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How Do Denver Charities Rank And Which Ones Are The Strongest?

Charitable organizations everywhere are subject to many comparisons, ratings, rankings and more as they are held to a high standard. Denver’s charities overall rank rather well on all accounts. One source takes the largest 30 cities in the US and ranks the financial health of the largest charities in those cities. The cities get their ranking, and the charities get their rankings, too.

For example, most recently and according to just one source on the matter, Denver is currently ranked #11 out of those top 30 largest US cities when it comes to charities. That is a good ranking, and then you can also start to look at the individual charities. These charitable organizations are held to high standards, and they are supposed to be very transparent, so that means there can be quite a bit of data.

One thing that you notice right away is that the financial strength of the charities as mentioned doesn’t just rank well but it is above average. That is looking at them all together though. Moreover, one thing looking at the strong chairtable organizations in Denver also shoes you that charities that take in more also often have extra expenses. That means that these charities must really manage that extra money well and that it’s not just about how much a charity takes in to help others.

It is also about how much of each dollar goes towards the cause, and not all of the charitable organizations make people happy when it comes to that percentage. Would Denver Charity be any different? Some of them would for sure, as there are great charities out there. What are some of the charities in Denver that rank near the top? One of them is the American Indian College Fund, and then there is Colorado Environmental Coalition, the Denver Art Museum and Mercy Housing, just to name a few.

The ones mentioned are some of the strongest financially speaking, so that’s a good quick look at Top Denver Charities. There are quite a few that rank highly though, so let’s name some more. There is the Morris Animal Foundation, Denver Botanic Gardens, Project Angel Heart and Water for People. Maybe you have been wanting to selecting one or more Denver charities to give to, and now you have some healthy charitable organizations to choose from as you make your donations this year to good causes.

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The 21 Best Events in Denver, April 2 Through April 8

LAMENT; Or, The Mine Has Been Opened Up Well is a virtual reality installation coming to Counterpath.

Classical music’s survival depends on companies like the Central City Opera reaching younger generations. That’s why the group is launching Mozart & Co., an opera series based on stories from Shakespeare, the Brothers Grimm and more. While traditional operas can drag on all night, these comedy-focused shows take place at the kid-friendly hours of 9:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. and last thirty minutes before the audience can enjoy fifteen minutes of play. The inaugural productions take place Tuesday, April 2, at Temple Emanuel, 51 Grape Street. Tickets, which can be purchased at centralcityopera.org, are $8 for those thirteen and older, $5 for children two to twelve, and nothing for audience members under two; find more info at the Mozart & Co. Family Series Facebook page.

Wednesday, April 3

The arts may have been cut from the curricula of many local schools, but while they’re gone, they haven’t been forgotten. From 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, the Imagine 2020 speaker series will host the Arts Education for All Forum at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue. Rick Griffith, partner and design director at MATTER, will moderate the program, co-presented by A+Colorado, Denver Arts & Venues and the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, which will include a live student performance, discussions and analysis with national speakers, and a reception where participants can continue to brainstorm over cocktails. Admission is free; register at imaginedenver2020.org.

Seafood feasts might seem strange in our landlocked state, but the organizers of the seventh annual High West Oyster Fest happily beg to differ. If you’ve got an empty belly and plenty of shucks to give, dive into the toothsome array of Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar’s finest catches, along with selections from some of the city’s finest restaurants, when the fest returns to Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3. In addition to oyster shucking and eating competitions, the affair will be soundtracked by New Orleans funksters Guerrilla Fanfare Brass Band. And lest you feel "shellfish" at the prospect of all this oceanic indulgence, fret not: The entirety of the evening’s proceeds will be donated to First Descents, a charity that provides unforgettable outdoor experiences for young adults afflicted with cancer. Get tickets, $5 to $65, and more information at eventbrite.com.

The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art is currently hosting Don Coen’s humanizing portrayal of migrant culture, Don Coen: The Migrant Series. With the exhibit in mind, BMoCA will get into the nitty gritty of America’s unsolved migrant question and the backstories of border issues with "The Politics of Immigrant Inclusion," a conversation led by CU Boulder immigrant-rights scholar Dr. Celeste Montoya. Arrive early to browse the show so you’ll be primed for Montoya’s hour-long talk, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, at BMoCA, 1750 13th Street in Boulder. Admission is $8 to $12, or free for CU students with ID; register in advance at bmoca.org.

