DENVER — In June 2020, Next with Kyle Clark’s “Word of Thanks” micro-giving campaign began.
Since then, Next viewers have donated millions of dollars to help small and medium-sized non-profits in Colorado, including emergency aid for migrant groups, sending supplies to Ukraine, and raising funds for the survivors of the Club Q shooting. This year, we passed the $10 million mark.
The project is ongoing, as we look to help even more of our neighbors each week.
>> 2022 tax information: If you're looking for the tax ID for any of these causes, we compiled a list with each one.
12/28/22 | Newcomers Fund: How you can help the thousands of migrants who have come to Denver was one of the most constant questions we heard in December. There were a variety of small nonprofits working on this, and this campaign was one centralized way to help. The Newcomers Fund was a joint effort to help all the various nonprofits assisting migrants coming to and through Colorado.
The migrants' immediate needs were shelter, warm clothes, and meals, plus medical care for people who have sometimes spent months making a dangerous journey north. Longer term needs will include help finding housing and paying rent deposits, transportation, and community navigation getting settled. After 150 days, asylum applicants can file for work authorization, and they'll need help finding jobs.
No one organization was able to handle all those needs, but many stepped up to help. The nonprofit Rose Community Foundation, in partnership with the state and the City of Denver, created the fund to help those fleeing violence and seeking a new life here. The organizers of the Newcomers Fund say they'll quickly get money out the door to nonprofits and government agencies providing services. The migrants and asylum seekers coming to and through Denver have been welcomed by so many groups and organizations. This is our chance to support the Coloradans supporting them. You raised over $70,000 for our new neighbors.
12/21/22 | Colorado Safe Parking Initiative: There were Coloradans who spend the night in the cars in the brutal cold this night as they were in between places to stay. There's a nonprofit that works to make that as safe as possible and help Coloradans find places to live so they're not roughing it in their cars.
The Colorado Safe Parking Initiative is a nonprofit that provides people with a secure place to park, bathrooms, a way to freshen up before going to work in the morning. About half of the people who use their parking lots are working, they just don't have enough money for housing. Nearly all of them are experiencing homelessness for the first time and just trying to bridge a downturn in their luck.
The Colorado Safe Parking Initiative opened a lot in Commerce City that is only for families with children living in their vehicles. Their goal on extremely cold nights is to offer people motel rooms. For those who want to stay with their cars, they offered sleeping bags and other cold weather gear. The next few nights were dangerously cold for Coloradans living in their cars, dropping down to -25 degrees. The Colorado Safe Parking Initiative was there for them on those nights and many nights to come. You raised over $118,000 to keep people warm and safe during the cold.
12/14/22 | A Precious Child: A Precious Child provided more than 13,000 holiday gifts for kids in Colorado last year. They had a list of 13,750 kids covered, but another 4,000 children in need had been referred to their emergency list. You pulled this off in 2021 for children in our community. In 2022, we did it again. A Precious Child serves kids all over the metro area and up into Northern Colorado. A major focus of their work are gifts, birthday gifts and holiday gifts, because they know a gift tells a child they are loved.
The names come in from schools, shelters, other service providers who identify children who might go without a gift this holiday season. You raised over $90,000 to get gifts to children.
12/7/22 | Community Table: Someone told the non-profit Community Table in Jefferson County, "When you're hungry, it's difficult to focus on much else."
For those of us fortunate enough to only know hunger as an occasional inconvenience, not a day-to-day problem, we still know it's true. That's why we partnered with 9Cares Colorado Shares to help Community Table feed Coloradans, because it really is about making sure people have enough to eat, so they can accomplish everything else in life. Community Table's goal is self-sufficiency, and hunger stands in the way of that.
Community Table has a client choice pantry where people can shop for the food of their choice as no cost. They offer drive-through and walk-up good boxes for people to take on Saturdays, and a mobile pantry that goes to senior housing and places where seasonal farmworkers live. Community Table's been at this in Arvada and North Jeffco since 1982 - they know what works. They pair their food programs with rent and medical bill help, a community health clinic, and even dental care. They do a lot because they know the need is great, and they know how to meet it. You raised over $23,000 to serve up hope this season.
11/30/22 | Friends of Denver Housing Authority: We've bought a holiday gift for every child in Denver's public housing for two years in a row, and in 2022 we made it three. We helped the non-profit Friends of Denver Housing Authority with its goal to buy a holiday gift for every kid they serve. It works like this: Parents sign up to receive a gift for their child. They go on the list in the order they sign up. The non-profit foundation that supports families in Denver public housing will buy gifts for the kids on the list in the order they sign up until their funds run out. That's where we come in.
For the last three years, we've made sure the funds don't run out so that no family in Denver's public housing is turned away if they're trying to find a holiday gift for their child. Your generosity has been so overwhelming that for two years you've not only purchased a gift for every child in Denver's public housing, you've purchased gifts for kids in Denver's Section 8 housing, which is privately-owned housing for families with low incomes. You raised over $79,000 to get kids in Denver public housing gifts for the holidays.
11/22/22 | Colorado Healing Fund: Time and again - you came through with love, support, and generosity for Coloradans facing the unimaginable. We did it again for the victims' families and survivors of the Club Q shooting.
