Donna Garnett

FreshLo Initiative, Montbello Organizing Committee

Donna Garnett is a respected grant writer and evaluation and applied research expert. She is especially skilled at developing funding proposals that bring desperately needed resources to address the identified needs of communities and the people who reside in those communities. Ms. Garnett has worked with diverse nonprofit, government, and community-based organizations to develop financing plans and grant proposals for various program initiatives that helped local communities raise more than $60mm in funding. Her work with multiple partners has resulted in more than $10mm to support research, evaluation, and development of integrated service systems.
Because she is seasoned and reasoned, Donna takes the mystery out of statistical research and knows how to translate numbers into a meaningful story that supports the work and vision of community-based organizations. She is equally adept at talking to service providers about their program clients, to families and children about their needs and aspirations, and discussing the impact of programs with funders, policymakers, and politicians. During the last 25 years, she has served as principal investigator on several large research projects as well as taking the lead on quantifying and characterizing a variety of local and national issues. Ms. Garnett has spearheaded projects that have resulted in successful legislation, policies, programs, and systems of care to improve the quality of life for underserved populations. She has developed quality educational programs and systems of care for young children, their parents and their caregivers. She also developed a prototype for working with families that was later put into legislation to develop Colorado’s Family Centers.
With a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama, a Master’s degree from Colorado State University, and PhD-ABD from the University of Denver, Ms. Garnett has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in grant writing, public policy, nonprofit management, child development and applied research design at Colorado State University, University of Colorado at Denver, and Metropolitan State College.
Long before sustainable agriculture and growing food locally became a hot topic, Ms. Garnett was a pioneer in establishing an urban farm in Denver for the purpose of teaching city kids about agriculture and where their food comes from. More than 20 years ago, she, and other forward-thinking partners created a program model that has nurtured more than 26,000 kids in
a natural agricultural environment in the heart of Denver. She was the co-founder of The Urban Farm at Stapleton and is the founder of Children’s Farms of America – a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping local neighborhoods establish small scale farms where kids learn to grow and sell healthy food. She has been the driving force behind Montbello’s FreshLo Initiative – one of 23 national pilot programs funded by Kresge Foundation to utilize creative placemaking coupled with a food-oriented platform to revitalize low income communities and improve health outcomes.