The Civic Canopy is a community-based nonprofit organization transforming the way pivotal issues are solved in our society. Our work connects diverse groups of people seeking change in their communities and equips them with tools to create meaningful and lasting impact.
The need for individuals, nonprofits, and governmental agencies to work more effectively together has never been greater. The Civic Canopy has initiated conversations and built collaborations among these partners since our founding in 2003.
The Civic Canopy is creating a culture of collaboration across Colorado.
The Civic Canopy (Canopy) began in 2003 in response to the need for individuals, nonprofits, businesses, and government agencies to work more effectively together to solve increasingly complex social problems. A variety of stakeholders participated in “Raising the Civic Canopy” events, which drew more than 800 people and explored ways to improve civic health through collaboration. These events highlighted the demand for a formal organization that could facilitate the collaborative partnerships needed to address complex social problems. In response, the Canopy was incorporated as a nonprofit in 2008. In the years since the Canopy’s founding, the organization has established a reputation as a respected neutral convener, capable of bringing diverse and sometimes conflicting viewpoints together to work more effectively.
Founder & Co-Executive Director
Bill is a leader in the field of collaborative process design, small and large group facilitation, and applying research from multiple fields to the practical needs of improving communities. He founded The Civic Canopy in 2003 to create a comprehensive community change platform to help communities collaborate more efficiently and effectively. Bill provides strategic leadership for the overall organization, acts as lead facilitator on a portfolio of projects, and oversees the development of the Canopy’s core services and supports. He has successfully facilitated hundreds of collaborative processes and strategic planning initiatives with groups in private, public and nonprofit sectors, ranging from single day retreats to multi-year policy development initiatives. Bill began his career as a teacher at the Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning, then helped establish the Denver office of Facing History and Ourselves. Prior to the founding the Canopy, he was a principal and founder of Civil Conversations, LLC, a consulting firm that provides facilitation and training for business and organizations. He completed his BA at Brown University, his MA in education at the University of Colorado at Denver, and his PhD at the University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology as a way to lay the foundation for The Civic Canopy, focusing on public dialogue, civic engagement, and collaborative movement building. To contact Bill, email: [email protected]
Communications Specialist VISTA
Dianna provides communications skills and expertise to Canopy work through Americorps Vista. She works on updating and enhancing communication tools and resources, developing collateral materials, and expanding the capacity of the Canopy team and partners around communication strategies. She has a Master in Public Health Epidemiology and Statistics from Loma Linda University School of Public Health, and a Master in Public Administration from the University of Colorado, Denver, Public Affairs Program. She is currently an Affiliate Faculty with Metropolitan State University of Denver, teaching Health Care Organization for the Health Professions Department. Diana has vast knowledge about early childhood education and youth building as well as journalism, technical writing, editing, and fundraising. To contact Diana, email: [email protected]
Emily provides project assistance at The Civic Canopy, contributing strategic support for planning and logistics to ensure meetings and events are designed in an inviting, inclusive way so all voices can participate. She develops supportive resources and materials that facilitate engagement and oversees many of the Canopy’s communication tools. She works with existing networks the Canopy supports along with numerous other Canopy projects to share her problem-solving skills and team playing attitude across the Canopy. Emily studied Sociology with a focus in Women’s Studies at Colorado State University, becoming interested in advocacy for underserved populations through lived experience, and policy and evaluation research. To contact Emily, email: [email protected]
Hanna brings experience and expertise in network support, authentic engagement, training and facilitation, and project management. She primarily supports statewide and community-level efforts focused on the health and wellbeing of children and families, building from her keen interest in approaches that promote strong families and communities and ensuring all voices have a place at the table in important collaborative conversations. Hanna contributes skills in strategic and intentional communication across Canopy efforts in order to ensure the way issues and ideas are framed allow for inclusive dialogue. Prior to joining The Civic Canopy, Hanna worked at the Colorado Children’s Campaign where she developed a passion for policy development and collaborative efforts to promote strong health and educational outcomes and opportunities for all of Colorado’s children and families. Hanna received her teaching degree and Bachelor’s in History from the University of Colorado-Boulder and her Masters in Public Administration at the University of Colorado-Denver. She is also an alumna of the Buell Early Childhood Leadership Program. To contact Hanna, email: [email protected]
Jodi guides the organization-wide strategy, securing the partnerships and resources needed to develop and deliver the Canopy’s core service and support offerings. She applies a strategic lens to all Canopy project areas and supports team members to ensure fidelity to the Canopy’s Community Learning Model. Additionally, Jodi designs and facilitates a variety of projects at the Canopy, overseeing a diverse portfolio of community, state and national projects. Jodi is known for her expertise in strategy and systems development, cross-sector partnership building, and connecting often disparate efforts into a more cohesive whole in addition to content expertise in early childhood systems. She received a Master’s in Public Health from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. To contact Jodi, email: [email protected]
Karla supports The Civic Canopy’s neighborhood-based projects with over twelve years of capacity building experience through community organizing. She brings a deep commitment to enhancing and supporting the leadership potential of residents who often do not have or are given the opportunity to exercise their power by sharing their expertise, gifts and talents. Karla is a natural bridge-builder across the barriers of language, culture and experience, applying a diverse set of skills as project coordinator including curriculum development, facilitation, outreach and engagement. She likes to call this process “planting the seed and investing in community.” Prior to joining the Canopy team, Karla worked with Together Colorado as a community leader and parent liaison and community organizer. To contact Karla, email: [email protected]
Meghan is a trained and experienced facilitator, effective project manager, systems thinker, and strategic planner. In her role at The Civic Canopy, Meghan primarily designs, facilitates, and manages projects that support communities throughout Colorado to adopt a collaborative, collective impact approach to their work and create inclusive processes and networks that engage diverse community members. One of her primary roles has been supporting a statewide network of partners that uses a collective impact approach to build better systems to support youth and young adults in Colorado. Meghan received her Masters of Social Work from the University of Denver, with a concentration in Community and Organizational Leadership. Prior to that she received her undergraduate degree from Clemson University and spent several years in the youth development field providing outdoor leadership programs. To contact Meghan, email: [email protected]
Beverly Grant is the Founder of Mo’Betta Greens of Denver, a Farmers Market in the historic Five Points District neighborhood. She provides fresh foods and markets for the food desert in the Northeast Denver neighborhood and is a voice for community residents in the 80205 zipcode. Beverly provides her expertise to ensuring the Canopy-supported community health work is inclusive and responsive.
