Caring for Denver Foundation Invests Over $12.1 Million in Youth Mental Health and Substance Misuse Care Initiatives

News Release

[April 1, 2024 – Denver, Colo.]: Caring for Denver Foundation is proud to announce its latest round of grant funding, totaling more than $12.1 million, dedicated to improving youth mental health and substance misuse care. These grants reflect Caring for Denver Foundation’s commitment to fostering resilience and well-being among Denver’s youth population, particularly those facing systemic barriers and challenges.

“Caring for Denver is deeply committed to meeting youth needs in a way that is meaningful to them in trusted spaces where they feel respected,” said Lorez Meinhold, the foundation’s executive director.  “We’re honored to partner with so many organizations in our community that focus on the strengths of youth and engage them as partners in the work. This funding not only acknowledges the struggles youth are facing now but gives them much-needed support in ways that work for them.”

These grants reflect a concerted effort to address the complex and multifaceted mental health needs of youth across diverse communities in Denver, emphasizing inclusive, culturally competent, preventative, and trauma-informed approaches to care. The funding expands access to care for people of color, people within the LGBTQ+ community, youth experiencing housing insecurity, immigrants, and families, among others. Grantees are funded under Caring for Denver Foundation’s community-identified funding area, Youth, outlined below. 


Caring for Denver Foundation approved 39 grants totaling more than $12.1 million to community-based nonprofit organizations in the Youth priority area.  

