Denver, Colorado

Denver, CO

With its population rebounding in the 1990s due to an influx of young Americans from across the country and a surge of Mexican immigrants, Denver recovered from large population losses it experienced in the 1980s. According to the 2010 Census, Denver's population was just over 600,000. As of 2010, the city was 68 percent white, 10 percent African American, and 3 percent Asian. Approximately 31 percent of the population identifies as Hispanic or Latino. Sixty-two percent of the city's foreign-born residents have arrived in the last ten years and Mexicans represent about 25 percent of the city's total population. Additionally, residents in the their 20s and early 30s now make up Denver's largest age groups.

The Mile High City is also a leader in transit-oriented development, one of Denver's many contributions to community wealth building. For instance, the T-REX project, approved by voters in 1999, built a new 19 mile double-track light rail transit system with 13 new LRT stations, many of which have become the sites of transit-oriented development projects. Following the success of T-REX, voters in 2004 approved a sale tax to finance FasTracks, a $6.2 billion, 12-year comprehensive plan to build 122 miles of new light rail and commuter rail, 18 miles of bus rapid transit services, 57 new transit stations, and 21,000 additional parking spaces at transit park-n-rides, was approved by voters in 2004. These new stations will allow many more opportunities for transit-oriented development.

Denver is also home to other notable community wealth initiatives. The Urban Land Conservancy contributes to the surrounding community in a variety of ways, helping to secure land so that it remains affordable for schools, affordable housing, and office space for non-profits, while also providing financing and coordination to local community projects and initiatives. Another organization, Belay Enterprises, founded Bud's Warehouse, a career and life-skills training social enterprise that employs individuals rebuilding their lives from addiction, homelessness, or prison. Bud's Warehouse has since become a successful home improvement store and has now expanded to three additional locations.

An overview of community wealth building efforts follows:

 

Community Development Corporations (CDCs)

Archway Housing & Services

Archway Housing & Services (previously Rocky Mountain HDC, Inc.) has, since its founding in 1995, developed 200 units of affordable housing for low- and medium-income Denver residents and has provide other social service aid to community members through its Family Services Program. Read more about Archway Housing & Services...

Colorado Coalition for the Homeless

Established in 1984, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless works to prevent homelessness and to create solutions to stem future homelessness. CCH currently manages over 1,000 affordable housing units and integrates services and programs into those housing communities, in order to support residents who struggle with homelessness. Read more about Colorado Coalition for the Homeless...

Community Resource Center

Providing training, technical assistance and consultation to community-based organizations in Colorado and across the country, the Community Resource Center, established in 1981, has helped train more than 400 nonprofit leaders and, in 2001, published an online database called Colorado Grants Guide, providing information about funding sources for nonprofits throughout the state. Read more about Community Resource Center...

Del Norte Community Development Corporation

Del Norte's mission is to create and preserve housing and other opportunities for underserved households, including those that are low and moderate income, Spanish-speaking and those with special needs. In 2003 alone, the organization assisted 120 first-time homebuyers. Read more about Del Norte Community Development Corporation...

Hope Communities

Founded in 1980 with the mission of providing affordable housing to residents of Denver, Hope Communities has since expanded to include programs in education and community building. Hope Communities owns 350 affordable rental units throughout Denver for residents earning less than 80 percent of Denver’s median income. Read more about Hope Communities...

NEWSED Community Development Corporation

Having served the Denver Latino community for more than 34 years, NEWSED CDC focuses its community economic development in the La Alma/Lincoln Park neighborhood and West Denver. NEWSED’s has helped revitalize Santa Fe Drive between 5th Avenue and Colfax Avenue, bringing in more than 350 businesses and 3,000 jobs. NEWSED has also developed over 500,000 square feet of housing and retail/commercial real estate, including two shopping centers. Read more about NEWSED Community Development Corporation...

Northeast Denver Housing Center

Northeast Denver Housing Center works to create affordable housing for low- to medium-income households. Founded in 1982, to date NDHC has developed and manages 55 units of affordable housing and 500 rental housing units, including 16 green affordable housing units. Read more about Northeast Denver Housing Center...

Rocky Mountain Communities

Rocky Mountain Communities, established in 1992, manages 1,000 units of affordable housing throughout Colorado, including 500 within Denver. RMC also provides a variety of support services for families. Read more about Rocky Mountain Communities...

