The Guiding Lights of Our Communities
An Investment In WFCO Is An Investment In 60-Plus Leaders Building A More Just And Prosperous State For Us All
As I learned in a series of summer road trips across Colorado, inspiration is abundant
Catalyzing community. That’s the essence of our mission. For me, inspiration is the greatest catalyst – someone or something that serves as a guiding light toward a brighter future. As I rediscovered through a series of road trips across Colorado in 2023, inspiration is abundant. But it must move us to action.
I, along with several teammates, drove through mountains and plains and were welcomed warmly to urban cities and rural towns. From Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, Grand Junction to Alamosa, and Durango to Pueblo, we spent at least a day in each location visiting with grantee partners.
I left each visit reflecting on how much each of these leaders gives of themselves to their work – everything they have, plus more. Too often, they sacrifice their needs to meet the needs of others, which includes housing, food, immigration services, career pathways, entrepreneurial opportunities, and safe spaces for marginalized communities to thrive. Their lived experiences shape their timely and inspired solutions that are worthy of significant investment.
These are some of the stories we heard from them
At each visit, we broke bread with no goal except to listen and to learn and build meaningful relationships that our community leaders deserve. Being with them in their spaces allowed us to glean insight into on-the-ground work that can’t be quantified or captured in a written proposal or video call. These are some of the stories we heard.
Stories of manifestation. A leader who, having navigated both shelter and food insecurity herself, found a calling to cultivate acres of earth to provide food, jobs, and education for and with her community. (Food to Power, Colorado Springs)
Stories of being seen. A tireless champion for migrant workers on the Western Slope whose own family history in the onion fields fuels her work to ensure that the faces and needs of her community are as visible as the late-summer peach stands that couldn’t exist without our migrant neighbors. (Western Colorado Migrant Rural Coalition, Delta County)
Stories of healing and stability. Language justice, trauma-informed care, and flexible cash to help women at the intersection of immigration and domestic violence find healing and stability. (Centro, Colorado Springs)
Stories of welcoming. A safe place for undocumented women to receive the trusted legal support they need to facilitate their citizenship. (Alianzo NORCO, Fort Collins)
Stories of care for our caretakers. An immigrant mother who has become a North Star for other immigrant mothers cares for the caretakers in her community through retreats focusing on functional nutrition, movement, and healing. (Construyendo, Durango)
Stories of courage. The unrelenting advocacy of a queer leader for their most marginalized neighbors that has energized a thriving mutual aid network has also forced them to move from safehouse to safehouse. (Action Is Safer, Mesa County)
Stories of wealth building. Democratizing ownership and strengthening opportunities for businesses owned by those who have been traditionally disenfranchised, connecting them to new markets and ensuring wealth is built in our communities. (Center for Community for Wealth Building, Denver)
We cannot celebrate their sacrifice without committing to change the system that underinvests in them
While we celebrate these fearless, smart, dedicated leaders as exceptions, they are not. There are more such women than we know whose hearts beat in time with their communities and who carry movements on their backs.
We cannot celebrate their sacrifice without committing to change the system that underinvests in them. Their aptitude at making a way out of no way should not be an expectation that they can continue to do so much with so little. Our inspiration must move us to action. And your generosity is our greatest tool.
When you invest in The Women’s Foundation of Colorado, you also invest in these guiding lights creating a radiant future – brilliant women and nonbinary leaders across every community in Colorado working to dismantle systemic barriers, close equity gaps, and build a more just and prosperous state for us all.