Philosophy

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Guiding Principles

The Barton Institute for Philanthropy and Social Enterprise engages in projects after employing the following 10 Guiding Principles:

+ Pass the 'But For' Test

"Would this have happened if the Barton Institute didn’t exist?” If the answer is yes, it’s probably not the right project to undertake.

+ Address Major Social Issues

The Barton Institute seeks to maximize its positive impact on the community by tackling major social issues. Issues are determined by community need, expertise at DU, and congruence with the university’s strategic plan, DU Impact 2025, and one or more of the Rocky Mountain Grand Challenges.

+ Create Definable Impact

We strive to engage work that has a measurable impact, acknowledging that impact is both quantitative and qualitative, and can often take years or decades to mature. All work of the Barton Institute should have a definable, if not quantifiable, impact.

+ Cross-Sector Expertise

Progress in addressing major social issues can best—and often only-- be achieved if private, public and nonprofit sectors work together.

+ Employ & Amplify Resources

The resources and expertise – faculty, staff, students, and infrastructure -- at DU are deep and vast. The Barton Institute will leverage these to their full potential.

+ Advance DU's Strategic Plan

In early 2016, Chancellor Rebecca Chopp released DU Impact 2025, an exciting blueprint of new directions to transform DU's future by fostering interdisciplinary work and enhancing DU’s legacy of experiential education, the Barton Institute is an example of Impact 2025’s strategic initiatives of collaboration for the public good.

+ Start Local, Inform Global

The best way to add value and avoid duplication of efforts is to begin at home, in the Denver metro region, with the hope that these efforts will then inform broader geographic regions, most notably the urbanizing Rocky Mountain region.

+ Servant Leadership & Community-Based Approaches

We know that the most successful social programs listen carefully to and learn from the people most impacted by those programs. Top down efforts rarely work. We approach our work with humility and respect for diverse identities and opinions, giving particular attention and weight to voices from underrepresented populations.

+ Breadth & Depth

Philanthropy and social enterprise cross many different disciplines. In order to respond to a breadth of projects, we seek a versatility that allows us to collaborate on many projects simultaneously. At the same time, we prioritize competency and leadership and hope to develop deep expertise in one or two areas, especially in our early years.

+ Prioritize Vulnerable Populations

In view of limited dollars, time, and human capacity, we will devote the majority of our efforts to projects that prioritize vulnerable populations.