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

Mile High Community Loan Fund

Founded in 1999 as a community-based, nonprofit organization to administer a loan fund and provide early-stage capital for developers of affordable housing, Mile High Community Loan Fund grew out of a joint initiative between and received initial capital from the City and County of Denver, Fannie Mae Foundation, Enterprise Foundation, and U.S. Bank, including $3 million in grant funds from the City of Denver. Read more about Mile High Community Loan Fund...

Native American Bank

Native American Bank was founded in 2001 by a group of Tribal Nations and Alaska Native Corporations. The Bank aims to (1) serve as an engine for Indian economic development, (2) establish a significant Indian presence in the financial marketplace, and (3) project the growing economic power of tribes and Indian businesses onto the national scene. Read more about Native American Bank...

Community Land Trusts (CLTs)

Colorado Community Land Trust

Originally focusing on the redevelopment of the former Lowry Air Force Base, the Colorado CLT, was founded in 2002 as the Lowry CLT. In 2006, the land trust expanded its reach to the entire Denver metropolitan area. CCLT has developed more than 150-units of permanently affordable housing. Read more about Colorado Community Land Trust ...

Cooperatives (Co-ops)

Denver Co-op

Currently conducting business online and looking to open a retail grocery store in Denver, the Denver Co-op sells local organically grown vegetarian foods and products. Committed to community growth and to providing an open and welcome space to everyone, the Denver Co-op also has ambitions to include a café and community event/meeting space. Read more about Denver Co-op...

Denver Community Credit Union

Open to anyone in the City and County of Denver, the Denver Community Credit Union, established in 1934, helped form the Colorado Credit Union League, which now has over a 144 member credits unions and represents one in three Colorado citizens. DCCU, with more than $200 million in assets, is also heavily involved in the community, assisting 1,000 adults and youth with free financial education and supporting over 40 community organizations in 2007. Read more about Denver Community Credit Union...

Cross-Sectoral

Urban Land Conservancy

Founded in 2003, the Urban Land Conservancy acquires, develops, and preserves community land and assets in urban areas for schools, affordable housing, and office space for non-profits. Securing land at today’s prices allows ULC to ensure that the space will remain affordable and accessible for future community endeavors. ULC also provides capital, resources, and coordination to other organizations for community development projects. Read more about Urban Land Conservancy...

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

CH2M Hill

With more than 26,000 employees and $6.4 billion in revenue, CH2M Hill, Inc. is a majority employee owned global engineering and operations business.  It has also won numerous awards for its environmental sustainability approach and for having an excellent employee work environment. In 2014, Engineering News-Record's voted CH2M Hill to its Top 100 Green Buildings Design Firms and to its Top 200 Environmental Firms Sourcebook. The company has been named on FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list four times. Read more about CH2M Hill...

GH Phipps

Founded in 1952, GH Phipps is a full service Construction Manager/General Contractor, involved in the medical, education, religious, high-tech, commercial, and public arenas. With revenues exceeding $280 million and over 100 employee owners, GH Phipps is one of Colorado’s largest contractors and was responsible for constructing Invesco Field, home of the Denver Broncos, at Mile High. Read more about GH Phipps...

Trinidad Benham Corporation

Worker-owned with 500 employees, Trinidad Benham Corporation is the largest independent marketer of dry edible beans in the United States and the second largest spooler of household aluminum foil in the U.S.

Green Economy

Greenprint Denver

Launched by the City of Denver in 2006, Greenprint Denver is a five-year, citywide plan that seeks to reduce global warming emissions by 20 percent through a wide range of energy efficiency measures. The project also aims to position the City of Denver to be a regional center for balanced and renewable energy and green industries by creating 1,000 new training and job opportunities in these areas for metro Denver residents by 2011.
Read more about Greenprint Denver...

Individual Wealth Building

Mile High United Way: Assets for Family Success Program

Denver’s United Way chapter has been a national leader in the use of match-savings individual development accounts (IDAs). Since the program began, 1,118 savers have opened an IDA, and more than $2 million has been invested in the community through their investment of savings and match funds. Read more about Mile High United Way: Assets for Family Success Program...

