News & Events

Jun 302019

Sizzlin’ Summer Silent Auction!

We’re excited to announce that July 1-15, 2019, we’re hosting an online silent auction!

What does this mean? You don’t have to go anywhere! From your phone or computer, check out our awesome deals on gift cards to all your favorite places. Create an account to place your bid. If you win, we’ll mail your gift card or item to you.

Here’s your chance to score gift cards to some of your favorite places including 

  • The Apple store
  • Starbucks
  • Sweet Action Ice Cream
  • Raccoon Creek golf course
  • Illegal Pete’s
  • Lakeside Amusement Park
  • Ace Hardware
  • Lasair Aesthetic Health
  • Salon Velluto
  • The Denver Center for the Performing
  • Timbuk Toys
  • Parisi
  • Punch Bowl Social
  • The Game Lounge
  • History Colorado Center
  • Sputnik
  • Red Lobster
  • 512 West Jewelry

View the entire online auction at:

If you’d like to place a bid, create your account and let the fun begin! Bidding ends July 15.

Jun 052019

Eat at Motomaki and Support the DCIS Foundation

Eat out on June 10th  to support the Denver Center for International Studies Foundation!

Motomaki and the Denver Center for International Studies Foundation are partnering to raise funds for DCIS students. 

Simply dine at Motomaki on Monday, June 10, 2019 between 4:00-9:00 pm and Motomaki will donate 20% of the proceeds from your meal to the DCIS Foundation. 

Monday June 10, 2019



500 16th St Mall #184c, Denver, CO 80202

Motomaki requests that we secure 20 RSVP’s by June 7th in order to secure the event. To RSVP, or to learn more, click here!
Apr 102019

Meet the Honorees of the 2019 Passport Dinner

The Denver Center for International Studies Foundation is pleased to honor these outstanding community members at our upcoming event, the 2019 Passport Dinner: Magic of Morocco, April 24, 2019 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

Gabriela Cornejo Figueroa, Native of Chile

Melanie Grant Global Ambassador Award: Gabriela Cornejo Figueroa, Native of Chile

Gabriela Cornejo Figueroa was born in Santiago, Chile.  At the age of 17, she immigrated to the United States escaping one of the most brutal and violent dictatorships in modern history under general Augusto Pinochet. It was difficult, starting over in a new country at the age of 17.  As a teenager she missed her mom who stayed behind in Chile. However Gabriela says, “My mom’s wisdom, guidance and inspiration were always present and I followed her advice to GET AN EDUCATION.”

She enrolled at the University of Colorado to study civil engineering in search of more opportunities. When she graduated from the University of Colorado, with a degree of Civil and environmental Engineering she became the first woman in her family to attend college and obtain a degree. S

he dedicated her career to public service, working 30 years for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). She is known statewide for her successful advocacy of safety for the traveling public and has recently received national recognition for her innovation on the creation of a new program used to detect and eliminate hazardous locations on all transportation corridors. Gabriela retired as the Chief Safety and Traffic Engineer for the state of Colorado.  During her tenure at CDOT, she received several achievement awards for promoting and establishing a diverse workplace.

In 2011 she became the first lady of Denver while married to Mayor Bill Vidal. As first lady she dedicated her efforts to help underserved high school students by hosting children from Denver Public Schools to the Mayor’s Mansion for cultural jams and pep talks.  She loves giving to low income students scholarships, showing them though Music and Art the beauty of diversity and encourages them to study and never give up.

“We are lucky to live in a country that offers so much opportunity, so take advantage of it,” she tells the kid. “don’t forget where you came from. Don’t forget your teachers and the people who helped you get where you wanted to be and do not forget the people who have been dismissed and discounted by society.”

Community Ambassador Award: Amy Schwartz, BuildStrong Education

Amy Schwartz joined BuildStrong Education as Executive Director in 2008.  During her tenure, she has led many educational initiatives for the organization including the development of The Colorado Homebuilding Academy, Z Place and several new school projects.  

Before BuildStrong, she worked with First 5 LA School Readiness Programs for four years brining comprehensive early childhood programs to children and families across Los Angeles.  In total, Amy has more than twenty years of experience working with various educational programs at all grade levels.  Her work has centered on the goal of increasing student outcomes in low-resourced, low-performing school communities through collaboration, family support and public-private partnerships.

Ms. Schwartz currently serves on the boards of Steps to Success and Executives Partnering to Invest in Children.  She is also a founding board member of The STEAD School.  

She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Wittenberg University and her Masters of Arts in Social Research Methodology, from the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.  She is currently a doctoral student in the Education Leadership and Policy Studies Program at the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver.   

