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Top Company 2019: Nonprofit

In a state full of nonprofits, these four rose to the top. Here's why


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In its 32nd year, ColoradoBiz's Top Company honors the Colorado companies that have drive, determination, a vision and a plan and are ultimately making the state a better place to live and work. These four companies – one winner and three finalists – represent the 2019 Top Companies in Nonprofit.

WINNER

Cottonwood Institute

Denver

Cottonwood Institute connects underserved public school students to the outdoors and empowers them to take action to improve their schools, the community and the environment for future generations. But its impact goes way beyond that, CEO Ford Church says. “Through our core program, CAP, we are empowering the next generation of leaders, problem-solvers and change-makers.”

CI collaborates with schools and youth organizations, primarily middle and high school students, to deliver high quality, high impact environmental education and service-learning programs during the school day for academic credit. CI’s hands-on, project-based programs teach essential 21st century skills, including critical thinking, creative problem-solving, work ethic and grit.

Over the past six years, CI started a new tradition by awarding two students from its CAP Program the coveted Ripple Effect Award for their outstanding leadership, attitudes and actions while designing and implementing their Action Projects. “This class was so much more than camping,” says Robert Marquez, from Angevine Middle School in Lafayette, who received the award in 2018. “It provided my friends and me with an opportunity to talk about real-world issues that are affecting us right now. I will continue to try to educate and have discussions about the environment with people so we can work together in the future to make the world a better place.”

FINALISTS

YouthRoots​​

Denver

YouthRoots is an innovative high school program developing young change-makers and healthy communities through philanthropy, leadership programming and civic engagement. The program guides high school students through a three-step philanthropic process (community needs assessment, fundraising, grant-making), building leadership skills in a classroom-like environment and applying them in the real world. In addition to developing young leaders, YouthRoots increases the funding pool for nonprofits that serve underserved youth in their communities. Since its founding a decade ago, 331 high school students have raised and granted over $141,000 to 52 nonprofits, serving thousands of at-risk youth across three states.

Courtesy of RMMFI.

Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute

Denver 

Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute (RMMFI) creates economic and social mobility through entrepreneurship, working with underserved entrepreneurs who often lack the resources and support to transform their ideas into income-generating businesses. RMMFI’s three-tiered incubator pathway of “Idea, Launch, Thrive” supports entrepreneurs from the start of a business idea through a business launch and onward for business success. Since its founding in 2008, RMMFI has graduated 24 classes of the Business Launch Boot Camp with an 88% graduation rate, launching (or re-launching) 206 small businesses in the Denver metro area. It also has distributed 210 loans for more than $526,000 to low-income entrepreneurs with a 95% repayment rate.

Better Business Bureau serving Greater Denver and Central Colorado

Denver

Greater Denver BBB empowers businesses and consumers to advance trust in the marketplace by providing resources, tools and information to support better business decisions. BBB hosts more than 20 programs and services to help both businesses and consumers with local marketplace issues they may experience. It accredits businesses that meet its eight standards of trust; since May 2018 it has accredited 1,353 businesses, with an overall retention rate of 84.7%. Last year, Greater Denver BBB won the Marshall A. Mott award, presented annually to the BBB in North America that the judges deem to have the most effective and excellent overall external communication program reaching consumers and businesses. It also won the inaugural “Get Wise” Consumer Protection Award from the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) and was recognized as DORA’s Community Partner for serving as an important resource to consumers throughout Colorado and working closely with DORA’s Division of Real Estate regarding timeshare scams.

This article is part of the 2019 ColoradoBiz Top Company Awards. Read more about all the winners & finalists: 
ADVERTISING & MARKETING DIGITAL MARKETING ARCHITECTURE & INTERIOR DESIGN CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING CONSUMER BUSINESS ENERGY FINANCIAL SERVICES HEALTH CARE MANUFACTURING | PROFESSIONAL SERVICES REAL ESTATE SOFTWARE STARTUP TECHNOLOGY SERVICES TOURISM & HOSPITALITY

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Lisa Ryckman

Lisa Ryckman is ColoradoBiz's managing editor. Contact her at lryckman@cobizmag.com.

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