Caring for Denver Foundation has approved 47 new grants that will provide $10 million to assist Denver youth struggling with trauma, substance abuse and mental health. The grants have been given to local nonprofits such as the Denver’s Children Home, Muslim Youth for Positive Impact, and the Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation.
The Caring for Denver foundation was created after a ballot initiative in Denver passed to allocate 25 cents to mental health and substance abuse for every $100 dollars spent in Denver. Their mission is “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.” This includes funding resources that can help keep Denver youth out of jail and increasing the availability of care providers that can help people with mental and physical health.
The 2019 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey found that 35 percent of students experienced symptoms of clinical depression. This number has been rising over the years, and there are predictions that the pandemic has taken a huge toll on the mental health of children.
Addressing mental health needs early in life leads to healthier adult citizens and reduces the need for costly services later in life. By investing in these programs, Caring for Denver hopes to give children the tools they need to address their trauma, teach them coping mechanisms and educate their family and friends on how to support those around them.
“Our youth are dealing with a lot of loss, anxiety, and depression. Social isolation has only heightened these needs. We are grateful to partner with these incredible organizations at such a critical time,” said Lorez Meinhold, executive director.
Leslie Herod (D-Denver) championed the creation of Caring for Denver and now serves as Chair of the Caring For Denver Foundation Board.
“It is unacceptable that our young people carry so much unacknowledged weight on their shoulders—this funding not only acknowledges their trauma but gives them much needed support in this challenging time,” Herod said.