Caring for Denver Foundation awards over $14.6 million to make it easier to get mental health and substance misuse help in Denver 

News Release

[December 14, 2022 – Denver, Colo.]: Caring for Denver Foundation announced more than $14.6 million in funding to community-based nonprofits that will fill gaps in mental health and substance misuse care, especially for marginalized communities. The goal is to meet Denver’s higher demand for behavioral health care with services that reflect and affirm individuals needs and identities, while also supporting care providers. 

“Our community is experiencing higher stress, both economic and social, which is creating a higher demand for services that are relevant and accessible to their cultures and experiences,” said Lorez Meinhold, the foundation’s executive director.  “These funded programs will provide more immediate care in trusted spaces.” 

The funding expands access to care for people recovering from trauma, people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity, people with severe and persistent mental illness, and survivors of sexual assault, among others. It also includes funding to support care provider resiliency and training for community mental health providers. 

Grantees are funded under two of Caring for Denver Foundation’s community-identified funding areas, Community-Centered Solutions and Care Provision, outlined below.  

Community-Centered Solutions  

Caring for Denver Foundation approved 29 grants totaling more than $12.4 million to community-based nonprofit organizations within the City and County of Denver in the Community-Centered Solutions priority area.  

  • The Blue Bench: Providing a Continuum of Care for Survivors of Sexual Assault – To provide equitable mental health and case management services to survivors of sexual assault to assist them on their path to recovery and healing.  
  • The Center for African American Health – Building Mental Health Equity in the Black Community – To expand access to culturally responsive mental health and substance misuse programs, and counseling services provided by mental health professionals of color that positively impact the Black/African American community within the City of Denver.  
  • The Center for Trauma & Resilience – Befriending the Body: Peer Recovery Services- To support survivors of trauma experiencing mental health and substance misuse challenges through peer support group counseling, trauma responsive yoga, auricular acupuncture, art therapy, and Reiki—all offered within the community and at no cost.  
  • Center for Work Education and Employment – Expanding trauma-informed mental health services for low-income job seekers -To expand and diversify the offerings of its trauma-informed mental health services for the low-income Denver residents it serves as an integral part of its comprehensive workforce development and wraparound programming.  
  • CHEF – Culinarians Helping Entrepreneurial Folks – Recovery-Based Culinary Job-Skills Program – To provide job-skills training and work placement in the culinary industry in a peer-led, recovery environment and provide a training program that helps individuals who experience substance dependency to strengthen their recovery journeys through employment, community, and peer support.  
  • Colorado Coalition for the Homeless – Native American Services Expansion- For an expansion of the Native American Services program that will allow for more comprehensive intervention for Indigenous people struggling with mental illness and substance misuse.  
  • Colorado Gerontological Society – Mental Health Supports for Older Adults – To provide a Telephone Buddy who calls an older adult once or twice a week to provide mental and emotional support as well as referrals to licensed clinical professionals for short-term counseling to those experiencing emotional distress such as anxiety, debilitating worry, and grief.  
  • Colorado Health Network, Inc. – Access to Behavioral Health Counseling for People Who Use Drugs Program – To intervene in substance abuse among people who use drugs experiencing mental health disorders and support them in getting the behavioral healthcare they need.  
  • Colorado Village Collaborative – Peer Support with Mental Health Services – To expand the current programming, integrating peer support services and on-site mental-health clinical support across all Colorado Village Collaborative locations in both the Tiny Home Village and Safe Outdoor Space programs.  
  • Commún – Community-led mental health across the lifespan – For community-led mental health programming for teens, adults, and elders designed and implemented by the community members receiving mental health care.  
  • Culinary Hospitality Outreach and Wellness Inc. – Recovery Support for Denver’s Culinary and Hospitality Workforce – To increase engagement of priority populations in Denver’s culinary and hospitality industry through recovery services, peer support, and community education.  
  • The Gathering Place – TGP’s low-barrier services and staff development project – To promote equitable access to mental health and substance use services, facilitate the transition to a low-barrier agency, and support staff resiliency and wellness by greatly expanding training and tools.  
  • Griffith Centers for Children, Inc – Relinquishment Counseling Model for Children Transitioning to Permanence – To support children transitioning to permanency after parental rights have been terminated or allocated to another caregiver. Services will support attachment, reduce trauma, improve mental health, and build healthy narratives.  
  • Homeless Leadership Council – Critical Incident Training for Homeless Service Providers – For Critical Incident Training for staff members who have experienced threats or violence at all the major homeless-serving agencies in Denver. The training would help staff who have had traumatic experiences, build solidarity, and hopefully reduce turnover.  
  • Housed Working and Healthy – Expanding Mental Health and Substance Misuse Supports for Housing Insecure Individuals -To expand this organization’s mental health and substance misuse care by providing intensive case management, post placement supports, and contract with mental health and peer supports to provide on-site supports.  
  • Karis Community – Empowerment Program – To support a community-oriented approach that supports adults (21 or older) managing serious and persistent mental illness to restore basic life skills, improve relationships and social well-being, and transition to independent living.  
  • Khesed – Recovery Pro Bono and Therapist Training Program – To increase ongoing outpatient recovery treatment access by providing free services for the underinsured and a therapist training program. The organization will hire specialized therapists, program leads, supervisors, and a recruiting manager to provide mental health services to participants.  
  • Montbello Organizing Committee – Montbello Solutions – To provide culturally-responsive community-based mental health services; offer non-clinical behavioral health programs, develop support for peer counselors and community mentors; and reduce the stigma associated with accessing mental health support and services.  
  • Para ti Mujer – Mental Health and Personal Development Care for Latino immigrants in the city of Denver, Colorado. – For an in-house Spanish-speaking and culturally relevant counselor to more deeply address the mental health service needs of all participants. The organization will also add a violence prevention and stress management class to current curriculum.  
  • Resilient Communities. Resilient Futures – Racial Healing Practices for Strengthening Coping Resources -Resilient Futures and Mile High United Way Bridging the Gap program will partner to provide Racial Healing Circles to young adults impacted by homelessness and racial trauma to foster improved mental health, decrease unhealthy coping strategies such as substance misuse, and increase healing.  
  • Saint Francis Center – Enhanced behavioral health case services at the St. Francis Center Homeless Shelter – To provide trusted and accessible “right now” mental health and substance misuse treatment and support for adults experiencing homelessness. An additional mental health clinician will provide case management and behavioral health services and break down barriers to improve access to care.  
  • Sober AF Entertainment – Sober AF City Expansion – To continue this organization’s work to reduce the onset and progression of substance misuse, and its related problems by advancing and expanding access to peer-driven recovery support and harm-reduction programs to high-risk underserved communities in Denver.  
  • Spark the Change Colorado – Increasing Access, Developing Workforce – Through increasing the number of volunteer mental health providers and devising supports for mental health practitioners, this organization seeks to remove barriers to accessing mental health care and serve greater numbers and a greater diversity of disadvantaged Denver residents.  
  • Step Denver – Peer Coaching and Recovery Support – For this residential peer recovery program built on the principles of sobriety, work, accountability, and community. Staff with lived experience help men with nowhere else to turn achieve long-term recovery, repair family relationships, build stability, and get their life back.  
  • Tribe Recovery Homes – Community-Centered Solutions – To expand the reach and capacity by expanding this organization’s staff of behavioral health professionals and supporting the management of its clinical continuum of care.  
  • ViVe Wellness – Vive con Bienestar – To reduce stigma and improve mental health in the community by addressing Latino mental health by supporting emotional, physical, and social wellness. The program promotes community-driven cultural beliefs and traditions, and language-appropriate services.  
  • Vivent Health – Vivent Health’s Harm Reducation and Mental Health Program Expansion – Vivent Health will expand its mobile harm reduction services by extending services to underserved neighborhoods and new service hours, a new prevention navigation program to link clients to a network of trusted community partners, and expanded mental health support services for clients and staff.  
  • WINGS Foundation Inc. – Services for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse – To serve adults (age 18 and over) who experienced sexual abuse as children (before the age of 18) and their loved ones. Most have never received help to heal this trauma. This organization offers an array of programs and services to assist survivors in beginning or advancing their healing journey.  
  • Women’s Bean Project – Addressing Mental Health Impact on Barriers to Work – To expand programming to address barriers participants face resulting from trauma that impacts mental and physical health outcomes. Expansion includes trauma education, peer training and support for recovery, and access to therapy.  