Municipal Enterprise

Denver Convention Center Hotel Project

The City of Denver decided to use public ownership as a strategy to finance the development of a 37-floor, 1,100-room hotel with 1.25 million square feet of building area to support its convention center. The facility opened in December 2005 and is managed by the Hyatt Regency hotel chain. Read more about Denver Convention Center Hotel Project...

Denver Housing Authority

The Denver Housing Authority provides affordable housing to more than 23,000 individuals representing 9,400 very low- to medium-income families in Denver. Governed by a nine-member Board of Commissioners appointed by the Mayor of Denver, DHA owns and operates 3,800 conventional public housing units, nearly 700 subsidized multi-family units, and about 200 other locally funded housing units. Read more about Denver Housing Authority...

New State & Local Policies

Front Range Economic Strategy Center

Front Range Economic Strategy Center (FRESC) seeks to educate, organize, and empower the working families of Denver and the Front Range to hold governments and corporations accountable for responsible community-centered development. A community benefits agreement is the core strategy of FRESC’s Campaign for Responsible Development. The efforts of the CRD coalition have been focused on the CBA goals of quality jobs, affordable housing, union construction, workers rights, and neighborhood improvements. Read more about Front Range Economic Strategy Center...

Social Enterprise

Belay Enterprises

Belay Enterprises was started in 1995 by a group of local businessmen, community leaders and pastors who wanted to make a difference for the urban community. They believed that by recycling materials that were previously thrown away they could change lives and provide opportunity for the disadvantaged. Out of this vision grew Bud’s Warehouse, a career and life-skills training program for individuals rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness, or prison. Read more about Belay Enterprises...

State & Local Investments

Denver Urban Renewal Authority

Financed through a combination of public and private investment, including tax increment financing (TIF), which allows the Denver Urban Renewal Authority to use the net new tax revenues generated by the redevelopment to help finance the project, DURA has overseen more than 28 redevelopment projects and has invested more than $500 million in public funds. Read more about Denver Urban Renewal Authority...

Metropolitan Council

With a mission to foster efficient economic growth for a prosperous region, Metropolitan Council serves as the Twin Cities’ regional policymaking body, planning agency, and services and infrastructure provider (including transportation, wastewater treatment, regional parks, planning, and affordable housing).  Striving to foster community vitality, the Council administers the Livable Communities Program that helps communities in the region fund economic revitalization, affordable housing, and development connecting different land uses and transportation. From 1996 to January 2016, the program awarded nearly 1,000 grants totaling over $311 million— investments credited with building or rehabbing nearly 20,000 affordable housing units, cleaning 2,100 acres of polluted land, and creating or retaining 41,000 jobs.

Transit-Oriented Development

Transportation Expansion (T-REX) Project

Through extensive cooperation by inter-governmental agencies and by voter approval in 1999, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Denver Regional Transportation District joined forces to build transit ridership and discourage sprawl through building transit villages that will be built at the same time as the transit system itself is constructed. These transit villages, jointly developed with the private sector, are designed to be pedestrian-friendly, human-scale communities. The T-REX project finished under budget and nearly two years ahead of schedule in 2006. Read more about Transportation Expansion (T-REX) Project...

Community Development Corporations (CDCs)

Archway Housing & Services

Archway Housing & Services (previously Rocky Mountain HDC, Inc.) has, since its founding in 1995, developed 200 units of affordable housing for low- and medium-income Denver residents and has provide other social service aid to community members through its Family Services Program. Read more about Archway Housing & Services...

Colorado Coalition for the Homeless

Established in 1984, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless works to prevent homelessness and to create solutions to stem future homelessness. CCH currently manages over 1,000 affordable housing units and integrates services and programs into those housing communities, in order to support residents who struggle with homelessness. Read more about Colorado Coalition for the Homeless...

Community Resource Center

Providing training, technical assistance and consultation to community-based organizations in Colorado and across the country, the Community Resource Center, established in 1981, has helped train more than 400 nonprofit leaders and, in 2001, published an online database called Colorado Grants Guide, providing information about funding sources for nonprofits throughout the state. Read more about Community Resource Center...

Del Norte Community Development Corporation

Del Norte's mission is to create and preserve housing and other opportunities for underserved households, including those that are low and moderate income, Spanish-speaking and those with special needs. In 2003 alone, the organization assisted 120 first-time homebuyers. Read more about Del Norte Community Development Corporation...