The Colorado Healing Fund was created years ago by victim advocates in Colorado for moments like this. When something terrible impacts our community and so many people want to help, want to give to a trusted source that will be transparent and accountable about where the money goes as needs are identified and met. The Colorado Healing Fund did this after the Boulder grocery store shooting, disbursing the vast majority of donations to victims' assistance organizations to go to victims' families and survivors and remaining funds to support the community impacted.
The Colorado Healing Fund immediately moved $50,000 out the door to assist victims of the Club Q shooting as the first donations were arriving. Our donations to the Colorado Healing Fund will help meet immediate needs, like funds for memorial services, medical expenses, travel costs for families - and then go to meet later needs that haven't even been imagined at this point. We sent a strong message that hate is not welcome in Colorado, that we hold the victims' families and survivors close, and that we'll do whatever we can to help them heal. You raised over $122,000 for families of victims and survivors of the Club Q shooting.
11/16/22 | Greater Park Hill Community Inc: We picked up the cost of Thanksgiving dinner for hundreds of families with the Thanksgiving dinner project of the non-profit Greater Park Hill Community, and all their other work to feed their neighborhood and beyond.
The non-profit delivered hundreds of Thanksgiving meal boxes to places where they know they're needed in Northeast Denver: to schools, to low-income apartment complexes, to families that have a relationship with their food bank. They do more than Thanksgiving when it comes to fighting hunger. Their volunteer-run food pantry has distributed nearly 10,000 meals this week. They run a free farm stand with fresh produce in the growing months and a weekend food program for students who rely on food from school. You raised over $41,000 to set the table and make the holidays special for hundreds of families.
11/9/22 | Food for Hope: As we prepared for the Thanksgiving season, you heard a lot about hunger in Colorado. One in six kids don't get enough nutrition at home, and about one in three Coloradans struggle with hunger.
All month, our campaigns partnered with our 9Cares ColoradoShares food drive to help non-profits making an impact.
We got things started with the non-profit Food for Hope, which embeds its food banks inside schools in Adams County. They bring the food to schools because school counselors can help them identify families that might be struggling to get enough to eat. It's an easy place for parents to pick up food when they're picking up their kids and high schoolers can shop for their families.
Almost half of students in Adams County qualify for free or reduced cost meals, so they rely on getting food at school. Food for Hope makes sure they can also take food home for the evenings and weekends and for their whole families. They do this through their in-school food banks, weekend take-home bags, and an annual Thanksgiving dinner distribution. You raised over $28,000 to help feed Colorado.
11/2/22 | Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance: Colorado's rising crime rate strained this state in ways that we can see and ways we can't. The non-profit that runs Colorado's Crime Victim Emergency Fund dispensed so much money helping crime victims in 2022 that they had to ration funds significantly in the last two months of the year.
The Crime Victim Emergency Fund tries to alleviate the financial burden that can come with being the target of a crime. All the referrals have to come from official sources, like domestic violence shelters, police, or prosecutors. The non-profit Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance can pay for a hotel room as a safe place to stay, moving expenses if a crime victim needs to relocate for their safety, pick up a rent check if the perpetrator was the one paying the bills, that kind of thing. It's not within our individual power to stop Colorado's rising crime, but it is within our power tonight to help those most impacted. You raised over $15,000 to help crime victims recover.
10/26/22 | Grand Foundation: In the months following the Marshall Fire and the loss of 1,000 homes in Boulder County, we heard from some of the hundreds of Coloradans who lost homes in the East Troublesome Fire in Grand County. They told us they felt forgotten. Not nearly as much money was raised to help their community, and their rebuilding process has also been painfully slow. The Grand Foundation's Wildfire Emergency Fund will continue the work that has taken years and will take years more.
The non-profit has distributed more than $3 million raised to help the people who lost homes, which goes to debris removal and restoring the land. They're honest: The money that remains will not last years more, like the recovery will. 366 homes were destroyed. Rebuilding permits have only been issued for about a third so far. Grand County, its people, and its land have a long recovery ahead. You raised over $22,000 to help families rebuild after tragedy.
10/19/22 | International Hearing Dog, Inc.: Hard of hearing and Deaf Coloradans who previously had their hearing will talk about how the world becomes difficult to navigate, scary (especially for women going out alone) and discouraging.
International Hearing Dog Inc., based in Adams County, trains service dogs to assist those Coloradans. This is intense, years-long training that begins when they're puppies, often from shelters. They’re trained to be a hearing dog, to act as someone's ears at home, at work, at school, and out and around. The dogs are specifically trained for each person's individual needs, like what sounds they need to be alerted to.
Because the process is so personal, training one dog specifically for one person, it's time intensive and expensive, but the result is life changing. These service dogs make the work easier to navigate, less dangerous, less lonely. International Hearing Dog helps Coloradans hold onto their independence, confidence, and connection with others. Our support helped them train more dogs for more of our neighbors. You raised over $31,000 to help connect Coloradans to these dogs and change lives.
10/12/22 | Servicios de la Raza's VISTAS Program: Getting out of an abusive relationship is a nightmare, no matter where you are or where you're from. When survivors of domestic abuse and other violence face issues getting help in a small town, or overcoming a language barrier, the VISTAS program is there for them. The VISTAS program is a statewide project from the nonprofit Servicios de la Raza. VISTAS provides English and Spanish speaking support for Coloradans impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and other crimes.