Thursday, April 4

When Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment in Denver, the show will have some familiar faces — and not just Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars; Ariel from The Little Mermaid; Buzz and Woody from Toy Story; and Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff from Frozen. Principal Lea Nightwalker grew up in Fort Collins and started skating there at the age of seven, and she’ll be back performing for her home audience in sketches that bring favorite Disney moments to life. Worlds of Enchantment opens at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 4, and runs through Sunday, April 7, at the Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt Street. Tickets start at $20; get yours, along with more information, at disneyonice.com.

An Elizabethan theatrical hit spurned by the Victorian era, William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus is particularly resonant in the Trump era. Widely considered the bloodiest play of the Bard’s oeuvre, the tale of imperial intrigue, brutal vengeance and accidental cannibalism seems more believable in light of the grotesqueness of modern politics. Fearless Theatre will present a modernized take on the (fictional) Roman revenge saga in a production that contrasts the original story’s racial animus and violence against women with today’s fractious political climate. Directed by Alexander Evert and starring Terry Burnsed, Tresha Farris, Jillian Price and Sarah Harmon, Fearless’s revamped Titus Andronicus debuts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4, and continues through April 20 at the Bakery Arts Warehouse, 2132 Market Street; for tickets, $18, and showtimes, go the Fearless Theatre Facebook page.

It’s hard to imagine more powerful instruments than the singing voices of Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton or Adele. But the Colorado Symphony will try to match their might at Women of Rock, a performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Symphony musicians will be joined by local rock/funk group Tracksuit Wedding, guest vocalist Eric Brown and guest bass guitarist Kenny Passarelli. For more information, including all of the evening’s songs, and tickets, $15 to $89, visit coloradosympony.org.

Start the baseball season with a free “purple party” at Denver Union Station.

Friday, April 5

Even if you haven’t snagged tickets to the home opener of the Colorado Rockies, you can score some fun at the Denver Union Station Opening Day Celebration. The Terminal Bar patio will open at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 5, for pre-game partying, and Paizley Park, a Prince Tribute band, will be there to entertain fans from noon to 3 p.m. (The game starts at 2:10 p.m. at Coors Field.) This bash is free, and there will be specials on food and drink, including a new signature beer, the Union Station Helles Lager by Longmont’s Wibby Brewing; learn more at unionstationindenver.com.

Baseball is open for business, and the Rockies will be back at Coors Field, battling the Dodgers on April 5 in their first home game of 2019. If you don’t make it to the game, the next best thing might be Batter Up!, an art exhibit opening amid First Friday celebrations in the Art District on Santa Fe with a collection of bats that have been painted, carved or otherwise decorated by local artists. Marvel at the ingenuity on display at the opening reception, 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 5, at Abstract, 742 Santa Fe Drive. Batter Up! runs through April 30; learn more at www.abstractdenver.com.

Colorado Ballet dancers will spring into form at a season-opening edition of the Ballet MasterWorks series that’s brimming with the chivalric bombast of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. The company is reviving Orff’s medieval-inspired modernist masterpiece for the first time in nearly twenty years, and this time, it’s taking choreographic cues from late legend Fernand Nault. The program opens with the deceptively soothing swells of George Balanchine’s Serenade before a performance of the castle-storming anthem "O Fortuna" inspires audiences to take up their swords. The MasterWorks series commences at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 5, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, and continues through April 14. Visit coloradoballet.org to buy tickets, $30 to $155, and learn more.

Classical music and contemporary dance unite in harmony when the Boulder Bach Festival continues with Venice on Fire: Obstinate Pearl, a creative collaboration with 3rd Law Dance/Theater. A trio of electrified baroque instruments will lead the 3rd Law dancers through a program that bridges the seventeenth and 21st centuries with original choreography set to compositions from Barbara Strozzi, Robert de Visée, Heinrich Biber and, of course, Johann Sebastian Bach. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 5; 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 6; and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 7, at the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder. Visit thedairy.org for tickets, $18 to $25, and more information.

When one of underground hip-hop’s richest baritones pairs up with one of the swiftest beatsmiths of all time, old-school heads ought to turn. Jurassic 5 alumni Chali 2na and Cut Chemist have collaborated frequently throughout their post-collective careers, including a lengthy stint as members of Grammy-winning Latin funk ensemble Ozomatli. The two will serve up their unparalleled blend of verse and breaks on Friday, April 5, at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom, 2637 Welton Street, starting at 9 p.m. With a lineup rounded out by Jordan Polovina, Thin Air Crew, OTIS and J.O.B., this show is well worth your backpack-rap nostalgia dollars. Tickets are $22 in advance at cervantesmasterpiece.com and $27 at the door.

