Youth Development

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


Executive Director

Megan Devenport

Main Address

3327 Brighton Blvd

Denver, CO 80216 USA


Youth, leadership, empowerment, community-building, Denver, Colorado, diversity, equity, inclusivity, justice





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Intergroup/Race Relations (R30)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Social Media


Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

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

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Building Bridges: Transform

Building Bridges: Legacy

Building Bridges: Shift

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of community events or trainings held and attendance

Population(s) served

Adolescents (13-19 years),


Related program

Building Bridges: Shift

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

Population(s) served

No target populations selected

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.

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

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.

We measure program impact in several ways. We ensure fidelity to the program model and quality of the program experience through extensive training and supervision with facilitators. Additionally, participants in all programs complete evaluation surveys before and after participation. Transform also includes pre- and post-surveys for the Summer Intensive, and qualitative data collected throughout the school year. The interview and survey tools were created in partnership with OMNI Institute, a Denver-based nonprofit research organization. We also capture basic outputs of the program through attendance and program tracking.

Our robust program evaluation framework assesses program impact on a number of social-emotional abilities, communication and leadership skills, and group dynamics. Evaluation indicates positive outcomes for participants across all metrics captured. The biggest gains reported by current participants and alumni are in the areas of self-efficacy, awareness of their own identities and of other perspectives, and comfort with conflict. Additionally, longitudinal alumni evaluations show a significant impact on lifelong growth and relationship-building across identities, as well as involvement in social change efforts in a variety of settings.

Relative to our organizational goals and strategies, we have quarterly progress indicators for each that the board regularly reviews to assess progress and adjust course as needed.

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.

External Reviews



Building Bridges

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

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FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


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?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

Sexual Orientation

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


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

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity