Building Bridges

Listen, Learn, Lead. Be Transformed.

aka Seeking Common Ground (legal name)   |   Denver, CO   |


We equip young people with the communication and leadership skills to transform divisive attitudes in their communities.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Megan Devenport

Main address

3327 Brighton Blvd

Denver, CO 80216 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Building Bridges for Peace

Seeking Common Ground



NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Intergroup/Race Relations (R30)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The demand for this work has become increasingly urgent as Metro Denver’s growth continues to create dramatic demographic changes and economic displacement. Daily, there is evidence of rising tension between people of different identities. While discrimination and oppression are certainly not new in this nation, there is more information now than ever before on the deep impacts both have on the development and success of young people, shaping their educational outcomes, employment, psychological well-being, and physical wellness. Mental health issues and suicide rates among youth are rising at alarming rates. Suicide rates in Denver are consistently higher than national rates, and depression plays a key factor. LGBTQ youth, communities of color, immigrants and refugees experience disproportionate rates of depression and risk of suicide. Young people today, perhaps more than ever, need communication and relationship skills that support resilience and transform conflict,

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?

Building Bridges: Transform

Building Bridges: Transform, now in its third year, brings together 50 young women from across Metro Denver for a full year of fun and meaningful experiences. Together they develop self-awareness, authentic relationships, and leadership skills. Participants connect with others who are both alike and different from them to transform divisions, discrimination, and conflict in their lives and communities. All participants selected for this dynamic program participate completely free-of-charge.

Population(s) Served

Building Bridges: Legacy engages alumni in leadership, professional development, and social opportunities. Alumni provide important input and guidance to inform the ongoing success of the organization. In 2016, we began an Alumni Fellowship in Denver to engage a multigenerational cohort of 10 alumni in continued skill-building, professional development, and organizational capacity-building.

Population(s) Served

Building Bridges: Shift offers customized workshops for businesses, nonprofits, schools, and community groups. Trained alumni co-facilitate these workshops with staff using our proven model for conflict transformation, communication, and cross-identity relationship-building. Building Bridges: Shift expands our reach to the community at-large while providing extended learning and financial opportunities for our alumni. Shift provides our broadest reach, training an average of 200 people annually.

Population(s) Served

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 community events or trainings held and attendance

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

Building Bridges: Shift

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Through Shift, we provide customized workshops and coaching for businesses and nonprofits across the Front Range. We launched the program in 2018. This metric reflects the number of workshops held.

Number of first-time donors

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

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success


Context Notes

A key fundraising goal is to expand our grassroots donor base. As part of this goal, we track number of first-time donors each year.

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.

Using an intersectional approach, equip young people and alumni with communication and leadership skills to transform divisions and be positive change agents in diverse communities;

Grow our signature Transform youth leadership program participation by 20% year-over-year;

Diversify our financial model;

Embed inclusiveness practices across all aspects of the organization, with direction from alumni

Programmatic Strategies:
Expand referral network regionally and into communities/demographic groups we haven't yet served; intentionally invest time/energy into building trust with community leaders and gatekeepers

Update curriculum to integrate new research, relevant frameworks, and evaluation data;

Implement updated program evaluation tool to ensure we capture relevant outcome data;

Organizational Strategies:
Increase individual donor base; expand local grant funding; and develop an earned income model;

Integrate alumni leadership, voice, and decision-making into organizational structure

Increase size and diversity of board through trusted community partnerships

Implement accountability structure with staff and board to center inclusion, equity, and anti-oppression

We rely on a small staff comprised of the Executive Director, Megan Devenport, the Shift Program Manager, Jenny Medrano, and the Transform Program Coordinator, Raegan Quattlebaum. In addition, we engage graduate interns and employ a part-time team of highly trained facilitators, including alumni.

With this team, we have access to significant expertise, skills, and experience, including organizational development and strategy, program design and evaluation, fundraising and grant writing, facilitation, community organizing, transformational leadership development, curriculum development, event planning, and anti-oppression frameworks.

In addition to this nimble staffing structure, Building Bridges also has access to a highly skilled board of directors. The board contributes significantly in the form of community network, risk management, strategic planning, and fundraising.

Overlaying this significant human capital is a solid organizational infrastructure. While small in budget size and staffing, the organization has a strong foundation flowing from the core mission and values, and developed with a focus on future growth. Recent updates to the by-laws, human resources policies and procedures, legal releases and contracts, and fiduciary controls all support a healthy organization now and into the future.

Over 2,000 lives have been transformed by Building Bridges since our first program year in 1994. Our earliest program alumni are now adults in their mid-thirties and apply their Building Bridges skill set in new ways. They are emerging leaders in education, social work, nonprofit organizations, international affairs, social justice and other fields.

Our evaluation methods indicate positive outcomes for participants across all metrics captured. Specifically, we have seen that 100% of Youth Leadership Program participants show an increase in self-efficacy and believe they have the power to make change in their communities. In our most recent longitudinal study of our alumni, we found that 90% report that they are currently involved in efforts to improve their community.

Over the course of Building Bridge's 20+ year history, we have been able to consistently sustain programming, pilot new efforts, and shift our focus when needed. Our sustainability has largely relied on a dedicated set of individual donors and a few family foundations. With our shift away from Middle East work to local programming, our ability to access local dollars has changed significantly. We have found that some long-time donors are less-inclined to invest in us. However, there are significant opportunities to engage more and different donors in our work. We are also now eligible for a broader array of foundation and government grants, especially as we integrate place-based recruitment and change projects into our youth development model.

The past two years represent a significant period of growth and transition for our organization, as we established the Middle East program as an independent Israeli nonprofit and launched the pilot phase of our Transform Youth Leadership Program. Through the generosity of key foundations and donors, we successfully navigated this transition and learned many lessons along the way. We met our stated goals for program participation, attendance, and impact. We also demonstrated fidelity to our program model, contract terms, and reporting requirements.

We plan to continue this progress moving forward, deepening our connections with the Metro Denver community and expanding access to our programs to more people.


Building Bridges

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


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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

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Building Bridges

Board of directors
as of 9/9/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Jalisa Williams

Soulflower Denver and Yemaya Innergy Therapeutics

Term: 2019 - 2020

Jalisa Williams

Regis University

Hameeda Abdul Kadir

Metro State University

Darion Mayhorn

Bureau of Reclamation, US Dept. of the Interior

Rachel Lynn

Snell & Wilmer LLP

Natalie Chisholm

The Storybrick

Celeste Alamillo

Gateway High School

Eliza Buyers

Children's Hospital of Colorado

Brittney Bobadilla

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