Denver Kids Hires Jay Grimm as CEO

Denver Kids is excited to share news that isn’t broadly known yet – we’ve identified our next CEO!

Denver Kids has hired Jay Grimm, who is set to join the team later this month. He comes to us after nearly 5 years at Denver Public Schools as their Director of the Whole Child / Student Equity & Opportunity department. He is an experienced director and nonprofit leader who has served as Executive Director of Aurora Public Schools Foundation and the Denver Indian Center. Jay is a Metropolitan State University of Denver graduate and a Livingston Fellow. Jay has played an important role in supporting the partnership between DPS and Denver Kids and has advocated for the organization and its students.

Jay has a great mix of leadership, fundraising, and programmatic experience. That, along with his passion for youth development and dedication to diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging, makes us believe that he’ll make a significant impact in advancing the work of Denver Kids!

In addition, for those who attended our Gala in November, they may remember Jay as he was honored as a Community Impact Award winner. Denver Kids looks forward to connecting Jay with Club 31 in the coming months!

Concert for a Cause – Education Through Music (DRCF Grantee)

Education Through Music Colorado was provided a$7,000 grant from our Denver Rotary Club Foundation from the 2020-21 “New Projects” grant.  

Happy October! I’d like to extend an invitation to a very exciting event taking place in just a few weeks to celebrate Education Through Music-Colorado. ETM-CO is a growing nonprofit that partners with under-resourced schools to provide music as a core subject for all children, and utilizes music education as a catalyst to improve overall achievement, motivation for school, and self-confidence.

Despite the many challenges that COVID-19 has posed, ETM-CO has doubled in size each year and now partners with 8 Title I schools in Denver providing music education for nearly 2,500 students.

On October 23rd, ETM-CO will be hosting an evening of live music, food, drinks, and more to showcase and celebrate their growing programming!

The event will showcase performances by The Reminders, a rare and remarkable duo with undeniable magical chemistry, The Dana Landry Collective ft. Kim Dawson, a finalist from The Sing Off and NBC’s a cappella competition, as well as a performance by our very own ETM-CO students!

I hope that you will support this incredible program that I truly believe in. I’ve been fortunate to witness the impact of this programming and ETM-CO is doing important work to break down barriers and ensure that music education is equitable and accessible.

If you’re interested in attending, I’ve listed the Eventbrite page below where you can purchase tickets. Let me know if I or the ETM-CO team can answer any questions for you as you consider. Hope to see you there!

Mallory Bernstein
Executive Director


COVID-19 & Colorado Wildfire Disaster Relief

The mission of the Denver Rotary Club Foundation is to jointly participate with the Denver Rotary Club and make a positive impact in our community through the grants we make each year.  Our grant funds are made possible through our Club fundraisers such as the peach sale, cash contributions from our Club 31 members, Red Bucket proceeds, Colorado Gives Day donations, earnings from our investment account, and our major fundraiser that we look forward to bring back this year.  Our grants emphasize our commitment to the importance and value of youth and education, disaster relief efforts, and international projects.

In 2020 we had two COVID-19 Disaster Relief initiatives.  The first one was in May 2020 whereby we combined the financial resources of the Denver Rotary Club, District 5450 and cash donations by Club 31 Members.  The result of that first effort was a total of $24,875 going to nonprofit organizations involved in helping people directly affected by the COVID-19 virus.

Thank you to Sid Brooks our Vice President and President Elect of the Denver Rotary Club Foundation for introducing the idea for a second COVID-19 relief effort.  The result of this idea was that your Denver Rotary Club Foundation Trustees recently approved $5,000 in a combined Disaster Relief Funding program whereby $2,500 was allocated to COVID-19 relief and $2,500 went to District 5450 to help with the aftermath of the devastation caused by the Colorado Wildfires that we experienced over the summer and fall last year. 

