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Keynotes: Stories of Collective Impact

Storytelling Podcasts

We are in a divisive era, but not everybody is divided. These are the stories of people coming together to develop long-lasting solutions to difficult policy obstacles. We share stories about education, agriculture, American Indian/Alaska Native communities, energy, public land management, health, and emerging technologies.


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We are in a divisive era, but not everybody is divided. These are the stories of people coming together to develop long-lasting solutions to difficult policy obstacles. We share stories about education, agriculture, American Indian/Alaska Native communities, energy, public land management, health, and emerging technologies.




The Browns Canyon National Monument

The Browns Canyon National Monument was designated for federal protection in 2015 and encompasses more than 21,000 acres of scenic and diverse natural resources along the upper Arkansas River in Colorado. It was the culmination of decades of advocacy from local residents to protect the pristine lands. However, federal designation was only the first step in protecting these pristine lands. In 2019, Keystone Policy Center and a coalition of over 20 local citizens representing numerous...


The Roadmap for a Coordinated Conversation

Collaboration is a powerful concept that requires a methodical approach to be most effective. To streamline this approach and help other organizations foster collaboration, Keystone partnered with Dow to create a step-by-step guide called the Collaborative Action Toolkit that provides a roadmap for anyone to develop a more collaborative mindset and organize their stakeholders and collaborations. The toolkit was born out of Dow's pursuit of company sustainability goals. Upon realizing the...


Going Slow to Go Fast

Federal and state governments are legally required to consult with Native American Tribes on issues impacting them, but city governments don't have the same mandate. In this episode, we highlight the work of the city of Boulder, Colorado, which has partnered with Keystone to develop and implement a city/Tribal consultation process that has opened a dialogue around issues of cultural, spiritual, and historical significance for Tribal and Indigenous members of the community. The initiative...


Collaboration Out of Necessity

In the final episode of this three-part series, we how leaders in Northwest Colorado are working together on collaborative initiatives that have impact for their communities. We also highlight how these collaborative efforts, in partnership with nonprofit leaders like El Pomar Foundation and Keystone Policy Center, help these communities navigate the best path forward to best utilizing the once-in-a-lifetime influx of resources to best serve the needs of all Coloradans, both rural and urban....


Meeting the Challenge

In this second episode of a three-part series, we highlight how rural communities are navigating the obstacles they face in accessing the influx of federal funding coming to Colorado in the wake of COVID-19. These rural communities are meeting the challenge by working together along with the assistance of nonprofit partners. Almost two decades ago, El Pomar Foundation established a regional partnership program bringing members from a diverse range of backgrounds who represent the business,...


A Tsunami of Funding

Federal and state lawmakers have dedicated billions of dollars in resources in recent years to address the impacts of COVID-19. But challenges in underfunded, understaffed regions of Colorado reduce the opportunities these communities have to apply for and access this one-time surge in funding. In this first episode of a three-part series, we highlight in-depth the challenges faced by rural communities in Northwest Colorado in trying to apply for and gain access to federal and state...


Charter School Performance During COVID-19

The Keystone Policy Center recently released its second report analyzing public data to assess the impact the COVID-19 disruption had on Colorado education. The report, entitled Colorado’s Missing Year: Charter School Performance, explores recent enrollment and academic performance data to examine how charter schools fared relative to the state and other school district managed public schools in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this episode of Keynotes, we discuss some of the findings...


Education During the Pandemic: What the Data Reveal

What impact did the shift to virtual learning have on students during the COVID-19 pandemic? A report from the Keystone Policy Center titled Colorado's Missing Year analyzed test data to tackle that question, and some of the findings may surprise you. The report also spurs a greater conversation on student assessment, transparency, and what policymakers can do to ensure we have the correct information available to make the best decisions for our students. Please help us continue this...


The Invisible Essential Workforce Part 2

The economic and health devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are widespread, but we’ve disproportionately heaped the burden of holding up the economy and preserving our way of life on certain groups of people—many of which we never see. In the second episode of this two-part series, we highlight the Farm Labor Practices Group, a diverse coalition of agriculture stakeholders committed to ensure a safe and productive farm experience for farmers and laborers. The group has also been a...


