It Could Have Gone Off the Rails

Colorado Cancer Research Program’s  operating environment is both complex and demanding.  So too are its internal operations. Add to that a group of MDs, PhDs, JDs, researchers, and other smart folks and you have the potential to spend the better part of your retreat down the rabbit hole as you endeavor to address individual needs for clarity, and a desire to understand a few details to the Nth degree.

We sat down recently with board member Ken Dawson to reflect on their most recent board retreat. Ken is retired from the insurance industry. A few years ago, he joined the community engagement committee of CCRP and then was recruited onto the board of directors. This is Ken’s first time serving on a nonprofit board. We initially worked together in February 2018, when I facilitated CCRP’s annual board retreat.

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Lyfts and Transit and Bicycles (Oh My!)

Ah, traffic.  There’s almost nothing people love to hate as much.  It seems like such a simple problem, but there are rarely any easy solutions.  While cities across the U.S. regularly struggle with how to most effectively move people around, Colorado (and Denver in particular) has found itself far behind these days due to rapid population growth.  Our transportation planners do their best to make improvements to our roads and highways on a regular basis, but the fact of the matter is that infrastructure improvements take lots of time and lots of money, and we seem to be starved for both these days.

Photo by Ashwini Chaudhary on Unsplash
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Celebrating our community: Colorado Fourteeners Initiative

In honor of Corona’s 20th anniversary, we are celebrating the outstanding people and organizations making a positive contribution to our community.

Each month, Corona is making a $500 donation in honor of a member of our team. For February, David Kennedy selected the Colorado Fourteeners* Initiative (CFI). We chatted with David to learn more about this organization and his relationship with them.

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Staff Interview: David Kennedy

February 2019 marks David Kennedy’s 13th year with Corona. During those 13 years, he has climbed up from quantitative analyst to principal. He also has gone from a local employee to a remote employee to a local employee to a remote employee to (currently) a local employee. But, thanks to his great attention to detail, all of these transitions have been seamless.

David Kennedy, Principal

While pursuing his business degree as an undergrad, David became very interested in market research and ended up focusing on market research and statistics courses. While completing some graduate courses at CSU, he saw an ad for the job at Corona and applied. Like many of us at Corona, David enjoys not just the research aspect of the work but also the variety of our projects. The variety of projects makes the work challenging and engaging, which he enjoys.

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The Challenging Landscape of Public Education

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

While Denver Public Schools has managed to limit its first teacher strike in 25 years to three days, the reality that it had to come to that is an indicator of a fact that has become common knowledge around the country: public education is hard.  While most agree that teachers are chronically underpaid in many areas of the country, few agree on what can be done about it.  In Colorado, there is an unending debate about how to pay for education, roads, and healthcare, and most of the ballot initiatives aimed at raising taxes to support these priorities fail.  While we at Corona won’t be solving all these problems in this blog, we wanted to highlight a few of our clients who have made moves to improve the educational landscape in recent years.

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Communities Seek Creative Solutions to the Country’s Housing Affordability Crisis

While working on a recent project assessing the housing market for the City of Fort Collins, we were struck by how communities across the state and the country were pursuing diverse strategies to the current housing affordability crisis. The fourth quarter of 2018 saw national home affordability drop to a 10-year low. Residents in our hometown of Denver are all too familiar with this dynamic. A recent report identified the city as hosting the most competitive housing market in the nation. Members of the country’s middle class are increasingly viewing home ownership as unfeasible. The vast majority of Americans find themselves in markets where home prices are rising faster than wages. It should not be surprising that renting is more affordable than owning in 59% of the nation’s counties. That number jumps to 93% of the country’s most populated areas (those with more than 1 million people).

Photo by Breno Assis on Unsplash
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How the (now ended) Government Shutdown is Affecting Colorado Communities

Beginning on December 22, 2018, parts of the federal government were shut down due to insufficient funding. After 35 days, the longest government shutdown in United States history came to an end on the afternoon of January 25, 2019. Although the shutdown has now ended, the effects of it will continue to reverberate in Colorado.

One agency affected by the shutdown was the Department of the Interior, which oversees the National Park system, including Colorado’s own Rocky Mountain National Park. According to the National Parks Conservation Association, “on an average day in January, 425,000 park visitors spend $20 million in nearby communities.” Rocky Mountain National Park technically remained open during the shutdown. However, without federal workers to maintain the park, trashcans cans were deluged with trash and roads remained unplowed, creating hazardous conditions for visitors. In communities near Rocky Mountain National Park, such as Estes Park, business owners noted they experienced a decrease in sales and business in general as tourists and locals alike were unable to safely fully experience the national park. While the winter season may not be the most lucrative time of year, the decrease in revenue will undoubtedly leave some business owners with a financial burden.

Quinn Nietfeld via unsplash.com
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Celebrating our community: Wild Plum Center of Longmont, Colorado

In honor of Corona’s 20th anniversary, we are celebrating the outstanding people and organizations making a positive contribution to our community.

Each month, Corona is making a $500 donation in honor of a member of our team. To kick us off in January, Matt Bruce selected Wild Plum Center. We sat down with Matt to learn more about the organization and his giving experience.

What is it about Wild Plum Center that made them stand out for you?

I believe that all families should be allowed to achieve their potential, and Wild Plum Center helps families do just that. We know from research that kids begin developing cognitively and socially at a very early age. I’ve seen it in my own kids. When they are in a nurturing, safe, and stimulating environment, like at Wild Plum Center, they have positive experiences that dramatically impact their growing brains. In addition to serving youth, Wild Plum Center serves parents by allowing them to work or go to school so they can make a better life for their families. Although there are many great community organizations here in Northern Colorado, Wild Plum stood out to me because they meet a critical need of hard-working families—when a helping hand can make a world of difference.

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The issues facing our communities

Though we at Corona serve clients of all shapes and sizes, we particularly love helping local governments and nonprofits to improve the lives of people in the communities in which we live, work, and play.  This quarter, we will be focusing on some of the issues that local communities are facing this year. While the specific topics may shift as the quarter goes on, you can likely expect to hear from us about topics such as:

  • How the impacts of government shutdown might linger long after the shutdown ends
  • The challenges with providing housing for an ever-changing population
  • Trends in population growth and where we expect things to go in the future
  • The rapidly shifting landscape of public education and the impacts that Governor Polis might have in Colorado

Stay tuned this quarter for discussions on many other topics.  We hope to shed some light on not only what some of these challenges are, but also how some communities can get ahead of these trends to positively impact their communities, so we hope you will enjoy the conversation!