Curio Cabinet brings its goods to Art & Gift Pop-Up Sale.

Saturday, April 6

Spring is here, bringing another round of April shopping fever as green leaves and Mother’s Day approach. Rocky Mountain Punk and friends have heard the call and will set up shop for the Art & Gift Pop-Up Sale, an afternoon of brews and barter at Factotum Brewhouse, 3845 Lipan Street. In addition to RMP’s macabre adornments and bone art, you’ll find everything from original art and traditional jewelry to artful goodies by Cake Geek from 2 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 6. Admission is free, but our guess is that you’ll want to wet your whistle while you shop. Find more info at rockymountainpunk.com.

The Counterpath event space in east Denver continues its precedent of hosting experimental interdisciplinary work with LAMENT; Or, The Mine Has Been Opened Up Well, a virtual-reality installation, performance and discussion by Judd Morrissey and Jennifer Scappettone (in collaboration with Abraham Avnisan and Mark Booth), who blend words, video and an aural libretto to document the process and history of copper mining. Driven by a metaphor for the conductive properties of copper, the audio-visual feast begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at Counterpath, 7935 East 14th Avenue; find more details at counterpathpress.org.

In case you haven’t noticed, the ’90s are back, and there’s no better way to celebrate the flyest decade than at Bash to the Future. Hosted by the Denver Scholarship Foundation’s junior board, Bash will raise funds for local students on their way to college with a nostalgic party that will include ’90s pop hits, beatboxing, creative cocktails, wine, appetizers and silent and live auctions; decade-appropriate dress is encouraged. The retro fun starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at the Studios at Overland Crossing, 2205 South Delaware Street; for more information, including tickets ($50 to $125) and sponsorship opportunities, visit denverscholarship.org.

Return to punk’s glory days at Pretty Vacant: A Night of Punk, Glam, New Wave Music and Art.

Longing for an evening reminiscent of CBGB’s heyday? Wax nostalgic for meaner, meatier musical times with punk/glam rockers Röxy Suicide, DJ Sara Splatter and a colorful sideshow of punk-inspired art, T-shirts and posters from Doug Mansfield, Lindsey Kuhn and Terminal Chaos at Pretty Vacant: A Night of Punk, Glam, New Wave Music and Art, going down from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday, April 6, at Mutiny Information Cafe, 2 South Broadway. Visit the event’s Facebook page for more information.

Sunday, April 7

As Jewish communities prepare to observe Passover later in April, thoughts turn to the traditions of Jewish foods and, in the case of the Colorado Jewish Food Fest, the way those traditions translate in the 21st century. For one thing, the food presented will be vegetarian and created with a leaning toward sustainable and local ingredients — while adhering to kosher law, which is a trick. Deliciousness is a given, though, as you participate in food tastings, mini-workshops, farm tours, kids’ activities and a community Passover dessert contest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, April 7, at the Boulder Jewish Community Center and adjoining Milk and Honey Farm, 6007 Oreg Avenue in Boulder. Learn more and buy tickets for $5 in advance at coloradojewishfoodfest.com; admission is $10 at the door (children ages two and under admitted free).

Find the best of Denver Fashion Week at the Pop-up Marketplace.

The runways will be hopping all weekend during Denver Fashion Week, but the Denver Fashion Week Pop-Up Marketplace is where you’ll really get to know the designers and their apparel. Try on the fashions you’ve admired on DFW’s gorgeous models from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m, Sunday, April 7, at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue; participating designer lines include such local stalwarts as Brooks LTD, Rachel Marie Hurst, Mona Lucero and Gino Velardi, and you can catch a last look at the Denver Fashion Week exhibit, on view at McNichols, on its last day. Tickets are a bargain at $10 at eventbrite.com.