Dara Hessee is a Senior Program Officer at the Colorado Health Foundation. In this role, she develops strategic initiatives and manages a portfolio of grants that support the Foundation’s Healthy Behaviors, Social Determinants of Health, and Child and Adolescent Health focus areas. Dara connects to the Canopy’s commitment to supporting healthy communities through quality collaboration.
Halisi has over 20 years of marketing and media creation experience. She has worked extensively in and with large, small companies, and non-profits creating go-to-market strategies, brand management strategies, business development, strategic plans, and guerrilla marketing tactics. Currently the Executive Director at the Rocky Mountain Employee Ownership Center, Halisi is pleased to bring her business savvy to the Canopy’s Board of Directors.
Jack Van Ens
Jack R. Van Ens serves as Executive Director of Creative Growth Inc. (www.thelivinghistory.com), making history come alive as he portrays Thomas Jefferson and the colonial preacher Jonathan Edwards in period costume. Since 1976, Jack has portrayed these pivotal leaders for schools, religious organizations, libraries, and public service groups. For over a quarter century, he has coordinated the Jefferson County Good News Breakfast, bringing together 500+ community leaders to celebrate civic virtue. Jack is a founding Board member for The Civic Canopy, finding great connection with his passion to foster statewide civic engagement.
Joseph Padilla commanded the Gang, Juvenile, Traffic Operations and Civil Liability/Professional Standards Bureaus of the Denver Police Department and retired as a captain in 2015. A graduate of the 235th session of the FBI National Academy he managed several large events and previously served as the manager of the Investigative Support Center for the Rocky Mountain H.I.D.T.A. (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) program Throughout his thirty-plus year career Joe understood the importance of community involvement in developing safe neighborhoods. He joined The Civic Canopy’s board because he supports the mission to create a culture where everyone works together to develop transformative change and allow our communities to become vibrant and live up to their full potential.
Matthew Barry is Vice President of Strategic Assessment at Gary Community Investments, which includes The Piton Foundation. In this role, he is responsible for designing and implementing a process to assess the impact and effectiveness of the organization’s for-profit and philanthropic efforts. He works to strengthen Gary Community Investments’ research and knowledge management capabilities, and he facilitates ongoing strategy development. In addition, he provides stewardship to Shift Research Lab, a program designed to help communities make data-driven decisions.
Meg LaFave is the Director of Strategy for DaVita Kidney Care and previously she was the Senior Strategy Consultant for Kaiser Permanente. Meg is an invaluable partner in communicating thoughtful ideas, modeling the economic impact of strategic decisions, and cohesively leading teams of individuals from different departments. She brings those gifts and skills to the Canopy’s Board of Directors.
Melissa Hart is the Schaden Professor and Director of the Byron R. White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law at the University of Colorado Law School. Her teaching and research are focused on access to justice and civic education. In recent years, she has developed two service-learning courses that engage law students in partnerships with community organizations, one focused on public school partnerships and the other on partnerships with groups providing civil legal assistance to low-income Coloradans. Melissa brings her passion for civic health to the Canopy’s Board of Directors.
Scott Flansburg is a senior manager in the audit service area at EKS&H LLLP, a Denver based public accounting firm. At EKS&H LLLP, he serves a variety of clients and industries with an emphasis on nonprofit organizations. Scott was drawn to The Civic Canopy’s approach of solving societal issues through collaboration based on his own professional and personal experiences that by extending trust and serving others, meaningful change for our communities can be created.
Are you interested in being a part of the Board of Directors of The Civic Canopy? Contact The Civic Canopy for more information.