Caring for Denver Foundation Announces New Alternatives to Jail $7M Funding Opportunity

News Release

April 7, 2020

Media Contact – Taylor Roddy • 312.208.6483

Denver, CO
 – Caring for Denver Foundation announced today it is inviting proposals for a new $7 million dollar funding opportunity for programs, projects and/or activities that address Alternatives to Jail, a priority area, for Caring for Denver Foundation.

The vision of the Caring for Denver’s investments in this priority area is to have greater supports upfront and more opportunities to provide treatment and interventions before, during and after criminal justice involvement in Denver so that people are supported and connected throughout their recovery.

“Denver residents continue to face unparalleled setbacks and risks to their mental well-being, especially now amid the coronavirus pandemic,” said Lorez Meinhold, Executive Director of Caring for Denver Foundation. “We’re incredibly eager to begin partnering with the community on solutions that move us to a public health, trauma, mental health and substance misuse crisis response, with care and services provided first, and jail as a last resort.”

“When we don’t adequately fund mental health and substance misuse, we pay for it in the criminal justice system, the child welfare system, in the ER and schools. We cannot incarcerate ourselves out of this,“ said State Rep. Leslie Herod, Board Chair. “This is no longer about them anymore, it’s about us, and I’m proud to continue working with Caring for Denver on the bold ways we can provide services to those in need without leaning on the criminal justice system.”

With robust input from over 1,600 community residents, Alternatives to Jail, was identified an immediate area of need. The full strategic funding priorities report including other areas of focus can be found here.

About Caring for Denver Foundation
Caring for Denver Foundation was founded and funded with overwhelming voter support in November of 2018 to put 25 cents from every hundred dollars spent into a community fund for mental health and substance misuse issues. Caring for Denver will distribute at least $35 million per year to support programs in Denver that:

– Increase mental health and substance misuse prevention, treatment, recovery, and harm reduction

– Provide alternatives to jails and emergency rooms as a first stop for those in crisis

– Fund community-identified priorities

Caring for Denver Foundation is a public 501c3 nonprofit organization integrated with and accountable to stakeholders across Denver with oversight from 13 Board members appointed by the Mayor, District Attorney, and City Council President. Representative Leslie Herod serves as the board chairwoman.

About Lorez Meinhold
Lorez Meinhold serves as the Executive Director of Caring for Denver. She brings over nineteen years of implementation and policy experience as a director of multilateral initiatives involving the public, private and civic sectors, working at the local, state, and national levels. Lorez has worked in many capacities integrating health programs addressing mental health and substance misuse needs, connecting early childhood and health communities, delivery and payment system reforms, and efforts that required statewide stakeholder engagement.

About Rep. Leslie Herod
Colorado State Representative Leslie Herod (D-Denver) was elected in 2016 as the first LGBTQ African American in the Colorado General Assembly. Since then, she has passed 52 bills, addressing criminal justice reform, mental health, addiction, youth homelessness, education, and civil rights protections. Herod championed the Caring for Denver Ballot measure and now serves as Chair of the Caring for Denver Board.