These resources include a 24-hour hotline, counseling and mental health support, hotel vouchers to get someone out of a scary situation, and even someone to walk side by side through the court process. Sometimes people need help for a few days. Sometimes, it's several years worth of support.
They keep families safe when the isolation of being in a small town where everyone knows everyone or not speaking English might work to a perpetrator's advantage. Their goal was to add more staff to serve the growing need for their work to protect Coloradans facing violence at home. You raised over $16,000 for survivors to get the resources they need.
10/5/22 | Sense of Security: We see a lot of pink each October, and there are national non-profits in the fight against breast cancer, but we wanted to tell you about a small, local non-profit that has a direct impact on the lives of Coloradans with breast cancer. Sense of Security grants money to breast cancer patients as their cost of their treatment and other expenses exceeds their monthly incomes. The women it helps are relieved of some of the stress and fear that can take away from what really matters: their health.
The non-profit pays $500 worth of bills per month and pays them directly. This can be for rent, a car payment, a mortgage, a light bill, groceries. As women in Colorado are in a fight for their lives, Sense of Security helps take some of the financial pressure off their families. You raised over $26,000 for women's health.
9/28/22 | Spirit of the Sun: There's a nonprofit in Colorado that works to strengthen Native American communities both on reservations and in urban areas like Denver. Womxn-led organization Spirit of the Sun has a particular focus on the interests, and the needs, of their youth and their elders.
Food is a particular focus. First, they teach Native youth about regenerative farming and traditional practices. They're adding new plots of land at area farms to grow their own corn, tomatoes, and garlic. Then, each week, they gather their own food and donated produce to build food boxes for elders in the community and families with young children.
They'll even deliver the food if that's what the community member needs.
Spirit of the Sun's work goes far beyond just growing and distributing food to people in need. They run financial literacy programs for the Native American community and outdoor explorations to help young people learn about their indigenous identity. You raised over $16,0000 for an often underserved community.
9/21/22 | Nathan Yip Foundation: The non-profit Nathan Yip Foundation's work gives grants to teachers in rural classrooms. In the past, the non-profit funded a playground for the Kwiyagat school on the Ute Mountain Ute reservation. They funded an auto mechanic program in Peyton, southeast of Parker. They got musical instruments for a school in Byers, and drones for high school science classes out in Eads.
They collected applications from rural teachers, and here are some of the ideas we hope we helped fund:
- A teacher in Bennett who wanted to start a wildfire science program to teach environmental science - and certify seniors as entry level firefighters.
- An art teacher in the tiny town of Joes who needed to replace a ceramics kiln to continue what the teacher says is her students' favorite part of class.
- A teacher who wanted to purchase virtual reality headsets so kids in her rural area can explore the work environment of careers that don't exist in their part of Colorado.
You raised over $30,000 for rural teachers and students.
9/14/22 | Resilience1220: The most common cause of death for kids in Colorado is suicide, and Children's Hospital declared it a state of emergency.
September is suicide prevention month, so we wanted to help.
Resilience1220 is an organization that directly connects young people in the foothills with free mental health care. The non-profit says the main thing they're fighting is the stigma of getting help. They do it by getting teenagers to encourage their friends to seek help, and by families looking out for their neighbors, referring them to a free resource at no charge, just help. They provide counseling and support groups for young people, their families, and educators in the foothills of Jefferson County, Clear Creek, Park, and Gilpin counties.
They have specialized counseling for kids who are grieving and LGBTQ+ youth, but they also put on programs through schools and recreation centers for teenagers who are doing fine…until they're not. You raised more than $18,000 to reach kids struggling to get help.
9/7/22 | Animal Rescue of the Rockies: Colorado's animal shelters were overflowing with dogs and cats surrendered by their owners. Shelters are racing to find homes for as many pets as possible, but there are animals euthanized every day. There's a non-profit that gets the lists of dogs and cats scheduled for euthanasia and races to get as many as possible placed in foster homes. Animal Rescue of the Rockies saves pets up and down the Front Range and in the High Country.
The non-profit gets hundreds of requests a week, which is more animals than they can currently save. Often they'll be told a day and time that sets a deadline to claim a dog before it’s euthanized. Their largest cost is veterinary care. If there are two pets scheduled for euthanasia, and one has a totally treatable medical condition, they often have to leave that animal behind and save the other. You raised more than $93,000 to help overcrowded animal shelters.
8/31/22 | Big City Mountaineers: For decades, a non-profit in Colorado has been taking kids from underserved communities on adventures in the high country, because so many young Coloradans can see the mountains, but rarely go there. Now that non-profit is trying to turn the experience of a lifetime into career paths.
So many Coloradans escaped into nature during the pandemic.
For some families - cost, schedules, and unfamiliarity with the outdoors - kept their kids from the same experiences.
Big City Mountaineers takes youth organizations and school groups from underserved communities along the Front Range on guided wilderness experiences, building a love of nature and a sense of confidence - that the outdoors are for everyone.
Now they're creating a Leaders in Training program, so young people who were inspired by their time in the high country can get connected with career fields and companies that want to hire from a more diverse cross section of the community.
Because again, Colorado's outdoors are for all of us, and getting young people from underrepresented communities into the park and forest service, and outdoor recreation companies, will open doors for even more Coloradans.
You raised more than $17,000 to help kids explore the outdoors and the future it offers them.