  • 5280 High School Supporting students ages 15-21 in recovery by providing afterschool recovery supports through the Altitude Youth Recovery Program and in-school mental health supports.
  • Ability Connection Colorado– Providing support to BIPOC youth with disabilities through trauma-informed mentoring and mental health care.
  • Adoption Options– Aiding Fostering Healthy Futures, an evidence-based program promoting positive youth development for children with child welfare involvement through individualized mentorship and accessible skills training.
  • Art from Ashes, Inc– Fostering a safe, non-judgmental space with caring adults and community artists for youth to share their dreams, hopes, fears, and pain, as well as the opportunity to connect with their community and transform their stories from trauma to self-empowerment.
  • AUL Denver Offering bilingual mental health support and wrap around services that are culturally responsive to support the mental health needs of its students.
  • Centus Counseling, Consulting & Education– Sustaining and growing the school counseling program, currently serving nine schools, and the Post Graduate Residency Program (now in its second year), which provides counselors from diverse backgrounds to serve students from similar backgrounds supporting therapeutic alliance.
  • Colorado Perinatal Mental Health Project– Offering bilingual perinatal mental health support groups in trusted spaces in the community through the Birth Squad Program that serves as an immediate entry point into care for Black and LatinX mothers and birthers.
  • Colorado Youth Congress– Facilitating small group mental health conversations for youth participants led by a trained youth peer specialist and a staff member.
  • Convivir Colorado Expanding art- and narrative-based therapeutic programming for immigration-impacted youth, while increasing our internal capacity to implement trauma-informed practices and help the ecosystem better support undocumented youth and mixed immigration status families.
  • Developmental FX– Addressing the crisis in early childhood mental health by extending the SWIFT-R program to new partner schools in Denver, and training and mentoring early childhood educators, demonstrating the power of this model while improving mental health outcomes for children.
  • Envision: You Conducting workshops for trusted adults of LGBTQ+ youth that foster healthy relationships and create affirming environments by educating adults about the lived experience and health outcomes of LGBTQ+ youth and available local resources and creating space to process their relationships with youth
  • Families Forward Resource Center– Addressing mental health inequities among pre- and post-partum Black families in Denver by launching a comprehensive in-house mental health program. Service offerings include Wellness Recovery Action Plan facilitation and on-site counseling with a culturally congruent qualified therapist.
  • From the Heart Enterprises- Facilitating group and individual support that will address substance and mental/behavioral health issues. This organization will engage youth utilizing key components of Habilitation Empowerment Accountability Therapy and Wellness Recovery Action Plan.
  • Girls Inc. of Metro Denver– Supporting girls with knowledge, skills, and attitudes critical to navigating substance use and misuse, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and building a positive sense of self in a challenging world.
  • Greater Denver CARES Mentoring Movement– Boosting culturally fluent mental health/wellness, and academic and emotional literacy for Denver’s BIPOC youth through the Rising program and the Baldwin Literacy Project, with support from strong community and therapeutic partnerships.
  • Holistic Life Foundation Implementing the Mindful Moment program in Colorado High School Charter–Osage Campus, improving the mental and social-emotional health of low-income Denver students in and out of the classroom.
  • Homies Unidos Denver– Providing Latino youth with access to trauma-informed violence prevention and gang intervention services (including character development, healing circles, and mentoring). And, to expand youth-led programming and support the provision of safe, consistent drop-in space for youth.
  • Jewish Family Service of Colorado– Supporting Denver youth with comprehensive mental health counseling and supportive services through a continuum of care designed to build resilience, coping skills, and improve mental health and wellness—particularly to those impacted by trauma and inequitable access to services and supports.
  • Joy as Resistance– Expanding and diversifying the clinical mental health department to better meet the varied, intersectional needs of Denver’s LGBTQIA2S+ youth ages 10-24. Joy as Resistance will expand to include a greater range of service providers, treatment modalities, and accessibility options.
  • La Pinata del Aprendizaje– Helping staff to receive guidance from a trained mental health professional as they learn to best support parents and caregivers to cope with family stressors and mental health challenges. Special attention will be devoted to managing the team’s own self-care while supporting program participants.
  • Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains– Continued expansion of the Trust-Based Relational Intervention® program to serve foster youth in Denver. This family-based intervention is designed for children who have experienced relationship-based traumas and guides youth back to their natural development trajectory.
  • Muslim Youth for Positive Impact– Providing mental health services that are culturally competent, well-informed, and trusted. In order for these services to be accessed, this organization will combat stigma, and bring forth dialogue and safe spaces to build trust between families, leaders, mental health providers, and youth.
  • PlatteForum– Supporting under-resourced, creative high school youth with critical mental health support. This support includes: clinical therapy, wellness tools workshops, experiential outings, art therapy, case management, and opportunities for creative self-expression and community engagement.
  • Revel– Assessing and diagnosing mental health issues in youth with autism or intellectual and developmental disabilities, collaborating with all stakeholders at home and in the community, creating individualized mental health plans, addressing mental health concerns, and providing personalized support and strategies.
  • Rise Above Colorado Collaboration between Rise Above Colorado, Denver Health, and Denver Public Schools to facilitate youth-led prevention education, art-based activations, and skill-building for teens, educators, and families in focused Denver sites to reduce substance use and improve behavioral health outcomes.
  • Riseup Community School Offering access to a Licensed Addictions Counselor, facilitated student driven groups, and community organizations that support the mental health and/or substance misuse needs of its student body.
  • The ROCK Center– Continued implementation of a community-based model of mental wellness care informed by evidence-based practices that help youth build resilience from trauma and promote mental wellness through connection, coping, and competency.
  • Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation Building upon previous work to expand universal screening to all pregnant people who seek services in the emergency and triage departments to reduce the negative consequences of unidentified and untreated disorders and further integrate behavioral health for these patients.
  • Scholars Unlimited– Creating a mental health team to support scholars in this organization’s after school, and summer programs. This team will infuse recreation, art, and individual therapy based on youth and community voice.
  • Second Wind Fund, Inc.– Supporting youth ages 19 and under who are at risk for suicide and facing one or more financial or social barriers with accessing treatment, matching them with providers in this organization’s network and providing 12-20 sessions of therapy.
  • The Spring Institute– Supporting East Colfax: Collaborative Care, that builds on trusted community relations to identify youth in need of and desiring mental health services. These youth will be provided individual case management to connect them with culturally and linguistically competent care.
  • Sun Valley Kitchen and Community Center– Expanding existing youth programming to cultivate the holistic well-being for underserved youth, offering nutritious meals for physical and mental health, emotional support for empowerment and resilience, and employment opportunities charting the course for a brighter future.
  • Sun Valley Youth Center– Providing mental health services to low-income students including equine therapy, art therapy, trust-based relational intervention (trauma-practicing) methodologies, and onsite group and individual therapy for students and their families.
  • University of Colorado Foundation – Denver Providing scaffolded workbooks, reflective coaching, social workers, and youth teams across four sites as they each implement a two-year youth participatory action research group to identify and address mental health at individual, group, and community levels.
  • Urban Peak Addressing mental health challenges and substance misuse among Denver homeless youth. This organization will support youth accessing shelter services and housing programs in providing support and peer groups, clinical supports, and relationship building with harm reduction principles.
  • ViVe Wellness– Offering emotional wellness programs to the “currently homeless” newcomers Youth arriving and settling in Denver as their new home focusing on addressing mental health through community-driven cultural beliefs and traditions, and language-appropriate services.
  • Vuela for Health Creating healthy, resilient, and thriving Latinx youth with parents equipped to support them while educating youth on how to support their friends/peers and engage in healthy activities to reduce the possibility of substance misuse.
  • Warren Village– Expanding and enhancing equitable mental health services and supports for unhoused single-parent families, including targeted social and emotional interventions for children 0-5, school age children, parents, and teachers to support secure attachment and development and address the effects of trauma.
  • Youth On Record Expanding this organization’s current programming by developing an integrated mental health strategy that builds upon the organization’s existing efforts to connect youth with supportive services while raising awareness of behavioral health resources across all programming and partnerships.

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 $154 million in the areas of alternatives to jail, community-centered solutions, youth, and special initiatives since it began.