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Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute

As a Community Development Financial Institution, for more than 10 years RMMFI has served Denver's under-resourced entrepreneurs with business development, personal capacity-building, and lending. RMMFI uses business ownership as a tool for socioeconomic mobility.

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Staff

Part Time Staff:
2
Full Time Staff:
12
Contract Staff:
3
Volunteers Annually:
200
Retention Rate:
73%

Monique Walker, Placement Coordinator
Start Date: 2020

A graduate of RMMFI's Business Launch Boot Camp, Monique joined the staff in early March 2020 just before RMMFI moved to remote offices in response to COVID-19. She was the organizations first staff to complete her onboarding remotely and interact with RMMFI entrepreneurs entirely in a virtual environment.

Ryan Flanders, Capital Manager
Start Date: 2019

Ryan brings passion and expertise for helping underserved entrepreneurs access affordable capital. With nearly a decade of experience in community and economic development in Colorado, Latin America, and Spain, Ryan has worked in microfinance for the past four and a half years, most recently as the Lending Team and Partnerships Manager at DreamSpring (formerly Accion serving Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico & Texas). Ryan is fluent in Spanish, received his BA from University of Colorado Boulder, and holds a Masters in International Development from the Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid.

Sherrie Lawson, Trainer
Start Date: 2020

Sherrie Lawson grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and is the owner of Epiphanie Consulting LLC. She joins RMMFI with over 15 years of higher education and organizational training experience. Sherrie has provided management consulting for corporate, government, and nonprofit organizations. Sherrie also teaches management and leadership courses in the Business School at the University of Colorado-Denver campus and serves on the leadership team at The Rebels Project, a nonprofit dedicated to providing support for survivors of mass tragedy. Sherrie understands the sacrifice and dedication it takes to make a business successful and has a passion for educating and training entrepreneurs.

Romales Gray, Trainer
Start Date: 2020

Romales Gray has personally faced a number of the challenges that RMMFI entrepreneurs experience. Having experienced homeless and multiple arrests from alcohol and drug addiction, Romales found himself ready to change his behavior during his last incarceration. Gray studied Real Estate in prison and started his own company on parole. He tells his trainees, "I'm the biggest student here!", because RMMFI's curriculum is helping his business grow right along with theirs. Romales encourages our entrepreneurs, because he relates to them in ways few can - walking their walk and being successful. He models what's possible for them so they're more receptive to what is possible.

Sera Muniz, Program Manager
Start Date: 2019

A recent Chicago transplant, Sera Muñiz came to Denver to join the RMMFI team as the Program Manager. Prior to joining RMMFI, Sera was a Starbucks Store Manager, a Peace Corps Education Volunteer in Rwanda, and Human Resources Manager at a business to business law firm in Chicago. While working in the legal environment provided Sera with 5 years of project and office management experience, including her Legal Lean Sigma White Belt Certification, ultimately, she wasn't passionate about serving the "Big Law" community. Joining RMMFI presented her with the unique opportunity to apply her retail management, non-profit, and operational experience to one position while servicing high-barrier populations who need her expertise the most. Sera is passionate about creating sustainable program processes and systems that maintain alignment with organizational values, and loves supporting the development and growth of the program departments and team. Sera is looking forward to engaging herself with the Denver Metro business community and helping to expand that community with the inclusion of more and more RMMFI's entrepreneurs.

Theresa Rinne-Meyers, Director of Impact
Start Date: 2020

Theresa Rinne-Meyers serves as RMMFI's Director of Impact, a new role created in 2020 to prioritize impact measurement and data-informed decision making across the organization. Theresa brings a strategic and futuristic mindset with an analytical skill set to take big questions - like "How do you measure social and economic mobility among entrepreneurs?" and "Is RMMFI achieving its intended outcomes?" - and create an evaluation system that can define, measure, and track process towards organizational goals. With a diverse background in fundraising, program management, communications, advocacy, and evaluation, Theresa's able to effectively communicate results to a broad range of stakeholders. She has been pioneering a research-based approach to calculating the Social Return on Investment of RMMFI's work.

Aaron Witzke, Director of Growth Strategies
Start Date: 2017

Aaron Witzke served in the Peace Corps as an education volunteer in Rwanda from
2010-2012. After his service, he obtained a Masters of Public Affairs at Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). During his two-year stint in Bloomington, he also acquired a Social Entrepreneurship Certificate from the
Kelley School of Business and was a Fellow in the SPEA Service Corps Program. Aaron was chosen to coordinate the nonprofit arm of that program after one year working for the City of Bloomington Planning Department. Aaron moved to Denver
in 2015 and began working for Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute (RMMFI) as
a program coordinator. He moved into a project manager role in 2017 and then to Director of Growth Strategies in 2019.

Elisha Suh, Placement Coordinator
Start Date: 2018

Elisha led three Business Launch Boot Camps at the Denver headquarters during 2019. In January 2020 Elisha was promoted t Placement Coordinator and now facilitates the entrepreneurs pathway through all RMMFI programs at the Denver location. Elisha has connected well with all the entrepreneurs and been incredibly supportive throughout all of their journeys.

Jeremy Katz, Education Coordinator
Start Date: 2018

Jeremy joined the RMMFI team in August of 2018 as a Launch Coordinator. He previously worked as a Lead Facilitator for YouthRoots, and as Program Director of the National Leadership Academy. He led one Denver Business Launch Boot Camp (BLBC) and the first two Aurora BLBC cohorts. In November 2019 Jeremy was promoted to Education Coordinator and oversees RMMFI's full educational offerings.

