Grantee Profiles

Boettcher Foundation Press Release

01 Sep More than mental health: Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being provides community services

An urban garden with an aquaponics greenhouse, a dental office and a preschool probably aren’t the first things that come to mind when most people think about mental health centers. But a new campus operated by Mental Health Center of Denver brings all of these things and more together in an effort to serve the community and engage with clients and would-be clients on a more holistic level. Mental Health Center of Denver celebrated the opening of its Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being in February. The campus, which received a $50,000 grant from the Boettcher Foundation, has become a model for community-centered mental health services. When Mental Health Center of Denver leaders decided to build a new site, they looked at the zip codes from which they were drawing clients. They realized that many clients were coming from northeast Denver, requiring a cross-town trip to any of the organization’s existing sites. When they selected northeast Denver, the group honed in on a site in a neighborhood that lacked many basic services. It was an area where, historically, developers promised new community facilities that never came to fruition. As such, Mental Health Center of Denver saw an opportunity, not only to bring their services to an area of need, but to provide services and outreach well-beyond their traditional focus. “We truly set out to meet the needs of the community,” said Ric Durity, vice president of development at the Mental Health Center of Denver. “We engaged in a dialogue with the community to determine what they needed.” In addition to door-to-door canvassing to meet with neighbors in the surrounding area, Mental Health Center of Denver staff held regular community meetings to learn about their needs. That sort of community input resulted in the multi-use center now known as Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being. Located on a four-acre site at 35th Avenue and Dahlia Street in northeast Denver, the campus features 46,000 square feet of indoor space, including traditional clinical space, a preschool, dental clinic, classrooms, community meeting space, a demonstration kitchen and recreation facilities. Outdoor components include play areas, therapy gardens and an urban farm with an aquaponics greenhouse where vegetables and fish are raised in a closed system. While Mental Health Center of Denver staff offer many of the services provided on the campus, they have partnered with other service providers, including Kids in Need of Dentistry (known as KIND) and the Sewall Child Development Center, which operates the on-site preschool. The urban farm and aquaponics garden were a direct response to the community’s need for access to fresh food – something that came up repeatedly during community meetings. Other offerings include yoga and tai chi, cooking classes and other programs that are offered free to the community. “What’s inspiring is when you see the essence and diversity of the community represented here,” Ric said. The campus has become a national model, and Mental Health Center of Denver staff regularly conduct tours and speak about the site to other mental health providers who are interested in better integrating their centers into the community. Recently, they provided a webinar to the National Council for Behavioral Health. By integrating so seamlessly with the community and offering ancillary services, the campus helps to reduce the stigma around mental health treatment while providing a welcoming presence. Joshua Pruyn, former development officer for Mental Health Center of Denver, recalled a recent incident when the staff was leaving at the end of the day, and a woman arrived at the campus following a domestic dispute.  Though it was after hours, the staff stayed to care for the woman. “She didn’t want to talk about mental health, but she came here because she knew it was a safe place.  She later ended up signing up for an appointment,” he said. The Boettcher Foundation was proud to provide capital funding for this project, not only because of the positive work Mental Health Center of Denver does, but because it represents the type of innovative thinking and the community partnerships and engagement that we seek to encourage. Community members who live near the site and contributed their ideas to its development have welcomed the campus with open arms. “I’m really proud to be associated with [Dahlia Campus],” said area resident Maya Wheeler. “When I hear people in the community talk about it, they talk about it like they are so proud, like ‘I had input in this place, I did this and that.' I’m just proud. I was a part of it, too.”...
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

