26 nonprofits receive Caring for Denver grants

Funding will support mental health, fight against substance misuse in community

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The goal is to do more to support mental health and the fight against substance misuse in the Denver community.

In November 2018, Denver voters approved a mental health funding sales tax that puts $0.25 per $100 spent into a community fund for mental health and substance misuse issues. Tasked with prioritizing those funds was the newly formed Caring for Denver Foundation.

The foundation got to work and engaged with more than 1,600 Denver residents and identified four areas that have the most immediate needs. They are: youth; alternatives to jail; care provision to ensure more people in Denver have access to resources, support and services at the time they need it; and community-centered solutions that make use of “community knowledge, strengths and resources to foster local connectedness and support,” states a news release.

Throughout 2020, Caring for Denver announced funding for various contemporary issues, ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to criminal justice concerning response to mental health and substance misuse crises.

In early December, Caring for Denver made another announcement that more than $5.6 million in funding will go to 26 local nonprofits — each led by a person with lived experience or by community members the organization serves.

MORE: Spotlight on the nonprofits

“People recover in community — rarely do they recover in isolation,” said Lorez Meinhold, executive director of Caring for Denver, in a news release. “We’re incredibly eager to partner with the community on solutions that meet people where they are and reinforce their strengths.”

These particular grants “prioritize access, cultural relevance and community collaboration. Grantees will provide supports accessible in places and spaces people live, know, visit, learn and trust,” states a news release.

“The mental health crisis in Denver, alongside the entire nation, has only been exacerbated by COVID-19 — from the fear of getting the virus to the lack of physical contact with our friends and family. This virus is taking a toll on all of us,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, in a news release. Herod serves as Caring for Denver’s board chair. “Caring for Denver funding will be transformative for tens of thousands of Denverites by providing tools and opportunities for the community to connect and cope together safely.”

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