Projects Funded by Constellation Philanthropy

Constellation Philanthropy shines a spotlight on the important work of early childhood development.

Broader visibility brings more funders – and more funding – to this arena. The organizations and individuals we fund work tirelessly each day to improve the lives of Colorado’s youngest residents.

The relationship with our funded projects does not end once funding is received and reports are submitted. The conversation and dialogue continues so we are kept up to date on projects, and where we might be able to offer additional support in the way of brainstorming sessions, introductions, or simply just as a trusted sounding board.

We are always looking for clear, bold ideas offering new approaches, grounded in evidence and research, to help improve the lives of Colorado’s children. If you think you have just the idea we should hear about, please read through our Applicant Criteria page.

All
  • All
  • Family Support & Education
  • Health & Well-Being
  • Learning & Development
2020mom

2020 Mom

2020 Mom, with support from Constellation Philanthropy, worked to develop a toolkit to help doctors, insurers, hospitals, and health care leaders within communities identify appropriate stakeholders to involve in the assessment of local gaps and assets and prioritize work needed at the local level regarding maternal mental health.

After development and implementation of the toolkit in 4 pilot sites, 2020 Mom conducted a follow-up survey to assess the strength of the toolkit. Results demonstrated that the project provided the structure and motivation needed to assess, analyze, and determine action needed to improve maternal mental health at the local level.

 

Toolkit and pilot communities around maternal mental health
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Bright By Three

Bright By Three

Bright by Three equips families with tools to promote their child’s healthy development during the earliest years of life through partnerships with pediatricians, researchers and other child development experts to design program materials in English and Spanish. To integrate the ability to add and distribute content through Bright by Text, which distributes targeted content through partners in the Metro Denver area via text message to engage parents, drive behavior change, and resource linkage.

Through support from Constellation members, Bright by Three piloted this method of content dissemination to families to demonstrate that participating parents had a better understanding of the importance of interaction in child development through this communication method.

Planning and piloting localized messaging through Bright by Text
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Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities of Denver (CCD) is the charitable arm of the Archdiocese of Denver. CCD has long served some of the poorest and most in-need communities in Colorado. In recent years as more families with small children fall into poverty and homelessness, CCD has increased its programs targeting the health and welfare of infants and toddlers.

Through support from Constellation members, Catholic Charities is building the infrastructure needed to provide more comprehensive and coordinated mental health services to children in their Early Childhood Education (ECE) sites and across their continuum of care. The funds are being used to support clinicians providing coordination and training of staff as well as mental health services to children and families, and other related costs.

Mental Health system development across EC Sites and Marisol Services
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Chalkbeat Colorado

Chalkbeat

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news network covering educational change efforts and changing the education landscape in the communities it targets. Chalkbeat serves to inform the decisions and actions that lead to better outcomes for all children, especially those in low-income communities.

Through support from Constellation Philanthropy members, Chalkbeat worked to develop their audience to develop meaningful stories that matter to the early childhood community and increase social impact through tracking real-world consequences of their stories.

Chalkbeat Colorado’s expanded coverage of early childhood issues.
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Clayton Early Learning

Clayton Early Learning

Clayton Early Learning aims to advance early childhood education through four pillars of work – research, training, practice and advocacy. Clayton promotes equitable access to high quality early childhood education by ensuring optimal development during the critical birth-to-five period for all children, especially those of limited opportunities.

Through support from Constellation members, Clayton Early Learning created, validated, and tested an innovative method called the Clayton School Readiness Index to tell the story of how children’s strengths and challenges contribute to their kindergarten readiness through complex data evaluation.

Clayton School Readiness Index
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Colorado Children's Campaign

Colorado Children’s Campaign

Colorado Children’s Campaign’s (CCC) focus is on shaping state-level policy, funding, and legislation in support of children’s health, education, and general welfare. They work through engagement with policymakers, community outreach, and publications and communications targeting both policymakers and the general public.

Through support from Constellation members, CCC worked to engage stakeholders in creation of policy brief outline key components of an advocacy strategy and investments needed to improve the early learning and development opportunities for Colorado’s youngest children.

Medium-long term policy development and community outreach
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DECC

Denver Early Childhood Council

Denver’s Early Childhood Council (DECC) serves as a model of best practice for Early Childhood Councils across Colorado, facilitating shared data and resources that reach over 60% of all licensed childcare facilities each year. In Denver alone, their services are critical for thousands of EC professionals seeking training and advancement opportunities, along with licensed early learning programs and many more informal caregivers.

Through support from Constellation members, DECC is developing a workforce marketplace through an expansion of their existing ecConnect data system to create a matching system that will alleviate stress and cost associated with workforce search and placement activities.

Modernizing the substitute system; bringing 'Match.com' to early childhood
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Denver Health Doula Program

Denver Health Doulas

Develop and sustain a community-based doula program that serves vulnerable populations at Denver Health over two years.