22 Jun Boettcher grant supports community space at Colorado Mountain College

  When multiple partners come together to create shared community spaces, incredible things can happen. That’s why the Boettcher Foundation was honored to help fund a new community space being constructed by Colorado Mountain College in partnership with the Glenwood Springs library. The 13,000-square-foot, second-story space in the Cooper Commons building in downtown Glenwood Springs is being built to accommodate a flexible learning center featuring collaboration rooms, arts space and technical training spaces. In addition to being used by the Glenwood Springs Branch Library and Colorado Mountain College, the finished space will be open to community groups as well. The Cooper Commons project got its start a few years ago when both the library and the CMC offices were running out of space in their downtown Glenwood Springs facilities. The library was considering a new project outside of the downtown core, while CMC was seeking a place to expand. The two hatched a plan in which the organizations would collaborate on a shared space that would keep the library downtown and add much-needed employee parking to the area. The new facility opened in 2013, but the second floor above the library was left unfinished, with the idea that the two organizations would consider possible uses for the space at a later date. The groups reached out to the community—seeking input from groups ranging from students and nonprofit leaders to veterans groups and school districts—to determine how best to use the space, and the community needs spanned everything from a theater to a teen hangout to recording studios. “What it boiled down to is that to address all of our and the community’s needs, we needed a big, flexible space,” said Linda English, vice president for fiscal affairs for the college. In April, the Boettcher Foundation Board of Trustees approved a $175,000 grant to help fund the final buildout of the space. In addition, the collaborative nature of the project prompted the Garfield Federal Mineral Lease District to award it a $750,000 grant – the largest it has ever given. Among the options in the new space will be a board room with interactive meeting technology, classroom spaces and a possible maker’s space for creative endeavors. The space will also include a kitchen and flexible spaces that can expand to accommodate a variety of audiences and uses. While Kristin Heath Colon, CEO of the Colorado Mountain College Foundation, says the space will be used by the college for large meetings, it will also be used for community needs, including as a training space for the local school district. Such uses, she said, will help expand and reinforce CMC’s role as a partner and resource in the community. “It helps position us as an open-armed entity that is available to support and engage the community,” she said. Construction is expected to start this fall, and the opening is expected to coincide with the college’s 50th anniversary celebration.      ...
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

16 Jan Biennial provides connection opportunity for scholars, investigators

Downtown Denver transformed into a festival of cultures and ideas when delegates from the United States, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Chile and Cuba convened during the 2015 Biennial of the Americas in July. In 2007, Boettcher Foundation helped establish this festival of ideas as a signature event in Denver and helped to restore the McNichols Building as part of the lead-up to the Biennial. The event’s unique ability to connect a wide variety of leaders from across the world and bring them to Colorado to discuss solutions for current issues motivated the foundation to increase its partnership for the 2015 festival. Boettcher Scholars and alumni were invited to attend a variety of events, including international speakers, panel discussions, art exhibits and musical performances. Six Boettcher Scholars interned for the Biennial—bringing their talents to the coordination and execution of the busy week. Healthcare and research was a primary topic during the Biennial, providing a unique opportunity for Boettcher Investigators and their international peers to participate. “Bioscience is a highly collaborative field. Investigators regularly join forces—many of them with researchers from other countries. So the international forum that the Biennial provided was a great opportunity for them to share ideas,” said Julie Lerudis, grants program director for the Boettcher Foundation. Investigators from several Colorado institutions invited their colleagues from Canada, Uruguay and Brazil to attend the events with the Boettcher Foundation. Boettcher Investigator Shoadong Dai had been working with Gustavo Salinas from Uruguay remotely for five years, but they had never actually met until the Biennial of the Americas. Investigator Abigail Person invited her Canadian colleague and expert in the field, Kathleen Cullen. As a result, Kathleen learned about the many scientific advancements being made in Colorado and plans to initiate even more collaborations with the state’s researchers. As part of the Biennial week, investigators and their guests had the chance to meet with Boettcher community members, speak as part of an expert panel, tour the state’s research institutions and of course, experience the vibrant culture of Denver. During a brainstorming session to enhance Boettcher Foundation’s Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards, the investigators and their guests suggested ideas that could further advance the Colorado bioscience community. Additionally, the Boettcher Investigators and their colleagues were able to give back to the life science community at the various Colorado institutions, as many of them hosted presentations for fellow researchers. ...
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Boettcher Foundation Press Release

15 Jan Boettcher Foundation staff volunteer at Project Angel Heart

Though the Boettcher Foundation primarily supports nonprofits through capital grants, it also values having its employees contribute to the community through service. Because of that shared service ethic, the staff rallied together to assist Project Angel Heart in its pursuit of making a difference in the lives of people in need. Project Angel Heart was founded in 1991 to deliver nutritious meals, at no cost, to Coloradans coping with life-threatening illnesses. Ever since, volunteers have delivered meals to clients in metro Denver and Colorado Springs. In 2011, Boettcher Foundation helped to fund Project Angel Heart’s new headquarters, allowing them to quadruple the number of clients they serve. The Boettcher Foundation staff recently had the opportunity to tour the new facility and gain a better understanding of the meaningful way in which Project Angel Heart serves its clients. The tour was led by Project Angel Heart’s volunteer resources assistant and 2010 Boettcher Scholar Hannah Koschnitzke. Hannah guided the staff through the innovative kitchen, the seasonal urban garden and the menu development process, which ensures each client is getting food tailored to his or her health and diet specifications. Next, the Boettcher Foundation staff took a turn in the client-service process, while also getting in touch with their creative sides, by decorating meal-delivery bags. This is one of the most popular volunteer options at Project Angel Heart, because people of all ages and abilities can contribute. “It’s a nice way for us to personalize the meal delivery, and let clients know we are thinking about them. By sending them a one-of-a-kind package, they know we care about them,” Hannah explained. Often, Project Angel Heart clients save their favorite bags, or even hang designs that have a special meaning in their homes as artwork, which served as inspiration for the Boettcher Foundation team as they decorated dozens of bags. ...
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Youth on Record

