Support Us

“At a critical time for our schools and for our kids, STRIVE Prep stands as a real example of what is possible when teachers, school leaders, parents and a supportive community come together to help prepare students for success in the classroom and beyond.”

Senator Michael Bennet

Help Close the Achievement Gap

There simply aren’t enough students in Denver who are prepared to succeed in college.  A disproportionate number of these students come from families  limited by their current economic circumstances.  In fact, Colorado has one of the nation’s widest achievement gaps between students from high and low-income families, and we have one of the nation’s highest dropout rates.1  While progress has been made in boosting high school graduation rates the past few years, college remediation rates remain high, greatly impacting college completion rates, particularly among students who are first-generation college attendees and from families with low incomes.

Our goal is to close the achievement gaps that exist for our student population and put our scholars on the path to college from the moment they enter a STRIVE Prep classroom, resulting in transformation for scholars, families and the city of Denver.

Your Support at Any Level Allows STRIVE Prep to

  • Run a school with a longer school day and year
  • Provide a three-week Summer Institute for new teachers
  • Train new principals in-house through a two-to-three year-long Principal Fellowship
  • Open a new school one grade at a time to ensure strong culture
  • Provide rigorous operational, financial, and curricular support to the Central Office to help school staff open and operate through full grade build-out

Investing in Achievement

  • One or more STRIVE Prep schools have consistently ranked among the top 10 high performing DPS secondary schools since the DPS School Performance Framework was introduced.
  • Our first class of seniors at STRIVE Prep – SMART Academy achieved an average score of 20.2 on the ACT, with more than half of scholars meeting or exceeding the college-ready benchmark of 21.
  • Ninety percent of kindergartners and 61 percent of first graders at STRIVE Prep – Ruby Hill, our first elementary school, ended 2014 on grade level, up from just 36 percent and 20 percent at the start of the school year.
  • STRIVE Prep has consistently strong indicators in areas of school demand, student retention and attendance.
  • STRIVE Prep is one of three Colorado members of the Charter School Growth Fund portfolio, a distinction shared with the nation’s highest performing charter school operators.

An Incredible Return on Your Investment

  • Our schools are sustainable on the public dollar at full build-out.  For example, a one-time $25,000 gift leverages more than $85,000 of public funding annually.
  • Reaching our $12M campaign goal will allow us to leverage $60M/year at full build out.2

Become a Corporate Sponsor

At STRIVE Prep, corporate partnerships allow us to further ensure that our scholars have the educational support they need to STRIVE for college. We seek corporate partners to annually make meaningful contributions to our work that supports students in receiving a high-quality, college preparatory education and unique academic and enrichment opportunities.

As an annual Corporate Partner, your support will be prominently featured in our promotional materials at multiple STRIVE Prep events throughout the year, including the annual STRIVE for College Breakfast, as well as on our website and social media accounts.

For more information about the benefits of being a Corporate Partner, contact Samantha at


  • A special thanks to Rep Fitness for donating exercise equipment to our scholars at STRIVE Prep – Excel.

Join Our Young Professionals Board

Interested in Joining the STRIVE Prep Young Professionals Board?

STRIVE Prep is now accepting applications for our 2017-18 Young Professionals Board. As a member, you can support students across Denver, make lasting professional connections and be an agent of change in our community. Read more for information about the responsibilities, selection criteria, and how to apply.

Focus & Responsibilities:

Friend-raising and Fundraising

  • Attend monthly meetings to further board endeavors. Board meetings will occur the first Wednesday of each month from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Support STRIVE Prep in developing a strategic network of friends and industry partners throughout the Denver-Metro Area.
  • Attend a fall networking/fundraising event as well as the STRIVE for College Breakfast in March 2018.
  • Donate or raise $1,000 a year.

Advocacy & Leadership Development

  • Volunteer at least once during the year at a school-based event/activity.
  • Meet and learn from leaders in the STRIVE Prep Network & in the community.
  • Continue to learn more about STRIVE Prep, issues surrounding public education, and what sets us apart so that you can be our biggest advocate.

