Fighting For Colorado Springs Since 1992
equity. inclusion. justice.
Citizens Project is a fearless, bold advocate and an engaging voice that empowers and challenges our entire community to embrace equity, inclusion, and justice.
We have been a historical leader in turning inclusion into powerful and impactful policy change for the collective well being of all its citizens. Our mission will always revolve around community.
Citizens Project works to educate and empower people in the Pikes Peak region to embrace all members of our community, regardless of race, economic status, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, or physical or mental ability. Through our outreach, we seek to promote equity in our public spaces and challenge community members to uphold this value.
Citizens Project promotes active civic engagement.
A vibrant democracy requires that voters be informed, have access to elected leaders, and participate in shaping public policy. Citizens Project ensures protection of our local democracy through protecting the right to vote, hosting educational forums, publishing voter guides, and working collaboratively with the community to promote equitable and just public policy. We envision a Pikes Peak community that is a vibrant democracy in which individual rights are protected, differences are respected, and people fully participate in civic and community life.
Citizens Project promises to create a culture where we advocate for the equitable policies that benefit the entire community specifically the underrepresented. We will, as we have done historically, create inclusion by intentionally reaching and inviting marginalized communities to a collective table.
We use every donation to help redesign the experience of community engagement for all by producing equitable and valuable resources where individuals are empowered and inspired to collectively transform the Pikes Peak Region.
Citizens Project has a budget of $450,000. This 2023 budget has more than doubled since the previous year, reflecting both foundational and individual donor investment in our work. In 2020, we were awarded the Building Bridges and Power capacity building grant from the Colorado Trust, receiving $75,000 per year over a 4.5 year period, enabling significant growth opportunities. In the spring of 2023, Citizens Project was also awarded a $1 million grant from the Colorado Health Foundation. This grant will be paid in $200,000 annual installments over the next five years, and allows us to cover our staffing needs and increase our capacity from 2.5 to 3.5 full-time employees. This grant is a vote of confidence in the work we are doing, and it allows us to continue doing more and better work within – and as a part of – the community. Our 3.5 full-time employees include an executive director, an operations and program manager, a development manager, and a part-time communications manager. Citizens Project is governed by a 10-member board of directors that meets quarterly. Multiple board committees, including fund development, governance, and policy and advocacy, also meet regularly and recommend policy to the board.
Citizens Project promotes active civic engagement. A vibrant democracy requires that voters be informed, have access to elected leaders, and participate in shaping public policy. Citizens Project ensures protection of our local democracy through protecting the right to vote, hosting educational forums, publishing voter guides, and working collaboratively with the community to promote equitable and just public policy. We envision a Pikes Peak community that is a vibrant democracy in which individual rights are protected, differences are respected, and people fully participate in civic and community life.
Citizens Project is proud to present our 2023 voter guide. Our non-partisan guide highlights candidates running for school board in the november 2023 election.
Use a variety of resources to educate yourself on ways that you can fight against racism and help change the world.
Connect with local and national resources to help decrease bullying and uphold the separation of church and state.
Stay up-to-date and civically engaged by following the activity of every school district in the Colorado Springs area.
Respond to incidents in the community that impact equity, inclusion, and justice.
Election education efforts with a focus on local elections that are least covered in traditional media and include the publication of a candidate survey voter guide in local publications and online; host issue and candidate forums.
Nonpartisan “get out the vote” work every election engaging low propensity voters through postcard writing, canvassing, and other efforts.
Host anti-racism training and small group conversations on racial issues.
Watchdog local and state government, activating the community to advocate for/against legislation and proposed policy; publish annual El Paso County Legislator Report Card. Citizens Project will take positions on legislation that falls under our umbrella of equity, inclusion and justice.
Separation of church and state training for local educators.
Host community conversations and town halls on issues of the moment that are consistent with the mission of Citizens Project. Our most recent conversation took place in June, 2023. This event engaged the community in a discussion around education at the Ruth Holley Library.
Annual Creating Community Breakfast fundraiser, our biggest fundraiser of the year.
Making A Real Impact
Equity acknowledges that some communities—especially those that are historically underserved, underrepresented, or marginalized—face unique barriers as they seek to gain access to opportunities and resources in society, while other communities have enjoyed systemic privileges that offered advantageous access to opportunities and resources. Because of physical or societal barriers, many individuals are in reality deprived of the ability to participate fully in society and exercise the freedom to make certain life choices. Justice and fairness require that society recognize that these barriers exist, and, to the extent possible, that they should be mitigated or removed and that there is a more equitable distribution of power. Equity serves the broader goal that each member of society enjoys the freedom to secure the benefits of life, liberty, and happiness.
Inclusion is the intentional recognition of diversity in service of equity and justice. Diversity in this context means difference within a community, whether racial identity, ethnicity, national origin, language, age, religion/spirituality, socioeconomic background, gender identity, sexual orientation, or different abilities, skills, customs, values, beliefs, and behavioral styles. In an inclusive environment, all persons are valued, respected, and supported. Inclusive institutions promote culture, practices, and relationships that support diversity and openness in communications. Inclusive institutions intentionally act to ensure that historically underrepresented, marginalized, or excluded persons share power at all levels and are able to contribute their experiences, knowledge, and perspectives. In an inclusive community, minority members should not be expected to assimilate to an existing culture. Rather, all members should work to transform historically discriminatory systems, adapting values, policies, and practices that integrate traditionally minoritized perspectives.
Justice is the fair and equitable treatment of all persons within and between communities. This includes equal rights and accountability in applying the rule of law, regardless of identity, background, or circumstances. Justice enables each individual to exercise full participation in society because there is a more equitable distribution of power, resources, opportunities, and responsibilities. A just society is one where all individuals feel safe and secure and are able to realize their full potential. Justice is also a process where individuals feel a sense of social responsibility to work together in an inclusive way to challenge the root causes of oppression, privilege, and injustice and to create change. In a just society, individuals and institutions have an obligation to ensure that all are being treated fairly and equitably.
To be a nonpartisan organization means to be free of political partisanship, not to be affiliated with or biased toward a particular political party. As a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization under the Internal Revenue Code, Citizens Project is “prohibited from participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) a candidate for public office.” This expressly includes making contributions to political campaigns or public statements made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. Citizens Project’s voter education efforts or voter registration efforts are expressly permitted, provided they do not have evidence of bias or favoring one candidate or party over another. Nonpartisanship does not mean having no opinion on issues. Citizens Project proudly advocates for certain values—equity, inclusion, and justice—and takes positions on contemporary political issues that touch on those values, provided that advocacy on an issue does not involve bias for or against a particular political candidate or campaign.