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Increasing Support for Underserved Children and Families Through Philanthropy

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Author(s)

Sarah Satterwhite

Senior Development Writer

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MotherWise

Children and families in Denver’s underserved communities will soon benefit from expanded resources that range from crisis psychological support to diversity in literature and more.

A gift from Taylor Kirkpatrick (IMBA '04) president and chief executive officer of Babson Farms Inc., will benefit multiple divisions at the University of Denver and establish a broad range of support for these vulnerable families. In reinforcing cross-campus collaborations throughout the University that advance the vision of DU IMPACT 2025, Kirkpatrick’s generosity mirrors his commitment of service as he leads the board of advisors for DU’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology (GSPP). The gift strengthens connections between the University and the Denver community, leveraging campus expertise to make a difference in the lives of underserved individuals.

“My time at the Daniels College of Business instilled in me a profound appreciation for ethical leadership, and, to me, this extends to my practices as a philanthropist,” Kirkpatrick says. “Drawing this thread throughout the tremendous academic bench strength across DU for the benefit of the entire Denver community, from books to art to engagement with mental health resources, has become an important North Star, as inspired by Chancellor [Rebecca] Chopp’s vision. I am humbled by the opportunity to serve others in this way.” The experience of authoring a children’s book, “Worthwhile,” is another reason the program inspired Kirkpatrick to make this gift.

The families who will experience the impact of this gift are those receiving services at MotherWise Colorado, focused on the promotion of family and relationship well-being during pregnancy and into the postpartum period. MotherWise is a DU partnership with Denver Health, housed at the Rose Andom Center, that provides educational and relationship support for 300 to 500 expecting and new mothers along with their babies each year. DU’s CUB Clinic — Caring for You and Baby, an initiative of the Graduate School of Professional Psychology — recently joined forces with MotherWise to realize a vision for prevention, early intervention and access to deeper resources of psychological care for children and families who visit Rose Andom Center.

Because of Kirkpatrick’s gift, nearly 100 additional families per year will be served by the CUB Clinic through an increase in the professional counselor’s weekly hours. Additionally, several initiatives will begin on the DU campus as a result of Kirkpatrick’s generosity.

The Caring for You and Baby (CUB) Lifelong Learning Series promotes early childhood wellness, education and literacy by bringing four children’s literature authors or experts with knowledge on diversity topics to campus over the course of two years. A partnership among faculty in the GSPP’s Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialty and University Libraries faculty librarians, this community-facing learning series will provide a relevant, engaging, and positive learning environment for children and families.                                                 

Utilizing that series as an entry point to more profound community engagement, the Know Your ABCs: Alternative Books for Children Diversity Collection will be established as a content and reference guide to the series. It provides a physical collection of books and online materials that moves beyond the mainstream infant and early childhood bestseller’s lists to represent families across a spectrum of inclusion and diversity, from race to sexual orientation to gender identity and disability. Compiled by the faculty librarians of DU’s University Libraries, this cutting-edge collection will reflect the reality of our diverse community and ensure that no child feels the loneliness of not seeing themselves represented in the books they read or the movies and television shows they watch.

“With Taylor’s generous gift, the University Libraries will be able to establish a world-class collection of children’s and young adult literature that represents voices often not included in academic library collections,” says Michael Levine-Clark, dean of University Libraries. “This collection will support research and teaching at DU, but will also be accessible to children beyond the University. Combined with the speaker series, this donation will open up our collections and the Anderson Academic Commons to a broader community. I’m thrilled that the University Libraries will be able to connect young readers with books and authors that speak about a diversity of experiences.” 

Finally, in support of building this artistic diversity, the School of Art and Art History will pilot an interactive summer program for children and families using age-appropriate curriculum and teaching from the series.  Kirkpatrick’s gift will allow for a pilot program under the direction of the director of the Vicki Myhren Gallery, working with graduate students, to support community engagement and healthy families. 

The visionary generosity of Taylor Kirkpatrick is expected to have long-lasting effects for the families involved in these programs, giving them vital resources to thrive in the midst of challenging circumstances. It also will create profound impact for the University as it strengthens and deepens the ways that it leverages research and practice to connect with the community.

“DU’s mission is to be a great private university dedicated to the public good, and through its visionary strategic plan IMPACT 2025, we’re building outstanding student experiences that lead to fulfilling and purposeful careers, at an institution that’s a hub of community empowerment and vitality,” says GSPP Dean Shelly Smith-Acuña.. “Taylor’s generosity buoys this sense of empowerment in that it enables DU to be responsive to community need in a way that leverages our innovative strengths. Lives will be changed as a direct result, and I know I speak for all of DU when I say that we are deeply appreciative of his visionary involvement.”

Save the Date

The first event in the CUB Lifelong Learning Series will feature bestselling author and artist Marianne Richmond on October 14 in Anderson Academic Commons. For more information, contact Nancy Clark, Community Relations Manager, at [email protected].