Barton Institute for Community Action

A nonprofit organization

Join the Barton Institute for Community Action in creating safe community spaces where people can build lives with more opportunity to thrive.

We accomplish our work through support of and partnership with key program partners for whom provide fiscal sponsorship: Colorado Safe Parking Initiative, Commún, and the Village Institute. Each of these organizations has launched within the last few years with leadership from creative and dedicated community entrepreneurs.


We work with Metro Denver community members to create safe community spaces where people can build lives with more opportunities to thrive. Our vision is that all people in Metro Denver have the power, access, and freedom to lead the lives they want. We focus on projects that use strategies and approaches that others can adopt and adapt.

Background Statement

The Barton Institute for Community Action launched in 2016 as free-standing institute at the University of Denver created by David Miller, former President and CEO of The Denver Foundation.

When Miller first envisioned an institute, he sought advice from his friends and colleagues, including Laura Barton. In November 2016, Laura Barton and her children made a gift of $10 million to name the institute in honor of Laura's late husband, Peter Barton. This transformational gift provided seed capital and long-term funding to support the institute's mission.

After three years of incubation at the University of Denver, the Barton Institute spun off in January 2020 to become a separate 501(c)(3) organization.

The Barton Institute for Community Action focuses its work on supporting community entrepreneurs and organizations that create opportunity and safe spaces with and for local residents.

An important and long-standing partnership with the Colorado Village Collaborative helps create tiny homes for people experiencing homelessness. The Institute's work in this area expanded to include support for safe parking lots for people living in their vehicles, with fiscal sponsorship of the Colorado Safe Parking Initiative.

The Institute also provides fiscal sponsorship to the Village Institute in Original Aurora, a hub for refugee single mothers and their families, and to Commún, an organization drawing together residents of Denver's Harvey Park neighborhood to build community strength.

The Institute worked for years to support Lifespan Local, a organization cultivating well-being in the Westwood neighborhood of Southwest Denver. Lifespan Local has now grown to become a separate 501(c)(3) organization and is launching the Westwood Redeemer Project.

Organization Data


Organization name

Barton Institute for Community Action

Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Community Improvement & Capacity Building

Organization Size

Large Organization


1114 W. 7th Avenue, #215
Denver, CO 80204

Service areas

Denver County, CO, US