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Advocate

People speaking on a panel at the Colorado state capitol

Creating long-term change, one step at a time

At Mile High United Way, advocacy is part of our coordinated effort to create lasting, positive change for people in our community – and beyond.

We know that improving public policy is a critical way to create more pathways to success for children, youth, and adults. When we bring together investment, lobbying, and community engagement to highlight and support critical issues, we change the odds for children and families in our community. 

Investing in Metro Denver
Mile High United Way takes an active role in creating long-term change, and investment is one of the ways we do this. Over the past year, we’ve invested in a variety of local organizations whose public policy programs align with our Community Impact Goals:

  • 9to5 Colorado
  • A Plus Denver
  • Bell Policy Center
  • Colorado Center on Law and Policy
  • Colorado Children’s Campaign
  • Colorado Fiscal Institute
  • Colorado Immigrant Funders Collaborative
  • CLLARO
  • FRESC
  • Hunger Free Colorado
  • Stand for Children
  • Padres & Jovenes Unidos

In addition to aligning with our Community Impact Goals, organizations we fund use a two-generation approach - serving children and parents simultaneously - to help entire families advance economically. 

Lobbying to make a difference
At the State Capitol, Mile High United Way’s staff and board regularly provide testimony on bills related to our Community Impact Goals, and our lobbyist represents our interest in seeing the Metro Denver community thrive. 

Taking action, together
Here are three areas that Mile High United Way is focused on improving policy:

  1. Supporting families with improved child care:
    When families have access to continuous, stable child care, children benefit emotionally, psychologically, and educationally – while parents have not only peace of mind, but more time to focus on earning a living. These policy efforts focus on increasing funding for families who need help paying for child care, increasing access to child care for more families, and improving the quality of child care.

  2. Creating additional protections for low-income workers with families:
    By improving labor policies that affect working parents – including an increase in the minimum wage, advance notice of job schedules, the right to request and receive flexible, predictable job schedules, the right to a minimum number of hours, paid family and medical leave, and paid sick days – our community can better support low-income workers in their role as parents. Enforcement of existing labor protections, such as overtime, wage-theft, family and medical leave act, and minimum wage laws, ensure working parents can succeed in the workplace and at home.

  3. Providing more support for families’ basic needs:
    When we can assure families access to reliable transportation, affordable housing, and high quality, affordable child care, we are giving more people the chance to achieve financial stability and future succcess. 

Community engagement
Interested in learning more or taking part? We have several community engagement opportunities for our advocates during the year:

  • Mile High United Way’s Day on the Hill – Come together at the state capitol with Mile High United Way’s staff, board, donors, partners, and volunteers to advocate for our community
  • Events with elected officials – Meet with your local and state representatives to learn about issues you care about
  • Resident engagement – In United Neighborhoods, we support residents to become advocates for themselves, their families and their community 

Get involved
For more information about our Advocacy efforts and how you can get involved, please contact Roweena Naidoo, Director Policy and Economic Success at Roweena.Naidoo@unitedwaydenver.org or (303) 561-2325.

2017 Policy Successes

HB-1002 Child Care Expenses Tax Credit has been sent to the Governor
HB-1106 Extend Early Childhood Leadership Commission has been sent to the Governor
HB-1140 Enhance Student Support Colorado School of Mines has been signed by the Governor
HB-1184 Modern Technology Education in Public Schools has been signed by the Governor after failing last year
HB-1301 No Withholding Student Transcripts for Non-Payment of Fines has been sent to the Governor
HB-1340 School Finance Interim Committee has been sent to the Governor after failing the last three years
SB-68 School Counselors Early Support for Students has been sent to the Governor
SB-103 Early Learning Strategies in Education Accountability has been sent to the Governor
SB-110 Accessibility of Exempt Family Childcare was signed by the Governor
SB-245 Tenancies One Month to One Year Notice has been sent to the Governor
SB-267 Hospital Provider Fee Reclassification/Sustainability for Rural Colorado has been sent to the Governor after failing the last two years 

Up Next: Priorities for the 2018 Legislative Session:

HB-1210 Suspensions/Expulsions in Early Childhood failed in the Senate State Affairs committee in 2017 due to opposition from the Rural Alliance of Public Schools. The coalition supporting this bill, including Colorado Children’s Campaign and Padres Unidos, will meet over the summer to regroup. 

Two bills, HB-1309 Documentary Fee to Fund Affordable Housing and HB-1310 Residential Landlord Screening Fee, failed in the Senate State Affairs committee this year due to opposition from the Colorado Realtor’s Association. The coalition supporting these bills, including Housing Colorado, will meet over the summer to regroup. 

SB-287 Income Tax Credit for Donation to Endowment Fund failed after dying on the calendar in House Appropriations committee on the final day of the 2017 legislative session. The coalition supporting this bill had strong bipartisan support in the State Senate, so we’re excited to work with our partners at Colorado Nonprofit Association on a strategy for the 2018 legislative session.