Caring for Denver Foundation Awards more than $57 million since inception to Address Substance Misuse and Mental Health with Community-Based Solutions

 News Release, 11/19/21


November 19, 2021

Caring for Denver Foundation Awards more than $57 million since inception to Address Substance Misuse and Mental Health with Community-Based Solutions

Denver, CO – Since launching its funding opportunities in April of 2020, Caring for Denver has provided more than $57.6 million in grants to 160 different organizations to advance community-authored solutions for mental health and substance misuse needs in Denver. Caring for Denver Foundation is publicly funded by City sales tax revenue.

This week, the foundation approved $5.4 million in funding for 22 community organizations that are working to lower barriers to recovery and mental health services in their communities. The funded organizations are bringing behavioral care into non-traditional spaces, increasing culturally relevant care, and implementing or strengthening peer support models to address addiction, isolation, and other mental health challenges.

The funding comes at a time that is particularly important, with nearly half of Denverites reporting a decline in mental health (2021 Colorado Health Access Survey), and the city, like many others throughout the country, seeing a surge in overdose deaths.

“We know that recovery happens best in community,” said Lorez Meinhold, Caring for Denver’s executive director. “These organizations and their staff are grounded in community knowledge so they are in the best position to make connections to care that makes recovery possible.

Mental health and substance misuse care is underfunded, has more stigma attached to it, and requires more paperwork and engagement to get help than physical care. This funding lowers barriers by bringing care into the places and spaces that people know and trust, and providing access to support from people who have lived through it.

“With this funding, we have the potential to make transformative change to the way people receive mental health and substance misuse care in Denver,” said Rep. Leslie Herod. “These diverse organizations are breaking down siloes and putting care in reach in ways that haven’t been possible before.”

Grantees include:

  • A Little Help
  • Archway Communities
  • The Center on Colfax
  • Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
  • Community Outreach Service Center Inc
  • Conectoras de Montbello
  • Crowley Foundation Inc
  • Culinary Hospitality Outreach and Wellness Inc
  • Denver Family Institute, Inc
  • Envision: You
  • Harm Reduction Action Center
  • Latino Cultural Arts Center
  • Lifespan Local
  • Mile High Health Alliance
  • Para ti Mujer
  • Poetry for Personal Power
  • Rose Andom Center
  • Saint Francis Center
  • Satya Yoga Cooperative
  • Second Chance Center
  • University of Denver
  • ViVe

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.

Learn More: Caring for Denver recently released a Learning Brief from previous Community-Centered Solutions grantees, who echoed the importance providing mental health supports within existing programming; and driving increased participation and recovery with peer support models.