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Smart Cities: Denver's Advocates & Partnerships

By Tom Vander Ark

(From Education Week, February 3, 2013)

Denver seems to be blessed with more talented advocates per capita than any city I know. To some extent it's imported talent because it's a great place to live. The advocates form partnerships that benefit families and kids. Some long sought gains were reversed by a combination of the Great Recession and anti-tax measures.

Backstory. As a young business executive in Denver, my boss dragged me to Chamber of Commerce events and forced me to "adopt a children's charity." I picked the Colorado Children's Campaign (CCC) because it seemed wonky and antiseptic, but within days of joining the board, Executive Director Barbara O'Brien had me visiting schools with Kids Count data in hand. It didn't take long for her to convince me to spend the rest of my life as an advocate for kids.

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