Care Provision  

Caring for Denver Foundation approved six grants totaling more than $2.2 million to community-based nonprofit organizations within the City and County of Denver in the Care Provision priority area.  

  • Bayaud Enterprises – Low barrier, short-term mental health services for Denver residents. – To support walk-in and short-term mental health counseling as well as the development and facilitation of mental health focus and activity group therapies for low-income Denver residents—a majority with severe and persistent mental needs.  
  • Denver Children’s Advocacy Center – Treatment and Integrated Services – For the Treatment and Integrated Services program, which supports children and families recovering from trauma, abuse, neglect, and/or domestic violence. This organization specializes in treating complex childhood trauma cases requiring intensive and extensive treatment.  
  • Haven of Hope – Mental Health Initiative – To fill in the service gap to those experiencing homelessness with co-occurring mental health diagnoses and substance misuse.  
  • Maria Droste Counseling Center – Advancing Equitable Access to Substance Use Services – To expand access to substance use disorder care for Denver residents regardless of ability to pay. Through staff hires, licensure support, and staff development, his organization will grow its capacity to provide substance use disorder care through a lens of community equity.  
  • Parker Personal Care Homes – UpRoutes – For adventure-based, trauma-informed therapeutic interventions for individuals with co-occurring trauma histories and intellectual/development disabilities (including traumatic brain injuries) to alleviate emotional, cognitive, and behavioral dysfunction, in turn reducing mental health symptoms and substance use issues.  
  • WellPower – Medication Assisted Treatment for People with Severe and Persistent Mental Illness – To create a dedicated team to provide Medication Assisted Treatment for people with severe and persistent mental illness.  

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. Guided by community input, the organization has funded more than $98.3 million in the areas of alternatives to jail, care provision, community-centered solutions, youth, and special initiatives since it began.   

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.