The start of the new year provides an opportunity to reflect on the work of the previous year while looking forward to the year ahead. In FY 2021, the Buell Foundation awarded nearly $19 million in grants to more than 400 unique Colorado nonprofit partners, awarding more than 60% of grants to rural or statewide partners. In addition to our grantmaking, the Foundation is pleased to share news related to our work as highlighted in this letter.
In February 2021, the Foundation announced the election of Reginald L. Washington, MD to chair the board of trustees for a four-year term. Dr. Washington is the Chief Medical Officer for the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children and Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center and is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He is a graduate of Colorado State University and the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Dr. Washington joined the Buell Foundation Board of Trustees in October 2006. Since that time, he has served as both Vice Chair of the Board as well as the Chair of the Grants Committee. His work on the board, and his focus on objectivity and quality standards in particular, has contributed significantly to the advancement of the Buell Foundation mission. “I’ve known Dr. Washington a long time. We couldn’t ask for a better leader for the Buell Foundation as we move into our next chapter,” said Daniel L. Ritchie, who stepped down as Chair of the Board after 26 years in that position. Mr. Ritchie continues to serve on the Board. He leads the Foundation’s Asset Management Committee and is a member of the Executive Committee. The Foundation appreciates his many years of leadership as the Board Chair.
Following the passage of HB21-1304 in June of 2021, the Buell Foundation worked alongside early childhood stakeholders, the Governor’s office, departments of state government, and parents throughout Colorado to create a new cabinet-level state department, the Department of Early Childhood, and a new statewide universal preschool program. This legislation provided an unprecedented opportunity to elevate the importance of the early childhood period and the systems, supports, and experiences that lead to school readiness and optimal development. Foundation staff are excited to work with our partners to reimagine the structures that support families – to move beyond the status quo to discover a new and better way to serve young children and their families. As we begin our work in 2022, the Foundation looks forward to the new department launching in July and will continue to support implementation of the universal preschool program.
As COVID-19 continues to challenge families across the state and the early childhood sector, the Buell Foundation is holding fast to our commitment to organizations supporting Colorado’s youngest children and their families. In response to the effects COVID-19 has had in this sector, we have provided three rounds of stabilization funding to child care centers and preschools, nearly $2 million, and provided flexibility to all of our grantees. We appreciate the work of each of our partners to ensure that children receive care, that families are supported, and that providers have the resources they need to succeed.
As we look into the coming year, we are identifying proactive strategies that will allow us to tackle some of the most acute problems facing the early childhood sector, including the workforce crisis that every county in our state is facing. The Buell Foundation is honored to support our nonprofit partners every day. We couldn’t do our work without the hundreds of nonprofits across Colorado that work each day to make this the best state for children and their families.
President and CEO