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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Re:Vision

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community & Neighborhood Development, Economic Development, Environment, Environmental Education, Food, Food, Agriculture & Nutrition, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection

Mission: Our mission is to work with people in economically marginalized neighborhoods to develop resident leaders, cultivate community food systems, and grow community wealth through a neighborhood-owned economy.

Results: Through our Re:Farm initiative, we've establish almost 2,000 organic vegetable gardens for low-income families since 2009, producing over 500,000 pounds of fresh produce and saving these families collectively over $1M on their grocery bills. We work with each family to provide them with the skills and resources to become healthy and self-sufficient. We've also started 3 urban farms, including one hydroponic farm, producing healthy food year-round while providing meaningful employment. Through our Re:Unite initiative, we've created one of the most successful Promotora programs in the country. Since 2010, we've invested over $1.5M in Promotora training and employment. The model empowers individuals to transform their own lives and those of their neighbors through our leadership development and training programs. Through our Re:Own initiative, we're working to build community wealth through a neighborhood-owned economy. In 2014, we launched the Westwood Food Cooperative (WFC), which is the first food co-op in Denver since 1982, and one of the first in the nation to be owned and operated by residents from a low-income community. The Westwood Food Cooperative will ensure that all residents have access to healthy, affordable food, as well as the opportunity to become member owners of their cooperative, thus retaining profits within the community. We are currently in the process of a $10M catalytic property redevelopment called RISE Westwood, which will be a community hub for a Resilient, Inclusive and Sustainable Economy in Westwood. RISE Westwood will provide below-market building space for neighborhood organizations, and will provide the community with affordable access to healthy food, physical activity like Zumba and Yoga, a community commercial kitchen for emerging food entreprenuers, free cooking and nutrition classes, an art and culture center, a workforce training center, and a cutting edge technology classroom and curriculum.

Target demographics: low-income communities.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 4500 residents.

Geographic areas served: Southwest Denver

Programs: 1.) Re:Farm - developing community food systems through backyard gardens and urban farms. 2) Re:Unite - cultivating resident-leaders through our promotora model and our resident leadership training programs. 3) Re:Own - building a local economy through cooperative businesses that create good paying jobs, develops locally-owned resources, and generates wealth that is controlled by the community.

Community Stories

25 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Growing up in Denver, with roots several generations deep in the Westwood neighborhood, I have been able to personally see the impact that ReVision has had on this Denver neighborhood. Their efforts to understand, leverage, and enhance the practices of the neighborhood makes ReVision stand out as an exceptional nonprofit.

Professionally, I am interested in learning in out-of-school contexts. ReVision's work in the community is a wonderful example of how learning transpires in everyday settings. In Westwood, the practice of growing healthy food is an entry point into larger efforts to understand and respond to the needs of the community members, which are complex, dynamic, and challenging. ReVision's work is strengthening community by enhancing and growing social, financial, and educational networks. This nonprofit confronts societal issues- those of spatial and social inequities- that we all should be talking more about.

Previous Stories
1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Re:vision is working with community members to address access to food. As part of a larger social movement of local foods, RI draws upon ideals of sustainability, community empowerment, and a vision towards a better future on both a local and global scale. Their promotora model builds upon community knowledge and expertise, providing families with access to healthy foods. Gardening is an entry point into community organizing, changing networks, and expansive learning.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've worked with ReVision in a variety of capacities. I began as an educator who wanted to understand how they were organizing more equitable social change in their neighborhood. I then expanded my role so that I could also be more involved with the work that they do in the community by serving as a board member. What most marks ReVision as an amazing nonprofit, in my opinion, is how they recognize and build upon the social and cultural assets of community members to create collaborative visions for the neighborhood that they then enact together. The people who make up ReVision are always engaged in critical reflection on what they're doing, why they're doing it, and how. They are an organization that is committed to empowering residents, to creating social structures that can facilitate this empowerment, and to learning from their ongoing work. This is hard work and ReVision not only does not shy away from challenges, it embraces them.

