About Caring for Denver

We’re on a mission

To address Denver’s mental health and substance misuse needs by growing community-informed solutions, dismantling stigma, and turning the community’s desire to help into action.

Founded and funded by Denver, Caring for Denver Foundation was created on November 6, 2018 when seventy percent of Denver turned an idea into a reality.

The ballot initiative was simple, yet powerful. For every $100 spent in Denver, 25 cents totaling over $30 million dollars (dependent on the economy) goes toward addressing mental health and substance misuse needs in our city. With this enduring investment, our vision is a vibrant Denver where all communities are strengthened by the mental health and substance misuse support they need.

This effort was envisioned and initiated by Representative Leslie Herod as a solution to first-hand, family experience. Caring for Denver is integrated with and accountable to stakeholders across Denver with oversight from 13 Board members appointed by the Mayor, District Attorney, and City Council President.

After all, the statistics are deeply concerning.


of those we polled were concerned about the issues of mental health and substance misuse in Denver.


Coloradans say they have at least 8 days of poor mental health every month – enough to fill Mile High over 7 times


believe those with a mental health and/or substance misuse needs are not currently receiving the care they need.

If you or someone you know is in crisis...

Please reach out for free, confidential, professional, 24/7 support:

  • Colorado Crisis Line – (844) 493-TALK (8255) or by texting TALK to 38255
  • Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741

If you are looking for community resources, United Way’s 2-1-1 Help Center is available for calls, live chats, texts, or database search. Dial 2-1-1, or text your zip code to 898-211. Live chat or database search is available at http://211.org.

Check out:

  • YOU at Your Best site, a confidential space to own your well-being – from mental and physical health, to friendships and finding balance. Powered by Mental Health Center of Denver.
  • MyStrength, a free wellness app to support individuals with self-care efforts – get personalized wellness tips and activities to reduce stress, and personalized learning modules and interactive activities to support navigating challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Provided free by the Lutheran Family Services Colorado Spirit Wellness Program, thanks to a FEMA grant.

Equity Statement

As we work to address the mental health and substance misuse needs in Denver, we are committed to funding and supporting innovative efforts that move us towards equity and outcomes where race/ethnicity, disability, immigration status, and identity can no longer be used to predict life outcomes.

We recognize that the power is in taking bold action. Our ongoing efforts must elevate the voices of those impacted and repair the historical trauma and oppression. Our work has only just begun.

The impact of living under social conditions that include racism, sexism, heterosexism, homophobia, ageism, ableism, xenophobia, or any other form of oppression has a direct effect on the mental health and wellbeing of the individuals within a community. Whether these conditions be historic or present-day, we all have a part to play in dismantling the systems of inequity that are harmful to our larger society. Driven by the voices of community, Caring for Denver Foundation will work through our grantmaking, evaluation, community engagement, and communication initiatives to push impact together in the pursuit of equity. We will seek guidance, perspective, and insights always.

Our values guide our actions

Respect. Always.

We fiercely embrace inclusion and diversity, and strive to be representative, culturally responsive, and linguistically appropriate in all that we do.

Be Courageous in action.

We champion candid, open-minded reflection and are thoughtful and bold in the action we take.

Meet people where they are.

We see and support all people and communities for their strengths and inherent value.

Focus on impact for communities.

We center all of our work on outcomes that always put Denverites, and their potential, first.

Advocate out loud.

We courageously share our stories, engage our communities, and demonstrate how mental health and substance misuse affects us all.

Invite Partnership.

We are partners with the grantees, communities, and individuals with whom we collaborate and serve, recognizing all are essential to identifying, defining, and deciding what they need.

We cannot
   thank you enough

To the community organizations, partners, and residents who provided support and feedback throughout this process, thank you. 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.

We are honored to serve you.

Lorez Meinhold
Executive Director

Leslie Herod
State Representative, Board Chair

Our Alternatives to Jail funding opportunity is now closed. For updates, click to sign up for our mailing list.