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WFCO Relief Fund Makes Rapid-Response Grants to 66 Organizations

// May 8, 2020

Relief Fund Will Help Women Weather the Economic Fallout of COVID-19

WFCO announced today that through our Women and Families of CO Relief Fund (WFCO Relief Fund) we have made COVID-19 rapid response grants to 42 organizations serving Colorado women and their families, nine grants to women-led social ventures and small businesses, 14 grants to our existing WAGES (Women Achieving Greater Economic Security) grantee cohort, and one grant to the Mile High United Way Keep The Lights On Fund. In total, $452,500 was granted to 66 organizations.

The fallout of COVID-19 is exacerbating gender, racial, and class inequities and underscoring the gaps in essential resources. The purpose of the fund is to mitigate these inequities by rapidly and responsively distributing general operating grants to nonprofit organizations addressing the emergency needs of Colorado women and their families who are most impacted by COVID-19.

The need is great for housing, food, and essential supplies

The 42 general operating rapid-response grants, totaling $335,000, will enhance the capacity of organizations located in 17 counties. Twenty-four of the organizations are Denver-based, while 18 are located in other cities along the Front Range, resort towns, and rural areas. The organizations respond to a variety of critical needs including housing, food, transportation, child care, health care, behavioral health, and reproductive health. They focus on many populations vulnerable in the aftermath of COVID-19, including disabled women, women of color, immigrant and refugee women, domestic violence survivors, women experiencing homelessness, and more. In all, WFCO received 287 applications from organizations in 35 Colorado counties.

“The vast number of organizations that applied from more than half of Colorado’s counties demonstrates that women and their families in every part of our state are deeply and devastatingly impacted by COVID-19,” said Lauren Y. Casteel, president and CEO of WFCO. “They urgently need immediate assistance to meet their most basic human needs, especially securing stable housing, food, and essential supplies such as diapers, wipes, and hygiene products. The needs are most pronounced for women of color and women in rural counties.”

Relief Fund grantees/counties served

  • 9to5, National Association of Working Women, Denver
  • A Woman’s Place, Inc., Weld
  • Adelante Community Development, Adams
  • Advocates Against Domestic Assault, Las Animas
  • Advocates of Lake County, Lake
  • Alianza Norco, Larimer
  • Alliance Against Domestic Abuse, Chaffee
  • Centro Humanitario Para Los Trabajadores, Denver
  • Colorado Gerontological Society, Denver
  • Families Forward Resource Center, Denver
  • Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), Denver
  • Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition, Adams
  • Denver Asset Building Coalition, Denver
  • Domestic Violence Initiative for Women With Disabilities, Denver
  • Dream Centers–Mary’s Home, El Paso
  • Early Learning Ventures, Arapahoe
  • ECDC African Community Center, Denver
  • Friends of the Haven, Denver
  • Grecio Housing, El Paso
  • Healthy Child Care Colorado, Denver
  • Hilltop Health Resources, Mesa
  • Hispanic Affairs Project, Montrose
  • Latina Safehouse, Denver
  • Morgan County Family Center, Morgan
  • Padres & Jovenes Unidos, Denver
  • Pueblo Rescue Mission, Pueblo
  • Renew, Inc., Montezuma
  • Rose Andom Center, Denver
  • Servicios de la Raza, Denver
  • Small Business Majority Foundation, District of Columbia
  • Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning, Denver
  • The Center for African American Health, Denver
  • The Center for Trauma & Resilience, Denver
  • The Gathering Place: A Refuge For Building Lives, Denver
  • The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Colorado (The Center), Denver
  • The Nappie Project-A Diaper Bank, Larimer
  • The Small Town Project, Otero
  • Tu Casa, Inc., Alamosa
  • Valley Settlement, Garfield
  • Victim Offender Reconciliation Program of Denver, Denver
  • Warren Village, Denver
  • WeeCycle, Arapahoe

Community-led review process

Approximately 60 community volunteers who represent the diversity of our state with respect to geography, areas of professional expertise, and many intersections of social identity — including race and ethnicity, abilities, age, socio-economic status, and sexual orientation — reviewed and scored applications. Criteria WFCO utilized to make final grant selections were based on alignment with our core values and information about the over-representation of impacts of COVID-19 in communities of color and other aspects of disproportionate impacts of the crisis on women.

Additional grants made from the Fund

The Colorado Health Foundation invested $500,000 in WFCO in April 2020 to launch the WFCO Relief Fund. In addition to the 42 rapid-response grants, WFCO made additional grants from the fund.

Recognizing that women-led small businesses and social ventures are at a high risk of COVID-19 devastation, WFCO made nine $5,000 grants to small businesses and social ventures led by women that applied for funding from our Women’s Impact Investing Giving Circle in early 2020. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 24% of small businesses are less than two months away from shuttering permanently. The grantees include:

  • C.H.I.C. – launching a food truck for skills training and earned income for women, serve food deserts, and provide sustainable revenue for the organization
  • Fractal3 – affordable housing through sustainable prefab modular housing
  • HopeTank/Swag for Food – affordable, customized promotional materials and products that give back
  • Huerta – Focus Points Family Resource Center – recruit and train women in urban agriculture and product development
  • Lady Justice Brewing – social enterprise that donates profits to Colorado organizations that promote the status and opportunities of women and girls
  • Sistahbiz Global Network – business accelerator to help black women compete in business
  • The Equity Project – sharing effective solutions for organizations to create equity-based systems
  • The Village Institute – housing-based community integration and job readiness program for newly arrived refugees
  • Wompost – making zero-waste solutions available and accessible to everyone

The Colorado Health Foundation’s investment also allowed WFCO to offer $5,000 in general operating grants to each of the 14 direct-service partners that make up our WAGES (Women Achieving Economic Security) grantee cohort, as well as one $2,500 grant to Mile High United Way for the Keep the Lights On Fund, which makes bulk purchases of essential supplies to help child care providers continue operations. Lastly, the fund also included an investment in WFCO’s internal capacity to manage the WFCO Relief Fund and prioritize women and families in a sustained equitable recovery from this crisis.

Thank you to our additional Relief Fund contributors

Individuals, nonprofits, foundations, and corporations made additional contributions to the initial $500,000 investment by The Colorado Health Foundation, with gifts ranging from $500 to $10,000. Thank you to the following funders who supplemented the WFCO Relief Fund, allowing WFCO to make a larger impact for Colorado women in the wake of COVID-19: BoldeReach, Sara D. Boyd, Margie & Tom Gart, Debbie & Greg Hammons, Kaaren Hardy, Jerry Gart Family Foundation, Loraine Miller, PNC Foundation, The Ken & Gala White Family Foundation, and anonymous donors.

“Because of The Colorado Health Foundation’s investment, as well as the donations from several generous donors, more women will be able to stay in their homes and feed their families, buy necessary supplies for their young children, and access critical health resources and child care,” said Casteel. “As the anchor institution in Colorado focused on advancing opportunity for women of every background and identity, our donors fuel our work to meet the needs of women through the most difficult times and to maximize their opportunity for years to come.”



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