Alyssa A.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a Board Member with Re:vision for the past 3. 5 years. In this time I've helped and watched a dedicated group of individuals work together to make real change in the Westwood and West Denver neighborhoods. As our programs evolve and grow our mission to empower the residents of these neighborhoods has not changed.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have watched with awe and admiration how Re:Vision grew from an idea into a wonderfully successful model of community engagement. I've had the opportunity to interact with the staff and promotoras on many occasions. When you meet the Promotoras and listen to the pride in their voice about the work they are doing to help their community grow and prosper you get the full sense of how Re:Vision has empowered a community. After a recent re-evaluation of their strengths and opportunities, Re:Vision is poised to launch even more innovative community development models. I plan to continue making donations and staying involved with this wonderful organization!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Following the work of Re:Vision has been incredibly exciting! I'm happy to say that I have begun work to help redesign their Kepner Farm using permaculture principles. Their openness to this shows their dedication to being an organization that cares for people, cares for the earth, and desires to see a fair share for all. I am so excited to become one small part of all of the great work they are doing!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The program has been a great experience for the whole family, especially for my two youngest daughters - every evening they are able to spend time with their father while he tends to the garden, and they get to eat the fresh vegetables! We have had a generous harvest and it is very satisfying to be able to share it with our neighbors and family.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've had the opportunity to work with Re:vision on multiple occasions, as a volunteer and as a colleague. Their model of community empowerment is so visible and translates to a great volunteer environment. I recently had the opportunity to work on a video project for them and was assisted all along the way but staff and other volunteers. Working on the video took me to their urban farm, to their offices in the heart of West Denver (the community they serve), and to the backyards of community residents that are getting support for their backyard gardens! I also happen to live in West Denver. EVERY one of my neighbors has a backyard garden - many because of aid from Re:vision.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Promotoras team at Re:Vision has worked with my family for the past 3 years. They taught us how to plant our own vegetables in our backyard garden. We feel proud of harvesting our veggies every September. We also share our organic foods with our neighbors and our entire block shares from our backyard garden. It's a feeling of empowerment to know how to grow your own food and try to have a healthier lifestyle. We love our Promotoras!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've served on Re:Vision's board for three years now—a time of rapid growth, and of course, a time of incredible challenges that go along with that growth. During this time, Re:Vision has scaled up beyond anyone's expectations, benefitting more than 300 families through backyard gardening, improved nutrition, and the attendant economic opportunities created, and is now well positioned to create a food hub in Westwood which will drive huge impact for the neighborhood and the city at large.

Re:Vision's staff have taken on this challenge with the passion and purpose necessary to make it a reality. They all have my full confidence.... not to mention the real drivers of this change, the promotoras and the Westwood gardening families themselves. The two sides of this equation: the org and the community it serves, have achieved a productive balance that most economic development programs can only hope for.

I'm incredibly honored to serve in some small capacity with Re:Vision to witness this impact firsthand.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Re:Vision is a phenomenal organization driven by passionate, educated and informed leaders. The promatora model is a well-executed model that leads to sustainable change at the community level and beyond.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started working with Revision through a program called Americorps NCCC and when I got to the office my team and myself were treated like friends right away. Alissa (who was doing all the planting and upkeep of the farm) brought myself and the team I was working with out to the two farms they had. We looked at it and saw that it was definitely work time. As we built the farms back together for growth we started meeting more of the community volunteers along with the farm and I believe that was one of the best things, too meet the people you were help feeding. This organization works beyond hard and with so much love. I would go back in a heart beat and help grow more and more food.

Kassie

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Re:Vision is an amazing organization full of great people.

They are helping develop leaders and are transforming the Westwood neighborhood in Southwest Denver into a thriving, resilient community (as the mission states!)

I volunteered at the very first fundraiser in 2007, and spent this past summer (2014) volunteering on the farm. From planting seedlings, to weeding, harvesting, and packing CSA boxes, I did it all.

Recently, I've been given the opportunity to work in the office, helping the Executive Director, Development Coordinator and the Director of Operations - from writing and editing copy to helping plan events, I have learned so much about where the organization started and where it plans to go.

By helping community members help themselves, Re:Vision is not only solving the immediate problem of food access, but they are also preventing it through the backyard garden program and with the creation of the Westwood Food Cooperative.

This is an organization to follow, and they are well worth your volunteer hours!

Client Served

Rating: 5

We learned about Revision Int'l through our neighborhood newsletter. We've tried our hand at gardening before with mediocre results. The crew at Revision was there every step of the way. They started with a delivery of beautiful soil and compost. A few days later, two awesome ladies tilled our yard, installed a state of the art irrigation system and planted seedlings all in one shot!! We grew tomatoes, lettuce, pumpkins, cabbage, green beans, broccoli, carrots, radishes, zucchini squash, cilantro, basil, onions, beets, eggplant and spinach. We had the most beautiful garden all summer long into late fall! AND, it was super easy to take care of! The only challenge was to weed every single day!! But, it turned into a family chore we all enjoyed and the results were amazing!! I wish we could keep our garden year round!!