We are pleased to report that the recipients of these grant funds are:

Food Bank of the Rockies    $825
Project C.U.R.E.    $825
CU Foundation – Health Care Worker Emergency Fund    $850
District 5450 Colorado Wildfire Disaster Relief $2,500

One of the goals of Club President Debbie is to increase our Club’s participation with District 5450 and this helps to accomplish that goal through the Wildfire Disaster Relief funding.  It’s also important to add that we are aware of one Club 31 member who, in December 2020, personally donated $1,000 to some of our COVID-19 recipients.  This is all made possible by the generosity of our members who support the Denver Rotary Club Foundation and our mission. We continue to make a positive impact in the lives of people.  Thank you, Denver Club 31 Rotarians for your continued support to those in our community.  

A big thank you also goes to your DRCF President Carter Sales who not only lead our Disaster Relief efforts from our 2019-20 Rotary year – where we granted nearly $25,000 for immediate COVID-19 relief to 10 worthy organizations – but he also stepped up once again to lead our second relief effort this year.  Thank you, Carter for your dedication and service to our Foundation and those in our community.

Donna Hultin Excellence Award Endowment

The Donna Hultin Excellence Award was created by the Rotary Club of Denver in 2008 to honor Donna’s 28 years of dedicated service to Denver Kids, Inc. and her service to Rotary. The annual $500 cash award recognizes one high achieving graduating high school senior who is part of the Denver Kids mentoring program and is college bound. Qualifications include demonstrated academic achievement, excellence in attendance, community service, leadership ability and a positive attitude. For the past 12 years the award was funded annually by the Rotary Club of Denver and for the last two years, this award was matched by a Denver Rotarian and the Hultin Family for a total scholarship of $1,000.

Donna’s husband, Wally Hultin, recently approached the Denver Rotary Club Foundation to create an Endowment to ensure that funding for the award continues in Donna’s name.  Wally offered an initial donation to begin funding the Endowment plus a formula to match contributions from donors. Rotarian Mary Penny then organized a fund raising effort to gather the donations in order to make the Endowment a reality.  Today the Endowment funding is $30,350. Thanks to the vision of Wally Hultin, his generous donation and the generosity of the donors, The Donna Hultin Excellence Award Endowment will now last in perpetuity to fund the annual cash award and recognize future generations of Denver Kids graduates for this prestigious honor.

2019 DCIS Travel & Language Fair

Join Club 31’s Adopt-A-School at the 2019 DCIS Travel & Language Fair


Please join us at the 2019 DCIS Travel and Language Fair where you, along with other exhibitors representing Gap Year, Student Travel, Study Abroad, Cultural Exchange, Language Immersion, Language Learning, Nonprofits, Service, and Volunteer Opportunities (national as well as international), will interact in person with members of the entire DPS community and beyond.

This “Showcase of Opportunities for Students 4th to 12th grade” is FREE and Open to the PUBLIC on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019 from 5 – 8 PM at the Denver Center for International Studies (574 W 6th Ave. Denver, CO 80204), Denver Rotary’s ‘Adopt-A-School”, public middle and high school with a global focus and an unique curriculum with double social studies and the opportunity to learn French, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, and Lakota.

If you would like to exhibit and use this opportunity to interact in person with members of the entire DPS community and beyond, especially students from elementary to high school and their families, the Registration Form is here or contact Marie if you have any questions or comments.  Students and Teachers can register for free to have a table at the Travel & Language Fair (we especially encourage food sales and travel and language fundraisers).  Community Service and Event credits available to student volunteers. Vendors and exhibitors pay a $100 participation fee or $50 for nonprofits, and we will provide a table and chairs; no electricity available.  Please be in compliance with the relevant tax regulations.

All teachers, students, and parents from DCIS, other schools in Denver Public Schools, and our neighboring communities are welcome.

The Travel & Language Fair will be a lot of fun for everyone. Please get ready learn and explore at the Travel & Language Fair on December 12th this year – see you there!

