By Jennifer Bradford
The word “philanthropy” comes from Greek meaning the love of humanity or mankind. “Piece” as a verb means to stitch or join together. The two words together create Philanthropiece whose mission is to “piece together a better world”. The organization asks the question “what can we do to help make our world, country, town, community a better place?” Philanthropiece has branches in Boulder County, Mexico, and Guatemala, and in each place conducts equity informed work to improve economic, social, and climate justice.
Founded by Libby Cook in 1987 as the Wild Oats Foundation, it was refocused and renamed to Philanthropiece in 2006 to focus on community led solutions to local and global issues. In the last few years, Philanthropiece committed to being an anti-racist organization and take a deeper dive into the social inequities in Boulder County. The current Executive Director, Katie Doyle Myers, took over leadership five years ago. “Everything we do is community shaped. The needs and priorities of the community targeted by inequitable systemic policies and practices ties together all of the work we do,” explains Katie.
Throughout the COVID pandemic, systemic inequities were exposed in our community. “We all have a responsibility to attend where we know barriers exist,” states Katie. She is proud that Philanthropiece “fosters collaboration and initiatives shaped by frontline community members.” She encourages “each person in Boulder County to learn, listen, and show up to help the collective good.”
Philanthropiece collaborates with many organizations and works to help the collective good by engaging in projects, including a Financial Health Course offered as an 8-week series. The goal is to create a culture of saving, to understanding the barriers to building wealth, and connecting participants to resources.
Voces Unidas, a grassroots movement developing support systems for Latinx and immigrant identifying youth in St. Vrain Valley schools, is another collaborative venture. The approach is three-pronged: support students to understand pathways and access resources regardless of status; work with school employees to understand immigrant identifying youth; and support the wellness and mental health of those youth.
To help ensure that equity is central to all climate action, Philanthropiece is also involved in the Climate Justice Collaborative of Boulder County. This program is launching a community led pilot to support residents of manufactured homes prepare for climate emergencies.
Philanthropiece is also helping to improve diversity in Boulder County’s nonprofit sector by agreeing to be on SVP’s list of organizations willing to serve as a resource to other nonprofits. The goal is to create and foster networks among various nonprofit leaders, board members, and staff which will lead to more diversity on nonprofit boards.
Katie’s motto, instead of “go big or go home,” is “go slow and show up.” She adds, “everyone can—and has the responsibly to—commit to listen, learn, and take the time to show up. Even small actions make a difference. Philanthropy is not just for the wealthy; everyone has something to offer—cultural practice, skill set, identity.”
To learn more about Philanthropiece, visit philanthropiece.org, or join a “Cafecito” gathering to connect and converse; there is a monthly climate justice Cafecito and periodically scheduled is one on economic justice.