Thank you so much to Revision International and Yuri our promotora!!
The Duarte Keene's
Athmar Park

Matilde G.

Client Served

Rating: 3

I had the opportunity to hear about the Revision in my daughters school the first year it began in this neighborhood , I thought this very well anyone to teach this, but this guy is crazy , because a lot of people not interested to learn that. I had a small garden with vegetables and since some people had told me that here in Colorado that was not reached by the cold reap . So this year I did not do it.
The next year I started one classe with Sisters of Color and they told us about the program and introduced us to Eric Kornacki who explained to us the program. This year I did my garden bigger and for once I thought that I was not as crazy as me were saying . It was a wonderful year , reap a lot, I dry chili and squash as my mother had teach me, and I freeze tomato, tomatillo sauce , green beans and some other things. I realized that our earth is rich it gives us a lot if we just learn how to use it . But not only gave me that opportunity this program but I learned much more.
For first time I understood that my habits were not healthy , and that I was just not up damaging myself but also to my family , because I cook for them. This has been the hardest part of achieving change in my house because it is not just changing eating habits but changing thoughts and not only mine but my family too. I have three years changing little things in my house but now I now what do I have to do, I need only time to improve thing by thing, because now I know is possible because if is possible grow food in Denver in our yards is possible to do all the things we want to do.
When I stared talking about the helthy food in my home I have a revolucion in it, no one wanted eat more vegetables or friut, no one wanted make more exercise but my desicion was take. Today my family eat almost all the vegetables we know and now they try very hard to change thing with me togeter. I write this because Revision was de seed to change our habits. I now this is not easy but , I know is possible.
In this moment I am a promotora from revision and I'm very proud of this, because I know if we teach the peple how to grow them oun vegetables, we are planting one more important seed 'HEALTH'
I know I have a long way to go but since I started, and that's the most important.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Revision International has made a tremendous difference in the lives of hundreds of people in southwest Denver by teaching them to grow food, and connecting them to community. Revision's practices of training and hiring local people, and providing important skills to a community that is often at risk for not having access to healthy food, is laudable. This organization is inspirational!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had the pleasure of observing the work of Re:Vision over the past year as part of a class and I have been nothing but impressed with what they are doing. As a former AmeriCorps*VISTA, I do have experience with the world of non-profits and I can comfortably say that Re:Vision is going about the work in the right way. Rather than trying to bring solutions TO the community, Re:Vision works to develop solutions WITH the community. Indeed, they are becoming an important hub as part of the community.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a university professor and educational researcher with a focus on learning and development at the community level. Among the most interesting ways of promoting development within a community, in my view, is through the work of community organizations that align themselves with thriving social movements, such as the local foods movement, food politics, and the like. ReVision International does this in exemplary and innovative ways, and their work is having a clear impact on the region of Denver that they are working with. I am aware of their plans to continue to develop their core programs over the coming years, as well as to emphasize newer programs, such as a community co-op. Through this work I expect that they will continue to serve as a key partner and driver of development efforts in Westwood.

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

Revision International is an amazing organization that brings affordable quality food to many people in Southwest Denver. Revision is a food growing and leadership program of over two hundred backyard farmers. Perhaps above all else, Revision is a powerful way to connect people, to help people recognize that only by taking care of one another, can any of us find a good life.

Revision reminds us all, that we need each other, and that there is no one we don't need. Revision lives the practice of community, inclusivity, and equity.

Sarah155

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have served on Revision's board for three years and have seen the incredible impact that such a young and growing organization has had. In just over five years, Revision grew from helping seven families to increase their self-sufficiency through a backyard garden to working with over two hundred families; neighbors helping neighbors to build a food network. I have seen community members tear up as they spoke about bonds they formed with their children while working together in their garden and I have seen Promotoras proudly talk about the transformation they underwent from being unemployed to making a real difference in their neighborhood. I am honored to serve on the Board, knowing the incredible drive of the staff, volunteers, and community participants and knowing that as an organization, we make every dollar count. In the coming year, Revision will work to take resident empowerment to the next level by creating a community-owned food cooperative. This is an incredible organization that is truly growing community from the ground up!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Since moving here to Colorado, I always wondered, how could I help the community? Then when I found out about Revision International and its programs in the community, I immediately identified with it. This work for me was an opportunity through which I was able to get in touch with the community and help people, and I have been fortunate to work with countless families since coming on board in 2010. It is extremely satisfying for me to see the progress of families in their learning, and in changing their eating habits as a result of being a part of this project to make a self-sufficient communities.