Caring for Denver Foundation Awards nearly $10 Million to Address Mental Health, Trauma, and Substance Misuse Among Denver Youth

News Release


March 25, 2021

Caring for Denver Foundation Awards nearly $10 Million to Address Mental Health, Trauma, and Substance Misuse Among Denver Youth

Denver, CO – Youth are experiencing profound mental health challenges that put them at higher risk of mental health and substance misuse issues. Now, Caring for Denver Foundation has approved 47 grants totaling nearly $10 million to provide earlier and more resources to reduce crisis and increase resilience for Denver youth coping with life stressors.

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). Funding for youth is one of the priorities Denver residents identified when Caring for Denver, founded by a City of Denver ordinance, first launched. Addressing mental health and substance misuse needs earlier in life leads to less crisis and less need for costly services later in life.

Fifty-two youth partners informed the call for proposals, emphasizing the importance of funding innovative approaches that are youth-informed or youth-led, focus on the strengths of youth, and value culture in healing and identity.

With this investment in Denver youth, Caring for Denver aims to:

  1. Reduce youth harm to self and others through addressing trauma, mental health, and substance misuse
  2. Increase youth ability to demonstrate healthy resilience for coping with challenges and stresses in life
  3. Increase awareness and involvement by family and allies in ways that help youth address trauma, mental health, and substance misuse

Grantees include:

  • Adoption Options
  • Apprentice of Peace Youth Organization
  • Art from Ashes, Inc
  • Boys & Girls Clubs Metro Denver
  • Casa Milagro Youth Solutions
  • Centus Counseling, Consulting & Education
  • Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation
  • Clayton Early Learning
  • Commún
  • Creative Strategies for Change
  • Denver Children’s Home
  • Denver Health Foundation
  • Denver Rescue Mission
  • Denver’s Early Childhood Council
  • Developmental FX
  • Dream Center Denver
  • From the Heart Enterprises
  • Girls Inc. of Metro Denver
  • Jewish Family Service of Colorado
  • Judi’s House/JAG Institute
  • Khesed
  • Launch Network
  • Lincoln Hills Cares
  • Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains
  • Make A Chess Move
  • Mental Health Center of Denver
  • Mile High 360
  • Muslim Youth for Positive Impact
  • Project PAVE Inc.
  • Project VOYCE
  • Queer Asterisk
  • Rise Above Colorado
  • The ROCK Center
  • Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network
  • Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation
  • Second Wind Fund, Inc.
  • The Spring Institute
  • Star Girlz Empowerment Inc
  • Struggle of Love Foundation
  • Sun Valley Youth Center
  • Tennyson Center for Children
  • Thriving Families
  • Vuela for Health
  • Warren Village
  • Women’s Wilderness
  • Words To Power
  • Youth On Record

“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.

“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,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, Board Chair.

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.