RMP

Denver Health Montbello Clinic

Montbello Family Health Center (MFHC) is a Denver Health community health center providing a range of medical, mental health, and dental services in a family-friendly manner (weekend hours, language interpretation, a laboratory, and full-service pharmacy).

Through support from Constellation Philanthropy, MFHC is incorporating an early childhood psychologist into their group well-child visits while also adding capacity for data collection, analysis and modeling for financial sustainability. If quantitative data proves the impact of this promising practice, MFHC will be well positioned to seek enhanced reimbursement for behavioral health practices from payor sources.

Support for behavioral support in group well-child visits
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DMNS

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Constellation Philanthropy members awarded the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Art Museum and the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus a 12‐month planning grant for Young Children and Their Adults Learning Together. This grant served to understand how these three cultural institutions could better support learning and parent engagement within the families of young children. This initiative represents a focused effort to ensure that every child who grows up in Denver benefits from the rich learning and cultural resources of
the city.

Through this planning period, these cultural institutes realized the importance of co-creation in program design and planned to implement activities to strengthen community involvement. Efforts include building staff capacity to develop early childhood education fluency and improve staff knowledge and relationships, bridging partnerships with community members to strengthen collaborative planning, and engaging with social service partners to continue collaboration and foster relationships.

Young Children and Their Adults Learning Together - planning grant with DMNS as organizer alongside Children's Museum and Denver Art Museum
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DU

Denver University Morgridge College of Education

The Fisher Early Learning Center at Denver University (DU) opened in 2000 and is a NAEYC accredited, inclusive early childhood center affiliated with the Morgridge College of Education (MCE) at the DU. 20% of the children at Fisher have special needs and are fully included in all programming and classrooms. The Fisher Inclusion Team is considered a community resource and model demonstration site for inclusive design and programming for children 0-5 with and without disabilities.

Through support from Constellation Philanthropy, DU, MCE and Fisher are utilizing Project ECHO, a hub & spoke technology based tele-mentoring system. The system will share Fisher’s best practices with both rural and urban cohorts of educators. This will allow them to identify and implement best practices in addressing challenging behaviors.

Scaling the brilliance of Fisher inclusion teachings across the state
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Denver Zoo

Denver Zoo

Nurturing Scientists Through Nature Play is a partnership between the Denver Zoo and area early childhood education (ECE) providers aimed at nature exploration for children, science literacy, and cultivating care for the environment.

Through support from Constellation members, the Zoo is expanding its capacity to support ECE professionals and the children they serve in settings without traditional access to the Zoo.  Based on learnings from Nurturing Scientists Through Nature Play, the Zoo also plans to adapt its existing Outreach Program, to include nature play and best practices in early-childhood learning.

Nurturing scientists through nature play: encourage age appropriate science skills through nature play and exploration, this program fosters children’s connection to animals and the environment while preparing young children for success in the classroom and beyond
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CU

Dr Sona Dimidjian

Dr Sona Dimidjian is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder and a licensed clinical psychologist. Her research program addresses the treatment and prevention of depression, with a particular focus on the mental health of women during pregnancy and the postpartum period.

Through support from Constellation members, Dr Dimidjian developed innovative tools to scale the effective intervention of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for at risk pregnant and postpartum women through a web-based and mobile app called “Mindful Mood Balance” (MMB) and completed an evaluation of the implementation of MMB for mothers.

Mindful Mood Balance for Moms
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Early Milestones

Early Milestones

The Early Childhood Communication Collaborative (ECCC), which was designed by the Early Childhood Leadership Commission, was implemented to raise awareness of the important role parents and caregivers have in child development and find a better way to support and connect with parents and caregivers.

Through grant support from Constellation Philanthropy members, The Early Childhood Communication Collaborative was able to map communication efforts across the state of Colorado to identify gaps. Using information collected from this mapping along with parent/caregiver focus groups, ECCC was able to produce a project report which examines the state of efforts from the perspective of parents, caregivers, and providers and provides recommendations for community stakeholders on how to advance engagement with parents and caregivers concerning early childhood.

Early Childhood Communication Collaborative
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Family Resource Center Association

Family Resource Center Association

The Family Resource Center Association (FRCA) works to ensure young children’s healthy development by providing parents with a single point of entry for multiple resources, significantly increasing their families’ chances for success in reaching their goals for positive child development, early educational success, good health, and economic, social, and financial stability. FRCA does this by supporting a network of Family Resource Centers (FRC) to develop, implement and continuously improve a highly effective, methodical approach to supporting families and children.

Through support from Constellation Philanthropy members, FRCA piloted a project to implement the Colorado FRC model and family support approach, which included Implementation Science fidelity protocols and evaluation of processes to ensure effective and consistent family support services.

