As RMMFI continues to grow, we’re committed to working with partners that share our values – not only as they relate to what we’re trying to achieve, but also how. We’re spotlighting two of our program partners that demonstrate the power and potential of community-led change.
Re:Vision, our partner in the Westwood neighborhood of Denver, is a model for community-led development. Their theory of change starts with the belief that thriving, resilient communities result from community ownership, and their programs are intentionally designed to build upon the assets inherent within Westwood – especially its people. Re:Vision focuses on developing local leaders by training community members to become Promotoras, advocates who teach nutrition courses and help neighbors grow food in backyard gardens. Re:Vision also runs a catalytic multipurpose food-hub called RISE Westwood. Home for creating a Resilient, Inclusive, and Sustainable Economy, RISE Westwood houses 3 Latinx-owned businesses, hosts weekly farmer’s markets on Sundays (9am-2pm) to provide a platform for local entrepreneurs, and offers a no-cost grocery program twice a week for residents.
As JoAnna Cintron, Executive Director, describes it, “At Re:Vision, we see food as a catalyst for larger community and system change. Our community is rich with culture and assets, and we know together we can build a thriving and equitable community.”
Down in the San Luis Valley, our partner First Southwest Community Fund is working to create vibrant rural economies in Colorado through inclusive and equitable access to capital. FSWCF operates on the belief that supporting rural startups, nonprofits, and small business owners can enable sustainable, thriving rural communities. They support rural entrepreneurs by making non-traditional capital available to local small businesses (in addition to technical assistance, education, and mentorship), which in turn helps create and retain jobs and encourages the development of community assets and infrastructure. FSWCF has a particular emphasis on supporting women entrepreneurs, especially women of color, through their Rural Women-Led Business Fund.
Azarel Madrigal-Chase, Program Director, explained FSWCF’s commitment to community-led change: “The best way to build relationships and create tools for meaningful change is to ensure that those we mean to serve have a seat at the table. First Southwest Community Fund is committed to community-led and informed programming that is representative of rural Colorado. This is a philosophy we bring to everything we do, including partnerships. We are fortunate to have a Rural Women-Led Business Fund Advisory Committee with a diverse group of women representing different professional backgrounds, walks of life, and the San Luis Valley region.”
We are proud and grateful to have the partnership of Re:Vision and First Southwest Community Fund as we work to help more individuals and communities across Colorado activate the possible. Stay tuned for updates on the entrepreneurs participating in our Westwood and San Luis Valley programs this fall!