x
Breaking News
More () »

Denver's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Denver, Colorado | 9NEWS.com

A 'Word of Thanks' from Next

Each week, we'd like to highlight a different cause that is in need.

COLORADO, USA — We’d like to begin offering a “Word of Thanks” every week during Next with Kyle Clark – it's a chance to highlight small and medium non-profits doing crucial work in Colorado, and we won’t ask anyone to donate to anything that we are not donating to ourselves.

We will share the causes and donations every week within this article.

If you are not able to give but want to support the effort, please consider sharing this link with others who may feel encouraged to donate. Thank you all for your consideration and generosity!

For those keeping track, we have already raised more than $2.6 million together since June! Here's how we've done it:

1/20/21: Branson, Colorado

Since we started the Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign in June, we've addressed serious topics in our state ranging from hunger to wildfires. Together, this Next community has raised $2.6 million for nonprofits working to address those issues.

Today, we thought we'd focus on joy, and this week's Word of Thanks cause could change one small Colorado town for the better.

Branson is a dot on the map in the southeast part of the state.

In 2016, the people living there were thrilled to have a six-man high school football team for the first time in a long time, but their field, carved out of old pastureland, is rough -- so rough that even after Branson students tried to pick out every rock and nurture the grass, it's still a mess.

Because of that, Branson's opponents announced late last year that they won't play there for fear of getting hurt.

Now Branson, with a population of less than 100, is trying to raise money to install an artificial turf football field. But this is about more than football. This town sees a new field as a place of pride and a chance to build a place for the community to gather.

This week, the Branson School Board gave the go-ahead to look for outside grants and sponsors to supplement what they have raised, as well as anything else to keep their dream of a community field alive.

That's where we come in. They cannot achieve their goal alone. With a $5 donation, we can help this community do something for their entire town.

This week, like every week, Kyle will match the first 50 $5 donations. If you'd like to give, you can donate here. Thank you.

1/13/21: Jeffco Prosperity Partners

We’ve talked a lot here about delivering short-term, emergency help to our fellow Coloradans. This week, let’s talk more about long-term ideas.

That’s why the Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of Jeffco Prosperity Partners is “goals.” This nonprofit helps families reach their personalized goals while getting out of poverty.

If the family's goal to escape poverty is a better-paying job, Jeffco Prosperity Partners can come in with career counseling and tuition assistance. If the family's focus is on overcoming mental health challenges, they are there to walk side-by-side with them through that. If the family's hope is to buy a house to provide stability and the start of a financial foundation that can be passed from generation to generation, Jeffco Prosperity Partners can guide them toward that goal.

This nonprofit provides coaching and direct financial support to families below the poverty line in Jefferson County -- keeping kids in school, making sure families stay physically and mentally healthy, guiding them down paths to increase their income and savings and decrease their reliance on government assistance.

Six of their families bought houses last year, and as we start 2021, this Next community can help them expand their work.

This is about helping families out of poverty and into self-sufficiency by following their lead and listening to how they want to improve their lives.

We’re asking you to consider a $5 donation. Kyle will match the first 50 of those.

We’re up to $2.6 million raised for Colorado nonprofits because of this Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign. Thank you for helping us keep this project going!

If you're interested in donating this week, you can give here.

UPDATE: You raised $27,000 for these families!

1/6/21: Mountain Family Center

The Modern West podcast is where Kyle says learned about the struggle to find and afford fresh, healthy food in Jackson County, Colorado.

Rural areas of North Park, Colo., like Walden are food deserts, and a lot of people are hurting financially. We know neighbors are helping, but we also know we can make an even bigger impact.

That’s why the Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of the Mountain Family Center is "connection."

For relatively isolated and small communities in North Park, Mountain Family Center is their connection to food and support from neighbors when they need it – that includes food pantries, grocery deliveries and even pharmacy runs.

