Heather Arnold-Renicker is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Denver, teaching social welfare policy. Heather began her career in a rape crisis center where her commitment to anti-oppression practice, policy assessment, and organizational development/culture solidified. This led her to the University of Denver, where she received a Masters of Social Work with a focus on community-based program development, leadership, policy and anti-oppressive practice. She recently moved back home to Colorado from Washington, D.C. where she spent 3 ½ years as the National Program Manager for the Center for Progressive Leadership. Heather’s passion is in challenging social justice institutions to critically analyze the ways in which they perpetuate systems of marginalization while also holding herself accountable to the ways in which her privileges contribute to systems of oppression that exist in this country and all over the world.
TreasurerCindy Chang adopted Denver as her new home and community in 2009. She is Director of Philanthropic Partnerships at Community Shares of Colorado and is thrilled to share her passion of philanthropy and social justice. Cindy earned dual degrees of Master of Business Administration and Master of Environmental Management at the Yale School of Management and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies in 2009, where she focused on the impact of philanthropic funds on the environmental justice movement. She received her B.A. from Tufts University in 2003 in sociology and environmental studies. Cindy has an extensive background in philanthropy and diverse social and environmental justice causes, including administering the Tufts Progressive Alumni Network’s Social Justice Fund and co-founding Conscious Consuming, a Boston-based consumer and environmental education non-profit. Cindy seeks to self-empower the social justice movement through leveraging philanthropic funds and strengthening the capacity of non-profit organizations to achieve their missions.
Grantmaking Committee Co-Chair
Davian Gagne identifies as a biracial Filipina woman from Boulder, Colorado. She is committed to antioppression/antiviolence work in both her professional and personal life. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Denver. She is the Director of the Mile High Connects coalition. Prior to that she was the Gender Violence Prevention and Education Coordinator for the University of Colorado at Boulder. In this capacity she provides education and training to students, faculty, and staff on the roots of gender violence, heterosexism, transphobia, consent, and bystander intervention. She also coordinated the Peers Building Justice program for Moving to End Sexual Assault in Boulder where she trained high school youth on the intersections of oppression, social justice, and ally development. When she is not busy volunteering in the community, she enjoys racing her road bike, eating, and the company of friends and family.
Eleanor Maren Dewey
Grantmaking Committee Co-Chair
Eleanor Maren Dewey is the Director of Youth Organizing at the Colorado Anti-Violence Program (CAVP). As a young transwoman growing up in Denver and Aurora, Eleanor was first connected with social justice organizing after dropping out of high school and searching for LGBTQ community . At 17 Eleanor began organizing with CAVP supporting survivors of violence and working to increase the safety and inclusion of transgender people staying at local homeless shelters. In 2009 Eleanor was hired on as staff and with five other youth leaders founded the LGBTQ youth project, Branching Seedz of Resistance. Eleanor began her work with Chinook in 2009 first as an intern, and now is the Co-Chair of the Grantmaking Committee. She is continuously grateful for the deep insights, experiences, skills and powerful friendships Chinook has given her.
I was born and raised in Denver and have lived here most of my adult life, with significant years away to Siberia and Paris. When here I worked as a volunteer fund-raiser and on the Board of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, both on staff as a development officer and as a volunteer for the Denver Public Library, and on the Board, including as president, of the ACLU of Colorado. While not the usual Chinookie's activism, these represent my commitment to public access to information and technology, a woman's right to choose and health care rights for all Colorado women and justice access for all. After years of prodding by John Hickenlooper, I started giving to Chinook, This lead to volunteer work, first on the Development Committee and in Grantmaking and led to Board membership in the 90's. I am glad to be re-jointing the Chinook Board and hope to help in many ways, not just fund raising.
Edith worked as an organizer with the Service Employees International Union for 5 years. During her time there she developed a knack for strategy and organizing, and learned the importance of leadership. She put her strategy and organizing expertise to work as the Field Director for Choice USA, a national pro-choice organization based in Washington, D.C. She developed the field strategy for over 25 chapters and developed campaigns around sex education, birth control, and health care reform. She brought a distinct perspective to her work as Field Director, developing both the organizing capacity of the organization, and the reproductive justice framework. Her experience as an organizer, a queer woman of color, and a child of immigrants and working class parents helps her recognize and strategize around interconnected issues. So far in her career, she has found training to be the most exciting, challenging and inspiring part of her work. Not to mention, it keeps her on her toes. After several years as a Campus Camp trainer, Edith was hired in the Labor Training Program at Wellstone Action and is currently the Deputy Director for Strategic Capacity Development. She is happy to be back ‘home’ working once again with union members, staff, and leadership. In 2012 she moved from Los Angeles to Denver for love, inspired by a need to take the “long distance” out of her relationship. Edith was born feet first in Tehran, Iran on the first day of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. She likes to hit the ground running.