Colorado Family Resource Centers pilot
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Hope House Logo

Hope House

Founded in 2003, Hope House offers teen moms from across the Denver-metro area a free Residential Program in Arvada, Colorado. Hope House also offers a free Community Program with menu-style options that include GED classes, college and career support, parenting and healthy relationship classes, professional counseling, Early Learning and more.

In 2014, Hope House launched a drop-in, part-time Early-Learning Program for the children of the teen moms they serve. Thanks to support from Constellation members, Hope House has had the opportunity to further ramp up their Early Learning Program, specifically implementing TS Gold, which allowed them to better focus on the most important aspects of high quality early childhood education. Constellation also helped Hope House hire a full-time Early Learning Program

Hope House building expansion
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Invest In Kids

Invest in Kids

Invest in Kids serves to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable young children and families in Colorado. They implement two programs, Nurse-Family Partnership and The Incredible Years, which focus on working with first-time mothers to improve outcomes and deliver evidence-based programs that promote social and emotional behavior or all children.

Constellation Philanthropy members awarded Invest in Kids a grant in 2015 and a grant in 2017 to support growth of the Incredible Years program in Colorado across multiple years, which included community planning and readiness, and training and coaching for teachers on Incredible Years program components, and adding additional program capacity after program planning was completed.

Incredible Years infrastructure planning and expansion implementation
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Clinica

La Clinica Tepeyac

La Clinica Tepeyac connects working low-income Latino families with affordable, culturally-responsible health care services, and they now serve approximately 5,000 Spanish-speaking adults each year.

Through support from Constellation members, Tepeyac plans to partner with Children’s Hospital of Colorado to provide integrated, patient-centered care for children, including medical, behavioral health, health promotion, dental, and pharmacy services, with a special focus on those under 5, as well as pre/post-natal through Baby and Me classes.

Integrated patient centered care for children
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MHEL

Mile High Early Learning

Mile High Early Learning’s mission is to enable all children in Denver to succeed in school by providing resources and education to inspire a lifetime of learning and self-sufficiency. Mile High Early Learning offers Montessori inspired early learning programs to children considered at-risk due to economic circumstances.

Through support from Constellation members totaling, Mile High Early Learning  supported both professionals beginning their careers as early childhood educators in completing the Child Development Associate (CDA) credentialing program, which helps professionals gain knowledge of development science practices to improve their practice, as well as providing more experienced professionals with Early Learning Leadership residency’s to increase leadership skills and seek higher levels of credentialing to allow for better outcomes for children.

Professional development support for Early Childhood Educators
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New Legacy

New Legacy Charter School

New Legacy Charter High School provides engaging education to young parents, and the early learning center allows for impact at both generations.

Constellation Philanthropy members awarded New Legacy Charter High School a grant to support the opening of New Legacy’s early learning center.  Through the funding provided, New Legacy can demonstrate growth on comprehensive measures of healthy child development and school readiness, significant growth in parenting skills of students, and knowledge growth of child development and early childhood education. Through this growth and support, teen parents are better motivated, resilient, and responsive.

Opening of Early Learning Center for young parents
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Parent Possible

Parent Possible

The Colorado Parent & Child Foundation (CPCF) dedicated to the vision that parents are their child’s first and most influential teachers, preparing them for success in school and life. CPCF has focused its efforts on promoting and supporting high quality, proven parent engagement programs.

Through support from Constellation members, CPCF piloted three Parents as Teachers and SafeCare (PATCSH) programs by providing the support and training necessary to certify supervisors as SafeCare coaches to strengthen home visitation with families determined at-risk for child abuse and neglect. These visits provide families with the protective factors needed to help prevent child maltreatment.

Parents as Teachers and SafeCare Pilot pilot to strengthen home visitation services
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RAFT

RAFT Colorado

RAFT Colorado gathers unwanted items from local businesses and upcycles them into interesting and unique learning activities that teachers can use in the classroom. RAFT also offers personal coaching, practical workshops, inspiring institutes, and interactive events to help teachers utilize everyday materials for engaging learning opportunities.

Through support from Constellation members, RAFT provided on and off-site professional development in STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math) for teachers of under-served students ages 3-5 years old. Early Childhood teachers who participate in the training are equipped with materials and know-how to immediately implement what they have experienced with their students.

STEM Professional Development and resource sharing
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Print

Reach Out & Read

Reach Out & Read Colorado prepares Colorado’s youngest children to success in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. Reach Out & Read also trains doctors and nurses to advise parents about the importance of reading aloud.

Through grant support from Constellation Philanthropy members, Reach Out & Read was able to complete a pilot program to test parent engagement using messaging in health clinics, and for program expansion to reach additional low-income children under the age of 6 throughout the state.

Health Clinic Messaging Pilot
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RISE

RISE Colorado

RISE Colorado aims to end educational inequity through a holistic program that educates, engages, and empowers families and puts them at the forefront of the movement.