8/24/22 | Aging Resources of Douglas County: Douglas County is one of the wealthiest counties in Colorado by any measure. That can lead us to forget there are low-income Coloradans in Douglas County struggling to get by, especially older people in rural areas. Aging Resources of Douglas County helps older Coloradans in Douglas County with transportation, yard work, and hot meals at home. For some of the people they serve, it's the only human contact or companionship they'll see over the course of a week.
They started a new program to offer both a hot meal and help around the house at the same time. A hand that does the small things that can allow seniors to age at home, where they want to be. Our donations helped them expand this work to more rural areas, where a 20-minute drive to a grocery store is out of the question for some seniors.
They're not just fighting hunger. They're fighting isolation and loneliness. And they're fighting the misconception that everyone in Douglas County is well-off and doesn't need help. So many of us know an older person who is in our life - or was in our life - and would benefit from a frequent visit, a hot meal, a hand around the house. You raised more than $16,000 for older people's independence.
8/17/22 | The Ma Kaing Scholarship Fund: Want to see the American Dream at work? Go to the East Colfax community. Immigrants and refugees from around the world are trying to build safe, productive lives for their families there. It’s a community that cried out for help after the killing of Ma Kaing, longtime neighborhood leader. She was shot and killed by a stray bullet as she unloaded her groceries. Her son and their neighbors are pleading for help with public safety, and for opportunities for a better life that they came to this country to find.
We heard that immigrant advocates were trying to put together college scholarships for people in that community. They’d gathered enough money to help four people. We built on that together. In partnership with the nonprofits of the Refugee Action Coalition, our Word of Thanks donations established The Ma Kaing Scholarship Fund.
The Ma Kaing Scholarships will be rewarded to immigrants and refugees who are entering higher education. These are newly welcomed Coloradans who want to put their talents and more education to use in supporting our communities. They’ve heard from students who plan to study early childhood education, nursing, neurosurgery, engineering, teaching, business. You raised more than $29,323 to provide scholarships that will fuel dreams.
8/10/22 | 3Hopeful Hearts: When a family in Northern Colorado loses a child -- no matter the circumstance, no matter the age -- they find unexpected support and friendship with a group of families who know that pain. The nonprofit 3Hopeful Hearts expanded its work to give families a path through grief.
Teenagers who have lost a sibling gather at Camp Braveheart, where they spend time with other kids who understand what they're going through and learn coping skills. The nonprofit also holds couples’ retreats led by bereaved parents, who guide couples through grieving a child while trying to hold their marriage, and their family, together. 3Hopeful Hearts wanted to expand its support programs to include family retreats, where parents and their surviving children could gather with other families who have also lost a child and work to find hope after their loss. You raised more than $22,000 to help families find a way forward.
8/3/22 | Educator Emporium: For back-to-school time in Colorado, teachers and other school staff usually paid out of their own pockets for things their students' families can't afford. We helped out Aurora Public Schools' Educator Emporium, essentially a store filled with new school supplies. There, Aurora Schools educators could "shop" for free for whatever their students need. These were no-cost, brand new school supplies for all grade levels.
Teachers from 50 schools across the district came in 2021. They often stop in mid-year to find school supplies for new students, or to replace what families could not afford to purchase partway through the year. The need in that district is high. About 74% of Aurora's students get free or reduced cost lunch. The folks behind the Educator Emporium said educators are spending an average of $750 of their own money on school supplies for their classroom. You raised more than $45,000 to supply students and teachers with things they need.
7/27/22 | The Park People: On July 15, we talked about the lack of shade trees in Denver’s low-income neighborhoods. And because this Next community is awesome, a ton of you wrote in asking the same question: How can I help? Here’s your answer: supporting The Park People, a non-profit that has planted more than 60,000 trees in Denver.
This group plants trees that will provide decades of benefits for Coloradans like shade, cleaner air and a home for animals. These are free trees for public areas like parks and low-cost trees that people can plant at home. On 7/27 they announced a new way to expand that work and address Denver's shortage of urban forestry workers. Treeforce is an apprenticeship program in which people with barriers to employment get a chance to learn planting and pruning skills. This can lead to work in an industry that needs more people to take care of more trees. You raised more than $18,000 to keep Denver green.
7/20/22 | The GrowHaus: The GrowHaus fights hunger in Denver's Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods. These are communities in the shadow of the Suncor plant's pollution, the I-70 construction and generations of disinvestment. We wanted to help.
GrowHaus sees food access as the "entry point" to a healthier community, in every sense of the term. They say it's about dignity and food justice. Families there often work multiple jobs, and it's a drive to the nearest supermarket. GrowHaus delivers, just like a grocery service. The nonprofit hires people from the community for this work, so it's food access plus job skill training -- like marketing, computer skills and language acquisition. You raised more than $27,000 to fight hunger in Denver.
7/13/22 | Dear Jack Foundation: You’re likely familiar with Make-A-Wish, the non-profit that grants special requests to kids with cancer. Well, young adults get cancer, too, and they often feel forgotten. That's why we supported the Dear Jack Foundation, based in Littleton.
These patients don’t qualify for support programs for kids, and they’re far younger than most Americans facing a cancer diagnosis. These are Coloradans who get the diagnosis right at that moment in life when they had big plans for college, career or starting a family. The non-profit offers these cancer patients support programs with people their own age.
