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In times of crisis, members of the community must work together to ensure a solution and support one another. The Caring For Denver Foundation has set up a support fund that will aid organizations and frontline responders during the COVID-19 shutdown. The fund is designated towards providing an emergency childcare program, access to behavioral health for those caring for the critically ill and homeless, and resources for providers serving at-risk populations. Caring For Denver has partnered with several other foundations, agencies, and community organizations in order to serve those in need throughout the course of this pandemic and into the future. 

The Caring For Denver Foundation was established in 2018 after the ballot measure passed with 70 percent voter approval. As per the proposed legislation, all proceeds are designated towards setting up provisions for those suffering from substance misuse and mental health issues, as well as alleviating stigmas related to these prevalent concerns. The foundation runs as an independent non-profit and employs dedicated individuals who care deeply about public health and safety. 

More specifically, the COVID-19 relief fund is raising money for those who are risking their own well-being to help the less fortunate. Now more than ever, it is critical to support the providers and organizations that are overwhelmed working on mental health and substance misuse during this time. We must continue to support the ongoing needs of the community as this rapidly changing situation progresses. In fact, medical professionals have urged that the worst is yet to come. As the U.S. nears the peak of contagion, supplies and manpower will continue to dwindle. Caring For Denver is taking an offensive strategy to prepare for worst case scenarios and support those frontliners who are already making sacrifices.

“I applaud Caring for Denver for taking these steps to support the hard-working residents of our city when they need it the most,” Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “I’ve said from the beginning, we are going to get through this together, by taking care of each other and ensuring the most vulnerable among us are always a priority.” 

Related Article: The Alexander Foundation COVID-19 Assistance Program

Leslie Herod is chairman of Caring For Denver’s board and the state representative who pushed to get the foundation’s measure on the 2018 ballot. Herod is a longtime proponent of supporting healthcare workers and mental health programs. She is also the first queer, black person to be elected to Colorado’s legislature. Herod and her team will be utilizing the relief fund to create safety-nets for providers, ensure organizations will have the necessary operational resources, and provide self-care dollars for staff supporting at-risk populations, such as the critically homeless. 

Since the foundation was put into effect, 25 cents from every $100 spent in Denver has gone towards their funding, which totals over $35 million every year. However, that money is distributed to a variety of programs that do not receive sufficient support elsewhere. A few of their priorities consist of mental health and substance misuse prevention, treatment, recovery, and harm reduction, as well as providing alternatives to jails and emergency rooms as a first stop for those in crisis.