Student/Alumni Ambassador Award: Joanne Kron Schwartz, Civitas

Joanne is a Principal at Civitas Public Affairs Group and leads its Denver office. She has a strong background in campaign and organizational management, media relations, and message development, and specializes in building and executing targeted multi-state advocacy campaigns, as well as advising national organizations and funders on how to effectively engage in the states to build momentum on key issues and pass policies.

Prior to joining Civitas, Joanne served as the executive director of ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest progressive multi-issue advocacy organization. She oversaw its communications campaigns and voter education efforts during one of the most successful election cycles for progressives in the battleground state.

Previously, Joanne served as the managing director at Gill Action. She was a key member of the political team and worked to pass and protect relationship recognition and nondiscrimination legislation for LGBT people in Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin. She managed communications, press relations, public education, as well as implementation of research-based messaging across the organization’s work that helped shift the narrative about marriage equality toward the winning frame of love and commitment. Joanne also worked at the Gill Foundation where she oversaw its public relations and messaging strategy, drove communications grantmaking, and recruited a diverse set of donors to the organization’s OutGiving (donor network) program.

Joanne graduated from DCIS in 1998 when it was located at Denver West High School. She attended the University of Denver on a Model United Nations competition scholarship that she earned while at DCIS. Since graduating from the program, Joanne has maintained close ties to DCIS. She served as member of the DCIS Foundation board of directors from 2004 to 2009, including two years as board president. She holds a master’s degree in international studies. A native Denverite, Joanne resides with her husband Jeff and sons Connor and Spencer.

Mar 102019

2019 Passport Dinner: The Magic of Morocco

Join the Denver Center for International Studies (DCIS) Foundation for our annual Passport Dinner and experience the Magic of Morocco!

Click here to buy your ticket!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 | Denver Museum of Nature & Science

2001 Colorado Blvd. Denver, CO 80205

6:00 p.m. Cocktails and Roving Magic by Matthew Brandt

7:00 p.m. Dinner and Program

Attire: Business/Cocktail

During cocktail hour, DCIS Foundation guests are invited to enjoy their beverage while perusing the Gems & Minerals exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

The Denver Center for International Studies Foundation is proud to honor outstanding members of our community with the following awards:

  • Melanie Grant Global Ambassador Award: Gabriela Cornejo FigueroaNative of Chile
  • Community Ambassador Award: Amy SchwartzBuildStrong Education
  • Student/Alumni Ambassador Award: Joanne SchwartzCivitas 

Last year was a record-breaking year and we hope to keep the momentum going! Join us in making an even bigger difference for the students of the DCIS schools. Your support allows students to take their knowledge from the classroom and apply it to real-life – through travel, language immersion, community service and cultural exchanges.

Individual tickets – $125 | Table for ten and sponsorships starting at $1,250 (see below)

To purchase tickets, sponsor a teacher/student, or donate, please visit:

Prefer to send a check? Contact Shannon Clifford at or mail to: DCIS Foundation, P.O. Box #9044, Denver, CO 80209

Can’t make it April 24? Please consider sponsoring a seat for DCIS teacher or making a donation.

We look forward to seeing you for an evening dedicated to travel and learning!


In compliance with IRS requirements, we attest that Denver Center for International Studies Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The federal tax ID number is 84-1229412. For federal income tax purposes, your order is deductible as a charitable contribution only to the extent that it exceeds the value of goods and/or services you receive in exchange for your gift.

Thank you to our sponsors

Dec 032018

DCIS Students Bound for UN Headquarters

Where Are Our Students Headed Next?

We received many applications for travel scholarships in our last round! We are pleased to announce that we recently awarded $17,200 to support student trips to Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Austria, Spain and Morocco, China, Rocky Mountain National Park, and of course, Canyonlands, Utah.

We also awarded $4,600 for elementary school student excursions to the Denver Aquarium, the Denver Discovery Camp, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and an overnight at the Denver Zoo.

Read on to learn more about what some of our students will explore during their travels! Thank you to all the students who took the time to submit applications, and our sincerest gratitude to our supporters who helped make these scholarships possible.

Denver Center for International Studies students will visit the UN Headquarters

DCIS-Montbello students plan to visit UN Headquarters during a trip to Switzerland.


  • Students from DCIS-Montbello will travel to Switzerland and visit the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva. They’ll also ski the Alps — for many of them, their first time skiing! — as part of a camp through Les Elfes International. Three individual scholarships awarded for high school students. 



  • DCIS-Baker students will visit both Austria and Germany to investigate topics such as: How did Germany go from a villain during WWII to an occupied country during the Cold War to the financial savior of Europe today? Austria’s reconstruction after WWII/architecture; Austrian culture across the nation (East v. West); Immigration subculture – how immigrants have found a place in Austria. They will visit the Dachau concentration camp, Nazi rally grounds and the 1972 Olympic Park. Two individual high school scholarships and a group scholarship to support three middle school students to participate in this trip.