Who the heck are all these people running for Denver City Council in 2019? Get to know thirteen of them before the May 7 election at "Badass Humanitarians for Denver City Council," a painless forum hosted at the Mercury Cafe by the activist group Denver Artists for Rent Control. Roseanna Frechette and Ean Tafoya will moderate and ask the questions, talk-show style, from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 7, at the Merc, 2199 California Street. Confirmed participants include Debbie Ortega, Jesse Parris and Tony Pigford (At-Large); Victoria Aguilar and Sabrina D’Agosta (District 1); Annie Martinez and Veronica Barela (District 3); Paul Kashmann (District 6); Miguel Ceballos Ruiz and Erik Penn (District 8); Candi CdeBaca (District 9); Chris Hinds (District 10); and Shayla Richard (District 11). Admission is free; find more details at the Denver Artists for Rent Control Facebook page.

Nearly every time that Bill Frisell, who lives in Brooklyn these days, has returned to his home town of Denver over the past decade or so to perform, it’s been with a new project. And that’s a good thing, because the guitarist, skilled in jazz, Americana and folk, is something of a shapeshifter when it comes to music. This time around, Frisell is bringing his Harmony group to the Mile High, for a Swallow Hill-produced performance at the First Baptist Church of Denver, 1373 Grant Street, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 7. In keeping with the band’s moniker, there’s a focus on harmony, with superb singer Petra Haden accompanied by cellist Hank Roberts and baritone guitarist Luke Bergman, both of whom also sing, and Frisell on guitar. Find tickets, $41 to $43, and more information at swallowhillmusic.org.

Monday, April 8

Emerging from the deserts of Niger onto the international stage, Mdou Moctar has electrified the rich traditions of Tuareg guitar music. Moctar rose to fame via spacey Auto-Tuned renditions of Hausa jams circulated through a shadow cell-phone network and eventually secured a record deal, released four albums and starred in the film I Sing the Desert Electric, among others. Globe Hall, at 4483 Logan Street, will go truly global at 8 p.m. Monday, April 8, with an awe-inspiring benediction from this living guitar god during a must-catch show sponsored by KGNU Community Radio and Twist & Shout. Find tickets, $15 to $19, and more information at globehall.com.

In order for an event to be considered for 21 Best, we need information at least three weeks in advance. Send it to editorial@westword.com or 969 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203.

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Child’s lemonade stand shut down for no permit

Credit: KCNC, Jennifer Knowles via CNN

Two boys selling lemonade for charity in Denver got their stand shut down because they didn’t have a permit.

"It was a beautiful weekend, beautiful weather, so we thought, ‘Why not have a lemonade stand?’" said Jennifer Knowles, the boys’ mother.

When Knowles helped her sons set up their first lemonade stand over the weekend, she thought it would be a lesson in entrepreneurship and charity.

But, she got an unexpected lesson, too.

"Someone complained about our lemonade stand," Knowles said.

It turns out, you need a permit to operate a lemonade stand in Denver. The city says it’s about health and safety, no matter the age of the operator.

However, in this case, competition may also be in play.

"We had never thought other lemonade vendors could feel threatened by our little kid lemonade stand," said Knowles.

The stand was set up right next to the Denver Arts Festival, and a lemonade vendor.

Knowles understood why someone would be upset, given the circumstances. The vendor was selling lemonade for $7 a glass versus their two cups for a dollar.

As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and that’s exactly what Knowles plans to do.

She plans to ask the city to waive permits in the future for kids’ lemonade stands when another isn’t nearby.

"In hindsight, we would have never set up where we did when we did, and we would have done it another time, and lesson learned," said Knowles.

She said her sons raised about $200 for charity before police shut the stand down.

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Are charity credit cards the best way to contribute to organizations?

Wanting a hassle-free way to donate to charity? Charity credit cards offer reward points every time you use your credit card, and then give that cash-back to charity.

But we found you need to do some research if you want to make the most of your donation.

“The Susan G Komen charity card is a big one out there and it’s an example of a bank working with a charity to specifically promote that particular charity and it will even give you a little bit of a bonus after you spend a certain amount on that card,” said Matt Shultz with CreditCards.com.

There are some cards that are specific to certain charities like Bank of American’s Susan G. Komen credit card. “Then there are other cards like Charity Charge by Master Card which gives you 1 percent cash back on everything you spend," said Shultz.

The Charity Charge credit card will take 1 percent cash back and put it toward the charity of your choice. But, Shultz said not all charity credit cards give the same way.

“When you’re considering getting a charity credit card make sure you understand how much value you’re going to get back and how much money will be donated to that charity,” said Shultz.

You need to find out exactly how much money from your purchases gets donated to the charity and how that money is being used at the charity.