The non-profit runs the only food bank in Jackson County, in Walden, as well as three in Grand County, in Granby, Kremmling and Fraser. They particularly are focused this year on feeding families with kids while they're out of school.

Your generosity through our Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign has filled food banks in struggling parts of our state from the San Luis Valley to the heart of Denver. This is the first time we'll reach out to support the good people of North Park.

Winter can be an isolating and discouraging time for our neighbors in that part of Colorado. The Mountain Family Center makes sure they at least have access to food their families need. Let's show them we have their back after a difficult year. 

As always, we ask you to consider just a $5 donation, and Kyle will match the first 50 of those. Thank you so much for being part of this project with us. If you'd like to give, you can donate here.

Also, Kyle would like to share a link to the podcast with you today as his recommendation: "May I Make a Recommendation? It's a piece of content that inspired our Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign this week. Small towns across the West are changing -- struggling to survive and showing incredible resilience. Walden, Colorado is one of them. It's the hometown of Melodie Edwards, a public radio reporter from Wyoming. I loved her podcast, the Modern West, especially season two, which focuses on the "ghost-towning" of places like Walden." You can listen here.

Update: You raised $62,000 this week to get fresh food to these families!

12/30/20: Family Promise

Family Promise helps families in the Denver Metro Area who are homeless find temporary housing and then a permanent home.

They're preparing for a surge in need when the federal eviction moratorium is lifted and families too far behind on rent and mortgages are forced out of their homes.

Our donations this week help families bridge the gap from home to home, paying not just for temporary shelter in a hotel or motel, but also helping with application fees for a new place, groceries and stuff we might not think of - like clean clothes.

The essentials - so families with children can live safely and with dignity after they're forced out of one home and Family Promise is helping them into their next home.

If you would like to donate, you can give here.

UPDATE: Thank you for starting this year off strong. We raised $179,653 for Family Promise!

12/23/20: Frontline Foods Denver

When the pandemic started, Frontline Foods Denver was busy getting meals to frontline workers in Colorado like hospital employees and EMTs.

The nonprofit is a chapter of the national Frontline Foods organization, which started as a grassroots initiative in March to provide food from restaurants to these workers, and even communities nationwide that were heavily impacted. Since then, the organization partnered up with World Central Kitchen to streamline the donation process and grow.

With donations, money turned into revenue for struggling local restaurants and meals for the people working hard during COVID-19. 

In Denver, Frontline Foods has served more than 30,000 meals to frontline workers. That’s why the Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of this nonprofit is “delivery.”

But donations have slowed since the beginning of the pandemic, and this nonprofit wants to ramp up again to provide a holiday “thank you.”

We all have a chance to buy a meal for someone working on the frontlines over the holidays and support local restaurants at the same time. So, let’s see what we can do together!

We’re raised more than $2.2 million for people in need in Colorado thorough our weekly Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign. And this week, like every week, we ask you to consider just a $5 donation to help our fellow Coloradans. Kyle will match the first 50 of those $5 gifts.

Thank you all for doing this with us every week!

If you would like to donate, you can give here.

Update: We raised more than $162,000 for these frontline workers. Next viewers are awesome!

12/16/20: Angel Relief Fund

Restaurant and hospitality workers have been hurting during the pandemic. They are people who rely on tips to make a living and are having trouble paying their bills, particularly now, in what is typically a busy season for them.

The Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of Angel Relief Fund is "hospitality."

The foundation arm of the Colorado Restaurant Association offers kindness to workers in that industry when they're laid off or furloughed due to COVID-19 and its impacts. They do this by providing grants of up to $1,000 to waiters, cooks, dishwashers -- anyone in that line of work that's in trouble right now. This is money that helps them pay mortgages, utility bills, car repairs and more.

The non-profit screens the applicants and can turn money around within 72 hours.

So far, the Angel Relief Fund has paid out 3,500 of those grants to restaurant workers since the start of the pandemic. When new donations come in, new grants go out.