Spain and Morocco

  • DCIS-Baker students will explore the theme “culture does not fit in a box” in a historical and cultural context. They will explore the crossroads of culture between Morocco and Spain by studying architecture, dance, and music and through a language exchange with students in Spain. We awarded 11 individual high school scholarships and and one group scholarship for middle schoolers to support participation in this trip.


  • Students studying Chinese at DCIS-Montbello will deepen their understanding of the language, culture and philosophy while exploring China’s historic landmarks and other culturally rich regions. They will also visit a Chinese school. We awarded four individual scholarships to high school students to support this trip.

Follow us on Facebook for upcoming photos and details from these and other travels! Thank you for your support!

Dec 022018

Celebrate Colorado Gives Day on Tuesday, December 4!

Colorado Gives Day Denver Center for International Studies This Tuesday, December 4 is Colorado Gives Day. We hope you’ll give where you live and support us with a donation of $5, $20 or even $100.

This 24-hour movement is a chance to increase the value of your donation, thanks to the $1 Million Incentive Fund. This fund increases the value of every dollar donated proportionally. For example, if we receive 10% of the total donations made on Colorado Gives Day, we will receive 10% of the $1 Million Incentive Fund.

To donate to us on Colorado Gives Day, go to Or, beginning November 1, schedule your donation early! Student travel to China DCIS Foundation

Every dollar you donate helps deserving students broaden their horizons and enhances global understanding.

Thank you for your generosity and support of the DCIS Foundation.

Colorado Gives Day is powered by, a year-round website featuring more than 2,300 nonprofits. The site encourages charitable giving by providing comprehensive, objective and up-to-date information about Colorado nonprofits. It is an easy way to support us online. 

Oct 102018

Deadline! Scholarship Applications Due Oct. 12

Thank you to all the students who attended a Travel Orientation meeting and picked up a scholarship application — it was great to see so many of you!

Scholarship applications are due Friday, October 12, 2018. Here is an application checklist to help you prepare your application and ensure you have met all the requirements.

Remember, incomplete applications will not be considered. Spell-check and proofread all your materials before submitting. We recommend putting your complete application in a sealed, clearly labeled manila envelope.

Please submit your complete application to the DCIS Foundation mailbox located in the main office.


  • First, attend a mandatory Travel Orientation meeting at your school (a.k.a. the application preparation workshop)
  • Review the eligibility requirements (see below)
  • Parent/guardian signature on application
  • Copy of current academic transcript
  • Two letters of recommendation (Cannot be from a family member. Two may be from faculty.)
  • Student and parent/guardian contact information
  • Trip details: destination, dates of travel, name of sponsoring organization, faculty or club
  • Travel budget
  • Trip preparation questions
  • Essay (“How will this trip impact you?” One page, typed, double-spaced. Please include your full name and your destination.)
  • All materials spell-checked and proofread for typos/errors

If completing your application by hand, please use pen and write legibly. Essays must be typed.

Questions? Contact us at dcisfoundation@gmail.comor visit Thank you!

DCIS Foundation Travel Scholarship: Eligibility Requirements

Students must:

  • Be currently enrolled at a DCIS school and have attended for at least one semester
  • Be in good standing as a DCIS student
  • Hold a minimum 2.5 GPA (if applying for a Travel Scholarship) or a minimum 3.0 (if applying for a Levin Scholarship)
  • Attend a Travel Orientation meeting
  • Submit a complete application (see “Application Checklist”), including parent signature
  • Attend an interview by the DCISF Scholarship Committee if selected

Scholarship Recipients must:

  • Use all funds granted solely for the travel described in the application
  • Fundraise/earn a minimum of 25% of total trip/travel expenses
  • Complete their travel while a student at DCIS
  • Return all DCISF funds to the Foundation if the travel does not occur or is not completed
  • Agree to prepare and present various reports/reflections following the trip per the terms of the Travel Agreement. This may include a short essay, photographs and a travel reflection presentation for students, faculty, members of the DCISF board of directors and the larger community.

Fine Print:

  • DCISF-funded trips must be supported by the school and cannot include family travel.
  • Funds must be returned to the DCISF if the travel does not occur or is not completed.
  • Students and their parents are responsible for verifying that the proposed trip qualifies for school credit, if applicable. The DCIS Foundation does not assume any responsibility for giving school credit.
  • Scholarships are provided to support participation in a travel experience and that it in no way makes the Denver Center for International Studies Foundation liable for incidents that may occur in relation to that travel.

Contact us at with any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!

Sep 172018

Attend a Scholarship Application Orientation

Students, are you considering applying for a travel scholarship from the DCIS Foundation? Join us the week of October 1, 2018 for an informative travel orientation session. We’ll review this year’s available scholarships and the application process for middle school and high school travel.