“Charity credit cards can be worth it but a lot of the time you are really better off getting a general purpose credit card that might give you 2 percent cash back on everything you buy and then you can take that cash back that you earn and write that to your charity," said Shultz.

If you decide to take that route and skip the charity credit card all together, Schultz recommends the Chase Freedom Card. It will give you more money cash back then your charity credit card reward points would be donating.

“When you’re looking to donate to a charity it’s not really about making things as convenient for you it’s about getting things done and raising money for the charity that you believe so much in,” said Shultz.

In the end, Shultz said if giving the most amount of money to a charity is important, look at getting a traditional credit card and mailing the cash back money to the charity yourself.

Copyright 2018 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Global investment bank investing in local charities

The Janus Henderson Foundation, the charity arm of Janus Henderson Investments, is awarding thousands of dollars to local, national and international charity groups as part of their annual "Charity Challenge" event on Tuesday.

Local celebrities from the Denver community will watch presentations from Janus Henderson employees representing charitable groups all hoping their team being awarded the grand prize. Last year’s top awardees were Camp Boggy Creek and the charity took home $75,000.

"Through our partnership with Campy Boggy Creek, funding from Janus Henderson has enabled them to help children living with serious illness, develop friendships, life skills and strong social support systems through their therapeutic camp program," Janus Henderson said. "This program ensures children with serious illness gain or regain skills and understanding of their own abilities so they are able to make informed decisions in other aspects of their lives outside of the camp."

9NEWS traffic anchor Amelia Earhart participated as a judge last year and she chose Operation Underground Railroad as her top charity.

"The Foundation donated $45,000 to Operation Underground Railroad," Janus Henderson said. "This funding is allowing the organization to pave the way for the permanent eradication child sex trafficking through coordinated rescues and recovery planning. Since inception in 2013, they have rescued over 1,000 victims and arrested more than 443 traffickers around the world."

To learn more about the Foundation and how to get involved, visit the Janus Henderson Foundation website.

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Former Sunnyside Catholic Charities office is now a mixed-use development (Photos) – Denver Business Journal

What used to be the Catholic Charities office in Sunnyside is now a mixed-use development.

HM Capital redeveloped the building and surrounding parking lots into a project called Block Forty45, which includes both residential and commercial space.

Located at 4045 Pecos St., the development includes 33 rowhomes and office and retail space.

The first floor of the building has 10 private offices and two retail spaces leased — to a cycle bar and a brewery.

Twenty-one co-working offices occupy the second floor with "hot" and permanent desks.

According to Nina Khosarvi, community director of Block Forty45, more than 16 companies have already committed to the co-working space.

The 33 rowhomes have broken ground, and will be available for pre-leasing in the fall.

“Nestled in between the Highlands, LOHI, and downtown, we couldn’t imagine a better spot to open up Block Forty45 than Sunnyside," Khosarvi said. "With the neighborhood’s eclectic mix of historical bungalows, modern homes, and new commercial developments, we think that Sunnyside is without a doubt, Denver’s next up-and-coming neighborhood."

Khosarvi said that the area offers residents a place to live, work and play without the "hassle" of going downtown.

"With the sense of community at the heart of everything we do, our focus is to help companies in our building connect, grow and thrive," she added.

The community opens its doors Tuesday.

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Roosevelt students raise money for charity to win prom king and queen

On Saturday night, one lucky guy or gal will be crowned prom king and queen at Roosevelt High School. But the winners are not decided by popular vote.

“We don’t do this as a popularity contest here at Roosevelt,” said Katie Davidson, a teacher at Roosevelt. “The tradition is giving back to our community."

The diverse group of students, who are running for prom king and queen, are raising money for their charity, and whoever raises the most will win.

“The focus is not about that crown and that sash,” she said. “It is about their charity and giving back, and leaving this school with a better purpose."

Each one of the six students has a personal reason for selecting their charity. Devon Smith and Koyanna Booker are the only couple in the group and are running together. The lovebirds are tackling food insecurity. Their charity is the Children’s Hunger Fund.

"I am trying to make something change, no more hunger,” Smith said. “Because where I grew up, things were different from other people who are wealthier."

The students said that the hard work of raising money has taught them a lot.

“You are not being selfish,” Booker said. “You are doing something that you really want, but you are also helping a lot of people and it impacts a lot of people’s lives."

Yvonne Clark is raising awareness and funds for Bikers Against Child Abuse.

"I have a lot of experience with abuse, and my mom used to be a biker as well,” she said. “So, it is a two-in-one for me."

