Keep Westword Free

Lay Catholics, Gill Foundation make up funding lost by immigrant center

Lay Catholics and several big organizations, including the Denver-based Gill Foundation, have saved the budget of an immigrant advocacy group in Durango whose funding was yanked by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. The Catholics stripped the immigrant group, called Companeros, of $30,000 because it belongs to a coalition that has ties to an LGBT advocacy group that supports the legalization of civil unions.

Companeros's plight made the New York Times and inspired the progressive national nonprofit Catholics United to start a donation website called WithCharityForAll.org. More than two hundred people contributed over $7,000, and donations poured into Companeros's mailbox, too.

"There were a number of individual donations that started streaming in," says Nicole Mosher, Companeros's executive director. "There was a lot of positive response from people, many of whom claimed, 'I'm a Catholic but I don't support your defunding.'"

CCHD told Companeros in February that it would no longer provide the $30,000 grant that made up more than half of the organization's budget. A letter from CCHD explained that Companeros's membership in the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition was unacceptable because CIRC had formed an alliance with One Colorado, an LGBT advocacy group that backed an unsuccessful bill to legalize civil unions.

Several LGBT organizations stepped up to help -- including the Gill Foundation, which Mosher says promised to match donations up to $30,000. The foundation kept that promise, and Companeros was able to raise more than $60,000 as a result. "The smallest check was from a woman in Florida who gave $3 and a note saying, 'I'm sorry I can't give more,'" Mosher says. "We had a few $1,000 donations, and one came from as far as England."

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Companeros plans to spend its money wisely, Mosher says. "I wish that I could expand at this moment," she says, "but really, our priority is to create a sustainable funding plan." The organization is the only immigrant resource center within a 150-mile radius.

"This fundraising campaign was as much of a shock as was the initial call about our defunding," Mosher says. "It's been a whirlwind of emotion. At first, it was concern about losing the program, and now it's concern to maintain it for the long term."

More from our Follow That Story archive: "Alex Landau beating: Denver cops put case on pause as FBI investigates."

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.