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Change The World Report: The 2008 Annual Report of the Cottonwood Institute

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR REPORT: At the Cottonwood Institute, we are known for “changing the world, one adventure at a time!” I wanted to take a moment to send you our Change the World Report to share our accomplishments for 2008. We could not have accomplished what we did this past year without the generous support of our donors, instructors, students, educational partners, in-kind supporters, board members, advisory board members, and volunteers that devoted countless hours to making sure we had a successful year.

What excites me about our work with the Cottonwood Institute is that we are on the front lines of inspiring the next generation of active community leaders and environmental stewards through our award-winning environmental service-learning curriculum. It is clear that we cannot expect students to care about their community and the environment if they never have a chance to explore their community and the natural world.

Thank you for helping us inspire the youth of America. Please feel free to contact me at 303.447.1076 with any feedback, wisdom, or advice you are interested in sharing with us. Here is to a phenomenal 2009!


Ford Church, Founder and Executive Director

Josie Brown during a Community Adventure Program Camping Trip

Josie Brown during a Community Adventure Program Camping Trip

“The Community Adventure Program was, without a doubt, one of the best classes I have taken at New Vista High School. The Community Adventure Program helped me understand more about my place in the world and how I want to save it. The Community Adventure Program exponentially raised my awareness of the interconnected social and environmental issues that are embroiled in the world… it has helped me understand the incredible potential and opportunity I have as a high school student to make a true difference in the world.”

Josie Brown, Community Adventure Program Alumni from New Vista High School


In 2008, we served 800 participants through the Community Adventure Program, our Summer Courses, programs for Schools & Community Organizations, Free Survival Skills Clinics, and Change the World Movie Nights! Community Adventure Program students completed 5 amazing Action Projects to promote organic gardening at New Vista, to reduce P.S.1’s environmental footprint, to promote bike commuting at P.S.1 and New Vista, and to tackle trash at Manual.

An astounding number of individual donors stepped up to support us this year and we increased our individual donations by 106% in 2008 compared to 2007! Despite the uncertain economy, we met our Annual Giving Campaign goal by December 31, 2008 and finished the year just over $200 in the black. Every donation was critical, so thank you again for your extraordinary generosity! To view a complete list of our 2008 supporters, please Click Here.

During the summer of 2008 we awarded over $7,000 in scholarships, a 250% increase from 2007! We are incredibly grateful to all of our donors who have supported our Jason F. Griffith Scholarship Fund to make our courses accessible to those that otherwise would not have the opportunity to join us for a course this summer.

We successfully met a $2,500 challenge grant from Jack Johnson, the All at Once Community, and the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation raising $5,000 for our Jason F. Griffith Scholarship Fund. A few lucky volunteers were able to meet Jack and Kim Johnson in person and we had 2nd row seats for the show! A huge thank you goes out to Jack Johnson for all of their support in 2008.

We received a $19,935 Environmental Education Grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency to help underwrite the costs of implementing our public school initiative called the Community Adventure Program at New Vista High School in Boulder, CO and at P.S.1 Charter School in Denver, CO.

IN-KIND REPORT: Businesses around the country have been extremely generous donating their time, professional expertise, business solutions, and event space. The Cottonwood Institute received the following in-kind support in 2008:


  1. Consider making a monthly donation instead of a 1 time donation at the end of the year. To set this automatically and securely online, Click Here.
  2. Come to the Base Camp Bash on Friday, April 17, 2009. The money raised from this event will support our public school initiative called the Community Adventure Program and our Jason F. Griffith Scholarship Fund. For more information, Click Here.
  3. Register for one of our 2009 Courses for adventurous students and adults. To view our 2009 Course Schedule, Click Here.
  4. Consider donating something from our Wish List (see below) or Click Here.
  5. Encourage your friends, co-workers, and family to check out our website and help us spread the word about the Cottonwood Institute grassroots-style! To go to our home page, Click Here.


  • 15-passenger vehicle
  • 4×8 enclosed trailer
  • Office space in Denver
  • Storage space between Boulder and Denver, Colorado
  • Private land access within 1.5 hours of the Boulder/Denver area
  • 10×10 canopy tent for festivals and events
  • 3 digital video cameras

For more information about our wish list, Click Here.



Individual contributions:                            $34,407
Fees/earned income:                                 $26,145
Events:                                                      $17,906
Government grants:                                  $19,935
Foundations:                                             $13,175
Business:                                                   $10,144
Other:                                                       $1,573

Total Revenue:                                       $123,285


Administrative Personnel Expenses            $31,343
Business Expenses                                     $8,407
Fundraising                                                $3,628
Insurance                                                   $3,854
Professional Fees                                       $4,402
Programming Expenses                             $66,543
Other Expenses                                         $3,365

Total Expenses                                       $121,543

Net Income Before Investments/Depreciation:                $1,742

Investment Loss:                                        ($43,959)
Savings Account Interest:                           $5
Depreciation:                                             ($1,850)

*Adjusted Net Income:                            ($44,062)

*In 2007 we created a Designated Fund with the Rose Community Foundation to manage investments that were donated to the Cottonwood Institute. With the struggling economy, these investments lost a significant amount of money, which we recorded as a loss in 2008. Operationally, the Cottonwood Institute is fiscally responsible and in a strong financial position for 2009 and beyond.


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One Response to “Change The World Report: The 2008 Annual Report of the Cottonwood Institute”

  1. John P. Engel


    You and the team you have assembled have built a significant set of program offerings that make a real positive impact on the future leaders of this country, and beyond. Hats off to all of you for holding to the vision.



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