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The Caring for Denver Foundation Launches, Provides Mental Health and Substance Misuse Treatment

The foundation was founded and funded by voter support in last year's November election


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Community members including treatment providers, law enforcement, those in recovery, artists and advocates will come together tonight to celebrate the launch of Caring for Denver Foundation, which will provide at least $35 million per year for mental health and substance misuse treatment in Denver.

"Our community is hurting. I see our alarming rates of suicide, and there are three to four overdoses on the streets of Denver every day,” says Caring for Denver Board Chairwoman, State Representative Leslie Herod.

Herod, who championed the successful 2018 ballot initiative ‘Caring 4 Denver,’ says, “The Foundation and new funding will be transformative for tens of thousands of Denverites who struggle every single day with untreated and undertreated mental health and substance misuse challenges. We have the power to help, and now we can act."

Caring for Denver Foundation was founded and funded with overwhelming voter support in Nov. 2018. The ballot initiative passed says that 25 cents from every hundred dollars spent will be placed into a community fund for mental health and substance misuse issues. Caring for Denver will distribute funds to support programs in Denver that increase mental health and substance misuse prevention, treatment, recovery, and harm reduction; provide alternatives to jails and emergency rooms as a first stop for those in crisis; and fund community-identified priorities.

Theo Wilson, activist, musician, slam poet, author and motivational speaker, will be performing a soul-stirring, original spoken word piece related to mental health at the launch event.

"The energy residents showed through their vote in November of 2018 is invigorating as we lay the foundation for this game-changing work," says Lorez Meinhold, executive director of the Caring for Denver Foundation. "No longer will we let our friends, family, youth and neighbors suffer from mental health and substance misuse in silence. We’re eager to begin work to ensure our communities have the right resources and support they need to heal."

When: Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, 5 to 7 PM
Where: The Center for Visual Art, 965 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, 80204 (Note: The gallery will be open for attendees to enjoy exhibits showcasing work from Denver's best and brightest emerging art and design talent.)

About Caring for Denver Foundation

Caring for Denver Foundation is a public 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization integrated with and accountable to stakeholders across Denver with oversight from 13 Board members appointed by the Mayor, District Attorney, and City Council President. Representative Leslie Herod serves as the board chairwoman.

About Rep. Leslie Herod

Colorado State Representative Leslie Herod (D-Denver) was elected in 2016 as the first LGBTQ African American in the Colorado General Assembly. Since then, she has passed 52 bills addressing criminal justice reform, mental health, addiction, youth homelessness, education and civil rights protections. 

About Theo Wilson

Theo Wilson is a founding member of the Denver Slam Nuba team, who won the National Poetry Slam in 2011. He began his speaking career in the NAACP at the age of 15 and has always had a passion for social justice. His TED Talk entitled, “A Black Man Goes Undercover in the Alt Right,” was seen world-wide, amassing a total of over 12 million views. He has been featured on BuzzFeed, CNN, Good Day Canada and TV One.

About Lorez Meinhold

Lorez serves as the executive director of Caring for Denver Foundation. She brings over nineteen 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.

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