Hannah Hardy is raising money for Judi’s House based in Denver.

"In 2009, my father passed away of an enlarged heart,” she said. “And it’s not an easy life losing a parent. What that organization does is they take these kids and the widowers and they show them that there is happiness."

Student Jennifer Jett’s charity is Make-A-Wish, an organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

"I like the idea of making people happy, especially when they’re not feeling well,” she said.

Every girl loves a crown but for them, it is not about who takes it.

"I feel like this is more of an experience instead of winning the crown because I feel like we are all winners,” Hardy said.

Miguel Castro is a debater at the school, and his cause the Family Service Association of San Antonio. He says that the non-profit was there for him during a rough patch in his life.

“During the fifth grade, my parents were going through a harsh divorce, and it was affecting my personality,” he said. “They helped me get through some things, and made sure that I am still who I am today."

Castro said that this prom experience has opened his eyes.

"It made me more grateful for everything that I have in my life,” he said. “I just want to continue to help out others, because that is just my mission in life."

For the students at Roosevelt High School, it isn’t about the plastic crown. It’s about the legacy the students will leave behind.

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Denver demonstrates: Legalize marijuana and get affordable housing

In April 2016, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions was still merely a senator from Alabama, the politician made a declaration on marijuana:

This drug is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny, it’s not something to laugh about . . . and to send that message with clarity that good people don’t smoke marijuana.

As politically informed potheads throughout America honor Sessions by firing up a big one, it’s important and appropriate to look at one way in which Sessions’ attitude toward marijuana is counterintuitive — namely, in how it deprives our society of programs that could be subsidized by marijuana-derived taxpayer revenue.

In Denver, Mayor Michael Hancock has proposed earmarking recurring marijuana taxes as a way to help pay for affordable housing for low-income residents, according to The Denver Post. By increasing the municipal tax on recreational marijuana from 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent, Hancock hopes to generate roughly $8 million each year. That money, combined with another $7 million spent each year from Denver’s operating budget, could then be used to either build or preserve 6,400 income-restricted apartments and housing units in the city to provide more affordable housing.

It’s a valuable idea, one that helps victims of poverty lead more bearable lives while reminding opponents of marijuana legalization that taxes on the drug can bring about unrelated social benefits.

"While marijuana taxes are not necessarily going to solve state budget problems, they could be extremely useful for helping localities deal with many of the smaller-scale issues they face in addition to benefiting education and public health services," Morgan Fox, Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Salon by email. "It is likely that localities that have banned cannabis businesses will start to reconsider their policies when they see the financial benefits their neighbors are reaping. On top of taxes, these businesses create jobs and support ancillary industries, both of which improve local economic environments."

Fox added, "Another factor to consider is that many marijuana businesses go out of their way to support local charities and social programs because they realize there is still a stigma associated with the industry and they want to bring positive change to their communities while dispelling some of the unfortunate stereotypes some people still hold."

Attorney Zarah Levin-Fragasso of The Lanier Law Firm, Chair of the Committee on Drugs and the Law at the New York City Bar Association and president of The Lenox Hill Democratic Club, had a similar observation.

"In recent years, some states have moved towards full legalization and have seen massive economic gains from tax revenue from legal marijuana," Levin-Fragasso told Salon, stressing that these were her personal beliefs. "This revenue, in turn, has been put to positive use — use that includes funding public education. Unfortunately, many individuals originally harmed or at higher risk of the marijuana arrest and conviction are not reaping the benefits of this newly legalized industry in the states that have opted for full legalization of the adult consumption of cannabis."

She added, "Activists are seeking ways to incorporate communities of color and/or indigent communities into the state legalized business process but are reporting mixed and often disappointing results. The historically disenfranchised continue to be economically disenfranchised and while profits soar for some, others continue to rot in jail for these non-violent offenses."

Fox made the same point, telling Salon that "ending marijuana arrests, wisely using tax revenue, and ensuring that the marijuana industry is equitable and the people who have been most hurt by prohibition have a fair shot at getting involved, are all going to have a positive impact on public health and social justice issues."

It is also necessary to point out that using marijuana-based taxes to achieve unrelated social ends, while laudable, should not be used as a primary justification for legalizing pot.

