Shared Space Conference in Denver


  • Shared-space conference for nonprofits in Denver today.
  • Local and national speakers on tap.
  • Denver leading the way in this efficient, low-cost concept

A California-based group that promotes multi-tenant office-sharing in the nonprofit sector, today kicks off a national conference in Denver.

The San Francisco-based Nonprofit Centers Network’s 2013 Building Opportunities Conference in the Colorado Convention Center ends Wednesday.

An example of the shared-spaces concept.

An example of the shared-spaces concept.

A variety of tours, local and national speakers are on tap to discuss shared space centers, which are workspaces in which two or more organizations co-locate their office and/or programming space.

Highly functioning shared spaces often involve the sharing of back-office expenses and infrastructure, as well as some level of intentional collaboration around program delivery or planning.

When shared spaces are operating effectively, they have been shown to maximize limited nonprofit resources; stimulate further development, foot-traffic and community engagement locally; and ultimately extend the reach and impact of the services provided by the partner organizations, according to proponents of the concept.

This afternoon, a tour of the Alliance Center, a 105-year-old building in Lower Downtown that provides below-market  rent and operational support to more than 35 nonprofit organizations all focused on some aspect of sustainability policies and practices is scheduled.

Another tour is of the Colorado Collaborative for Nonprofits at 789 Sherman St. That space was made available thanks to the efforts of the Denver Shared Spaces project, a public-private private partnership that was launched in 2009 to promote the best practice creation and operation of multi-tenant nonprofit centers in Denver. It was started by the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships, Urban Land Conservancy, and the  Piton Foundation, and serves as a local resource for information and expertise around shared office space for organizations within the social sector.

As an innovative collaborative dedicated to providing technical assistance and targeted support to the Denver shared space community, DSS is not just connecting organizations with shared space resources, but also influencing policy within city government.

Last August, the City of Denver enacted Executive Order 138, the only widespread city policy in the country that weaves shared space integrally into city policy.

Since then, city agencies have taken significant steps integrating shared space models into planning and funding strategies.

”We are delighted to be hosting the NonprofitCenters Network Conference in Denver,” said Dace West, director of the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships.

“As a city who has embraced shared space, it is an incredible opportunity to have so many leaders from all over North America convening for a week of deep intersection and learning in our community,” West said.

Topics to be addressed at the conference include:

  • Lessons for landlords: Tenant Mix and Leasing.
  • Mixed-Use Development: Lessons for Nonprofit Centers.
  • Sharing Volunteers.
  • Micro-Leasing: Hot Desks, Flex-Space and Short-Term Use.
  • Capital Campaigns for Nonprofit Centers.
  • Building Healthy Communities: Neighborhood Wellness Centers.
  • Working with the Commercial Real Estate Sectors.
  • Transitions: Replicating, Expanding or Closing the Doors.

Some local panel members:

  • Elaine Adams, Rocky Mountain Institute.
  • Stephanie Gripne, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado.
  • Lynne Picard, Denver Housing Authority.
  • Kimball Crangle, Denver Housing Authority.
  • Cheri Kirschbaum, City Projects Inc.
  • Chuck Perry, Perry Rose LLC.
  • Peter Maysmith, Conservation Colorado.

Nonprofits, real estate professionals and foundations are applying shared space models across the country. However,  the Denver area, with more than 25 shared space centers, is one of the few areas using an integrated approach to apply the model to city planning, grant making and commercial real estate development.

Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at is sponsored by Universal Lending, Land Title Guarantee and 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.




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John Rebchook

John Rebchook has more than 30 years of experience in writing and communications. As the Real Estate Editor for the Rocky Mountain News, he wrote about residential and commercial real estate for 26 years. He has won numerous awards for business stories and columns that he wrote, both as an individual and part of teams. In addition to real estate, he also covered economic development, banking and financing, the airlines, and cable TV for the Rocky. In addition, he was one of the original freelance writers for, covering commercial real estate for the Internet publication.

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  1. Taking a bigger picture perspective, I see the very existence of a share space conference aimed at non profits as an indication that the system is broken and that there are too many companies exploiting the benefits of non profit status.

    • I always saw these spaces as a location for very small businesses to set up shop without all the onerous overhead required. As a two person firm, I can’t afford a conference room, plotter, large format color copier/printer, etc…. But, I could consider sharing with other like minded small businesses.

      • @Larry, I know of one commercial building in Denver (Colorado Blvd./Florida) that rents individual offices with a community conference room and receptionist very cheaply. And it is a couple hundred yards from a Kinkos. And as of two years ago they had 50% vacancy. I am reasonably sure there are dozens of such buildings looking for tenants in the metro area. I am not seeing why what you need is not being offered already in the market place.

        • There are a number of places that do this type of stuff. I see no reason why another can’t do the same thing. In this case, they cater to non-profits. It’s that free enterprise thing. Assuming I understood the article.

          I should have been more clear about what I was interested in though. The work I am in is a creative profession and using Kinko’s is generally not a great option. Their color production is great for PowerPoint, but very mediocre if you want any kind of quality control when color reproduction doesn’t allow for “close enough” quality. So, we generally have to have our own equipment or go to services that cater to creative professionals. There are only a handful of places in town that do that and they charge a hefty sum.

    • the Nonprofit Centers Network was sharing conference space with the Nazarene Communications Network and the Nutritional Capital Network. That way the could save money on signage.

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