I am proud to call Colorado home. Our headwaters spring from the peaks of the Rockies, ultimately feed the Colorado River and the Rio Grande. Our waters provide drinking water for more than 40 million people, support a $1.4 trillion economy and irrigate 5 million acres of farm and ranch land.
These rivers, this land, these communities feed our nation and beyond. We are a hub of innovation, science, business and thriving lives. Yet, at this point, all Coloradoans have been touched by the impacts of wildfire, climate change and drought.
We are at a tipping point. What happens here, in Colorado, will write the story of the West and our nation.
As wildfires put communities at risk, as our spectacular and fragile web of life threatens to unravel, as our nation’s core democratic values are under attack, now is the time for family foundations such as ours, and all philanthropic institutions, to ask how we can have the greatest impact. This moment calls for compassion, courage and action on a grand scale.
That is why our Colorado-based Mighty Arrow Family Foundation recently made the decision to donate the entirety of our fund and sunset our foundation by 2040. Our founder, Kim Jordan, spent her career exploring business as a force for good with New Belgium Brewing, which she co-founded.
As Kim says, “great wealth comes with great responsibility.” Our big, complex problems demand that we all step up and go big in our own ways. For those with means, that means giving big. And that’s what we’re prepared to do.
The innovators, nonprofits and advocates we support need capital for transformational solutions now – whether that’s clean-energy solutions or voting-rights advocacy or new approaches to ensure clean water and healthy, sustainable food.
While 2040 is the horizon for our sunset, we’ve developed a financial strategy that commits the bulk of our giving in these next five years. This allows us to answer the call of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report to direct more capital to climate solutions during this critical time period.
We’ve also been able to develop a rolling budget projection to commit to our partners for several more years. Ninety-three percent of Mighty Arrow’s grant portfolio is in three-year commitments, which is a tactic that empowers us to deepen our relationships with the organizations we support, and to give them the financial confidence to strengthen organizational capacity.
Colorado is home to many frontline organizations working to heal our social and ecological wounds, and address the climate crisis. I see wellsprings of healing and bold solutions that can inspire and inform others around the West and the nation.
Consider GRID Alternatives Colorado, which installs rooftop, community, and multifamily solar electric systems for income-qualified households and affordable-housing providers throughout the state. They provide families with needed savings and also train Colorado workers for jobs in the growing solar industry – fighting climate change and building a clean energy future.
I’m inspired by the Colorado Forest Collaborative Network, within Colorado State University’s Center for Collaborative Conservation. Many of our local watershed coalitions are born out of fire and floods. Initial funding to stand up these organizations comes from federal emergency funds, which is time-limited and based on specific recovery projects. It is critical for us to keep these organizations resilient, continually working on our regional forests, and ready to act when the next disaster strikes.
To be in a crisis means we’re running out of time. I call on fellow philanthropists to give more generously and more frequently. I call on our elected leaders to pursue just, equitable solutions.
It is time for those of us with power and privilege to go all in for positive, transformational change.
Jordana Barrack of Fort Collins is executive director of Mighty Arrow Family Foundation.