The Colorado Project

The Colorado Project serves as a state platform for deliberation focused on challenging issues affecting Colorado. Each year, the Scrivner Institute and the Josef Korbel School of International Studies will convene a politically and geographically diverse group of civic, political, and private sector leaders to focus intensively on a core series of locally salient public policy challenges. Each group will put civil discourse into action, and work together to produce a set of comprehensive, collaborative policy recommendations to address the challenge. The goal is to establish common ground in order to move forward with practical solutions geared toward the public good. 

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Evidence-based policy recommendations put to action

The recommendations will be backed by research and made available to policy-makers and the public to inform future action. The initiative will also provide opportunities for students to learn through direct engagement in the process and to participate by conducting research and producing reports.  The Colorado Project will help define the conditions under which community leaders with different political perspectives can come together on a shared strategy for the future and will enable us to build a good practice framework for convenings of community leaders that reduce polarization and improve democratic governance. 


2023 Colorado Project - Inclusive & Sustainable Growth

In 2023, the Colorado Project convened a group of 32 community and policy leaders from throughout Colorado to design a pragmatic strategy to catalyze sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the state. The group took a comprehensive and high-level approach, working together to show how different policy dimensions – from sustainable water and energy use to addressing our workforce and housing challenges – are connected and how we can use those connections to build a more sustainable and more prosperous future for all.

Download the 2023 Colorado Project report here.

Colorado Project report


In the media:


Scrivner Institute of Public Policy

Josef Korbel School of International Studies

University of Denver 


  • Steve ErkenBrack, Grand Junction, President & CEO, Buell Foundation 
  • Lisandra Gonzales, Thornton, CEO, Rocky Mountain Partnership 
  • Gloria Schoch, Denver*, Executive Director, The VF Foundation 

Project Team: 

  • Fritz Mayer, Denver, Dean, Josef Korbel School of International Studies 
  • Naazneen Barma, Denver, Director, Scrivner Institute of Public Policy; Professor, Korbel School 
  • Becca Montgomery, Denver, Director of Democracy and Civil Discourse Initiatives, Josef Korbel School of International Studies and Scrivner Institute of Public Policy
  • Katie Aker, Denver, Assistant Director, Scrivner Institute of Public Policy 
  • Jacob Topping, Denver, Research Assistant, Master of Public Policy Student, Josef Korbel School of International Studies 


  • Bruce Alexander, Denver, President and CEO, Vectra Bank 
  • Kathy Boe, Colorado Springs, Founder, Boecore 
  • Kimball Crangle, Steamboat, Colorado Market President, Gorman & Company, LLC
  • Susan Daggett, Denver, Executive Director, Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute 
  • Jim Ehrlich, San Luis Valley, Executive Director, Colorado Potato Administrative Committee 
  • Molly Fales, Carbondale, Staff Attorney, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust
  • Carlos Fernandez, Boulder, Colorado State Director, The Nature Conservancy 
  • Tom Gougeon, Denver, President, Gates Family Foundation 
  • Jill Hawley, Denver, Vice President of Philanthropy and Policy, Gary Community Ventures 
  • Sarah Hughes, Edwards, Chair, Colorado Commission on Higher Education
  • Sue Hansen, Montrose, Montrose County Commissioner 
  • Hollie Velasquez Horvath, Denver, Regional Vice President, Xcel Energy 
  • JB Holston, Denver, Consultant on Sustainable and Inclusive Growth 
  • Elise Jones, Boulder*, Executive Director, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP)
  • Zaneta Kelsey, Denver, CEO, Access Mode 
  • Jim Lochhead, Denver, Former CEO, Denver Water 
  • Jack Johnston, Montrose, CEO, Delta Montrose Electric Association 
  • Hallie Mahowald, Salida, Chief Programs Officer, Western Landowners Alliance
  • Jerilynn Martinez Francis, Denver, Chief Communications and Community Partnerships Officer, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) 
  • Landon Mascareñaz, Denver, Chair, State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education & Co-Founder of The Open System Institute
  • Jackie Millet, Lone Tree, Mayor, Lone Tree 
  • Andy Mueller, Glenwood Springs, General Manager, Colorado River Water Conservation District 
  • Rodney Milton, Denver, Executive Director, Urban Land Institute 
  • Donald Moore, Pueblo, CEO, Pueblo Community Health Center 
  • Amanda Sandoval, Denver, Member, Denver City Council 
  • Jay Seaton, Grand Junction, Publisher, Grand Junction Sentinel 
  • Sam Walker, Denver, Executive in Residence, Attorney General Phil Weiser
  • Mike Washington, Aurora, Consultant on DEI, HDR Engineering 
  • Bonnie Watson, Telluride, CEO, Energize Colorado 
  • Helen Young Hayes, Denver, Founder and CEO, Activate Work 
  • Thank you also to Lisa Kauffman, Senior Strategic Advisor for Governor Polis, and Eve Lieberman, Executive Director, Office of Economic Development and International Trade, for their thoughtful engagement and contribution to this process. 

Thank you to the generous supporters of the Colorado Project: Walton Family Foundation, Social Sciences Foundation, and individual supporters of the Korbel School's civil discourse programming.