"Historically, taxation is rarely a pathway to social justice," Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML, told Salon by email. "Politicians possess the discretion to spend tax revenues as they wish, virtually irregardless of the public’s priorities. By contrast, ending the prosecution, incarceration, discrimination, and stigmatization of responsible adult cannabis consumers is a pathway toward social justice."

He added, "The ongoing enforcement of marijuana prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, and disproportionately impacts young people and communities of color. It makes no sense from a public health perspective, a fiscal perspective, or a moral perspective to perpetuate the prosecution and stigmatization of those adults who choose to responsibly consume a substance that is safer than either alcohol or tobacco."

Levin-Fragasso emphasized that any meaningful attempt to address marijuana policy must start with acknowledging the inherent injustice in the fact that it is illegal in the first place.

"The history of marijuana criminalization is intimately interwoven with social justice concerns," Levin-Fragasso said. "It would be remiss to review marijuana criminalization and subsequent legalization efforts without first looking at the racial disparity in the application of the marijuana arrest and conviction. According to the ACLU, despite approximately similar usage rates between black and white cannabis users, black cannabis users are over three times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than white consumers of the substance. The cost on primarily non-white and/or indigent communities from marijuana convictions is unmeasurable by any true metric."

At a time when roughly three out of five Americans support legalizing marijuana, there are fewer reasons to think like Sessions and more reasons to approach the substance like Denver is doing. Legalizing it is going to help lower income Americans. Not only will it prevent the prison trap that ensnares the poorest Americans — and overwhelmingly, minorities — but the revenue from selling it can actually help more people. The fact that so many innocent lives are being ruined because of the prohibition against pot — and that so many more could be helped if it were legalized — underscores why ending the ban is such a morally compelling issue in 2018.

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Veteran takes inaugural nonstop flight from Denver to Paris 74 years after D-Day

DENVER — The Mile High City now has a French connection as the first nonstop flight from Denver to Paris lifted off Monday.

Discount carrier Norwegian Airlines is getting passengers to the City of Lights for as little as $200 each way.

There are a lot of important people ready to take flight on the first nonstop from Denver to Paris, but none as important as 97-year-old Steven Melnikoff, who is making a return trip to France 74 years after he first went there.

Melnikoff stormed the beaches at Normandy, France on June 6, 1944. He earned three Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts during World War II.

He’s headed back to France with Denver charity The Greatest Generations Foundation to help with planning for next year’s 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Melnikoff is one of a couple hundred passengers boarding the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on it’s inaugural flight from Denver to Charles deGalle airport.

The rock-bottom priced flight tickets are available if you’re flexible with time and date.

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Good Works: Ball Corp. touts its 2017 charity accomplishments – Denver Business Journal

Ball Corp. touts its 2017 charity accomplishments

Technology and packaging firm Ball Corporation announced its philanthropic output in 2017, and the stats speak for themselves: 38,000 employee volunteer hours, $5 million in cash donations to communities that house its offices and additional in-kind donations for disaster relief. The company focuses on “four funding pillars:” recycling, disaster preparedness and relief, food security and STEM education.

Colorado cancer charities merge for bigger impact

Two big names in financial assistance for cancer patients announced they’re joining forces to maximize their impact. Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation and Rocky Mountain Cancer Assistance, both of which provide money for treatments that can rack up individual costs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, have jointly distributed about $9 million to thousands of Colorado families to help offset those costs. The merger will mean a 50 percent reduction in overhead and administrative costs, freeing up more funds for philanthropy, according to the new charity, which will operate under the Ray of Hope name.

Colorado bank builds bikes for kids

The mortgage team from Colorado State Bank and Trust spent time at the Cesar Chavez Academy to help build bikes for second graders. The Wish for Wheels program helps provide bicycles to low-income families in an effort to promote social mobility and a healthy lifestyle. The CSBT team built 30 bikes.

$710K in scholarships awarded for non-traditional students

The Daniels Fund announced $710,000 in Boundless Opportunity Scholarship grants to 13 higher education and training programs in the state. The money will be used for scholarships awarded to veterans, GED recipients, former foster care youth and other non-traditional students. The Daniels Fund was created by cable TV pioneer Bill Daniels.

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2017 Largest Corporate Philanthropists

Ranked by Cash contributions to Colorado-based charitable organizations in 2016

Rank Business name Cash contributions to Colorado-based charitable organizations in 2016 1 Xcel Energy Inc. $8.21 million 2 FirstBank Holding Co. $3.8 million 3 Alpine Banks of Colorado $3.2 million View This List

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