Hope Communities

Founded in 1980 with the mission of providing affordable housing to residents of Denver, Hope Communities has since expanded to include programs in education and community building. Hope Communities owns 350 affordable rental units throughout Denver for residents earning less than 80 percent of Denver’s median income. Read more about Hope Communities...

NEWSED Community Development Corporation

Having served the Denver Latino community for more than 34 years, NEWSED CDC focuses its community economic development in the La Alma/Lincoln Park neighborhood and West Denver. NEWSED’s has helped revitalize Santa Fe Drive between 5th Avenue and Colfax Avenue, bringing in more than 350 businesses and 3,000 jobs. NEWSED has also developed over 500,000 square feet of housing and retail/commercial real estate, including two shopping centers. Read more about NEWSED Community Development Corporation...

Northeast Denver Housing Center

Northeast Denver Housing Center works to create affordable housing for low- to medium-income households. Founded in 1982, to date NDHC has developed and manages 55 units of affordable housing and 500 rental housing units, including 16 green affordable housing units. Read more about Northeast Denver Housing Center...

Rocky Mountain Communities

Rocky Mountain Communities, established in 1992, manages 1,000 units of affordable housing throughout Colorado, including 500 within Denver. RMC also provides a variety of support services for families. Read more about Rocky Mountain Communities...

Social Enterprise

Belay Enterprises

Belay Enterprises was started in 1995 by a group of local businessmen, community leaders and pastors who wanted to make a difference for the urban community. They believed that by recycling materials that were previously thrown away they could change lives and provide opportunity for the disadvantaged. Out of this vision grew Bud’s Warehouse, a career and life-skills training program for individuals rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness, or prison. Read more about Belay Enterprises...

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

CH2M Hill

With more than 26,000 employees and $6.4 billion in revenue, CH2M Hill, Inc. is a majority employee owned global engineering and operations business.  It has also won numerous awards for its environmental sustainability approach and for having an excellent employee work environment. In 2014, Engineering News-Record's voted CH2M Hill to its Top 100 Green Buildings Design Firms and to its Top 200 Environmental Firms Sourcebook. The company has been named on FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list four times. Read more about CH2M Hill...

GH Phipps

Founded in 1952, GH Phipps is a full service Construction Manager/General Contractor, involved in the medical, education, religious, high-tech, commercial, and public arenas. With revenues exceeding $280 million and over 100 employee owners, GH Phipps is one of Colorado’s largest contractors and was responsible for constructing Invesco Field, home of the Denver Broncos, at Mile High. Read more about GH Phipps...

Trinidad Benham Corporation

Worker-owned with 500 employees, Trinidad Benham Corporation is the largest independent marketer of dry edible beans in the United States and the second largest spooler of household aluminum foil in the U.S.

Community Land Trusts (CLTs)

Colorado Community Land Trust

Originally focusing on the redevelopment of the former Lowry Air Force Base, the Colorado CLT, was founded in 2002 as the Lowry CLT. In 2006, the land trust expanded its reach to the entire Denver metropolitan area. CCLT has developed more than 150-units of permanently affordable housing. Read more about Colorado Community Land Trust ...

Cooperatives (Co-ops)

Denver Co-op

Currently conducting business online and looking to open a retail grocery store in Denver, the Denver Co-op sells local organically grown vegetarian foods and products. Committed to community growth and to providing an open and welcome space to everyone, the Denver Co-op also has ambitions to include a café and community event/meeting space. Read more about Denver Co-op...

Denver Community Credit Union

Open to anyone in the City and County of Denver, the Denver Community Credit Union, established in 1934, helped form the Colorado Credit Union League, which now has over a 144 member credits unions and represents one in three Colorado citizens. DCCU, with more than $200 million in assets, is also heavily involved in the community, assisting 1,000 adults and youth with free financial education and supporting over 40 community organizations in 2007. Read more about Denver Community Credit Union...

Municipal Enterprise

Denver Convention Center Hotel Project

The City of Denver decided to use public ownership as a strategy to finance the development of a 37-floor, 1,100-room hotel with 1.25 million square feet of building area to support its convention center. The facility opened in December 2005 and is managed by the Hyatt Regency hotel chain. Read more about Denver Convention Center Hotel Project...