We have a chance to help our neighbors in that line of work get by through the winter. Let's pool our money and give Colorado's restaurant workers a giant tip.

Anything helps, and as always, Kyle will match the first 50 donations of $5.

Click here if you would like to give. Thank you!

Update: You all raised more than $94,700 for the Angel Relief Fund, which will provide a massive tip to service workers in need. Thank you!

12/9/20: Friends of DHA

Making sure kids have a happy holiday is harder than ever this year because of the pandemic, when typical traditions have to shift to $25 gift cards to places selling toys for delivery or curbside pickup.

Even so, the people at Friends of DHA are making sure kids living in Denver's subsidized housing have a holiday gift this year.

This nonprofit starts with the first family to ask for help and works its way down the list, getting gift cards for as many kids as possible. When the money runs out, the families further down the list go without.

When Kyle told them we'd like to help, they were thrilled and said they could go back out to offer a holiday gift to even more low-income families knowing they'd be able to deliver with the support of the Next community.

That's the power of what you do each week through our Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign.

And this week, as we highlight Friends of DHA, the Word of Thanks that comes to mind is "happy." In addition to giving kids a happy holiday, any extra money we raise will go toward a grocery store gift card for these families.

As always, we ask you to consider a $5 donation. Kyle will match the first 50 of those. Thank you for your generosity!

If you'd like to give, you can donate here

UPDATE! We raised more than $146,853 for Friends of DHA! It was enough to provide a $25 gift card for every child living in Denver's public housing. Any extra will go toward groceries for these families. Amazing!

12/2/20: Family Tree

Not all families are guaranteed a happy holiday. Some children’s biggest wish is simply for a safe home of their own.

A Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of Family Tree is “home.”

Family Tree understands that homelessness for families is often linked to domestic abuse and child abuse, so they address all three issues at once. Since 1976, this non-profit has been in the metro area connecting women and their children who are homeless with a safe place to stay and getting them into housing.

The challenge of getting a homeless family into safe housing is a huge lift, but there are enough of us in this Next community to help Family Tree do it.

Even $5 helps, so, like every week, we ask you to consider just a $5 donation. Kyle will match the first 50 of those.

Through this weekly Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign, we have been helping nonprofits that do great work in Colorado for months. We are up to $1.9 million raised together! Thank you all for you continued generosity. Let’s do it again this week!

If you'd like to give, you can donate here.

UPDATE: We raised more than $52,258 for Family Tree!

11/25/20: SECOR Cares

Hunger affects parts of Colorado that you may not think of.

That's why the Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of SECOR Cares is "hidden."

The roots of SECOR Cares go back to the 1990s in Parker, and for years, they have fought against hidden poverty.

They have a strong focus on feeding hungry families in places like Douglas, Arapahoe and Elbert counties and throughout Denver's suburbs.

The need this year is robust.

Just Wednesday morning, SECOR Cares opened a distribution center and ran out of fresh food in two hours. Overall, since the start of the pandemic, the need has quadrupled.

Your generosity has refilled food banks in the city and in rural Colorado; now it's our chance to help our neighbors in the suburbs, who find themselves struggling with hunger this holiday season. Let's do it again this week as part of our 9Cares Colorado Shares annual food drive.

As we do every week, we ask you to consider just a $5 donation. Kyle will match the first 50 of those. 

Thank you for being part of this force for good in our community.

If you would like to give, you can donate here.

UPDATE: We raised more than $81,098 for Secor Cares!

11/18/20: Denver Indian Center

As we enter the holiday season, we want to focus on the hunger in our state.

For almost 40 years, the Denver Indian Center has had a tradition of celebrating heritage while also helping the vulnerable in the native community.

That's why the Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of the Denver Indian Center is "tradition."

The food bank run out of the nonprofit's location in West Denver has seen a 400% increase in need during the pandemic. And even while COVID has prevented them from holding the traditional elders dinner, the Denver Indian Center is still finding new ways to honor and support their elders.

