The Denver Foundation to Award $5M to Increase Behavioral Health Care Access Across Colorado

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Colorado Health Access Fund seeks to fill gaps in behavioral care for homeless, low-income, and rural communities; proposal Deadline is March 10.

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The Colorado Health Access Fund of The Denver Foundation is now accepting funding proposals from organizations and collaboratives working to increase access to behavioral health care and improve health outcomes for high-need populations across Colorado.

Approximately $5 million is available for projects and programs that increase health outcomes across the state, particularly in rural communities. Applications are due Friday, March 10, and grants will be awarded in August 2017. Applicants must register with The Denver Foundation’s online application system by Wednesday, March 1. Complete guidelines are available online.

The intent of the Colorado Health Access Fund is to help ensure that health care services are equitably available to all Coloradans with high health needs by distributing funds to organizations that serve people in rural, urban, and suburban areas. The fund will prioritize programs that serve those who are low-income and/or experiencing homelessness; have multiple chronic or acute health conditions; and/or lack health insurance coverage, have inadequate coverage, or have significant barriers to accessing coverage. General operating support is also available.

Resources will be directed in four project areas:

  •     Education of those with high health needs, as well as their families and caregivers;
  •     Transitions in care;
  •     Innovation of care delivery; and
  •     Improved access to care, particularly in rural communities.

According to a 2014 analysis of the health care landscape conducted by the Colorado Health Institute and commissioned by The Denver Foundation, 15 of the 21 Colorado Health Statistic Regions included mental/behavioral health as a top local public health priority. Furthermore, mental and behavioral health care was cited as a community priority in every community dialogue conducted by CHI. Discussions with health and community foundations identified access to mental health and substance abuse as the most pressing issues statewide. Thus, the Colorado Health Access Fund is focused on increasing access to behavioral health treatment.

In 2015, the Colorado Health Access Fund distributed nearly $2.2 million to 28 grantees across Colorado. A summary of the activities and impact of the first cohort of grantees is available here.

Overall, the Colorado Health Access Fund seeks to:

  • Reduce and remove barriers for Coloradans with high behavioral health care needs in accessing behavioral health care treatment
  • Build on innovations and investments already in place around behavioral health care treatment and support strategies for sustainability within the communities
  • Support treatment solutions that will benefit and meet the needs of the local community, as well as explore how those solutions could be replicated and/or scaled to meet the needs of communities across the state; and
  • Widely share solutions and approaches that improve access to behavioral health care treatment, as well as openly convey “lessons learned.”

For more information and to apply, please visit

About The Colorado Health Access Fund
The Colorado Health Access Fund was created in 2015 with an anonymous $40 million gift as a Field of Interest fund at The Denver Foundation. The intent of the fund is to support programs/activities that generally increase access to health care and strive to improve health outcomes for populations in Colorado with high health care needs. The fund will help to ensure health care services are equitably available to all Coloradans with high health needs by distributing the funds to organizations throughout the state. The Colorado Health Access Fund will distribute approximately $5 million per year through 2022.

About The Denver Foundation
The Denver Foundation is a community foundation that inspires people and mobilizes resources to improve life in Metro Denver. In 2015, the Foundation and its donors awarded more than $97 million in grants. The Denver Foundation has three roles: stewarding an endowment to meet current and future needs for Metro Denver, working with community leaders to address the core challenges that face the community, and managing more than 1,000 charitable funds on behalf of individuals, families, and businesses. For more information, visit

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Laura Bond
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