Dear Jack also has a LifeList program – something like grown-up Make-A-Wish. Uroosa, for example, asked for help maintaining her real estate business while fighting stomach cancer. Laura asked for a career counselor to help her find a career while she battled Hodgkin's Lymphoma. LifeList helps people with the expenses of finishing their education, finding a rewarding job or with family planning that takes on added uncertainty with cancer. You raised more than $26,600 for young adults with cancer.
7/6/22 | Colorado National Guard Foundation: For the 4th of July, we thanked Colorado's National Guard families. These donations provided financial assistance to Guard families who run into hardships, especially when someone in the family is deployed overseas.
The Colorado National Guard Foundation is an all-volunteer non-profit, so they maximize donations in the forms of interest-free loans and grants to Guard members and their families when they run into financial hardships and family emergencies. It could be a medical problem, a natural disaster, a death in the family, a late paycheck. The non-profit steps in to stand by our Guard families, particularly in times when a deployment adds extra strain. You raised more than $13,600 for National Guard families.
6/29/22 | Mile High Workshop: Even in this job market, there are Coloradans who want to work, yet are having difficulty finding employment. Three in 10 Coloradans have a barrier to employment, and that’s why Word of Thanks featured Mile High Workshop. This is a non-profit in Denver that works with these Coloradans, whether they’re coming out of incarceration, or addiction or homelessness. These are neighbors who want to work but might have trouble getting an employer to take a chance on them.
Mile High Workshop gives them the opportunity to do transitional work. They have a contract production facility that actually works with several brand names you know. When Coloradans work with them on these projects, they succeed, their families succeed, and our community is stronger. This group provides a first step back into the workforce for Coloradans who desire that productive aspect but have something standing in their way. You raised more than $15,600 to help Coloradans find jobs.
6/22/22 | Envision: You: We know Colorado has a mental health crisis these days, and as Denver celebrated Pride in June, we acknowledged the specific challenges the LGBTQ+ community faces. Envision: You is the only statewide nonprofit dedicated to improving the mental health of LGBTQ Coloradans.
“Coming out is often met with emotionally devastating impacts,” Envision: You says. “Living fully and safely while embracing our identity should be a reality for all LGBTQ+ people. Yet LGBTQ+ individuals experience pervasive trauma and stress that has serious consequences for mental health and well-being.”
Envision: You offers workshops to connect young people in that community to their parents in healthy, productive ways. The organization also offers peer support groups, encourages people to take stock of their mental health and to seek health if appropriate and trains behavioral health care providers on best practices. Their work stretches from rural Colorado to Denver. You raised more than $13,000 to support LGBTQ+ mental health.
6/15/22 | Montbello Farm-School Network: There are families in Denver's Montbello neighborhood who struggle to put food on the table. There are kids in the neighborhood who want summer work -- not just for fun money, but to provide for their families. There are people at Montbello Farm-School Network, a project of the non-profit Montbello Organizing Committee, working to solve both problems at once.
The network consists of eight school-based farms and the Montbello Urban Farm. Each year, they turn out more than 10,000 pounds of fresh produce to go to food pantries in the neighborhood.
In the summer months, young people are employed to work on the farm. The head of the non-profit behind the project told us just recently about a young man who works with them, who asked if they could get paid bi-weekly instead of monthly. It’s because family needed his paycheck to make ends meet. Through this setup, he gets a job, and his community, including his family, gets fresh produce at no-cost to them. You raised more than $20,000 to put food on the table and provide jobs for families.
6/8/22 | Food Bank of the Rockies: This campaign helped Food Bank of the Rockies purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from Colorado's farms to stock food banks for our neighbors in need. The growers include Talbott Farms in Palisade, Hirakata Farms in Rocky Ford and DiSanti Farms in Pueblo -- farms that have also been known to donate produce to Food Bank of the Rockies.
Our donations can both support local farmers, and make sure our neighbors who visit Food Bank of the Rockies' hundreds of partners have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. As the cost of produce has increased, Food Bank of the Rockies has drastically scaled up how much it buys, knowing how important fresh produce is for Coloradans' health. They spent triple what they did on fresh produce in 2019. You raised more than $31,000 to support Colorado's farm families and families in need of food assistance at the same time.
6/1/22 | Mothers' Milk Bank: Because of the baby formula shortage, families called Mothers' Milk Bank in Denver asking how much money they could pay to get donor breast milk. But that's not how their system works. The non-profit that's been saving the lives of newborns in Colorado for decades is working to keep babies fed with donations.
We supported Mothers’ Milk Bank as it meets the needs of babies and families, whether that's milk or other life essentials. The program’s first priority is getting donated milk tested, screened and out to hospitals, where babies in NICUs need it to live. Our donations funded the sliding scale financial assistance for low-income families, and Mothers' Milk Bank used our dollars for outreach to convince more willing and able mothers to donate surplus milk. They also provide emergency assistance fund for low-income families bringing home a newborn. You raised more than $50,000 to feed the babies.
5/25/22 | Angels of America's Fallen: While people paused on Memorial Day weekend to remember those who gave their lives for this country, there are also families in Colorado who don't need a day dedicated to remembrance. There's a non-profit dedicated to standing by those families called Angels of America's Fallen, a non-profit in Colorado Springs that works with young people across our state who lost a military of first responder parent.