Selection Criteria

  • Applicants should be passionate about making a difference in the community and eliminating educational inequity.
  • Applicants with a strong network of other Denver-based professionals, prior committee and board experience, and a minimum of three years of professional work experience are preferred.
  • This is an opportunity for young professionals to grow and develop the skills that will prepare them to serve on nonprofit and corporate boards later in their careers.
  • Applicants must pass Denver Public School’s Background Check.

Application Instructions & Timeline

  • E-mail pdf of resume and cover letter to by Friday, July 7 at 5 p.m. MST. (Cover letters should explain why the applicant wants to join the Young Professionals Board, as well as any volunteer or leadership experience that is not included your resume.)
  • Applicants may be contacted for an hour in-person interview at the end of July
  • All applicants will be notified by Friday, July 28.
  • The first meeting of the school year will be from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 3rd.

Stand Out in the Community

Funder Spotlight: Gates Family Foundation

STRIVE Prep’s mission of providing a college-preparatory education to all Denver students would not be possible without like-minded partners and supporters. Throughout the past 10 years, generous gifts of both funds and steadfast belief in our vision from the Gates Family Foundation, have helped our scholars prove what we’ve always known –  that all kids can succeed.

Since 1946, the Gates Family Foundation has worked to make philanthropic investments that better the state of Colorado, with a concentrated focus on education and natural resources.

As long term advocates for the value of choice and charter schools in the public education system, the Foundation supported STRIVE Prep’s vision from the beginning, and that support has grown and evolved with the network.

What makes the Gates Family Foundation such a valuable supporter is the deep understanding and desire to improve the challenges surrounding education in Denver.

“Our trustees and staff firmly believe that public education has to be the pathway to opportunity for everyone, especially children from low-income families. The scale of the achievement gap here in Colorado tells us we have not been successful in providing that pathway.”

– President Tom Gougeon

This, along with the shared belief that the ultimate indicator of success can only come from students, has helped build a unique relationship between STRIVE Prep and the Gates Family Foundation.

“The Foundation cares about the outcomes for actual students, whether we can collectively make a dramatic shift in the achievement gap over time,” Gougeon said. “But, STRIVE’s success is also important as a proof point, and a chance for everyone to continue to learn how to best serve the needs of all children.”

The value that the foundation has placed on STRIVE Prep’s work has been essential to STRIVE Prep’s success over the years. The scope and generosity of their support has been invaluable in growing the network.

The Gates Family Foundation’s incredibly consistency as one of our most valuable partners over the last 10 years has changed educational opportunities for our students,” STRIVE Prep CEO Chris Gibbons said. “From donations that helped transform our very first campus from a deserted nursing home into a vibrant school, to the support of large growth campaigns that help develop our leaders and open new schools, we would not be where we are today without them.”


Join a Community of Supporters

There are a variety of individuals and organizations that are helping to ensure that every student in Denver has access to a high-quality public education.  Thanks to STRIVE Prep’s many generous donors, we are well on our way to our $12M Campaign goal.  We’re so thankful to the Campaign for 7,500 Committee members below who have helped make this possible:

  • Brooke Brown
  • Rob Gary
  • Kim Knous-Dolan
  • Andy Peterson
  • Rich Rainaldi
  • Chris Watney

2016-2017 Young Professionals Board

The members of STRIVE Prep’s founding Young Professionals Board support STRIVE Prep in developing an enhanced network of friends, funders, and corporate partners throughout the Denver-metro area.

Members benefit from leadership development for service on nonprofit and corporate boards, and an increased awareness of the social and educational needs in Denver. We’re thrilled to have this group of leaders support us in this critical work.

