Founded and funded by Denver, Caring for Denver Foundation was established on November 6, 2018 with 70% voter approval to support the mental health and substance misuse challenges facing the City and County of Denver.

Championed by State Representative Leslie Herod, the ballot initiative was simple, yet powerful. For every $100 spent in Denver, 25 cents totaling over $35 million dollars per year goes toward addressing the mental health and substance misuse needs in our city. And with the critical responsibility we’ve been entrusted, we’re on a mission to grow community-informed solutions, dismantle stigma, and turn Denver’s desire to help into action. 

After all, the statistics are deeply concerning:

● Denver ranks among the top in the country for addiction and suicide prevalence
● Nearly 90% of those we polled were concerned about the issues of mental health and substance misuse in Denver
● 67% believe those with a mental health and/or substance misuse needs are not currently receiving the care they need
● More than half a million Coloradans say they have at least 8 days of poor mental health every month – enough to fill Mile High over 7 times

We’re an independent, public nonprofit with oversight from city representatives and a board comprised of business and health professionals, community leaders, and those with lived experience. This enables us to continue overseeing this enduring investment in our city regardless of administrative changes.

As Denver’s Foundation, we believe our communities are our greatest resource. We rely on your knowledge, stories, experience, and collaboration to better understand how we should prioritize funding. In six short weeks, we met with creatives, people with lived experience, first responders, youth, parents and so many others. We engaged with over 1,600 people from 120 organizations through four forums, three virtual events, small community meetings, and by phone.

Their input helped identify and prioritize four areas in which we can start supporting our communities: Youth, Care Provision, Community-Centered Solutions, and Alternatives to Jail.

Always guided by our values, we will be flexible and innovative. We will support community-authored work and focus on impact. We will invest in potential. We will partner with those on the front lines to address the right challenges with the best solutions recognizing each of us is essential to achieving success. And, we will work alongside them to measure, learn, and adapt our approaches to have the biggest impact.

We cannot give enough thanks to the community organizations, partners, and residents who provided support and feedback throughout this process. This work is as much a reflection of you as it is us. And although we know we can only tackle so much at one time, we will continue to listen and collect feedback to inform future funding areas and grant opportunities. In the meantime, download a copy of our Strategic Funding Priorities Report today.

More information will be available soon regarding our first funding area and call for proposals. Should you have any questions, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions, or contact info@caring4denver.org.

Thank you again from all of us at Caring for Denver Foundation. We are honored to serve you.

Caring for Denver Foundation Timeline

Caring for Denver Passes

Initiative passes with nearly 70% of the vote in Nov of 2018 and contract with the City of Denver is signed in Aug of 2019.


Community Engagement

Community needs across Denver are identified through a robust engagement effort to prioritize funding areas of focus Sept ’19 – Dec ’19.


Strategic Planning

Draft strategic plan is developed and shared with the Board of Directors along with community leaders and stakeholders the first          week of Feb ’20.

Ongoing Work

Strategic plan finalized, RFPs and funding, reporting, evaluation, learning and improvement, and community input 2020 onward.