They'll also hold a drive-up Thanksgiving dinner distribution, open to all, this coming weekend.

Together, we can help replenish their food bank so that they can continue serving through the holiday season.

As we do every week, we ask you to consider just a $5 donation. Kyle will match the first 50 of those.

Through this Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign, we have raised more than $1.7 million for nonprofits that meet a range of needs in Colorado. For the next two weeks, we're specifically focusing on the issue of hunger, in collaboration with our annual 9Cares Colorado Shares Food Drive. We're going to do a targeted effort for some organizations that could use extra help fighting hunger in our communities.

We're not going to solve hunger in Colorado all at once, but there's enough of us to make a real impact for the Denver Indian Center and the Coloradans it serves.

Thank you.

If you are interested in giving, you can donate here.

UPDATED: We raised $65,730 to help Denver Indian Center!

11/11/20: Project Sanctuary

Veterans are 50% more likely to die by suicide than the rest of the population.

That’s why tonight, in our weekly Word of Thanks giving campaign, we are highlighting Project Sanctuary.

The “Word of Thanks” that comes to mind when we think of Project Sanctuary is “whole.”

This nonprofit provides life-changing, lifesaving support for Colorado's veterans and their families. Project Sanctuary knows that whole families serve, and so they serve whole families, as well – veterans, their spouses and children. That type of care allows families to heal together from the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder and transition together to a peaceful life at home.

Project Sanctuary also connects veterans and their families with the resources they need, both short-term and long-term, to succeed after their service.

Healing these families saves lives, and we can help Project Sanctuary do that.

It’s also worth sharing that this group was founded in Grand County, and one of the lodges where they've held veteran retreats was lost in the wildfires. But they're pushing ahead with COVID-safe services for veterans and their families in the coming months.

Today, Veterans Day 2020, we have a chance to do more than say we appreciate our heroes’ service; we can show we appreciate our veterans and their families.

As we do every week, we ask you to consider just a $5 donation. Kyle will match the first 50 of those.

Since June, this Next community has raised nearly $1.7 million for nonprofits that are struggling during the pandemic. Thank you so much for your continued generosity!

You can donate here.

UPDATE: We raised $58,711 for Project Sanctuary!

11/4/20: Community Foundation of Northern Colorado

Downstream from the burn areas of the largest fires in Colorado history is the drinking water supply for Northern Colorado. The fires stripped away the vegetation that holds hillsides in place.

If they come down in spring and summer rains, it's a danger to the people nearby and to the water supply for Northern Colorado.

An urgent effort is starting now to prevent erosion into the rivers, streams and mountain reservoirs.

That’s why the Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of this week's giving effort is “downstream.”

Through our weekly Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign, you all have helped us collectively raise $700,00 for our neighbors in this state who have been impacted by this year’s devastating fires. This week, we have a chance for us to help heal the land and protect Coloradans who live in the shadow of the enormous burn areas.

The funds for watershed protection are being collected this week by the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, a nonprofit we have highlighted before.

You came through for the fire evacuees. You came through again for people who lost homes and businesses. Now it's our chance to protect the Coloradans who need a safe supply of drinking water in the years to come.

As always, we ask you to consider just a $5 donation, if you’re able. Kyle will match the first 50 of those, and this week, the foundation also received a $5,000 anonymous donation to get us started.

You can donate here.

UPDATE: We have raised $42,633 to protect the water supply. Thank you all!

10/28/20: Grand Foundation, Community Foundation of Boulder County and Larimer County United Way

Next viewers raised more than half-a-million dollars last week to assist the thousands of evacuees affected by the recent wildfires in Colorado.

This week, we'd like to talk about how we can put together sustained help for people whose homes burned.

The Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of this effort is "long-term."

Hundreds of Coloradans have lost their homes in the recent wildfires, and there will be long-term needs in Boulder, Grand and Larimer counties. Each area has its own separate dedicated fund to help its citizens impacted by the wildfires, and today, we have a way to help support all three counties at once.

