FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 25, 2021
Caring for Denver Foundation Awards $8.4 Million to Redirect People with Mental Health and Substance Misuse Crisis Away from the Criminal Justice System.
Denver, CO – Caring for Denver will distribute $8.4 million to 13 community organizations and City of Denver agencies to prevent individuals struggling with substance misuse and mental health distress from entering or reentering the criminal justice system. The organizations are leading efforts to reduce entry and recidivism, and increase post-release supports by building stronger City partnerships, providing culturally relevant and community-led supports, and increasing housing stability.
Caring for Denver Foundation is publicly funded by City sales tax revenue, and was founded by Denver residents to advance community-authored solutions for mental health and substance misuse needs in Denver. Denver residents identified Alternatives to Jail as one of Caring for Denver’s funding priorities, noting the need for increased diversion opportunities, more emphasis on and access to services, and better connected systems for justice, health and housing.
With this investment, Caring for Denver aims to:
- Successfully divert people with mental health and substance misuse issues away from the criminal justice system
- Actively engage those involved in or released from the criminal justice system with resources available to meet them where they are in recovery and live healthy lives in the community
- Improve mental health and/or reduce substance misuse by those placed-at-risk of engagement or engaged with the criminal justice system
- Reduce recidivism of persons with mental health and substance misuse issues
- Reduce disparities in mental health and substance misuse outcomes
This is the second round of funding Caring for Denver foundation has invested in their Alternatives to Jail priority area, and this work builds on knowledge and feedback from current grantees and partners in this space.
- The Empowerment Program
- Heavy Hands Heavy Hearts Foundation
- Mile High WorkShop
- Movement 5280
- Sims-Fayola Foundation
- The Storytellers Project
- Tribe Recovery Homes
- City and County of Denver – Department of Public Health & Environment (STAR program)
- City and County of Denver – Denver Police Department (Co-Responders program)
- City and County of Denver – District Attorney’s Office
- City and County of Denver – Office of the Municipal Public Defender
About Caring for Denver Foundation
Caring for Denver Foundation was founded and funded with overwhelming voter support 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. Caring for Denver has funded more than $51.2 million in the areas of alternatives to jail, care provision, community-centered solutions, youth, and special initiatives. To learn more, visit caring4denver.org.
About Lorez Meinhold
Lorez Meinhold serves as the Executive Director of Caring for Denver Foundation. She brings over twenty 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 Foundation Board.