This group wants to support these young Coloradans particularly because they might be more vulnerable to substance abuse, depression or suicide. To do this, the group regularly honors fallen heroes by supporting the dreams of their children. Sports, music, the arts -- whatever their passion, Angels promises to foot the bill every year until a child turns 18. These kids are also paired with mentors to encourage their dreams and to look out for their mental health.
Additionally, this group offers peer support to the adults who recently lost their spouse. This group supports people nationwide, but any donations made through Word of Thanks were earmarked to stay in Colorado. You raised more than $27,500 for the families of the fallen.
5/18/22 | Colorado Horse Rescue: Coloradans’ love for animals is part of what makes this state special, or so we like to say. The reality is that when once-beloved domestic horses are too old or too injured to be ridden, they're often abandoned to be euthanized or sold for slaughter. But there are Coloradans working to find homes for beautiful horses that have a lot of life left after someone has decided they're disposable. Colorado Horse Rescue saves horses that are destined to die and finds them new, loving homes.
Caring for horses is expensive. That’s why Colorado Horse Rescue strives to find a good home for each horse with no judgment for the prior owner. Two-thirds of their horses are surrendered by former owners. One-third are saved from kill buyers at auction, where the non-profit bids against people planning to ship the horses to slaughterhouses. The folks at Colorado Horse Rescue said something about their work that was particularly striking: When the dogs we love are too old to hike with us anymore, we don't euthanize them. But pet horses that can't be ridden are often cast aside and killed. You raised more than $52,000 to give horses a better life.
5/11/22 | Bridging the Gap: When young Coloradans age out of the foster care system, they need assistance to succeed. Maybe this means career counseling or help finishing their education. For the foster kids who age out of the system as parents, it might also mean they need help with childcare to focus or work or school.
Mile High United Way’s Bridging the Gap program specifically supports former foster kids going through this transition. This project helps find safe and stable housing for the young people who need it and gets them the extra sustained support they need. Bridging the Gap has an eight-year track record of helping in this way, but one of their biggest challenges is finding the housing. They just purchased a 25-unit building and young people are moving in this month. Bridging the Gap's coaches and counselors will be on site at the building.
Teenagers leaving foster care may wonder if the world -- if Colorado -- cares about them. Bridging the Gap proves we do. Bridging the Gap tells teenagers coming out of foster care that their community wants them to succeed, and we're in alongside them for the long-haul. You raised more than $39,000 to show teens aging out of foster care that Colorado cares.
5/4/22 | Week 100 of Word of Thanks: We didn’t know what Word of Thanks would become when it launched in 2020, but this marked Week 100 of the micro-giving project (if we can even call it that anymore). For week 100, we partnered with a group of women in our community who do something similar to us. They pool their donations to make a large impact for non-profits. They call themselves Impact100.
In Week 100, we gave and they gave. And we’re going to highlight three nonprofits at one time. This is a chance to give to more than one cause with a single donation and each dollar will be evenly split among these groups:
- The Learning Source helps adults in our community learn English, or get a GED, or improve their math skills. It provides a pathway to self-improvement to get a better job, prepare for college and succeed in Colorado. (Learn more about them here.)
- Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado rallies volunteers to take care of this state's beautiful natural resources. From Denver to the Western Slope, they plant trees, work on wildfire restoration, protect habitats for wildlife and build trails. (Learn more about them here.)
- Mi Casa Resource Center supercharges ideas into entrepreneurship, helping women, minorities, immigrants, and families with limited resources as they they succeed in education, new careers, and starting their own businesses. (Learn more about them here.)
These groups have three different missions to improve our state. Impact100 gave $100,000 of what they raised to one of these groups and split the rest of the donations they raise between the other two. You raised more than $37,000 for Week 100.
4/27/22 | Helping Hands: The nonprofit Las Animas Helping Hands is one place in southeastern Colorado where our neighbors in need can go for whatever emergency assistance they require, whether that is food, help with an energy bill or affording a prescription. In one case, a woman came to them asking for help to purchase just a $20 auto part from a junkyard that her son could install, but neither of them could afford.
That’s the kind of work Helping Hands has been doing in the Bent County community for more than a decade. They guess they help one in five people there. Additionally, the all-volunteer nonprofit provides budget counseling to get people on a path toward self-sufficiency. The number of families coming to Helping Hands for emergency assistance has been increasing an additional 40-50% per year, the nonprofit says, as families continue to experience the drought, loss of employers and jobs, and rising energy and healthcare costs in southeastern Colorado. You raised more than $25,000 for families struggling in the southeast.
4/20/22 | Veterans Community Project: There’s a new development starting construction in Colorado, and they’re looking for only one kind of resident: veterans who don’t have a place to live. The Veterans Community Project will be a safe place for veterans to transition out of homelessness and get help with addiction and mental health challenges.
This is happening in Longmont: picture a village of 26 small homes on two acres surrounding a community center. Each place will be fully furnished with items the veterans take with them when they transition to permanent housing. But first, they receive the personalized support they need to address the root causes of their homelessness. This is all in an environment that honors their service to our country and offers understanding and support. Veterans Community Project built one of these villages in Kansas City, providing one on one support to help veterans out of homelessness and guide them for a year after they leave the village. You raised more than $31,400 to help house veterans.
4/13/22 | Brothers Redevelopment: Plenty of Coloradans are having a difficult time finding a new place in this housing market. There is a way older Coloradans and people with disabilities can stay in their current homes, and home modification and repair program operated by the Brothers Redevelopment non-profit can help.
