News Article

Dear Partners and Friends of Caring for Colorado,

Since Caring for Colorado’s beginning 25 years ago, we’ve worked to improve the health and well-being of the people of Colorado. In doing so, we’ve held the belief that communities know better than anyone about what they need. Our job is to listen, learn, and respond in ways that center the experience and voice of people in Colorado while also working to leverage our partnerships, leadership, expertise, and resources to advance health equity and improve health outcomes.

What We’ve Learned
Over the past year, the Caring for Colorado staff and board of directors have reached out to communities across our state to hear directly from young people, their parents/caregivers, and the people who work with them on how Caring for Colorado can support efforts to improve health and well-being for young people and their families in our most under-resourced communities. What we heard very clearly are the deep concerns from young people and the adults around them about the poor health outcomes adolescents are experiencing. Young people are suffering, their parents are struggling to meet basic needs and to parent their children in a complex and often harsh world, and communities are strained from a lack of resources to provide adolescent-friendly, culturally relevant preventive healthcare and programs.

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly undermined gains in health, well-being, and family stability for many. Young people are experiencing high rates of social isolation, depression and anxiety, and youth violence. Youth of color and 2SLGBTQIA+ youth are facing racial and identity-based discrimination and bullying. Economic challenges, including inflation and high housing costs, have more families struggling to meet their basic needs, while also trying to support the social and emotional needs of their children in a rapidly changing and increasingly disconnected and hostile world.

How We Will Respond
At Caring for Colorado, we strive to fill gaps and work with others to address today’s needs while also building stronger, more equitable systems to prevent the health and social needs we see today.

Based on what we’re learning, and understanding our niche within Colorado’s philanthropy ecosystem, we are happy and excited to share that for the next decade, Caring for Colorado will focus all our efforts in three important ways:

  • First, our funding will be directed to improving the health and well-being of young people ages 9 through 25 and their families.
  • Second, our goal is health equity for young people, so we will provide funding that reaches young people furthest from opportunity, and those experiencing discrimination in any form.
  • Third, we will prioritize youth and family-centered prevention programs, system building, and policy development to create lasting, generational change for young people in our state.

Our Hope
Our hope is that Caring for Colorado can support young people to find their path, develop decision-making skills, and cultivate positive relationships that will help them grow into healthy, hopeful, contributing adults in our state. We will draw on our experience and partnerships to increase family stability, improve youth mental health, advance health equity for young people, and improve environments within communities to support the healthy development of young people. By investing in programs and advancing policies to improve conditions for young people experiencing health and social inequities, we will improve systems for all young people. In short, we will bring a variety of strategies together to help unlock the potential within every young person in our state.

Today’s adolescents are Colorado’s future. They are our next generation of leaders, workers, innovators, and parents. Ensuring they can thrive will benefit their lives and strengthen our communities. By building more equitable systems, together we can help young people fulfill the promise and potential of who they are and what they are meant to contribute to our world.

We are working on transition planning with our current partners who do not serve adolescents and their families. In October, we will introduce our 10-year strategic direction, which will describe our funding priorities and grant opportunities. Stay tuned to learn more about how we will continue to care for Colorado.