Caring for Denver Foundation Awards $9.8 M to addressDenver Youth’s Increased mental health and substance misuse needs

Thirty-seven organizations awarded funding to support youth impacted by loss, violence, school disruption, and more

News Release

[April 1, 2022 – Denver, Colo.]: Caring for Denver Foundation announced funding for 37 organizations working to provide earlier and more resources to reduce crisis and increase resilience for Denver’s youth. Caring for Denver was founded and funded with overwhelming voter support to address mental health and substance misuse challenges facing City and County of Denver residents.

Funding for youth is one of the priorities the people of Denver identified when Caring for Denver launched. Even before the pandemic, the share of high school students experiencing symptoms of clinical depression was on an upward trajectory, increasing to nearly 35% of students in 2019 (2019 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey). Children’s Hospital Colorado declared a state of emergency for youth mental health, citing a 90% increase in demand for mental health services over the past two years.

“Caring for Denver is deeply committed to meeting youth needs in a way that is meaningful to them—in community spaces and schools, through art, and with the help of trained peers and trusted allies.” said Lorez Meinhold, Executive Director of Caring for Denver Foundation. “We’re honored to partner with so many trusted organizations that focus on the strengths of youth, and engage them as partners in the work.

“It is unacceptable that our young people carry so much unacknowledged weight on their shoulders.” said Rep. Leslie Herod, Board Chair. “This funding not only acknowledges their struggles but gives them much needed support in this challenging time.”

Grantees include:

  • Apprentice of Peace Youth Organization
  • AUL Denver
  • Building Bridges
  • Colorado “I Have A Dream” Foundation
  • Colorado Circles for Change
  • DC21
  • Denver Collaborative Partnership-Savio Management Group
  • Denver Health Foundation
  • Denver Public Schools – Student Equity and Opportunity
  • Elephant Circle
  • Family Star
  • Florence Crittenton Services
  • From the Heart Enterprises
  • Fully Liberated Youth
  • Generation Schools Network
  • Greater Denver CARES Mentoring Movement
  • Heart & Hand Center
  • Homies Unidos Denver
  • Joy as Resistance
  • The Kaleidoscope Project
  • Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains
  • Make A Chess Move
  • Mile High United Way
  • Movement 5280
  • Muslim Youth for Positive Impact
  • PlatteForum
  • Project Helping
  • Project PAVE Inc.
  • Raise the Future
  • The ROCK Center
  • Sacred Voices
  • Savio
  • Second Wind Fund, Inc.
  • The Shaka Franklin Foundation
  • Struggle of Love Foundation
  • University of Colorado Anschutz, Center for Public Health Practice
  • Youth Employment Academy

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.

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.