About the Accelerator Grant

There may be some new members who are not familiar with the AcceleratorGrant, which was founded on a trust-based philanthropy philosophy that reimagines the relationship between funders, nonprofits and communities to rebalance the power and decision-making in grant awards. The nonprofit determines how the grant will best provide momentum to its work; funds may be utilized to expand programs or help sustain its operations.

Impact100 is in the first three-year cycle of support for two small non-profits who reside in an historically underserved neighborhood in southwest Denver. The Grant amount is $25,000 a year for three consecutive years, assuming there are adequate resources within Impact100. Our inaugural grant recipients are In Lak’ech Denver Arts and Roots Family Center, each receiving $12,500 for the next two years to complete this cycle. They are doing amazing work in helping their community with cultural and educational opportunities.

Roots Update

Roots mission is to grow the next generation of confident and healthy children who are rooted in the culture and strengths of their families and communities. Roots currently does this through two programs:

1. PAT – Parents and Teachers. This program promotes optimal early development, learning and health of children by supporting and engaging their parents and caregivers, children’s first and most influential teachers.

2. HIPPY – Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters is an evidence-based home visiting program that helps parents prepare their 2, 3, 4 and 5-year old children for success in school and throughout life. Using curriculum, story books and other materials, parents strengthen their children’s cognitive, literacy, social/emotional and physical development. HIPPY strengthens both communities and families by empowering parents to play an active role in preparing their children for school.

Roots identified a community need to help guide and support women through pregnancy and childbirth. In 2023 they launched their Doula Program which includes training women to become doulas and supporting pregnant women.

Progress Report
Roots is currently at full capacity with both the PAT and HIPPY programs.
32 families are served with PAT via two home visitors.
36 families are served with HIPPY via three home visitors
They continue to offer enhanced home visitation across both programs. This includes providing mindfulness and reflective practices. Every client also has access to professional mental health services. They continue to have waitlists, which they don’t take pride in having. They try to connect families with services that can help them, even if they are not participants in any of their programs, including their monthly group connections.

Thus far, they have trained 14 community doulas. Seven trained doulas have started seeing families. Some are full spectrum: visit prenatal and postpartum. Some are doing partial visits only. Original funding asked to serve 20 women in two years. They have already served 20 in less than a year. New target is 30 40 women, and they are seeking additional funding for the program

Roots received a $1MM grant from CO Health Foundation’s Equity Project. It is to specifically purchase a building. They are currently working with two consultants to help them through the process of finding a location and additional funding.

In Lak’ech Denver Arts Update

In Lak’ech Denver Arts is a free after-school program dedicated to providing accessible arts education to 5th-12th grade BIPOC (black, indigenous, and other people of color) in underserved neighborhoods of Southwest Denver.

The organization is one of the recipients of Impact100’s first Accelerator Grant which was awarded in June 2023. The founder and executive director of In Lak’ech is Marianna Lucerno. In Lak’ech Denver Arts strives to empower its students through various forms of artistic expression, including drama, dance, music, and visual arts. The goal is to foster the development of students’ artistic talents and to use the arts as a tool to build social awareness, cultural connections, and positive community engagement. All programs take place onsite at the Re:Vision campus located on Morrison Road in Westwood.

In Lak’ech Denver Arts offers programs in Ballet Folklorico, Mariachi classes led by local musicians, and Visual Arts programs taught by a local Chicana artist. During the summer students may participate in a free two-week summer camp “Puppets in Westwood,” where they collaborate with local BIPOC artists to create puppets and tell stories that reflect their cultures and communities. In 2023 the collaboration celebrated Asian culture through the retelling of Chinese folktales.

Currently, up to 100 students may enroll in art classes. An additional 300 youth and families participate in the free youth arts stations during Westwood community events throughout the year. A highlight of these events is the annual fall showcase, “Viva la Vida,” a Westwood Celebration of Life. This presentation is an opportunity for all students to work together to learn about the sacred tradition of “Mikailwit!” also known as Dia de los Muertos. Students collaborate across programs to honor lost loved ones and preserve cultural traditions through performance and art. Such events provide valuable opportunities for students to exhibit their talents and for the community to experience a sense of cultural pride.

The Impact 100 Accelerator Grant helped stabilize In Lak’ech’s programming by providing essential materials such as dance shoes/dresses, several instruments, and art supplies. The award created sufficient funds to enable In Lak’ech to apply for more city grants which are often based on reimbursement and to apply and receive other multi-year funding. The funding enabled In Lak’ech to fairly compensate instructors and ensure the organization’s sustainability. In Lak’ech Denver Arts looks forward to its second year as a recipient of the Accelerator Grant. Plans include taking mariachi students to their first mariachi conference at Metro State University. This event will provide opportunities for In Lak’ech dancers and artists to engage in professional performances and exhibitions. Additional funding secured by In Lak’ech has enabled the expansion of ballet folklorico dancing for beginner and intermediate students. The dream for the future is to operate from their own space.

The Accelerator Grant award is helping In Lak’ech Denver Arts stay committed to empowering the youth of Southwest Denver in celebrating and preserving their cultures through the arts.