Program Overview

The Root Causes Network is a program of CRC and provides a permanent infrastructure to build the capacity of service providers to advance inclusive and community-centered policy. The Network creates formal and ongoing space for members to convene, and advance their skills and knowledge.

We know that our sector and the people that comprise it are on the front lines, supporting our communities with life-saving basic needs and services to sustain ourselves through this time. Due to the current health crisis, many organizations are struggling to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances and unprecedented challenges. The Root Causes Network creates a shared space for us to weather these challenges together, providing the tools and resources for service providers to strengthen their advocacy efforts when it is needed most.

Traditionally marginalized 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 impacts of COVID-19 on our most vulnerable communities.

To strengthen the power and influence of human service nonprofits in advocacy work, we believe there must be a network of support offering resources, ongoing training, and relationship building with policy groups to help move our organizations forward through the current crisis and beyond.

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 principals 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.

Root Causes Network


  • To provide ongoing education and skills building to help members improve/increase their advocacy capacity.
  • To increase the influence of human service nonprofits in the policy field.

Membership Expectations:

Social Justice | Client Engagement | Participation | Nonpartisanship

Core Values:

Connectedness  | Equity | Integrity | Justice | Boldness


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—disfranchised 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 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

Community Engagement Program Manager, Community Resource Center

Alex brings over ten years of experience in the fields of education, leadership, and community engagement. As the Community Engagement Program Manager, 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.


For more information, please contact:

Alex McHenry, Community Engagement Program Manager
303.623.1540 x160 or email hidden; JavaScript is required