Driven To Succeed: Impact Investing

Laura Bond

For many people across Metro Denver, the lack of a reliable vehicle is a major obstacle to employment and economic sustainability. Such was the case for Dakota, a young, single mother with a two-year-old son, before she received a donated vehicle from Hands of the Carpenter, a nonprofit founded in 2003 that helps women take practical steps towards self-sufficiency.

“It’s an incredible gift,” said Dakota, holding the keys to her new car. “Having a young child and trying to get things done, taking the bus, it’s really hard. With this car, errands that would take all day before, maybe now I can get them done in a couple of hours.”

Dakota received the car as a surprise during the grand opening of Hands Automotive, a social enterprise operated by Hands of the Carpenter that’s located on a well-trafficked thoroughfare near Golden. 

The garage opened with the support of an innovative impact investment facilitated by Social Venture Partners Denver and The Denver Foundation and financing through First Bank. Several donors who contributed to the project were present for the grand opening, including members of Social Venture Partners and individuals who gave through a unique donor-advised fund. “This investment is a wonderful example of how The Denver Foundation and our fundholders can work together to address important issues and create economic opportunities in our community,” says Kate Lyda of the Philanthropic Services Group. “By pooling resources from our donors, SVP Denver, and the Impact Investment Fund, we made an innovative investment and leveraged our philanthropy for an even more meaningful impact.”

Hands of the Carpenter provides services through a new network of 15 auto shops across the city. Now, with a facility of its own, it offers a reliable place for women with low and fixed incomes to have their cars repaired and to learn basic auto maintenance skills. 

“Since 2003, Hands of The Carpenter has given help and hope to thousands of single women who are striving to take care of themselves and their children,” says Dan Georgopulos, Hands’ CEO, and founder. “Now we can expand our mission to help more and more women gain practical skills and tools and build towards self-sufficiency.” Hands Automotive provides repairs and other services to the public; proceeds from these services, as well as
sales of donated cars that are sold rather than placed with program clients, support Hands of The Carpenter’s mission.

For more information on Hands of the Carpenter, visit

The Denver Foundation’s Impact Investing Fund helps the Foundation leverage its responsive and directed Community Grants with Impact Investments. The fund is designed to enhance The Denver Foundation’s impact in its focus areas of Basic Human Needs, Economic Opportunity, Education, and Leadership & Equity and create learning opportunities for the Foundation on alternative funding options for nonprofits and other groups that further the foundation’s mission. If you are interested in contributing to the fund, or in making your own Impact Investments, please contact Kate Lyda,

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Senior Communications Officer: Laura Bond |

Communications Associate: Dele Johnson |

  • Impact Investing
  • Economic Opportunity