2021 Annual Fundraiser event

Drafting A New Blueprint

A conversation to re-envision education

Join us for our 2021 Annual Fundraiser event on Friday, October 8, from 4 – 6 p.m. Like our 2020 event, this program will be virtual and free of charge. In addition, for those ready to join, we will be hosting five different in-person regional watch parties throughout Colorado for a limited number of attendees.

This year’s event will focus on the impact of the pandemic on education, the issues in our education system that have been laid bare due to the pandemic, and how we as advocates and social architects can envision a new blueprint for education. We have some fantastic speakers lined up, with the same riveting, inspirational, and catalyzing program you have come to expect from The Colorado Children’s Campaign.

We hope you will join us in supporting the well-being of Colorado’s kids. If you are unable to attend this event but would still like to support the work of the Colorado Children’s Campaign, we ask that you consider a donation of $36.50 to acknowledge that children and families deserve our best efforts every day of the year.

Our Keynote Speaker: Sharif El-Mekki, Founder and CEO of the Center for Black Educator Development

Sharif El-Mekki 2021 Annual Fundraiser speaker Sharif El-Mekki is the Founder and CEO of the Center for Black Educator Development. The Center exists to ensure there will be equity in the recruiting, training, hiring, and retention of quality educators that reflect the cultural backgrounds and share common socio-political interests of the students they serve. The Center is developing a nationally relevant model to measurably increase teacher diversity and support Black educators through four pillars: Professional Learning, Pipeline, Policies, and Pedagogy. So far, the Center has developed ongoing and direct professional learning, mentoring, and coaching opportunities for Black teachers and other educators serving students of color.

The Center also carries forth the freedom or liberation school legacy by hosting Freedom School sites that incorporates research-based curricula and exposes high school and college students to the teaching profession to help fuel a pipeline of Black educators.

Prior to founding the Center, El-Mekki served as a nationally recognized principal and U.S. Department of Education Principal Ambassador Fellow. His school, Mastery Charter Shoemaker, was recognized by President Obama and Oprah Winfrey, and was awarded the prestigious EPIC award for three consecutive years as being amongst the top three schools in the country for accelerating students’ achievement levels. The Shoemaker Campus was also recognized as one of the top ten middle school and top ten high schools in the state of Pennsylvania for accelerating the achievement levels of African-American students.

In 2014, El-Mekki founded The Fellowship – Black Male Educators for Social Justice, an organization dedicated to recruiting, retaining, and developing Black male teachers. El-Mekki blogs on Phillys7thWard, is a member of the 8 Black Hands podcast and serves on several boards and committees focused on educational and racial justice.

Special appearance: Gitanjali Rao, Time’s 2020 Kid of the Year

Times's kid of the yearGitanjali Rao was recognized as America’s Top Young Scientist and received an EPA Presidential award for inventing her device “Tethys”—an early lead detection tool. Gitanjali is also the inventor of “Epione”—a device for early diagnosis of prescription opioid addiction using genetic engineering, and “Kindly”—an anti-cyberbullying service using AI and Natural Language processing.

She was honored as Forbes “30 Under 30 in Science” in 2019 and TIME’s “Top Young Innovator”  and “TIME Kid of the Year” for her innovations and STEM workshops she conducts globally, which has inspired over 50,000 students in the last two years across six continents and 27 countries. In her sessions, she shares her own process of innovation that can be used by students all over the world. She often presents in global and corporate forums on innovation and the importance of STEM.

Gitanjali is the author of the book “Young Innovator’s Guide to STEM”, which guides students, educators, or teachers with a prescribed 5 step innovation process. She was honored as one of America’s Top Youth Volunteers by Prudential in 2021 for her workshops.


Register to view the program on-demand


Fundraiser sponsor page with hyperlinks 10.6.21