Stories That Matter is a project made possible through funding from The Colorado Health Foundation. The Foundation has hired learning consultants, Ross Strategic and Community-Driven Initiatives (CDI), to better understand the communities they support from the community members’ perspectives. Ross Strategic and Community Driven Initiatives are working with community members in four Coloradan counties to gather these stories. Participants will be compensated, and the stories community members produce will be shared back with the community on this site and through community partners.

For folks living or working in Pueblo, East Colfax Corridor, Alamosa, Morgan, Eagle, Montrose, Rio Grande, Crowley or Otero Counties, we invite you to share a story on any one of these subject areas:

  • Food Access
  • Outdoor Recreation
  • Housing
  • Youth Empowerment
  • Immigrant/Refugee Experience
  • Civic Engagement
  • Equity in Access to Services
  • Behavioral Health
  • Early Childhood

If you are interested in sharing a story with us, review the training on the home page to provide guidance on developing and submitting your story in one of three different ways:

  • Archival – gathering existing documentation
  • Narrative – written or recorded story
  • Multi-media – photography, video or other media compilation

The training is available in English and Spanish for you to review at your convenience.  After that, you’ll submit your proposal, and then we will be in touch with you to talk about your idea and compensation. Compensation is based on the level of effort needed to create your narrative, ranging from $75 to $500 total. Once your proposal is approved, you’ll have up to 6 weeks to complete and submit your story with guidance from Ross Strategic as needed.

Contact Marianna Espinoza with any questions you may have!

Who We Are

Ross Strategic

Ross Strategic supports government, philanthropy, and non-governmental organizations to launch, improve, evaluate, and refine programs and collaborative initiatives that address public health, environmental, energy, and natural resource challenges.

Nandini Chaturvedula

Nandini Chaturvedula, Associate at Ross Strategic, works with philanthropy, non- profits, and universities on measurement, evaluation, and learning, strategic planning, and program development. Through experiences living and working in Portugal, India, and Brazil, she has developed a keen sense of cross-cultural competence and awareness that is woven through her work. Her recent projects have focused on public health, energy, transportation, and environmental initiatives, community resilience, urban opportunity and empowering marginalized communities to engage in policy advocacy. Nandini holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Jessie B. Doody

Jessie B. Doody, Associate at Ross Strategic, supports public health organizations to develop, implement, or evaluate initiatives and programs that aim to improve health, adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change, and advance equitable solutions to these complex problems. In this work, Jessie helps clients articulate objectives, identify gaps and opportunities, set evidence-based strategic direction, and evaluate progress. She has also worked on food programs in Latin America and the Caribbean, supporting scaling and implementing resilient, sustainable national social protection programs and policies as mechanisms to promote food and nutrition security in the region. Jessie holds a dual BA in International Studies and Spanish from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

Jennifer Major

Jennifer Major, Principal at Ross Strategic, has worked in the public health and policy arena for 18 years, supporting federal and state government and not-for-profit organizations in a variety of capacities. She is a highly skilled evaluator, facilitator, researcher, and writer with extensive experience as a project leader in the areas of program design and implementation, collaborative methods, public health programs and policy, and environmental justice. She works on a variety of public health issues, including health disparities, injury and violence prevention, indoor air quality, affordable housing, and health impacts associated with climate change and equity.  Jen holds a Master of Public Health degree from Yale University.

Petra Vallila-Buchman

Petra Vallila-Buchman, Senior Associate at Ross Strategic, has more than ten years of experience working with stakeholders to implement policy, environmental, and system change to improve community health and reduce health inequities. She believes equity and social justice are an intrinsic part of the practice of public health. She has extensive experience conducting qualitative research and evaluation and enjoys knitting together data and stories into a cohesive narrative. Her work has included health, urban opportunity, climate resilience, development in rural communities and engaging residents as partners in neighborhood planning to increase access to healthy food, active transportation, and economic opportunity. Petra holds a Master of Public Health from Emory University.

Community-Driven Initiatives

Community-Driven Initiatives, based at The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School, is focused on incorporating community residents’ perspectives into understanding and addressing social, systemic, and structural barriers of health.

Marianna Espinoza

Marianna Espinoza, Learning and Evaluation Manager of CDI, has 15 years of experience in research and evaluation and has partnered with universities, government institutions and non-profit organizations in Texas, North Africa, Southeast Asia, Central America and the Caribbean. At CDI, she supports the learning activities associated with the implementation of place-based initiatives, including program development and planning, project evaluation, and quality improvement. Marianna believes that the community members are experts with invaluable lived experience and seeks to create space for shared decision making.  Marianna earned a Master of Public Health from The George Washington University.

Lourdes J. Rodriguez

Lourdes J. Rodriguez, is the founder of CDI and a program officer for St. David’s Foundation. Through CDI, Dr. Rodriguez worked with community organizations to bring a variety of health-related resources and efforts for specific neighborhoods and communities, creating opportunities for residents and leaders of community-based organizations to participate in shared learning. As a public health practitioner, she collaborates, develops and evaluates initiatives to improve health with people most impacted by health inequities. Prior to founding CDI in 2016, Dr. Rodriguez was a Program Officer at the New York State Health Foundation, where she supported grantees in the Building Healthy Communities portfolio. Dr. Rodriguez holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Connecticut and a DrPH from Columbia University.