The 2018 Reality Check Survey was conducted to help the three partner organizations – Community Spaces, The Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships, and Sharing Connexion – better understand the impact of rising commercial rents and gentrification on nonprofits, social enterprises, and mission-driven businesses (referred to collectively for the remainder of the report as mission-driven organizations) operating in the City of Denver. Denver’s decreasing affordability, both in residential and commercial spaces, is threatening the sustainability of many mission-driven organizations and in some cases, leading to involuntary displacement. Many of these nonprofits provide valuable services to the residents of Denver, filling gaps where government and the private sector fall short.
Community Spaces (formerly Denver Shared Spaces) completed an earlier iteration of the Reality Check Survey in 2015. This survey was region-wide, not Denver Metro-specific and assessed the space usage and capital planning capacity of mission-driven organizations. Although this survey gathered useful data, it did not ask questions regarding displacement or location. Community Spaces determined a second survey was needed explore the issue. The survey was written from September 2017 to January 2018, with input from all three partner organizations, as well as a focus group of stakeholders from local government, the nonprofit sector, and the real estate sector. The survey focused its questions in several areas where organizations are being displaced and for what reasons, are organizations looking for new spaces or did they have adequate space, and what types of space or space combinations did they need to carry out their mission.