In the fall of 1999, 19 Jewish organizations embarked on The Endowment Challenge, a three-year grant initiative to create endowments. Launched by Rose Community Foundation, The Endowment Challenge was intended to stimulate endowment giving within the Jewish community, develop institutional skills in endowment fundraising, and heighten public awareness about the power and importance of endowments.
Rose Community Foundation's Trustees granted $10 million and Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado became a partner, committing both staff and $625,000 for the initiative. All Jewish organizations and synagogues throughout metropolitan Denver and Boulder were invited to submit proposals to participate, with 19 organizations eventually joining the effort.
By the end of 2002, 18 of the organizations met or exceeded their endowment fundraising goals, qualifying each of them for challenge grants totaling approximately 56 cents on the dollar. Altogether the 19 organizations raised more than $12.3 million to fund their endowments. Rose Community Foundation provided more than $6 million in challenge grants, and Allied Jewish Federation provided nearly $575,000, making the grand total almost $19 million for all 19 organizations.
In addition, Rose Community Foundation provided $2.9 million in annual operating grants, nearly $2 million to restore losses to endowment fund balances due to market conditions and $500,000 in technical assistance to The Endowment Challenge grantees. All told, The Endowment Challenge represents an investment of $24.5 million in Jewish institutions by donors, Rose Community Foundation and Allied Jewish Federation.