Help Denver Kids, Inc. win $166,000!


Help Denver Kids, Inc. win $166,000!
Denver Kids is a finalist in the 2020 Chick-fil-A True Inspiration Awards and the Opus Foundation’s Gerry Rauenhorst Building Community Award!



2020 Chick-fil-A True Inspiration Awards
Help us win $100,000 by voting between September 9 and 30!

      Vote for Denver Kids, Inc. in the West Region at:

      You can also vote by using the Chick-fil-A app:

  • Download the Chick-fil-A app on your smartphone
  • Create an account
  • Open the app and click “Rewards” at the bottom of the screen
  • Click “News” at the top of the next screen and tap “Vote Now”
  • Select the “West Region” and cast your vote for Denver Kids!

Opus Foundation’s Gerry Rauenhorst Building Community Award
Help us win $66,000 by voting between September 24 and October 4!

      Vote for Denver Kids, Inc. at:

Learn more about Denver Kids at

DMHR: Champion for a District Grant to Provide BrainWise Training for Denver Kids’ Counselors

Denver Kids is a jewel in Rotary’s community programs.  Rotary Club 31 of Denver helped found Denver Kids after World War II to help at-risk youth in third through 12th grade graduate from high school.  Club 31 Rotarians continue to serve on the organization’s Board of Directors and help fund operations that include twenty full-time counselors.  Rotarians also recruit volunteer mentors who work one-on-one with students from third grade through high school, provide YRYLA and RYLA scholarships and offer numerous educational, career, and recreational activities.

Last year, Denver Kids served more than 900 students in 160 schools who participate for an average of seven years.  The children are recommended by school counselors and may qualify for free reduced lunches and in addition to family, social, educational, and behavioral health challenges.  This combination of strikes belies the 83 percent graduate rate Denver Kids achieve compared with the 65 percent rate of DPS students.  These successful outcomes are a hallmark of Denver Kids.

In 2018, following a training for their counselors in Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), Denver Kids’ administrators sought a curriculum they could use with students and families.  After a review of programs, they selected BrainWise, unaware that the curriculum had been developed by DMHR Rotarian Pat Gorman Barry.  Neither did they know that BrainWise was being taught in Denver, Jefferson County, Weld County, and Aurora public schools, as well as in Rotary projects at Eagleton Elementary and CEC.

This connection opened an opportunity to seek a District Grant that would cover the training expenses.  In addition, the project would make a wider range of Rotarians aware of mentoring opportunities with Denver Kids.  Denver Mile High Rotary members Tom Cella and Diane Messamore stepped up to be co-champions of the District Grant with Club 31, Denver SouthEast and Castle Pines Rotary as partners.  The grant was approved and Denver Kids’ counselors and administrators were trained in BrainWise in January, 2019.

The recent merger of Denver Kids and Denver Urban Scholars will provide additional opportunities for DPS students to learn SEL and the executive function skills needed to make positive life choices and decisions – with Rotarians and other volunteers serving as mentors.

Thank You Rotarians and the Denver Rotary Club Foundation

Dear Denver Rotarians…

Junior Achievement is supported by a $3,000 grant from our Denver Rotary Club Foundation for 2019-2020

We are extremely grateful for the support of Denver Rotary Club Foundation as we prepare and inspire young people to own their future economic success.  Together we can empower students to break through self-imposed boundaries, discover their enterprising spirit and learn the knowledge and skills they will need to compete for jobs.

Specifically, Denver Rotary Club Foundation is making a real difference in the lives of young people like Carole Smith.  As a student with a dream to be an artist, Carole did not initially think that business was for her.  However, she challenged that thought and participated in JA for multiple years, determined to learn the business side of being an artist.  Today, Carole owns her own online art business and credits JA with giving her the skills, tools and confidence she needed to become an entrepreneur.  Carole is now a JA volunteer as well!

