In the United States, there are thousands of organizations working to combat poverty. They run on volunteers, paid employees, and countless others who contribute through donations. They sustain themselves through their own hardwork, goodwill and the charity of others. In the heart of Denver, there is an organization called The Posner Center that is bringing these people together and getting them to mobilize domestically by providing many organizations a place to work, collaborate, learn and improve/pioneer methods for fighting global poverty.
What is the Posner Center?
The Borgen Project conducted an interview with program director, Meg Sagaria-Barritt, about The Posner Center. When asked to give an overview of the organization, she informed that there are three main points of focus: “Convene, Connect, and Catalyze.” She then broke this down. “Convene means that we are Colorado’s home for international development. We have the membership of over 150 organizations that work in 100 different countries… 64 of these organizations are on-site tenants in our building.” She quickly interjected, “But we are much more than a building.” She then described what is meant by Connect, “We bring these organizations together to share their ideas. Their top executives get together to swap ideas and to improve their own organizations.” More than a building indeed, The Posner Center is an incubator for international development and collaboration. Lastly, Sagaria-Barritt explains what is meant by Catalyze, “This is the most important aspect of The Posner Center. Through Convening and Connecting, we create real change that is catalyzed right here at The Posner Center.” By mobilizing domestically, The Posner Center is bringing about change all over the world. For every staff member representing an organization in Denver, there are 37 more working internationally, 93 percent of these being native to the country in which they work.
Members Within The Posner Center
iDE is one of the organizations that holds a membership with The Posner Center. They operate on a broad spectrum, helping people from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and many more. Their main focus is on finding innovative technology that will improve the lives of the poor and destitute and then helping companies to market that technology. For instance, their WASH initiative has helped bring sanitation to thousands of homes around the world. But, the sanitation products are distributed at low cost without bankrupting the companies who produce them. The companies actually see profit from the endeavor, creating an ultimate win/win. This was one of the brilliant ideas catalyzed at The Posner Center.
On the opposite end of The Posner Center members is Starfish. Unlike iDE, they do not cover as broad a spectrum. There focus is solely in Guatemala where they invest in the lives of young girls who cannot afford education and training for employment advancement (if they are employed at all). They provide several kinds of educational programs from mentoring to university scholarships.
The Posner Center itself provides one more key function in the form of their International Collaboration Fund (ICF). The ICF offers grants to initiatives across the globe such as The Well-Siting Meter, to which they have allocated $10,000 for clean water in Cameroon and The United States. This is just one of many grants they have made, the rest of which you can find on their website where they have a transparent list of exactly where their funds are being allocated.
How To Get Involved?
Wondering how to get involved? First, The Posner Center is always taking on new tenants. Any organization that would like to take up residence and begin collaborating is welcome to apply. Secondly, The Posner Center has a newsletter, links for subscriptions can be found on the footer of their website. And lastly, visit their website and learn more about what they do. There are always ways to help out just by volunteering time.
The Posner Center is bringing people and development-oriented businesses together in Denver in order to bring about real-world change by mobilizing domestically. Its goal, according to The Nonprofit Centers Network, is to “spur innovation by enabling groups to cross-pollinate through the exchange of ideas, the overlap of programming, and the generation of more comprehensive and lasting solutions to global poverty.’”
– Zach Farrin