  • Dan Beyer, Citywide Banks
  • Katherine Brownson, DaVita
  • Reed Dixon, Rye Ridge Resources
  • Bridget Garcia, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
  • Anne Goff, Frontier Airlines
  • Catherine Hildreth, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP
  • Bradley Karr, Vail Resorts
  • Lane Lemesany, Baker Hughes Inc.
  • Roger Liu, Intel Corporation
  • Alexandra H. Melberg, The Fletcher Group
  • Francis Rooney, KPMG, LLP
  • Mae Ann Saas, Eidos Architects

Champions Circle

The STRIVE Prep Champions Circle is an exclusive group of STRIVE Prep supporters and Denver leaders aligned by a common vision of college access and success for all students. These supporters include some of STRIVE Prep’s closest friends and advocates who have showed a deep commitment to our mission and our scholars, as well as generosity in giving and community leadership.

  • Marco & Cathy Abarca and Adrianna Abarca
  • Laura Barton
  • Brooke Brown
  • Kim & Jeff Dolan
  • Mike Fries
  • Tom & Sally Kaesemeyer
  • Jim Kelley & Amie Knox
  • Chad McWhinney
  • Zack Neumeyer
  • Kent Thiry & Denise O’Leary
  • Andy & Suzanne Peterson
  • Rich Rainaldi & Martha Records
  • Ruben Valdez
  • Rob Gary & Chris Watney

2014-15 Supporters

See who else is helping us support our scholars as they STRIVE for college.3 We hope you’ll consider joining this amazing group of community supporters. Gifts listed below were received July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015.



Charter School Growth Fund

Daniels Fund

Walton Family Foundation

$100,000 - $499,999

The Anschutz Foundation

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Colorado Department of Education Schools of Choice Office

The Fries Foundation

Gates Family Foundation

I.A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation  

Kent Thiry and Denise O’Leary

The Louis Calder Foundation

The Piton Foundation

$25,000 - $99,000

Barton Family Foundation

Carson Foundation

Foundations for Great Schools

Jim Kelley and Amie Knox

Andy and Suzanne Peterson

Sturm Family Foundation

Z Block

$10,000 - $24,999

ECA Foundation

El Pomar Foundation

Fox Family Foundation

Rich Rainaldi and Martha Records

Tim and Kathryn Ryan

TeleTech Community Foundation

Rob Gary and Chris Watney

Connie Burwell White & William W. White Foundation

$5,000 - $9,999

Raymond James Charitable Endowment Fund

George and Mary Sissel Fund

$1,000 - $4,999

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Michael and Rachael Barkin

John and Bobbi Jo Beeble

Brooke and Bill Brown

Colorado Succeeds


James and Wendy Daverman

Kim and Jeff Dolan


Goldstein and Associates

Guaranty Bank and Trust

Faith Hall

Kevin and Susan Hall

The Marilyn and Gary Hay Charitable Foundation

Tom and Lisa Heule

Hogan Lovells

Kristen Martin

Zack Neumeyer

Ready Foods


Mark Scheel

Sheth Family

Keith and Margaux Trammell

U.S. Bank

$100 - $999

John and Bic Aragon

Adam and Jill Barkin

Suzanne and Roger Barkin

Eric and Kendra Black

Jesse Butterfield

Daniel Carroll

Isabel Corberly

Shana Dinner de Vaca and Ramiro Vaca

Eric Sondermann and Tracy Dunning

Jim and Briana Fipp

Rachael Gazdick

David and Kathy Gibbons

Shelley Gomez

Diana and David Hall


Greg and Rebecca Hatcher

Camille and Ian Howells

Tom and Sally Kaesemeyer

Daniel and Heather Kos

Moira Cullen and Tim Kotowski

Gedeon LaFarge

Ethan Gray and Sarah Lim

Pat Loewi

Dave and Sheila Lucas

Kayla McGannon

Thomas Gougeon and Donna Middlebrooks

Marvene Muniz

Lindsay Neil

PEAK Resources, Inc.

Theresa Peña

Betsy Peterson

Chris Gibbons and Audra Philippon

Raja Ridgway

Rosemary Rodriguez

Trini Rodriguez

Chris Ross

Anne and Frank Rowe

Astrid Ruiz

Jennifer Meyer-Sandoval and Jon Sandoval

Sara Spanier

Jason and Melissa Weston

Jim White