Thanks again for your generous support and for helping make our children’s dreams a reality!

With gratitude,
Robin Wise, President & CEO

Community Resources, Inc. is supported by a $4,000 grant from our Denver Rotary Club Foundation for 2019-20

On behalf of Community Resources and the children and families we serve, I want to thank you and the Foundation for your continued support of our work with students and mentors.  I wish you had the chance to get to know some of the students whose lives you have changed.  It would bring both smiles and tears.

All the best,
Sue Edwards, Executive Director

Since 1946, Denver Kids, Inc. has been supported by more than $4.4 Million in grants from our Denver Rotary Club Foundation.

You made our day!  I can’t tell you how much we appreciate your support of our work to combat the dropout crisis and end the cycle of generational poverty in our Denver Public Schools community.  We are constantly humbled by the contributions and opportunities our volunteer mentors, community partners and donors have made to encourage the successful development of the whole child.

Here at Denver Kids, our goal is to make sure that every student counts, every student graduates.  While we served approximately 1,000 Denver Public Schools students last year with our educational counseling program, the fact is that 20 students are added to the wait list per month.  There is an overwhelming need and we could not do this important work without you.

Thank you for your generous donation of $559.14  from Trivia Night, to support our summer programs.  It will go a long way to help us empower our young people to become contributing members of the community, and end the cycle of generational poverty one family at a time.

With gratitude,
Michelle Maldonado, Director of Development

On behalf of PROJECT C.U.R.E., thank you for your generous gift.  Your commitment to Delivering Health and Hope to the World is truly appreciated.  Each year, we deliver more than $60 million worth of medical supplies and equipment to under served hospitals and clinics around the world.  These resources provide health and healing to tens of thousands of people who need it desperately.

It is because of supporters like you that we have been able to strengthen health care facilities, transform communities and save lives for 27 years.  Your donation of $1,000 to help pay for costs associated with vandalism to our trucks is greatly appreciated.  Thanks to the World Community Services committee of Denver Rotary, we are now able to put locks on the catalytic converters in our trucks to prevent this from happening again.  We are honored by the confidence you have placed in us and hope you will continue to support our ongoing worldwide efforts to bring quality health care to those who need it most.

With sincere thanks,
W. Douglas Jackson, PhD, JD, President & CEO

Club 31 Rotarians Volunteer at JA Finance Park

Someday – ready or not – young people will have to manage their own finances.  They will be faced with paying for housing, food and transportation, as well as saving for the future. But first, thanks to financial and volunteer support from Club 31, 18,500 middle and high school students in metro Denver had the opportunity to take on these responsibilities without suffering devastating consequences by participating in JA Finance Park during the 2018/19 school year.

In addition to teaching students how to create a budget, use financial services and save for the future, this economic reality check improves student attitudes toward work and education at a crucial time in their development.  In fact, JA Finance Park has proven to be so effective, the program has been recognized through Harvard University’s Global Education Innovation Initiative for excellence in teaching financial literacy.

The following Rotarians volunteered at JA Finance Park in April and May.  They each coached a group of 10 – 12 students through the simulation, while integrating their real-world financial experience, the good, the bad and the ugly, to help students understand how important it is to be financially responsible.

  • Julie Freshman
  • Wynn Gandera
  • Rick Bowmen
  • Melissa Bowen
  • Debbie Beasley
  • Colleen Cozad
  • Jim Goddard

Additionally, Jim Goddard brought his team from Senior Options out to volunteer at the Park!

In addition to volunteer support, the $3,000 grant JA received from the Denver Rotary Club Foundation this year, helped JA provide JA Finance Park to students at no cost.  Thanks to everyone who volunteered and to those who contribute to the Denver Rotary Club Foundation.  You’re making a long-term investment in our children!

If you’re interested, please take a moment to watch the video below to hear how one young man’s life was changed thanks to JA Finance Park and our volunteers!

Elijah’s JA Story