Paul Stein has been the Colorado State Refugee Coordinator, within the Colorado Department of Human Services, since September 2005. He is the President of the State Coordinators of Refugee Resettlement, and most focused on policy and integration issues. From 1973 to 1988, in his first career as a studio artist and gallery owner, he worked in photography, sculpture, furniture and jewelry. He left his art career to reconnect with his interests in international political affairs and human rights. From 1988 until 2000, he worked as a national consultant to immigration attorneys on asylum applications and appeals, during which time he provided documentation and developed expert testimony concerning the home country conditions of asylum applicants. From 1998 until 2000 he was on the Board of Directors of the Rocky Mountain Survivors Center. From 2000 until 2005, he was the executive director of the Rocky Mountain Survivors Center in Denver, one of the approximately 40 torture treatment programs in the United States. He was a leader in the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs, focusing on public policy and outcome measures. He has a particular interest in data informed program management, and developing quantitative and qualitative measurements for integration for both arriving and receiving communities.
For over a decade, Nora has leveraged the voices of women, immigrant communities, and low-wage workers by means of community organizing, advocacy, and securing resources for disenfranchised communities. Her Bachelors training in Communications and Women's Studies has been deepened with a Masters in Multicultural Communication at DePaul University in Chicago. In addition, as a Constituent Advocate and Outreach Director for US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky in the most diverse district in Chicago, she gained a broad knowledge in developing effective working relationships with all sectors of the public, including elected officials, key stakeholders, and social justice groups to shape public consciousness. Her most recent position was Projects Coordinator at the Front Range Economic Strategy Center (FRESC), where she designed their Civic Leadership Institute, a civic education program on Economic Development, Immigration, and Healthcare. Moreover, she oversaw organizational growth and development, including implementation of large scale fundraisers that took their individual giving capacity to a new level.
Luisa was born and raised in southern California and Oregon. She moved to Denver eight years ago. Since her time here she has been involved with several social justice movements ranging from the immigrant rights movement to the LGBTQI liberation movement. As a queer mixed race women of color, the understanding of her own oppression and privilege fueled her passion to be involved in liberation movements with intersecting communities. Currently, she is finishing her Bachelors degree at Metropolitan State College of Denver with a major in Spanish and a minor in Chicano Studies. While volunteering at Colorado Anti-Violence Program, she is also organizing with her neighbors against local community issues. As she stays busy and focused on the work that needs to be done, she feels blessed and full from all the love her community gives and she looks forward to continue the work for a strong movement of positive change in Colorado with the Chinook Fund.
Administrative ManagerI grew up in the racially polarized city of St. Louis where I attended private Catholic schools to avoid the failing public schools that were almost entirely Black. From a young age, I was very aware of injustice in the world due to the institutional racism and white privilege (although of course I didn’t have those words at that time) that I saw and experienced all around me. I have been working in nonprofits for the last fifteen years and have been involved in social change work in Denver since moving here over five years ago. While working on my masters in social work, I organized the Allies in Action program at Rights for All People. I then started as a community outreach worker at Prax(us) where I stayed for four years. Over the years there, I also worked as a community organizer, co-director, and director. I was very involved in developing the community organizing program at Prax(us), which a start-up grant from Chinook got off the ground, as well as developing constituent leadership at all levels of the organization and greatly expanding our grassroots fundraising support. I currently teach social work classes largely focused on anti-oppression and community organizing at the University of Denver and Metropolitan State University of Denver. I have also been involved in and supportive of immigrant rights, racial justice, harm reduction for injection drug users, and queer and trans liberation efforts here in Denver.
Our volunteers are the engine that keeps Chinook running. Volunteers steer Chinook's unique grantmaking process by serving on the Grantmaking Committee. They spend countless hours every year reviewing applications for grants, visiting and interviewing prospective grantees, and engaging in a consensus decision-making process to make funding recommendations. Volunteers also provide wise counsel to staff on social justice education programs that Chinook offers to the public. Volunteers oversee Chinook's various operations and raise money to fund our work. And, our volunteers participate in ongoing in-house anti-oppression discussions and trainings, trainings designed to ensure that we actively reflect the anti-oppression values that are the core of Chinook's mission.
If you are interested in volunteering, download our volunteer application form, fill it out, return it to us, and we will get back to you very shortly. Thank you for your consideration.
We simply could not fulfill our mission, to help create a just, equitable and free society, without the financial foundation provided by Chinook's donors. Every donor has her or his own reason for contributing to Chinook Fund. Whether donating five dollars or five thousand, all have entrusted the Chinook Fund with making our shared dream for social justice come true. If you are considering becoming a donor to the Chinook Fund, click here to learn more.
Chinook's exceptional grantees are at the heart of Chinook's progressive philosophy. They are based in communities of color, low-income communities and other oppressed groups. They are working to better the lives of a whole group of people for good by changing an unjust system, rather than providing ongoing services to individuals who are affected by that system. In these organizations, the people who are most directly affected by the injustice are the leaders and the decision-makers. In other words, the work of the organization is led by its constituency.
This is what real, grassroots democracy looks like! And this is the kind of work that will lead to lasting change.
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