Constellation Philanthropy members awarded RISE a 1-year grant to support general operating expenses. During this 1-year period, RISE completed in-school workshops and organized campaigns specifically for refugee communities. RISE also released the If Not Now Report, which was co-written and edited by RISE Parent Leaders. RISE was also able to receive 501c3 status, therefore achieving the great accomplishment of becoming their own entity.

Support for school workshops and campaigns for refugee communities
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RMCHF

Rock Mountain Children’s Health Foundation

Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation (RMCHF) currently supports several programs that enhance the quality of life for pediatric patients and their families in Colorado.  While every parent wants to give their children the best start in life, not every parent is aware of important choices they need to make and the skills they need to develop. During this critical time, RMCHF is committed to supporting parents in Colorado, especially those in disadvantaged communities, through the Best Start Program (BSP) so they can help their babies thrive.

Through support from Constellation members, Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation is delivering education in an online training platform and implementing the use of Baby Boxes, which function as a safe place to sleep and a means to deliver other essential resources and support.

Education and Baby Boxes to support parents and help babies thrive
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RMP

Rocky Mountain Prep

Rocky Mountain Prep, a Pre-K – 5 school system made up of 4 schools across Denver and Aurora, serves to close opportunity gaps in public school by providing excellent education for all students of all backgrounds.

Constellation Philanthropy members awarded Rocky Mountain Prep a grant to fund the opening of a second pre-K classroom in Southwest Denver. Through the funding provided, Rocky Mountain Prep was able to retain and recruit a top performing Early Childhood Education team and allow for full enrollment on the first day of opening the new classroom. Members also awarded a second grant to support a Network Director of Pre-K, which will serve to strengthen Rocky Mountain Prep’s efforts to propel their vision into the Early Childhood space.

Launch of second pre-k classroom in Southwest Denver
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Roots Family Center

Roots Family Center

Roots Family Center is committed to delivering two evidence-based programs: “Parents as Teachers” (PAT) curricula to families with children prenatal to 5, and “Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters” (HIPPY) for families with kids 3-5 years old.

Through support from Constellation members, Roots Family Center received start up funding to cover operating costs and salaries to launch the two home visitation programs that will serve 60 Spanish-speaking children between the ages of birth and 5 years in the Westwood and Barnum neighborhoods of Denver.

Start-up funding: implementing two home visitation programs that will serve 60 Spanish-speaking children between the ages of birth and 5 years in the Westwood and Barnum neighborhoods.
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Sewall

Sewall & Mental Health Center of Denver

Sewall Child Development Center, one of Denver’s longest-standing inclusive early learning centers and with a strong focus on serving children with significant disabilities, has partnered with Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD) to open a 4-classroom early childhood center on MHCD’s new Dahlia campus, providing comprehensive in- classroom and family supports necessary to support young children with complex learning needs including mental health and behavioral challenges

Through support from Constellation members, Sewell and MHCD increased special education support, deeper behavior management training and coaching for staff, support services for caregivers, support to help families enhance their own systems of care and help to connect families to peer support groups and leadership training.

Sewall & MHCD expansion of education support
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Swallow

Swallow Hill

Swallow Hill Music is a nonprofit community in Denver for musicians and music lovers. They bring people together through their school outreach programming and concerts. It is a home for individuals and families who want to learn about, listen to, and perform music.

Through support from Constellation members, Swallow Hill is expanding the Little Swallows Early Childhood Education Outreach Program, to take the program off-site to seven schools during the 2017/2018 academic year to increase the reach of these music programs for young-people who may not be able to afford classes otherwise.

Expansion of Little Swallows off-site music curriculum for young children
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TFA

Teach for America – Colorado

Teach For America’s (TFA) vision is that “One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.” The central premise of TFA is that providing an excellent education for all children requires far-reaching systemic change. To accomplish these ends, TFA finds, develops, and supports a diverse network of leaders who expand opportunity for children from classrooms, schools, and every sector and field that shapes the broader systems in which schools operate.

Through support from Constellation members totaling, TFA-Colorado is piloting an early childhood education cohort and a Fellowship program. Fellows will also complete the first year of a two-year Master’s Degree in Education Leadership, and participate in a systems-level experiential learning series.

Pilot of early childhood education cohort and Fellowship
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Valley

Valley Settlement Project

The Valley Settlement Project is a two-generational approach to improving the lives of families living in poverty in the Roaring Fork Valley. The main goals of this program are to cultivate child school readiness and improve elementary achievement and increase parent economic stability through education and skill building programs.

Through grant support from Constellation Members, Valley Settlement Project was able to retro-fit a new bus to serve as a mobile preschool and document and codify program processes so that other communities can replicate best practices through professional guidance developed through assessment and evaluation.

Mobile preschool program replication
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