PLATINUM2023

Denver Urban Gardens

Get dirty with DUG.

aka DUG   |   Denver, CO   |  http://www.dug.org

Mission

DUG’s mission is to provide the access, skills, and resources for people to grow healthy food in community and regenerate urban green spaces

Ruling year info

1985

Executive Direct

Linda Appel Lipsius

Main address

1031 33rd Street #100

Denver, CO 80205 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

74-2374848

NTEE code info

Environmental Quality, Protection, and Beautification N.E.C. (C99)

Botanical Gardens, Arboreta and Botanical Organizations (C41)

Environmental Beautification (C50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Community Gardens and Food Forests

From decades of experience leading the community garden movement in the Denver Metro Area, DUG knows working at a systems-level to establish new gardens has the greatest potential for lasting change and amplified impact. Research findings show community gardens as an effective interventions to improving health outcomes of underserved neighborhoods by creating healthy environments with strong social organization – the basic ingredients for changing and sustaining health behaviors.

In addition to establishing community gardens, DUG provides significant support to existing community gardens and their volunteer garden leaders. In addition to formal workshops and roundtables, DUG also provides conflict resolution, mediation, fiscal sponsorship, and fundraising technical assistance services.

In 2022, we introduced the Etkin Family Food Forest Initiative. We are now adding perennial food producing trees, bushes and vines to DUG gardens and unused city land to enhance the ecosystem.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Immigrants and migrants
Refugees and displaced people
Children and youth
People with learning disabilities

Through DUG‘s Grow a Garden program, we distribute pay what you can seeds, seedlings and education to individuals, families and community groups to help new and experienced gardeners grow their own healthy, organic produce.

This program significantly increases access to and enjoyment of fresh produce, reduces grocery bills and improves consumption of nutrient rich, delicious food.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Children and youth
Homeless people
Ethnic and racial groups
Religious groups

In 2017, we are launching a closer partnership with Project Worthmore, a local organization that serves refugees, in order to transform DeLaney Community Farm into a refugee-training farm.

Our mission is to support refugees and the local community by educating our refugee farm members on best practices in the fields of food access, community development, and agriculture.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants

DUG supports skill building of all ages through our youth education focusing on ECE to high school, our community education through our URGE (Urban Roots Garden Education) courses, Master Composter training programs and our robust online peer to peer network, DUG Online.

We seek to be the spark that either introduces, reintroduces or inspires people to grow their own food and connect to the earth and share their joy and knowledge with their family, friends and neighbors.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Adults

For over a decade, DUG has helped lead key policy change in the Metro Area through our leadership on the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council, including: community gardens and farms being allowed in zoning codes; residential sales of homegrown produce; water tap development charges deferred for community food projects; and the keeping of bees, chickens, and goats. Active policy efforts include supporting the Denver Food Plan and advocating for reclaimed water usage for food crop irrigation.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of curricula designed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Food Access

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

DUG offers extensive garden-based lessons for youth and adults alike. Our audiences range from ECE to high school, community classes and Master Composter training.

Number of list subscribers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Food Access

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our monthly newsletter goes out to 18,612 individuals.

Number of publications identifying sector best practices

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Food Access

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

DUG has best practice handbooks for building and maintaining community gardens, a handbook for Youth Farm Stands with Slow Food, and a publication on community-based food systems with Winrock Int'l.

Number of volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

DUG leveraged 5,582 volunteers who donated 206,297 hours (based on figures from office, workday, DeLaney, MC, MCG, Cultivator, YFS, and Healthy Seedling volunteers).

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

In 2015, DUG underwent a strategic planning process and decided on our “north star" goals:

Goal One: Empower every interested and in-need individual in Metro Denver with access to a community garden, and the complementary resources that promote food security and community self-determination
Goal Two: Compellingly model how to empower communities to create transformative, food- producing community gardens, community farms, and school-based community gardens
Goal Three: Cultivate and promote community-driven food systems

Goal One: DUG has assessed and mapped potential communities with garden sites, and have begun to shift our focus on being more targeted with our expansion, as opposed to reactive. We also want to ensure that existing gardens remain an institutional priority, and that we continue to provide excellent support to our current gardeners and garden leaders.

Goal Two: DUG provides technical assistance to partners across the United States and internationally. In order to best support the field and model best practices, we are documenting our successes more intentionally, such as gathering narratives and success stories from our gardeners and working with more university partners to assess our programs.

Goal Three: DUG has intentionally remained involved in policy because we understand that policy change is crucial to supporting pro-health behaviors in that it reduces the burden on individuals and instead creates supportive environment. Currently, DUG staff are involved in the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council, Produce for Pantries, and LiveWell's Double Up Food Bucks Ambassador program.

Beyond a dedicated staff of nine full time employees and three contract employees, we have an incredible Board of Directors and volunteer community.

DUG's Board of Directors was heavily involved with our recent strategic planning process and works closely with the Executive Director to oversee organizational direction and operations. They meet monthly, with each member actively involved in either the fundraising or finance working groups. One hundred percent of DUG's Board of Directors contribute annually to the organization with their financial resources, as well as in-kind with their extensive professional expertise in the areas of: public policy, non-profit fiscal management and investment, marketing and brand management, business operations, city planning, and community organizing.

Additionally, DUG's dedicated volunteers make it possible to for us to operate more than 165 community gardens, a community farm, and numerous education and community support programs with a small staff. Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds assist through garden leadership, garden construction and maintenance, office tasks, education and outreach, and youth curriculum facilitation. In 2017, 5,471 volunteers were engaged in DUG gardens and programs, giving a total of 205,553 volunteer hours.

For over 30 years, Denver Urban Gardens has cultivated gardeners, grown food, and nourished community. DUG knows that in order to make lasting change, the community needs to drive it. That's why every one of our urban gardens and farms has been initiated and led by local residents. We currently operate a network of 165 community gardens and an educational community farm in the Denver Metro Area, 49 of which are located on school grounds. Our programs serve over 50,000 people in the Denver Metro area and grow over 2 million pounds of food.

DUG puts down deep roots, providing the on­going resources, training, and support needed to establish enduring gardens and farms that become valuable assets to neighborhoods.

DUG educates our garden leaders in horticulture, community organizing, and composting, as well as gardening and nutrition education in schools.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    DUG’s reach is vast and diverse, supporting communities across 6 counties in metro Denver. We support communities that speak over 40 languages including a significant refugee and immigrant population.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    In 2020, DUG conducted its first ever listening tour. The feedback we received resulted in significant changes to how we operate. Namely, we established the DUG Corps, a seasonal workforce to provide gardeners and garden leaders with more on-the-ground support through the growing season. We also, hold in person plot application events with translators to ensure we are supporting everyone in the community regardless of language or technology barriers.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Significantly positive shift. Greater trust, transparency and cohesion across the organization. Still a long way to go, but we are making progress!

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection,

Financials

Denver Urban Gardens
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Denver Urban Gardens

Board of directors
as of 01/20/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Melissa Rosas

Consor

Term: 2022 - 2024

Zane Way

JP Morgan Chase

Brooke Gabbart

Study.com

Melinda Warner

Andrew Feldman

Private Wealth Advisor, Legacy Wealth Partners

Le’alani Boykin

Connected Realities

Jesse Ogas

9 News/Tegna

Chris Shaffner

CoBank

Tim Craft

Craft Companies

Andrew Feldman

Legacy Wealth Partners

Karen Good

City and County of Denver

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/20/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.