits $5 million in Denver to lead a community-driven process to match unmet needs with proven programs that remove barriers to prosperity

Denver, CO – February 8, 2024 – The GreenLight Fund, a national nonprofit funder, with support from 81 local investors today launched Denver as the 13th GreenLight Fund location. GreenLight’s locally-focused model connects communities with proven social innovations from across the country to address community-identified needs. GreenLight Fund Denver, led by Rebecca Gorrell, will partner with local residents and community leaders to address deep-rooted disparities and create opportunities for children and families to thrive.

“An incredible group of Denver investors has rallied around GreenLight Denver and believes in its potential to move the needle on deep-rooted challenges facing children and families in low-income communities,” said John Simon, co-founder and board chair of the GreenLight Fund and a managing director at Boston-based venture capital firm Sigma Prime Ventures. “We are thrilled to add Denver to our national network and look forward to partnering locally for long-term, measurable change.”

GreenLight Denver will take specific action each year to bring an evidence-based program to Denver to break down barriers to prosperity. By leveraging partnerships, ongoing collaborative support and complementing the work already happening locally, these programs will deliver measurable social impact and be sustainable for the long term.

“I think sometimes you find people either fall on one side or the other. You can either be data driven and focus on goals or you can be really community driven and focus on input,” said Denver Mayor Mike Johnston at GreenLight Fund Denver’s launch event. “What’s unique about GreenLight’s model is actually the belief that we can do both. You can both have a deeply community driven process that helps us identify the most important outputs we want to deliver and then you can actually insist on really concrete hard outcomes against these community driven designs.”

“After learning about the locally-focused approach of the GreenLight Fund, I knew we needed to get involved. GreenLight will listen first and then invest in effective social programs that fill gaps and are complementary to the services already available here. GreenLight can help increase our local problem solving capacity and most importantly, reduce obstacles faced by members of our community navigating poverty,” shared Pat Hamill, CEO, Oakwood Homes.

Rebecca Gorrell, founding Executive Director, has joined GreenLight to lead the local work. Born and raised in the Denver Metro area, Gorrell has more than 20 years of experience in the Colorado nonprofit sector including roles at Regis University and Seniors’ Resource Center. Prior to joining GreenLight, Gorrell was Chief Program Officer at the Community Resource Center (CRC) where she led a statewide team to build individual, organization and network skills and capacity across Colorado’s diverse nonprofit sector.

“I am thrilled to be leading this important work in Denver and grateful for the support of the GreenLight Denver investor coalition that has made it possible,” said Gorrell. “Our impact will be driven at all stages by the community, starting with authentic conversations with community members and deep partnership with local leaders and the vibrant nonprofit sector, ultimately leading to the effective solutions we’ll bring to create meaningful social change.”

Gorrell is assembling a Selection Advisory Council (SAC) comprised of a diverse and vested group of community leaders, residents and experts from businesses, nonprofits, philanthropic and community-based organizations, and the public sector to serve as advisors in the annual selection process.

Each year, the team will engage with community representatives and the SAC to prioritize a specific unmet need, find and assess programs with successful track records, and invest in scaling the proven program with the best local fit. The focus areas and investment decisions will be decided and implemented locally. The first selection is expected in late 2024.

Bruce K. Lee, President and CEO, HTLF shared, “HTLF, a Denver-headquartered company, is proud to support the launch of GreenLight Denver. Based on their model and the measurable impact they’ve had in other cities, I’m confident GreenLight will bring positive change for families in Denver and beyond.”

In other GreenLight cities, the GreenLight Model has led to measurable progress on societal challenges such as early childhood literacy, food insecurity, community safety, youth mental health, family asset-building, and the prevention of homelessness and housing insecurity.

“Looking at MSU Denver’s diverse student population, we understand the role of accessible education as a path to inclusive prosperity and the challenges students overcome to get here. We look forward to partnering with GreenLight to impactfully address unmet needs so more learners and families in our city can reach their full potential,” said Janine Davidson, President, Metropolitan State University, Denver.