Patrick Efferson, Entrepreneur Navigator
Start Date: 2018

Patrick graduated from the Business Launch Boot Camp, so that he could start his own business, Exclusive Cuts Barber Shop. As an Entrepreneur, he has seen his business soar, but Patrick maintains that his barbershop is first and foremost a positive place for his community. RMMFI was so impressed with Patrick's spirit and tenacity that they brought him on as a full-time program associate. While managing his barbershop and working at RMMFI, Patrick also goes above and beyond to serve as a volunteer mentor for new RMMFI Entrepreneurs, including other returned citizens. In 2020 Patrick was promoted to the Entrepreneur Navigator coordinating the support programs in RMMFI's Thrive phase.

Mary Kate Morr, Community Engagement Manager
Start Date: 2019

Mary Kate joined the RMMFI team in January 2019. With a background in both social work and public policy, she has knowledge of and experience with both the social issues facing marginalized populations in our society and the political systems in which they operate. Mary Kate has studied, worked, and volunteered at all levels of social systems, from direct practice with low-income minority children and families to macro-level analysis of issues such as food scarcity and school segregation. She has recruited and managed over 200 volunteers, which has made the Aurora site expansion possible and has assisted in marketing programming. In September 2019 Mary Kate was promoted to Community Engagement Manager leading the development of new partnerships throughout Colorado.

Rob Smith, CEO
Start Date: 2008

Rob Smith brings more than 11 years of executive experience in microfinance, giving him critical insight into how to use entrepreneurship as a tool for social and economic justice. Rob has a Finance degree from the University of Denver, where he also received an MBA and MSIT. Rob transitioned to the non-profit world from a background in banking, management consulting, and small business operations management. With a unique for-profit lens on RMMFI's work, Rob not only has the financial and business expertise but a critical empathy and understanding for marginalized communities. Outside of RMMFI, Rob is the Board Chair for the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center, and he sits on the Advisory Boards at Mile High Connects and the Urban Cooperative Development Center. He is a past Board Member at Community Shares of Colorado and Northeast Park Hill's Collective Impact Initiative. In 2012, Rob was awarded a Livingston Fellowship (leadership) through the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, was named a Beanstalk Leader (leadership and social enterprise), and is a Leadership Denver (civic engagement) graduate from 2015. In 2016, Rob won the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce's David E. Bailey Small Business Advocate Award in 2016, and was recently named by the Denver Business Journal as a Who's Who in Impact Investing. Under Rob's leadership, RMMFI won 2016's Small Nonprofit of the Year Award from the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Innovation in Philanthropy award from Bank of the West.

Brenda Roush, Development Director
Start Date: 2017

Brenda Roush joined RMMFI's team with nearly 30 years of professional and volunteer fundraising experience. She helped found a St. Louis based national nonprofit in 1987, the National Guard Clearinghouse, and continued her fundraising and marketing career with Missouri NARAL, Colorado NARAL, SafeHouse Denver and The Gathering Place (TGP). At TGP she led a $5 million capital campaign that surpassed the goal by almost $1 million and also led the launch of Art Restart, a social enterprise providing royalty payments to artists living in poverty and creating general operating revenue for TGP. Outside of RMMFI, Brenda is the chair-elect of Community Shares of Colorado, and facilitates the Colorado Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals's (AFP-CC) Coffee Chat monthly. In 2001, Brenda graduated from the Women's Leadership Institute, and in 2010 she was recognized as Outstanding Development Professional of the Year by AFP-CC.

Jessica Sveen , Operations Manager
Start Date: 2015

Jessica Sveen joined RMMFI's team in 2015 as the Program Associate, and she has worked her way up from programming to volunteer management and now to RMMFI's leadership team. This experience has given her unique insight into RMMFI's evolution and an important strategic perspective for its next stage of organizational growth. Before joining RMMFI, Jessica was the Operations Manager at a Medicaid service-provider for adults with developmental disabilities. She holds a Master's Degree in Nonprofit Management from Regis University, and it is her skill-set and understanding of effective nonprofit leadership, along with her passion for helping under-resourced entrepreneurs transform into successful business owners, that make Jessica an invaluable asset to RMMFI's management team.

Boards

Board Type:
Local
Meetings per Year:
6
Term Length:
2 years
Term Limit:
3
Total # of Board Members:
8 members
Clients on Board:
No
# of Client Board Members:

Board Demographics:

Female:
4
Male:
4
Transgender Female:
0
Transgender Male:
0
Gender Other:
0

Black or African American:
0
Asian:
0
White:
8
Hispanic or Latino:
0
Multiracial:
0
American Indian or Alaska Native:
0
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander:
0
Other Ethnicities:
0

Average Number of Years Current Board Members Have Served on Board

3

Attendance Percentage for Board Meetings

84%

Percentage of Board Members that Contribute Dollars

100%

Percentage of Board Members that Contribute In-Kind

75%

Percentage of Board Members that have Completeted the Colorado Secretary of State's Nonprofit Board Member Course:

0%

Nonprofit completed the Colorado Nonprofit Association's Excellence in Principles & Practices Recognition Program?

No

Committees

Audit
Executive
Finance
Nominating

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.