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.


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

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

2017-2018 Young Professionals Board

The members of STRIVE Prep’s 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.

  • Lane Lemesany, Baker Hughes
  • Francis Rooney, Great-West Financial
  • Mae Ann Saas, Eidos Architects
  • Anne Goff, Frontier Airlines
  • Bradley Karr, Vail Resorts
  • Bridget Garcia, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
  • Dave Baker, Real Estate Consultants of Colorado, LLC
  • Aly Schmidt, Colorado Hospital Association
  • Steven Folse, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc.
  • Aaron Evans, Mercer

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
  • Tim & Kathryn Ryan
  • Ruben Valdez
  • Rob Gary & Chris Watney

2015-16 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, 2015 – June 30, 2016.



Charter School Growth Fund

Daniels Fund

Walton Family Foundation

U.S. Department of Education Charter School Program

$100,000 - $499,999

The Anschutz Foundation

Colorado Department of Education Schools of Choice Office

Gates Family Foundation

Thiry – O’Leary Foundation

$25,000 - $99,000

Barton Family Foundation

Carson Foundation

Colorado Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Readiness

The Fries Foundation

The Foundation for Educational Excellence

LARRK Foundation

Andy and Suzanne Peterson

$10,000 - $24,999

Donnell-Kay Foundation

The Dixon Family

Jim Kelley & Amie Knox

Sage Hospitality

Martha Records & Rich Rainaldi

Reisher Family Foundation

Tim & Kathryn Ryan

TeleTech Community Foundation

$5,000 - $9,999

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Goldstein & Associates, LLC

Hogan Lovells

Zack Neumeyer

$1,000 - $4,999


Michael and Rachael Barkin

Beaton Family Foundation

John & Bobbi Jo Beeble

Carolyn Beecher

Brooke & Bill Brown

City & County of Denver


Moira Cullen & Tim Kotowski

James E. & Wendy P. Daverman

Kim & Jeff Dolan

ESA Foundation

Dietz & Theresa Fry

Chris Gibbons & Audra Philippon


PDC Energy

Rady Foods

Mark Scheel

Sheth Family

Scot Smith

Keith & Margaux Trammell

U.S. Bank

Ruben Valdez Achievement Fund

$250 - $999


Arrow Electronics

Bachik Family

Lacey Books

Citywide Banks

Josh Devon

Houston Eagleston

Carleigh Elkus

Estes Family

Alyssia Fotenos

David & Kathy Gibbons

Tom Gougeon & Donna Middlebrooks

Ethan Gray & Sarah Lim

David & Diana Hall

Gary W. & Marilyn Hay

Ian & Camille Howells

Jonah Energy LLC

Tom & Sally Kaysmeyer

Daniel & Heather Kos

Denver Public Schools Foundation


Lane & Fiona Lemesany

The Liu Family

Logan Petroleum LLC

Sara Overby

Theresa Peña

Elizabeth Peterson

Trinidad A. Rodriguez & Sarah Winbourn

Crystal & Chad Rountree

Jen & John Sandoval

Jean Scandlyn

Ben & Amie Valore-Caplan

Westerra Credit Union

Jim White

In-Kind Gifts & Special Thanks

5280 Magazine

Challenge Day

Challenge Denver

Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation

Colorado Outward Bound School

Colorado School of Mines

Cottonwood Institute

Crazy Mountain Brewery

Denver Public Schools

Edward James Olmos

National History Day


SCL Health

Teach for America

Totally Tennyson

Turnpost Creative Group

Von’s Vision Foundation

VSP Vision Providers