This project can help people who need help stay in their homes by making necessary repairs and improvements. Their team takes on 300 of these projects a year, adding accessible features to homes like wheelchair ramps and roll-in showers. There are also safety improvements like plumbing and electrical repairs, and exterior maintenance, too.
The non-profit spends about $5,000 on each of these home modification and repair projects. It’s money well spent if it means someone can stay in their home safely and comfortably. These home modifications can prevent someone being forced to leave a home they love. These home repairs can make sure those homes are safe. You raised more than $52,400 for safe housing.
3/30/22 | Ralston House: Many Coloradans likely know the work of Ralston House, the non-profit where kids go after they've been abused or witnessed violence. It's the place where trained, compassionate experts help them share their story, find justice and begin healing. It's where kids in our community go after suffering the unthinkable. They've been busier than ever in the last year.
The non-profit works with law enforcement agencies, human services and district attorney's offices in the 1st and 17th judicial districts, which cover Adams, Broomfield, Gilpin and Jefferson counties. It typically conducts more than 1,000 forensic interviews and medical exams for children and teens annually. Ralston House also provides education and outreach to the general public on ways to prevent child abuse. You raised more than $31,000 to help children heal.
3/30/22 | Animal Friends Alliance: Coloradans love pets so much that we love other state's pets, too. There are animals that have done nothing wrong except for being up for adoption in a state that still euthanizes significant numbers of adoptable pets. The lucky ones get transferred here to Colorado, and to the Animal Friends Alliance, a non-profit in Fort Collins dedicated to finding a home for every pet that comes into their shelter. They transform animals' lives, so they can eventually transform people's lives.
This group has been around for 15 years. When the call comes in that there are adoptable pets somewhere that just need a chance to live long enough to meet the right owner, Animal Friends Alliance can bring them here for care. If for any reason a person cannot keep a pet they adopted from this shelter, Animal Friends Alliance will take back the pet, too. They also have plans to expand with a special focus trying to keep animals out of shelters to begin with through a low-cost vet clinic and a pet food pantry for low-income families. You raised more than $50,000 to transform animals' lives.
3/23/22 | There With Care: When life is upended by a child's life-threatening diagnosis, an entire family feels the weight of that. There With Care, a non-profit with its headquarters in Boulder, helps families with the surge of expenses that come with having a seriously sick child.
After a referral from hospital social workers, There With Care comes in with gas cards to cover the cost of driving to and from treatment all the time, grocery deliveries and even emergency rent assistance if one parent has to stop working to take care of a sick child.
There With Care told us the "significant and unexpected" increase in the cost of gas and groceries lately has impacted their work. Additionally, there's a significant surge in demand for help because of immunocompromised kids who got sick during the pandemic. The non-profit has done this work for 17 years in Colorado, helping hundreds of families each day. You raised more than $27,500 to help families facing these difficulties.
3/16/22 | Project C.U.R.E: For the first time, your Word of Thanks campaign benefited people outside of Colorado, but with the help of a Colorado non-profit. There are few Coloradans in a position to directly help Ukrainians during the war. Project C.U.R.E. is doing it. Donations supported this the Centennial-based non-profit that's sending medical supplies to Ukraine.
For decades, Project C.U.R.E. has sent medical supplies and equipment to places around the world where they're desperately needed. That has long included Ukraine. These packages include tourniquets, items to treat blunt force trauma and even full ICU beds than can be set up and operated wherever needed. Project C.U.R.E. has contacts keeping the supply lines open, even as the war rages, so they can save lives in Ukraine. They also have a backup plan if the borders close to pivot to helping Ukrainians in refugee camps in Moldova and Romania. You raised more than $431,000 to send medical supplies to Ukraine.
3/9/22 | YMCA of Northern Colorado: For the 1,000 families who lost their homes in the Marshall Fire, summer camp plans for their kids were just one more thing to think about; one more potential expense. Each year, YMCA of Northern Colorado offers financial assistance to 500 kids so that they can have a wonderful summer camp experience. In 2022, they decided to expand that to another 250 young Coloradans affected by the fire, meaning 750 kids get a summer camp experience that otherwise might not be possible.
YMCA of Northern Colorado knows some families affected by the Marshall Fire didn't need financial assistance. Others did. They plan to work one-on-one with each interested family to see what it'll take for their children to get to camp this summer. Also, none of these camp slots will come at the expense of the 500 other young Coloradans getting financial assistance. You raised more than $28,800 to send these kids to camp.
3/2/22 | La Puente: The San Luis Valley is one of the most beautiful places in Colorado, but we also know poverty persists in parts of that area. La Puente is a non-profit that has a history of helping people living in the Valley. They have a shelter for people experiencing homelessness, food programs for people in need and resources for people to get clothes and toiletries as needed.
And, because temperatures often go below 0 degrees in winter, La Puente was getting up to 10 calls a day in early March from people looking for heating assistance. Hundreds of families rely on wood to heat their homes, while others might use propane -- both come at a cost.
La Puente often provides heating assistance, but they ran out by this point in the winter. Organizers said families were going unserved for this reason; one woman even told them she resorted to taking apart her fence for wood for her stove. You donated more than $55,000 so that people in the San Luis Valley could heat their homes.
