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About Colorado Access Foundation

As the official foundation of Colorado Access, we are committed to our vision for Colorado to be a place where all can achieve their fullest potential for health.

Our values

Local. Transformative. Inclusive.

We’re striving for health equity across Colorado through transformative investments that support local initiatives and include members of our community.
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Local

We champion community-focused initiatives led by Coloradans, for Coloradans.
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Transformative

We commit to long-term investments that seed change and promote better health outcomes for Coloradans.
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Inclusive

Our funding decisions put the experiences, insights, and hopes of our community members front and center.

Who we fund

We fund projects and initiatives that address health disparities, increase access to health care, and promote health equity among Coloradans. Specifically, we invest in community-led work that advances health equity for Coloradans of color, individuals with disabilities, LGBTQ+ communities, immigrants, and refugees.
We’re prioritizing two critical areas of need:

Inclusive health care

Providers should treat their patients with respect and dignity, no matter what. We fund initiatives that champion the intentional training, support, and retention of all roles involved in the delivery of care. Through this, we envision a diverse, culturally responsive workforce that has inherent compassion for the people they serve.

Colorado Access Foundation - Inclusive Healthcare
Colorado Access Foundation - Whole Person Health

Whole-person health

We fund initiatives and services that support the key conditions that affect health. This can mean access to safe and stable housing, reliable transportation, healthy and nutritious foods, and more.

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“Tepeyac Community Health Center is proud to be opening a new on-site pharmacy at our health center in summer 2023. Access to affordable medications and culturally appropriate services will serve not just our health center patients, but also our surrounding neighbors. The opening of our pharmacy would not have been possible so quickly without the support of the Colorado Access Foundation, and we are truly grateful on behalf of our patients and community.”

- Pamela Valenza, MD, MPH, Tepeyac Community Health Center

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Foundation grants

Organization

Priority Area

Funding Purpose Amount Year
Children’s Hospital Foundation

Key Conditions that Affect Health

Food as Medicine Program, Adams County

$713,775 2024-2027
TGTHR

Key Conditions that Affect Health

Behavioral Health Services and Housing

$300,000 2024-2026
Kids First Health Care

Key Conditions that Affect Health

General Operating Support

$400,000 2024-2027
Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities

Diverse Health Care Workforce

Pathways: Community Health Workers

$879,147 2024-2026
A Precious Child

Key Conditions that Affect Health

General Operating Support

$15,000 2023
Food for Thought

Key Conditions that Affect Health

General Operating Support

$10,000 2023
ACCESS Housing

Key Conditions that Affect Health

General Operating Support

$5,000 2023
Hunger Free Colorado

Key Conditions that Affect Health

General Operating Support

$425,000 2023-2026
Center for African American Health

Key Conditions that Affect Health

General Operating Support

$300,000 2023-2025
Metropolitan State University of Denver Foundation

Diverse Health Care Workforce

Pathways: Student Support, Career Exploration & Navigation

$1,195,680 2023-2026
Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger, a project of Trailhead

Key Conditions that Affect Health

Food: Healthy School Meals for All Media Campaign

$500,000 2023-2025
The Fax Partnership

Key Conditions that Affect Health

Housing

$124,889 2023
Rose Community Foundation

Key Conditions that Affect Health

Immigration Resources & Support $25,000 2023
Tepeyac Community Health Center

Diverse Health Care Workforce

Access to Pharmacy Services $350,000 2023
Showers for All Key Conditions that Affect Health General Operating Support $15,000 2022
Urban Peak Key Conditions that Affect Health General Operating Support $10,000 2022
The Center on Colfax Key Conditions that Affect Health General Operating Support $5,000 2022
Project Angel Heart Key Conditions that Affect Health General Operating Support $5,000 2022
Housing to Health Key Conditions that Affect Health Housing, Care Coordination $750,000 2022-2029
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Meet our team

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Cassidy Smith, MPH

Executive Director

Cassidy Smith, MPH

Executive Director

As the first executive director of the Colorado Access Foundation, Cassidy (she/her/hers) brings more than 20 years of experience in program leadership roles within nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, government agencies, and academic institutions. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology/anthropology from Hendrix College and a Master of Public Health degree in health policy and administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago. An advocate at heart with a commitment to building community, Cassidy pursues work to improve people’s health and well-being where they live.

Prior to joining the Foundation team, Cassidy served in a senior leadership role at Colorado Access, responsible for contract performance and program operations.

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Mirella Chavez

Foundation Program Manager

Mirella Chavez

Foundation Program Manager

Meet Mirella Chavez (she/her/ella), the Colorado Access Foundation program manager with a true passion for making a difference. With over 12 incredible years in the health care and nonprofit sectors, Mirella has worn many hats, gaining a true understanding of health care delivery, program management, strategic planning, and the power of collaboration with partners and the community. She proudly holds a Bachelor of Science degree in health care management from Metropolitan State University of Denver.