The Invisible Essential Workforce Part 1

The economic and health devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are widespread, but we’ve disproportionately heaped the burden of holding up the economy and preserving our way of life on certain groups of people—many of which we never see. In this first episode in a two-part series, we highlight the essential contributions of farm labor particularly those laborers who are foreign born. In the era of COVID-19, this workforce keeps our economy afloat but there still needs to be an effort...


The Results

The Keynotes Podcast returns from its summer hiatus with a few updates on three projects profiled in the podcast that spurred state legislative action: the Education System Resiliency and Innovation Initiative, Next 100 Colorado, and funding the Colorado Water Plan. Please help us continue this podcast by making a financial donation to Keystone Policy Center. Listen to previous episodes of this podcast at Keystone's website or by subscribing to it through any podcast provider.


Farmers for Monarchs

The annual migration of monarch butterflies is one of the world’s great natural phenomena. Unfortunately, monarch populations are in an alarming decline. That's why the Keystone Policy Center brought together a diverse group of committed stakeholders, including scientists, conservationists, farmers, and the private sector, to find collaborative solutions to strengthen monarch populations and habitat. The group was founded as the Monarch Collaborative in 2015, but just this week announced a...


Honey Bee Health Coalition

It's Pollinator Week! So, naturally, we decided to talk about the impact Keystone Policy Center is having in two projects that are focused on supporting healthy pollinator populations and habitat. In this first episode of this two part-series, we’re focus on a project Keystone leads to improve honey bee health. Honey bees support more than $20 billion in U.S. and Canadian agriculture annually. But as most know, a major decline in honey bee health has put agriculture, healthy lifestyles, and...


The Stories That Go Unheard Part 2

In part 1 of our two-part series examining the inequality of access to our public parks and green spaces, we discussed the isolation that can be felt by members of marginalized communities from their experiences in outdoor spaces. We talked about the Next 100 Coalition forming in 2016 to set a vision of inclusion for the Next 100 years of conservation and stewardship in America. And from that group formed Next 100 Colorado, also committed to an inclusive approach to public lands over the...


The Stories That Go Unheard Part 1

Outdoor spaces are often places of solace for many Americans, particularly during time of great stress, as evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. But like many things, there is an inequality for many Americans because not everybody has equal access to these outdoor and green spaces. And even when they do, they are often times made to feel like they are unwelcome. In the first edition in a two-part series, we examine the barriers often faced by people of color preventing them from having equal...


There's No Free Lunch

Meeting the dietary of a global population would require doubling the current output of the fruits and vegetable production system. That would dramatically impact the environment, growers, and increase inequity. A report released this month examines these issues and argues that simply scaling up our current fruits and veggie production system could actually worsen the environment and create socioeconomic tradeoffs. The published paper was years in the making and was rooted in a workshop...


Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey

Tourism is an industry that is vital to the economy in every state, but more so in a state like Colorado. While the industry has suffered well-documented impact from COVID-19, it already had its own set of challenges even prior to the pandemic, including relying on a transient and often untrained workforce. To activate the full potential of Colorado tourism, the Colorado Tourism Office in 2017 decided to create a leadership program for the industry’s workforce. The program was created for...


Harnessing the Power of Collaboration

Being successful at working collaboratively is a learned skill and valuable one at that. No matter which sector or what kind of work you're involved in, knowing how to effectively work collaboratively should be a priority of any organization. So, how and where can professionals learn this skill to effectively implement it in their work? Learn the story behind the Common Higher Ground Workshop, which teaches leaders those skills, as well as see how COVID-19 forced its creators to rethink how...


The Colorado Way

Even under the best of circumstances, there are so many demands on water and in the arid Western states, the demands are heightened. That is the case in Colorado, where an exploding population, increased demand, and climate change make its current statewide water trajectory unsustainable. That is why state leaders decided to develop a plan to meet future water needs. But once that plan was adopted, there were still funding gaps that needed to be filled to ensure the viability of the plan. A...


Consensus is an Accelerator

Is it true that there can be bipartisan agreement on climate change policy? Can different sectors come together to recommend a comprehensive approach to decarbonization? In mid-2020, Keystone began discussing with the Great Plains Institute about collaborating on a formal dialogue that could develop policy proposals aimed at reducing or eliminating carbon dioxide from our sources of energy. The Decarbonization Dialogue was born and Keystone and GPI got to work convening experts from...