Every dollar raised through this week's Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign will be split equally between the three counties' funds: The Grand Foundation, the Community Foundation Boulder County and the Larimer County United Way's wildfire fund.

These are the three main non-profits prepared to provide long-term help to people who lost their homes and businesses.

The Community Foundation of Northern Colorado will collect our donations and split them between the counties, without any overhead fees, and the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado is giving $5,000 to get us started.

As always, we ask that you consider just a $5 donation, and Kyle will personally match the first 50 of those. Your generosity last week astounded us. Thank you all for joining us in helping our neighbors. Let's see what we can do together this time.

You can donate here.

UPDATE: We have raised $191,384 for the effort in these counties. Incredible. Thank you!

10/21/20: Red Cross of Colorado and Wyoming

Thousands of Coloradans are displaced by the fires burning along the Northern Front Range.

This week, we have a chance to help the non-profit helping them with a place to stay and meals.

The Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of the Red Cross of Colorado and Wyoming is comfort.

The Red Cross is providing comfort and care to the Coloradans forced out of their homes by the Cameron Peak Fire, the CalWood Fire, the Lefthand Canyon Fire and others.

They're paying for shelter for 1,335 Coloradans right now - at 20 different hotels and two campgrounds.

Their wildfire relief effort this year has served more than 20,000 meals.

Our Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign usually focuses on much smaller non-profits, but we have a chance this week to directly help our neighbors who are displaced due to the wildfires - by supporting the Western Wildfire relief fund from the Red Cross of Colorado and Wyoming.

We ask you to consider just a $5 donation, and as always, Kyle will match the first 50 of those.

There are new evacuations tonight. For those families who have grabbed what they can to make a run for it, we can't all be there on the ground to help. But the Red Cross is waiting with a safe place to stay and something to eat.

Let's help their volunteers help our neighbors during this wildfire season.

As always, thank you.

You can donate here.

It's not even a contest. You raised more for this cause than any other we have supported so far. At $536,464 the response was huge, and the donations keep coming. THANK YOU!

10/14/20: Project Worthmore

For nearly a decade, Project Worthmore has welcomed refugees to Colorado – helping families trying to establish a fresh start in America get help building a foundation for self-sufficiency, help with English classes, help navigating public services. There’s now a food bank, too.

The Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of Project Worthmore is “welcome.” This nonprofit’s goal is to help refugees feel welcome, connected, and ready to thrive on their own in America.

Project Worthmore has focused its efforts during the pandemic on single mothers and the elderly, who are the most at risk, and we’re highlighting this group today as part of our weekly “Word of Thanks” micro-giving campaign.

Colorado has about 60,000 residents who came here as refugees. We've always been a magnet for people fleeing dangerous situations abroad because our community has been so welcoming.

We ask you to consider just a $5 donation, and as always, Kyle will match the first 50 of those.

This Next community has raised more than $900,000 since June to support local nonprofits doing great work in our state. We’re so grateful for your continued generosity. Let’s see what we can do together this week.

You can donate here.

UPDATE: We raised $30,681 for Project Worthmore!

10/7/20: SafeHouse Denver

You might hear a lot of talk about domestic violence in the next few weeks. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

How about instead of just talking about domestic violence, we do something about it? Each Wednesday, Next viewers back up a dump truck full of $5 donations at a different non-profit in our community. It's our “Word of Thanks” micro-giving campaign.

And this week, as we highlight SafeHouse Denver, the “word of thanks” that comes to mind is “lifesavers.”

This organization saves the lives of people facing abuse by strategizing a safe way to leave through their 24/7 crisis line and providing temporary housing for women, children, and men escaping abuse through their emergency shelter.

SafeHouse Denver says the calls to its crisis line since the pandemic started indicate more severe physical abuse is happening in our community, though the pandemic also impacted SafeHouse Denver's funding for its crisis line and emergency shelter.