15 Mar Youth on Record | Denver, Colorado

Youth on Record is a Denver-based nonprofit founded by members of the band Flobots. The innovative nonprofit celebrated the grand opening of its Youth Media Studio, located in the Mariposa community in Denver, in the spring of 2015. Youth on Record has developed a curriculum that helps at-risk students—both in Denver Public Schools and residential treatment centers—re-engage with the educational system by contracting with working musicians who teach the students various aspects of music production via for-credit courses. These classes provide an incentive that keeps students committed to education while providing valuable skills for careers in arts production. Both the classes and the mentoring offered by Youth on Record’s musician-instructors empower and encourage young people in some of Denver’s most vulnerable communities to graduate and develop the skills they need to enter the workforce or pursue post-secondary education. The organization’s new Youth Media Studio was selected as the anchor tenant for the Denver Housing Authority’s award-winning La Mariposa redevelopment project based on its commitment to community, its cultural and artistic relevance, and its ability to reach and teach Denver’s most vulnerable youth populations. The Boettcher Foundation grant specifically helped to fund a community lounge space in the Youth Media Center where students can collaborate on poetry and lyrical projects. Several nationally known musicians, including Chali 2na, from the acclaimed Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli, have already led workshops in the space. The Boettcher Foundation was proud to support Youth on Record because of its culturally relevant and effective programming and its success in uniting members of Denver’s vibrant music scene together around an important educational cause....
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Levitt Pavilion

10 Jul Levitt Pavilion Denver | Denver, Colorado

Levitt Pavilion Denver is an exciting project that has the potential to reshape a neighborhood and provide cultural opportunities in an underserved community. Friends of Levitt Pavilion Denver is a partnership between the City of Denver and the national nonprofit Levitt Pavilions. The group is currently raising funds to build an outdoor concert venue that will present at least 50 free, public concerts each year. The amphitheater will be built in Ruby Hill Park in southwest Denver. This community of low-income, working class families has largely been bypassed by the redevelopment activities that have taken place in other parts of Denver. Since 1974, Levitt Pavilions has partnered with cities across the country to transform under-utilized public spaces into outdoor music venues. At each of the other six Levitt Pavilion sites, the new outdoor amphitheaters have successfully transformed little-used spaces into vibrant community destinations that have helped to activate and improve the surrounding neighborhoods. The Boettcher Foundation was pleased to support this project with a capital grant not only because of the project’s commitment to create a cultural amenity accessible to an underserved neighborhood, but also because of its potential to activate the surrounding neighborhood. In addition, Levitt Pavilion Denver is forging partnerships with a number of nonprofits—including Colorado Public Radio, Colorado Symphony, Denver Zoo, Opera Colorado, Wonderbound and University of Colorado Denver’s Music & Entertainment Industry Studies Department—that would encourage collaboration while increasing cultural opportunities in southwest Denver....
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Crawford Town Hall

10 Jul Crawford Town Hall | Crawford, Colorado

The giant red heart painted on the exterior of the old Crawford school isn’t just for decoration. It’s a symbol of how locals view the 1913 structure that has come to be known as the “heart of the community.” The Western Slope town of Crawford and the surrounding area have a population of approximately 1,900, and the old schoolhouse served four generations of the community’s schoolchildren before being deeded to the town in 1982. Since that time it has served as the town hall and central community facility, playing host to public meetings, social gatherings, family reunions and annual events like Pioneer Days, Old Timers/New Comers potlucks and the annual Festival of Lights. In 2008, a series of public meetings were conducted to discuss the future of the building, which was in need of renovation. Residents overwhelmingly wanted to preserve and renovate the unique stone building for continued use as the town hall and community center. The renovation of the school building is being completed in two phases. The first phase consisted of the preservation and reconstruction of the exterior features of historic significance and was completed in 2012. The second phase includes preservation and reconstruction of the interior features of historic significance; electrical and mechanical upgrades; and remodeling the interior to provide space for larger groups, a commercial kitchen, two smaller meeting rooms, town hall offices and ADA-compliant bathrooms. The Boettcher Foundation was happy to support this project with a $25,000 grant, to be used as needed during both phases of the renovation. The Crawford Town Hall’s ability to connect and serve the community in a multi-use facility made it an ideal capital grant. While foundation and government resources have helped fund the project, the renovation would not have come to fruition without the steadfast support of community members who rallied to maintain this local institution....
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