2/23/22 | Voluntad: We've talked about human trafficking before, and the value of training people to spot the signs. But what happens to the victims after they escape? When they first set out to create a new life, victims may not have a phone, money or even identification.
Founded in 2004, Voluntad is a Denver-based nonprofit that wants to empower and support survivors. They say there's an increase in demand for their work. Voluntad steps in to find victims a safe place to stay, job training and childcare, if needed. They also connect these victims with employment opportunities and mental heal support.
You donated more than $27,000 to help Voluntad provide survivors with a new start in life. These donations went to directly funding the immediate needs of people who have escaped labor and sex trafficking.
2/16/22 | KIND: Kids who don't get the dental care they need are more likely to miss school because of pain and embarrassment and are more likely to struggle in school when they're there. Proper dental care for a kid can turn their life around.
For more than 100 years, Kids in Need of Dentistry (KIND) has had the same basic mission -- get to kids who need oral care and help change the trajectory of their lives. Their mobile dental clinics go to high need schools and neighborhoods to meet families where they are, with oral care that is patient, understanding, culturally competent and affordable. You donated more than $31,000 to support KIND.
2/9/22 | Foundation 1023: Events like monster wildfires, mass shootings and the pandemic inevitably take toll on first responders and on their families.
Foundation 1023 is a non-profit that provides peer support for first responders and confidential funding for them to seek emotional and mental health support to deal with PTSD, anxiety and depression that stems from their work. Many first responders have mental health support available through work, but there's often a stigma associated with identifying yourself in the office as someone who is struggling, and there can be a fear of professional repercussions. Foundation 1023 provides a confidential way to get support for both the first responder and their family, and they offer this service across Colorado. You raised more than $26,000 to support this group.
2/2/22 | HOPE of Longmont: There are Coloradans who spend cold winter nights in their cars, and there are people helping to make that temporary situation safer and easier. HOPE of Longmont, a non-profit that operates a shelter for people experiencing homelessness, also has a safe parking program.
The SafeLot Safe Parking program is preferred by some people who can't bring pets into shelters or are worried about being in that environment. Organizers in charge of the program also say they may be people who left housing to avoid having an eviction on their record and need to save a few weeks’ worth of wages to get a new place.
Whatever the reason, HOPE provides a safe, secure place for people to sleep in their cars, as well as hot showers and warm meals. Knowing many have pets they don't want to leave in cold cars when they go to work, they even arrange doggie day care, so people can go to work without worry. Additionally, HOPE's caseworkers help connect people with services and housing. You raised more than $55,500 to support HOPE's work.
The idea for this week's Word of Thanks campaign was inspired by the work of:
- Alicia Cardenas, a well-known muralist and advocate for indigenous artists.
- Alyssa Gunn-Maldonado, an artist and yoga instructor.
- Danny Scofield, a tattoo artist in Lakewood.
- Sarah Steck, an aspiring graphic designer who tried to highlight ignored voices.
Redline is a non-profit contemporary art center in Denver with a strong history of supporting artists with emergency grants, workspaces, training and even help to find housing on an artist's pay in Denver. Their goal with this fund was to honor and preserve the work of artists of color -- with a particular focus of Alicia Cardenas -- and to help artists honor the lives lost by doing more of the work they loved, which creates positive social change in Colorado. We had the opportunity to honor them and to support artists who are upholding their legacy of uplifting Coloradans who are marginalized. You donated more than $13,000 to the cause.
1/19/22 | Hope Communities: Next viewers stepped up immediately to help after refugees fled the collapse of Afghanistan. But these refugees also needed help to put down lasting roots to be self-sufficient and successful in Colorado.
The Hope Communities non-profit has a history of aiding families in way that allows them to move beyond a cycle of poverty. They help people find affordable housing and meet their goals. They wanted to do the same for Afghan refugees.
Lainey Hashem is Hope Communities' navigator who works with resettled Afghan families in only the way someone who speaks their language and knows their culture can. She helps them find the resources, training and services they need to become connected with life in Colorado. As more people from Afghanistan arrived, there was more demand for Lainey's navigation services than Hope Communities can meet. They wanted to raise money to bring on additional staff with the language and cultural skills to help our new neighbors thrive. You raised more than $51,000 to support that effort.
We highlighted Hope Communities in late 2021 but paused this particular Word of Thanks campaign when the Marshall Fire broke out, and we turned our attention to the immediate needs of the victims. We restarted this campaign on Jan. 19.
1/12/22 | Humane Society of Boulder Valley: The Marshall Fire directly impacted more than a thousand families who lost their homes, but the fire also made a huge impact on pets. The Humane Society of Boulder Valley helped care for rescued pets and for pets that got hurt. They also stepped up to provide long-term boarding and foster care options for families forced from their homes and into places where pets aren't allowed.
Additionally, the non-profit even covered the expense of pet deposits for people suddenly forced to pay extra to keep their pets with them in rental housing, and they provided pet food and supplies for displaced families. Still, the Humane Society of Boulder Valley wanted to do even more for Coloradans if Next viewers' Word of Thanks donations could help the cause.
First, they wanted to offer free boarding services for affected families whenever they need it in the coming year if they end up living somewhere that they can't have their pet. And for all the families that lost pets in the Marshall Fire, donations will cover the adoption fees at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley if they choose to bring the love of a pet back into their lives. You raised more than $229,000 to make that possible.