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  • Marty Zimmerman

Doubling Down on Our Nonprofit Community

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Marty Zimmerman, President & Founder of ZIM Consulting

A week ago, the April Denver municipal election results were certified. And yes, I lost. Running for Denver City Council was an eye-opening experience, and I have no regrets about the race I ran. Most importantly, I am proud to say that I changed the narrative by including the power and role that nonprofits can play in addressing the key issues facing our city.

Annually, Colorado's nonprofit sector creates $20 billion in direct spending and another $7 billion in value through volunteerism. If we include the indirect impact, the total economic impact on the state is approximately $40 billion, or 11.3% of the economy. In Denver alone, there are 12,430 nonprofits that spend $13.2 billion annually and have $20 billion in revenue. Our industry supports 120,939 local jobs. Despite this collective impact, nonprofits are underrepresented in addressing our city’s issues.

Oftentimes, we can predict what will happen in our society by the impacts seen at nonprofits. For example, nonprofits can identify recessions many months before financial experts because the first two areas where people and businesses cut costs are donations and marketing expenses. Nonprofits can map out trends before they are documented. This includes the growing number of Black-woman-led nonprofits that have been started in the past three years, a substantial increase over any time in the past 15 years. This trend was started when funders decided to start investing in these businesses, but the impact still has not been widely studied.

For Denver, the nonprofit sector grows in spurts. In the past five years, we have seen a proliferation of new nonprofits formed to address issues such as gun violence, affordable housing shortages, services supporting those experiencing homelessness, and displacement. When cities fail or are unresponsive to their residents’ needs, committed leaders often form new nonprofits to fill the gaps and help the people in their communities.

Since the election, I have met or spoken with more than a dozen fellow candidates, both winners, and losers, about how we can and should include more nonprofits in addressing our city’s problems. I also received many calls from individuals seeking support or volunteer options and wanting to know where to turn. So far, I have referred people to Disability Law Colorado, The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, Metro Caring, We Don’t Waste, A Little Help, Jewish Family Service, and Seniors’ Resource Center.

For now, I have decided to double down on how I can continue to help our city thrive. Since my goal in running for Denver City Council was always to make Denver a great place to live and work again, the best way I can make a difference is to support the organizations already filling the gaps and actively strengthen our nonprofit sector.

To that end, ZIM Consulting is investing more in providing services by engaging in a strategic planning process to determine how we can have more of an impact and help more organizations and people. I look forward to leading this project and letting you know what comes out of it. If you are interested in more closely following the outcomes of this planning process, please sign up for the ZIM newsletter.

Thank you for all your support these past few months, and please know that my cell phone number, 303-319-3662, remains the same. Please feel free to reach out at any time if you need something.


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