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Collective Impact Cohorts

DU Grand Challenges is grounded in a collective impact framework. This initiative unites diverse entities (e.g., departments at DU or agencies across Denver) in a way that supports the collective good. Through a structured, facilitated collective impact process, we carry out initiatives that spark systematic positive change.

Cohorts are comprised of community members, faculty, staff and students. Community members are from government, non-government and/or private sector agencies. Each group has two DU Faculty Leads and, as detailed below, a facilitator trained in collective impact processes and approaches.

So far, four cohorts have been established, with each focusing on one issue that Improves Daily Living.

  • Crime & Safety
  • Migration
  • Environmental Sustainability in an Urban Environment
  • Housing and Food Insecurity


Community-engaged scholarship is at the core of this approach, with each Cohort developing two-year plans for specific actions that result in a collective impact. Each Cohort may request up to $100,000 to support their mission. To access these funds, Cohorts must submit proposals to CCESL and the Collaboration for the Public Good Working Group. Participants and leaders must then commit to two years of service.

In addition to specific project actions, participants must also commit to identifying and connecting with people who are working to solve similar issues. The goal is to build distributed networks that will continue to seed new work. Cohorts balance new projects while continuing to discover needs and explore new solutions.


Cohorts receive several forms of support to accomplish their work, including:

  • A Facilitator
  • Training/ leadership development
  • Backbone support from (CCESL)
  • Project management tools
  • Evaluations
  • Project backing (Up to $100,000)

DU Grand Challenges has a deliberate mission to affect positive change. By combining existing resources and with new initiatives, together, we can take on the world’s most pressing challenges.