But Mirella’s story goes beyond her professional background. Growing up in and around disenfranchised communities has shaped her into the compassionate and driven individual she is today. She carries an unwavering dedication to health equity, always striving to enhance the well-being and empowerment of individuals and families across Colorado. It’s one of her driving forces.

Before joining the Foundation team, Mirella made waves as a program officer at Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation. There, she fearlessly dove into projects like the Colorado Medical-Dental Integration Project (CO MDI), managing data and analysis with finesse. She also took the lead on a workforce development initiative, aiming to cultivate a more racially and ethnically diverse oral health workforce that truly reflects the beautiful demographics of our state.

Mirella is ¡muy emocionada! to bring her expertise, combined with her genuine care for others, to pave the way for positive change in the realm of health care.

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Carrie Jones

Foundation Program Coordinator

Carrie Jones

Foundation Program Coordinator

As project coordinator for the Colorado Access Foundation, Carrie (she/her/hers) supports grantmaking and grants management processes, strategic communications, events, and board-related activities. She brings experience in grants management, project coordination, communications, health policy, and action-oriented relationship management. Before joining the organization, Carrie was a member of the communications team for an impact investing nonprofit. She also served as a project associate for a national public health consulting firm, where she contributed to projects related to improving health care access for people with HIV and preventing youth gun violence. She was born and raised in Boston, MA and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Oberlin College.

Carrie is passionate about innovative, compassionate, and comprehensive approaches to improving whole-person health, and believes every person deserves access to quality, affordable health care.

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FAQs and funding eligibility

At Colorado Access Foundation, we champion ideas and projects that will make a difference in our state. We work with our community partners to support innovative, locally designed projects that are informed by the people who live here.
Why is Colorado Access starting a Foundation?

As a Colorado-based, non-profit organization, Colorado Access has a long history of investing in local communities. The Colorado Access Foundation allows us to make sure dedicated resources are available to take a longer-term, focused, and strategic approach to promoting innovative health care, health-supporting services, and community partnerships to advance health equity for Coloradans.

Who is on the board of directors of the Colorado Access Foundation?

Currently, the board of directors has five members: Alisha Brown, MNM, senior vice president at Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities; Annie H. Lee, JD, president/CEO of Colorado Access; Ben Bynum, MD, senior director of impact investing at the Colorado Health Foundation; Dawn Matera Bassett MSW, LCSW, PhD, professor of social work at Metropolitan State University of Denver; and Jeffrey L. Harrington, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Children’s Hospital Colorado. If you’re interested in serving on the Foundation board or would like to nominate someone to serve, please contact info@coaccessfoundation.org.

Where does the Colorado Access Foundation receive its funding from?

Colorado Access transferred funds earned through its contracts to the Colorado Access Foundation to use for targeted investments in mission-focused initiatives within the state of Colorado. Colorado Access may transfer additional funds each year depending on its own annual financial performance.

What projects and initiatives are eligible for grants?

Our work focuses on communities experiencing the greatest inequities due to income, race and ethnicity, age, and geography, including those eligible for or enrolled in Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) or Child Health Plan Plus. We invest in work that advances health equity for Coloradans of color, individuals with disabilities, LGBTQ+ communities, immigrants, and refugees.

The Foundation accepts proposals for funding by invitation. We are excited to learn about proposal ideas from the community that will get Colorado closer to more inclusive health care and whole-person health. Specifically, we are interested in funding proposals that respond to two key areas.

A Diverse Health Care Workforce. Building, expanding, and retaining a diverse health care workforce, inclusive of physicians, advanced practice providers, and allied health professionals, to provide high-quality, culturally responsive care for individuals living with lower incomes or those covered by Health First Colorado and CHP+. To us, the workforce is inclusive of all roles that make the delivery of health care possible – not just direct care providers.

Key Conditions that Affect Health. Supporting efforts that ensure individuals with lower incomes, including those enrolled in Health First Colorado or Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) have access to safe and stable housing, safe and reliable transportation, and healthy and nutritious foods, all of which influence health outcomes.

Organizations invited to apply for funding must serve Colorado communities and must be one of the following:

  • Tax-exempt 501(c)(3)
  • Operating under a fiscal sponsorship agreement with a tax-exempt organization as the fiscal sponsor.
  • Tax-supported like a school or local/state government

The Foundation does not fund sponsorships. Please contact Colorado Access here for sponsorship requests.

Will the Foundation be holding fundraisers and soliciting donations?

Because the Foundation is funded by Colorado Access, it will not be accepting donations or hosting fundraising events.

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