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Rural Catalyst Grant From Boettcher Foundation To Support Civic Engagement in Local Deliberation

Morgan Lasher

Morgan Lasher

Sep 11, 2023

May 20, 2024

Rural Catalyst Grant From Boettcher Foundation To Support Civic Engagement in Local Deliberation

Denver, CO — In August 2023, the Denver-based Boettcher Foundation awarded Unify America with a grant to support civic engagement for a community deliberation project in Montrose, CO to help solve its serious childcare shortage. 

Unify Montrose is a partnership between the residents of Montrose, Colorado and Unify America, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit that engages citizens to collaborate on solving local issues through productive conversation. The project has convened a large assembly of random, representative community members who, over the next 12 weeks, will work together using a model of public deliberation to solve an intractable problem — the childcare shortage in Montrose, CO. 

“The citizens get the time and information to understand the problem, a range of actions, and the trade-offs involved in solving it,” explains Unify America Founder Harry Nathan Gottlieb. “It’s a fun and collaborative environment where neighbors can build trust, reach consensus, and develop innovative, local solutions.” 

According to Gottlieb, the Unify Montrose project is designed to: 

  • Engage the community around a shared goal to improve access to safe, affordable childcare in Montrose, which is critical to a vibrant community and economy 
  • Consider a wide range of researched, customized, local actions to achieve the goal 
  • Convene and build trust between Montrose neighbors from different backgrounds by working together toward a shared goal and solution 
  • Create an opportunity for cooperation between Montrose residents and key institutions in the community, including the local and county government

The Boettcher Foundation’s gift will help to compensate the residents who participate by providing them with access to technology or caregiving support during the group meet-ups. 

"The Boettcher Foundation is committed to organizations that invest in the promise of Colorado and potential of Coloradans. The Unify Montrose is precisely that, as it looks to build community while having the potential for transformational impact,” shares Katie Kramer, president & CEO of the Boettcher Foundation.

Boettcher Foundation's Rural Catalyst Grant Program is designed to “strengthen the internal capacity of organizations as they work to achieve goals outlined in Boettcher’s Rural Leadership Collaborative meetings.” 

In addition to the generous funding, the Boettcher Foundation team also invited Gottlieb to present during their August 2023 community Summit event with current Boettcher Scholars, Alumni, Fellows, Investigators, and Trustees. 

He addressed the audience as "co-creators of culture" and gave the group these four insights and action steps in culture-making: 

1) Culture is cultivated at the atomic level. Take advantage of one-on-one relationship building and our instinct to get along. 

2) We are taught how to read, write, and speak, but we are not yet taught how to listen. Learn how to be an active listener yourself and arrange training for others.

3) Humans are extraordinary at cooperating given a shared goal that matters. Give people a clear, achievable goal that matters toward which they can cooperate. 

4) Support the formation of groups that facilitate belonging and learning and offer a sense of purpose. 

For more information on Unify America, Unify Montrose, or if you’re interested in inviting Harry Nathan Gottlieb or other Unify America leaders to speak at your event, please contact Morgan Lasher at 

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About Unify America: As a cross-partisan nonprofit, Unify America is on a mission to replace political fighting with problem-solving. Unify America creates evidence-based interactive experiences that encourage constructive conversations across political ideologies and backgrounds. Founded by Harry Nathan Gottlieb (founder of Jellyvision and Jackbox Games), it’s a team of game makers, tech creatives, and business leaders who all share a passion for bringing Americans together. 

About Boettcher Foundation: The Boettcher Foundation believes in the promise of Colorado and the potential of Coloradans. We invest in people, programs, and organizations across the state to create a foundation for community building and transformational impact.

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