A diverse coalition of co-founding investors came together to enable the launch of GreenLight Denver with a more than $5M Fund: The Alpert Family, Anonymous, Bain Capital, George & Kalliope Balafas / Kentro Group, Bank of America, Bank of America-Denver, Cody & Seth Belzley, Bender West Foundation, BuildStrong Education Foundation, Sarah Burney & Vanessa Ramich / Cresset Capital, Mollie Hale Carter, George & Christina Caulkins, Citywide Banks, The Clayton Club, Jonathan & Aimee Coleman, Colorado Thrives, Mark Cordova/Centennial Bolt, Cushman Family, Deloitte, DigitalOcean, LLC, Joy & Chris Dinsdale, Driven Brands Holdings, Inc., Durand Foundation / Andre and Kim Durand, Bob & Lynda Engel, Darren Fisk, Matt & Brooke Flavin, Steve & Yama Foreman, Ken Fugate / Signature Bank, The Gardner Family Foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives, Heather Rule Grady, Barbara Grogan, Mowa Haile, Steve Halstedt, Pat Hamill/Oakwood Homes, John J. Hanley, Dane & Andrea Harbaugh, David Harbaugh, Robert & Laura Hill, Eric Holt, HTLF, iHeartMedia, Matt & Alissa Joblon, Brandon & Wendy Johnson Family Foundation, Sam & Nicole Kasparek, William T. Kemper Charitable Trust, UMB Bank n.a., Trustee, Molly & Taylor Kirkpatrick, Bruce K. Lee, Steve Lockton Family Foundation, Lockton, Ashley Marks, Matthew McCall, Eileen & Tate McCoy, Brian & Amy McDowell, Adam & Ayeisha Mesinger, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Mile High Five Foundation, Mile High United Way, Deb & Scott Mitchell, The Morgridge Family Foundation, Leigh & Tyler Nottberg Family Foundation, Juan Padro, Platte River Equity, Jake Reagan, Salazar Family Foundation, MacKenzie Scott, Shane Co., Stephan Shelanski / Vegas Sports Network, John & Susan Simon, Greg Sissel & Therese Ivancovich, Geoff & Lauren Smart, Sunflower Bank, Jeff & Dani Sussman, Kent Thiry & Denise O’Leary, UMB Bank, University of Colorado, University of Denver, US Engineering, US Engineering Metalworks, Dan & Gina Vecchiarelli, Kris & Laura Whalen, Wiegers Family Foundation.

“GreenLight’s mission and approach fit well with the Salazar Family Foundation’s dedication to giving back from the heart. GreenLight is committed to engaging with community residents closest to the challenges to identify unmet needs and bring solutions that work and are additive to our already strong nonprofit ecosystem,” added Lola and Rob Salazar of the Salazar Family Foundation.

“Investing in GreenLight is a great opportunity to try something new to help solve a problem in our city that will unleash goodness,” said Carrie Morgridge, Co-Founder, Morgridge Family Foundation. “We believe by coming together GreenLight can achieve something special in our Denver community.”


Additional Quotes

“The University of Denver is excited to be one of GreenLight Denver’s partners. Serving the public good by improving lives guides who we are, and I look forward to what GreenLight Denver and DU can achieve together.”– Jeremy Haefner, Chancellor, University of Denver

“We are pleased to be supporting GreenLight’s efforts in the Denver region so we can work as a team to improve outcomes for members of our community who are oftentimes overlooked and under-served.” – Tyler & Leigh Nottberg

“Bank of America has been a long time supporter of GreenLight across their national network. GreenLight’s community-informed approach and track record of sustainable results addressing tough challenges makes me excited for what we’ll accomplish together.” – Raju Patel, President, Bank of America, Colorado

“GreenLight’s proven, sustainable model for making measurable impact on communities in need is what compelled Laura and I to support the program. Serving on the board of ParentChild+, one of GreenLight’s portfolio organizations, I have witnessed first-hand how GreenLight’s on the ground support ensures success in the local community. We couldn’t be more excited for GreenLight Denver!” – Kris Whalen, Managing Director, Platte River Equity

“Two words for my hope for GreenLight Denver: Impact Investing. The analogy with GreenLight is that if a chosen nonprofit fulfills its promise, it solves a significant public policy problem for an entire community. Think about the impact from doing that a dozen times over the time frame of perhaps a generation! That is my hope for GreenLight Denver.” – Steve Halstedt

“When we learned about the strategy of GreenLight, how it was data and results driven, it’s incredible track record and impact, and its scalability and sustainability, it was by far the most compelling philanthropic model we had ever seen. Then, you couple that with getting to know who John is at the core, his leadership, relationships and his business career, we knew we had to throw our agency behind this to ensure we got GreenLight and John to Denver.” – Matt Joblon, CEO, BMC Investments

“We are very proud to support and share in GreenLight’s launch in Denver. With your strong leadership and proven track record in 12 cities, we hope you continue your impact and accomplishments to meet the needs in the Denver community.” – Wiegers Family Foundation

“I am delighted and excited to serve as an inaugural Selection Advisory Council member for GreenLight Denver.  Since my initial introduction to GreenLight, I knew that I wanted to be involved. Engaging with a wide variety of stakeholders and building partnerships is so important when working towards lasting change. I know this to be true.  GreenLight’s model has proven success and I am confident that the success will continue here in Denver. Our community will be strengthened via GreenLight’s engagement.” – Stephanie O’Malley, J.D., Associate Vice Chancellor for  Government Relations and Community Affairs, University of Denver

“We are so excited to have GreenLight come to Denver.  With a proven record of positive change and scalable impact, we can’t wait to see what GreenLight can accomplish with its model of leveraging private dollars in our community.” – George Caulkins, Greendeck Capital