The Root Causes Network

The Root Causes Network is a statewide program of CRC, which started as a cohort of the Colorado Participation Project in 2013 and was relaunched by CRC as a statewide network in 2017, to provide permanent infrastructure to build the capacity of human service nonprofits to advance inclusive and community-centered policy.

We believe that in order to strengthen the power and influence of human service nonprofits in advocacy work, there must be a Network of support offering nonprofits with the resources, ongoing training, and relationship building with policy groups to help them move their organization’s advocacy work forward.

We are recruiting new members. Join the Network!

Contact Us to Learn More

Informational Webinar

This webinar gives an overview of the Root Causes Network and how we work to build the advocacy capacity of our member nonprofits. We also cover program benefits, membership fees, and next steps to join the Network.

Program Overview

Many organizations are struggling to adapt to the rapidly changing circumstances and unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19. The Root Causes Network creates a shared space for us to weather these challenges together, providing the tools and resources for human service nonprofits to strengthen their advocacy efforts when it is needed most.

Communities gain a powerful voice in the policy decisions that affect them when the nonprofit sector is empowered and trained to fully exercise its political power and influence. The individual power of people combined with the collective power of the sector helps create healthy and just communities for all. This collaborative work is especially critical as we navigate the inequitable impacts of COVID-19 in our communities.

CRC is committed to building an inclusive Network which prioritizes organizations rooted within and serving communities of color and led by people of color, and strives to build a movement that is reflective of Colorado’s diversity. CRC is also committed to building a Network that is grounded in principles of social justice and believes in advancing systems-change using an equity lens. Now, more than ever, it is important for our networks to connect and activate in a spirit of allyship and mutual support.

Core Values

  • Connectedness
  • Equity
  • Integrity
  • Justice
  • Boldness


  • Provide ongoing education and skills building to help direct service nonprofits increase their advocacy capacity prioritizing nonprofits led-by and serving BIPOC communities.

  • Facilitate relationship building between nonprofits and policy/organizing groups to increase the influence of direct service nonprofits in the policy field.


Emily Shamsid-Deen

Owner and Principal of ESD Consulting

Emily brings over 17 years of experience in nonprofit management and has worked in the areas of leadership development, advocacy, racial equity, nonprofit capacity building, domestic violence, disease prevention, and community engagement. ​Emily’s career has been spent committed to—and has primarily worked with—disenfranchised and marginalized communities. Emily also taught as an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of Denver in the Graduate School of Social Work teaching Social Welfare Policy Analysis and Practice. Regardless of her role, Emily approaches all of her work with a social justice framework. Emily holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Black Studies and a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management with a Certificate in Program Development & Evaluation. Most recently, Emily worked as a Community Engagement Manager implementing equity driven, community, and organizational advocacy efforts. Emily strives to create relationships with transparency and honesty in order to effectively advance organizational goals.


Alex McHenry

Director of Civic Engagement, Community Resource Center

Alex brings over ten years of experience in the fields of education, leadership, and community engagement. As the Program Director – Civic Engagement, Alex oversees CRC’s civic engagement programs including the Participation Project and the Root Causes Network helping nonprofits to build and strengthen their advocacy efforts. While born and raised in Denver, Alex has spent the majority of her adult life moving around the US and abroad, including living in Kenya and Malaysia, and she enjoys working cross culturally and strives to use an equity lens in all of her work. Alex has a masters’ degree in conservation social science and is passionate about working at a systems level to tackle complex social issues. In her free time, Alex can be found hiking, playing volleyball, or exploring one of Denver’s many thrift stores.


2023 Meeting Dates

February 15th

April 19th

June 28th

August 16th

October 18th

November 29th

2023 Network Members

Membership Expectations

Social Justice: The Network is committed to promoting social justice and interested in helping member organizations move policies forward that reduce poverty and promote equity among disenfranchised groups.

Client Engagement: Members of the Network are committed to authentic constituent engagement in their ongoing advocacy efforts.

Participation: Member organizations must commit to attending 75% of Network meetings.

Nonpartisanship: All Network activities are nonpartisan. Your organization commits to following the spirit as well as the letter of IRS law that covers 501(c)(3) activities.

Payment:  There is an annual membership fee, assessed on a sliding-scale based on organizational budget size.

Membership Benefits

  1. Discount for the Colorado Grants Guide® with over 700 funder profiles and timely information on COVID-19 emergency and recovery grant funding.
  2. Discounts for CRC state-wide trainings, advocacy consulting, and advocacy trainings.
  3.  Chance to engage with fellow human services nonprofits who are committed to advocacy.
  4.  Opportunities to build relationships with those in the policy field.
  5.  Bi-monthly meetings that include a training/discussion component, and a knowledge-sharing component.
  6. Access to individual sessions to gather feedback on your advocacy activities.

For more information, please contact:

Alex McHenry, Director of Civic Engagement
720.637.8396 or email hidden; JavaScript is required