  • DCIS-Baker: October 1-2
  • DCIS-Montbello: October 3

Please note: Orientation is mandatory for any student wishing to submit an application. Parents/guardians are welcome to attend as well (student must be present).

Scholarship applications will be due October 12, 2018.

student travel scholarships

Shannon Golden, GLI East Africa Trip

Please join us to get your questions answered. Hope to see you there!

Aug 212018

A Record-Breaking Evening at the 2018 Passport Dinner

2018 Passport Dinner – Thank You! 

Thank you to everyone who joined us on April 26 for our annual Passport Dinner at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Guests enjoyed dinner in the beautiful museum atrium, shared in the celebration of the evening’s honorees, and showed their support for travel and cultural exchange in our paddle raiser.

Denver Center for International Studies Foundation travel scholarships

Guests enjoying dinner in the atrium at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science


Thanks to your support, we raised more than $73,000, our highest amount ever! We truly appreciate your support and look forward to sharing how these dollars impact student travel in the school year to come.

Thank you to everyone who joined us on April 26 for our annual Passport Dinner at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Guests enjoyed dinner in the beautiful museum atrium, shared in the celebration of the evening's honorees, and showed their support for travel and cultural exchange in our paddle raiser.

Matthew Taylor interviewed DCIS students Trinity Hansen and Shannon Golden about their travels. Trinity spent the summer of 2017 in Shanghai, China. She lived with a host family, studied the language and immersed herself in Chinese culture.

Special thanks to:

  • Our generous event sponsors;
  • Matthew Taylor and our second-grade singers from DCIS-Fairmont for the wonderful entertainment;
  • Our student speakers, Trinity Hansen and Shannon Golden for sharing their travel stories, and
  • The evening’s Honorees
    • DCIS Foundation Alumni Award
      Maria Monclova
    • DCIS Foundation Community Ambassador Award
      Jamie Van Leeuwen
    • DCIS Foundation Melanie Grant Global Ambassador Award
      Hikmet Ersek and Dr. Nayantara Ghosh-Ersek
  • And all those who worked so hard to make the evening a success.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!

Hikmet Ersek DCIS Dr. Nayantara Ghosh Ersek Foundation Melanie Grant Global Ambassador Award

Hikmet Ersek & Dr. Nayantara Ghosh Ersek were honored at the 2018 DCIS Foundation Passport Dinner with the DCIS Foundation Melanie Grant Global Ambassador Award.

Denver Center for International Studies Foundation Jamie Van Leeuwen

Jamie Van Leeuwen was honored with the DCIS Foundation Community Ambassador Award.





Denver Center for International Studies Foundation

Marie Monclova was honored with the 2018 DCIS Foundation Alumni Ambassador Award.

Thank you to our 2018 event sponsors

Thank you to our 2018 event sponsors.

Globetrotter Sponsors:
**The Build Strong Foundation for Education in partnership with Oakwood Homes
**The Raccoon Creek Golf Club

World Traveler Sponsor:
**Max & Elaine Appel

Travel Bug Sponsors:
**Academy Roofing
**Cesco Linguistic Services
**Figure 8 Marketing and Media
**FVM Holdings, LLC
**Highland Communication Works
**Joanne & Jeff Schwartz
**Monclova Law Firm

Media Sponsor:
**KBNO Radio

Oakwood Homes Raccoon Creek Academy Roofing Inc. – Aurora, Colorado Cesco Linguistic Services, Inc. Abogada Monclova QueBueno 97.7 & 1280 Denver

View more event photos on the DCIS Foundation Facebook page. Check back for news about our other upcoming events.

Feb 162018

The DCIS Foundation Seeks a Treasurer

Join the Board of Directors Today!

Are you interested in promoting travel, global education and cultural understanding? You can support Denver students as a member of the Denver Center for International Studies (DCIS) Foundation board of directors.

**We are currently seeking a treasurer, with an immediate opening.** Please get in touch if you or someone you know has knowledge and experience in these areas:

  • Finance
  • Bookkeeping
  • Investment

In addition, we are seeking one or more individuals with knowledge and experience in these areas:

  • Grant writing
  • Researching grant opportunities
  • Fundraising

If you have the skills and experience we need – or are interested in learning more – we’d love to hear from you!

Please contact:

Shannon Clifford

Executive Director
Denver Center for International Studies Foundation

Board positions are open for a 2018-2020 term. The board meets monthly.

Denver Center for International Studies (DCIS) Foundation takes global education beyond the classroom by supporting student travel and cultural opportunities. These experiences foster academic success, expand global understanding, promote community involvement and help students become active citizens and informed leaders. Your donation is an investment that supports life-transforming opportunities for DCIS students who go on to touch the lives of others locally and across the world