Denver Housing Authority

The Denver Housing Authority provides affordable housing to more than 23,000 individuals representing 9,400 very low- to medium-income families in Denver. Governed by a nine-member Board of Commissioners appointed by the Mayor of Denver, DHA owns and operates 3,800 conventional public housing units, nearly 700 subsidized multi-family units, and about 200 other locally funded housing units. Read more about Denver Housing Authority...

State & Local Investments

Denver Urban Renewal Authority

Financed through a combination of public and private investment, including tax increment financing (TIF), which allows the Denver Urban Renewal Authority to use the net new tax revenues generated by the redevelopment to help finance the project, DURA has overseen more than 28 redevelopment projects and has invested more than $500 million in public funds. Read more about Denver Urban Renewal Authority...

Metropolitan Council

With a mission to foster efficient economic growth for a prosperous region, Metropolitan Council serves as the Twin Cities’ regional policymaking body, planning agency, and services and infrastructure provider (including transportation, wastewater treatment, regional parks, planning, and affordable housing).  Striving to foster community vitality, the Council administers the Livable Communities Program that helps communities in the region fund economic revitalization, affordable housing, and development connecting different land uses and transportation. From 1996 to January 2016, the program awarded nearly 1,000 grants totaling over $311 million— investments credited with building or rehabbing nearly 20,000 affordable housing units, cleaning 2,100 acres of polluted land, and creating or retaining 41,000 jobs.

New State & Local Policies

Front Range Economic Strategy Center

Front Range Economic Strategy Center (FRESC) seeks to educate, organize, and empower the working families of Denver and the Front Range to hold governments and corporations accountable for responsible community-centered development. A community benefits agreement is the core strategy of FRESC’s Campaign for Responsible Development. The efforts of the CRD coalition have been focused on the CBA goals of quality jobs, affordable housing, union construction, workers rights, and neighborhood improvements. Read more about Front Range Economic Strategy Center...

Green Economy

Greenprint Denver

Launched by the City of Denver in 2006, Greenprint Denver is a five-year, citywide plan that seeks to reduce global warming emissions by 20 percent through a wide range of energy efficiency measures. The project also aims to position the City of Denver to be a regional center for balanced and renewable energy and green industries by creating 1,000 new training and job opportunities in these areas for metro Denver residents by 2011.
Read more about Greenprint Denver...

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

Mile High Community Loan Fund

Founded in 1999 as a community-based, nonprofit organization to administer a loan fund and provide early-stage capital for developers of affordable housing, Mile High Community Loan Fund grew out of a joint initiative between and received initial capital from the City and County of Denver, Fannie Mae Foundation, Enterprise Foundation, and U.S. Bank, including $3 million in grant funds from the City of Denver. Read more about Mile High Community Loan Fund...

Native American Bank

Native American Bank was founded in 2001 by a group of Tribal Nations and Alaska Native Corporations. The Bank aims to (1) serve as an engine for Indian economic development, (2) establish a significant Indian presence in the financial marketplace, and (3) project the growing economic power of tribes and Indian businesses onto the national scene. Read more about Native American Bank...

Individual Wealth Building

Mile High United Way: Assets for Family Success Program

Denver’s United Way chapter has been a national leader in the use of match-savings individual development accounts (IDAs). Since the program began, 1,118 savers have opened an IDA, and more than $2 million has been invested in the community through their investment of savings and match funds. Read more about Mile High United Way: Assets for Family Success Program...

Transit-Oriented Development

Transportation Expansion (T-REX) Project

Through extensive cooperation by inter-governmental agencies and by voter approval in 1999, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Denver Regional Transportation District joined forces to build transit ridership and discourage sprawl through building transit villages that will be built at the same time as the transit system itself is constructed. These transit villages, jointly developed with the private sector, are designed to be pedestrian-friendly, human-scale communities. The T-REX project finished under budget and nearly two years ahead of schedule in 2006. Read more about Transportation Expansion (T-REX) Project...

Cross-Sectoral

Urban Land Conservancy

Founded in 2003, the Urban Land Conservancy acquires, develops, and preserves community land and assets in urban areas for schools, affordable housing, and office space for non-profits. Securing land at today’s prices allows ULC to ensure that the space will remain affordable and accessible for future community endeavors. ULC also provides capital, resources, and coordination to other organizations for community development projects. Read more about Urban Land Conservancy...