Jim is the Executive Director of Advance, Inc., a nonprofit promoting self-sufficiency for people
experiencing homelessness and has been on the board since 2020.
What does being an SVP Denver partner mean to you?
It means I’m a part of a community that is committed to improving the social fabric of Denver in order to create a very strong network of support for organizations that are trying to address the human needs of the larger community.
And what has it meant to you personally?
It’s been fulfilling and aligned with my value of being able to give back to others in the community – it’s an opportunity to use my education and life experience for good. I also appreciate socializing with the other partners who share a similar value of being stronger together in creating positive social change.
In your social impact journey so far, I know you’ve been involved in a lot of different efforts, so where do you feel you have been able to have the most impact?
One of the things that stands out in regards to adding the most value was my time with Denver Kids and co-orchestrating with Patrick Byrne the merger with Denver Urban Scholars. We were able to strengthen Denver Kids with programming that positioned it to add strategic opportunities within Denver Public Schools.
And once Covid hit, this strategic goal was reinforced. Denver Kids model was changed to focus more on individual buildings as opposed to the original format of counselors being spread throughout DPS.
What are some of the results you saw from the merger?
We increased our expertise working with youth with a new curriculum and improved our overall financial position, both of which were critically important in successfully navigating through the uncertainty of COVID.
What were some of the programs you were facilitating in that time period?
The traditional model for Denver Kids was for Educational Counselors to meet with youth who were spread across the 57 schools in the district. We worked to build a program that was impacting students who typically didn’t have the support to graduate high school on time and implementing it in fewer buildings, but on a larger scale. Without Denver Urban Scholars’ knowledge and experience, we would not have been able to contribute to that conversation with DPS.
What’s something you wish you’d learned earlier in life?
And I think it’s staying true to your sense of purpose and trying to discover that earlier – as quickly as possible – so you can have that increased self-awareness. If I was to do it all over again, I would do more self-development work to understand my strengths and challenge areas in order to increase my sense of presence and living a fuller life of intentionality.
Describe your beverage of choice.
On a hot summer night, a nice cold beer is always enjoyable – particularly if it’s outside at a small craft brewery. I always gravitate to craft breweries as a way to be able to support small businesses.
Do you have a couple favorites?
Belgium style is my favorite, particularly a Hefeweizen.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Whenever you’re a part of a group where there’s a strong sense of belonging – when you are able to spend time with like-minded people – it just creates a strong community. And that’s one of the things that I enjoy about SVP. I look forward to going to Board meetings and enjoy being in gatherings with my colleagues and friends who are all volunteering their time to be able to help SVP Denver move forward. It’s been a very enjoyable experience over these past four years.