Caring for Denver opens $10M grant opportunity to fund mental health, trauma and addiction support for youth

Colorado Politics

By Alayna Alvarez

The Caring for Denver Foundation announced a $10 million grant opportunity on Tuesday for organizations working to provide mental health, trauma and substance misuse support for young people and their families.

“We’re looking for innovative mental health and substance misuse approaches that are youth-led, focus on the strengths of youth, and meet them where they are,” Lorez Meinhold, executive director of the Caring for Denver Foundation, said in a statement Tuesday.

Local organizations and agencies whose priorities are focused on empowering Denver’s youth are encouraged to apply for funding until the deadline of 7 p.m. Dec. 17. The goal of the grants will be to reduce youth harm, increase young people’s “resilience” to life pressures, improve mental health and address substance misuse issues.

“It is important that youth themselves are part of the strategies and how services are delivered,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, who spearheaded the Caring for Denver ballot initiative and now serves as its board chair. “This is an opportunity for young people, who often feel invisible, to take the lead in shaping their futures.”

Caring for Denver considers anyone up to age 26 as a youth, and the total amount available for all grant awards in this funding area is up to $10 million.

“Budgets will be evaluated for their reasonableness,” according to the foundation. “If an organization has already received a grant from Caring for Denver, that will be taken into consideration as well.”

Grant decisions will “favor” programs and projects that are youth-led or “youth-informed” and partner with young people in the work; focus on “innovative” approaches; are “meaningful to youth, where they are, and in the forms that work for them;” engage with young people youth who have been impacted by trauma and have inequitable access to resources and supports; and “value culture in healing and identity.”

All award applicants will be notified of their application status by April 2021, according to the foundation.