The Denver Foundation, the largest and oldest community foundation in Colorado, tackles that question in this video, released in May 2015. At just over three minutes, it’s a poetic glimpse of the work, impact, and reach of The Denver Foundation, which works to improve lives in our community by mobilizing resources for good.
"What Community Does" was produced by Thaddeus Anderson and set to an original poem by Denver writer/educator Ken Arkind, the same creative team behind Breathless, a 2014 video that celebrated life at mile high. It includes scenes from Denver Foundation grantees and partners including the GrowHaus, Colorado Cross Disability Coalition, Youth on Record, and other organizations and individuals working collectively, in Arkind’s words, “to strengthen...roots/To let them intertwine/So that the branches extend beyond our reach.”
Words to the original poem, below.
What Community Does
by Ken Arkind
Sometimes, all it takes to make your day better is a stranger.
Maybe it’s a door held open when you’re running late,
Or a simple “hello.”
“I see you.”
It’s understanding everyone’s in this together.
Our lives move forward, meeting at intersections.
But it’s where the roots tangle that our stories get shared.
Where everyone’s connected, even though no one can see it.
We’re here to dig.
To strengthen those roots. To let them inter-twine.
So that the branches extend beyond our reach.
To the ones who will carry those bonds to even greater heights.
To us, connections are obvious.
We understand how everyone is part of the equation.
How one plus one equals three.
And how the power of those numbers can grow exponentially.
So let’s remind ourselves what community is really all about…
It’s a pencil worn down to the eraser.
A hand covered in soil.
Or a seat that’s always open.
It’s everyone. Every. One.
And this is where we live…
Here… and here… and here (Reference to shots of neighborhoods)
This is being connected…
This is community.
Feeding you when you’re hungry,
Tending the soil for the roots to grow.
Or laying down a beat for you to follow…
So go ahead and dance—like gravity isn’t an issue.
And take the hand of someone near.
That’s what a community does—it watches out for each other.
Every breath we take has to be given back…
A natural exchange that keeps us all going.
So let’s take a moment and breathe deep.
And then consider…
When we exhale, what are we giving back?
Ready to exhale and give back? Visit us at www.denverfoundation.org.
Our deepest thanks for those who partnered with is in creating this video:
•Arts Affinity Group of The Denver Foundation
•Colorado Cross Disability Coalition
•Comitis Crisis Center
•Community Language Co-op
•Reisher Scholarship Program
•Resident Leadership Institute
•Urban Land Conservancy
•Youth on Record