When courts closed, victim assistance fees that go to SafeHouse Denver dried up; $42,000 in funding disappeared. But this funding, which helps people leave abusive situations and protects them once they're out, is needed.

Each Wednesday, Next viewers back up a dump truck full of $5 donations at a different non-profit in our community as part of our Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign. Let's see if we can do that again and cover this funding gap together.

If you’re able, we hope you consider even just a $5 donation. Kyle and Steve will match the first 50 of those.

One in three women and one in four men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, according to SafeHouse Denver’s stats. If you or someone you know needs immediate help getting out of an abusive situation, you can reach SafeHouse Denver's 24/7 crisis line is 303-318-9989.

Thank you.

You can donate here.

UPDATE: We raised $38,128 for SafeHouse Denver!

9/30/20: Metro Caring

It’s a non-profit in Denver focused on feeding families in need of fresh, nutritious food, as well as enriching lives with cooking and health classes and fighting the root causes of poverty.

The Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of Metro Caring is “enriching.”

This group not only wants to feed people, but also address the issue that brings people in looking for food in the first place.

To be blunt, they tell us they’ve never seen anything like the current situation. The number of families looking for food has increased three times over. And with food banks across America looking to stock up on staples, the increased need coupled with supply issues mean Metro Caring is spending its usual annual food budget every month.

We’re doing something a little different for our Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign this week – focusing on a similar challenge twice in a row -- because food insecurity is an issue from rural Colorado to the metro area. We came through for hungry families in the San Luis Valley in a big way last week. Let’s do the same this week for families around Denver.

You know how this goes. If you're in for $5, Kyle will match the first 50 of you who choose to give.

Thank you.

You can donate here: https://bit.ly/33eYO3J.

UPDATE: We have raised $50,781 for Metro Caring!

9/23/20: Food Bank Network of the San Luis Valley 

The Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of the Food Bank Network of the San Luis Valley is "reach."

With one paid employee and a group of volunteers, they reach Coloradans in a persistently poor part of our state, where people work hard and still have a tough time getting by.

One in four people in the Valley uses the local food pantries to feed their families. There are 15 locations spread out across the San Luis Valley, land that equals the same size of Massachusetts, so that people aren't driving 50 miles just to get fresh food for their families.

The food banks are run by La Puente, an established non-profit in the San Luis Valley. Their director says they often feel isolated from the Front Range -- isolated from the benefits of Colorado's usually strong economy and from the help we provide each other here. 

This week, we hope to send help from across Colorado to La Puente and the Food Bank Network of the San Luis Valley. They may be geographically isolated and economically challenged, but they are our neighbors in Colorado, and together, we can fill every one of those 15 food banks in the San Luis Valley. 

As always, we ask you to consider just a $5 donation. Kyle will match the first 50 of those.

If you're able to give, you can donate here: https://bit.ly/2FLiAuT.

UPDATE: We have raised $90,000 to fill the food banks of the San Luis Valley. Thank you for your overwhelming generosity this week.

9/15/20: The Second Wind Fund

Suicide is the leading cause of death for youth in Colorado.

Let that sink in.

The Second Wind Fund, a Denver-based nonprofit, connects young people who are at risk for suicide with therapists who can help save their lives -- and this group works fast.

They cut through red tape and insurance hurdles and get kids quickly matched with therapists. This group will pay any bills that result.

That’s why the Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of the Second Wind Fund is "lifesavers." The people working there are the lifesavers for kids at risk for suicide.

They've been doing this for 18 years and work in 30 of Colorado's counties. They expect a wave of new referrals as kids go back to school.

This nonprofit estimates it can save a life for about $1,000, and we know we can help.

It’s the same deal every week. We ask you to consider a $5 donation for our Word of Thanks micro-giving project. Kyle will match the first 50 $5 gifts. If you aren’t able to give, please consider sharing this with others who might want to donate.

If you'd like to give, you can donate here: https://bit.ly/2FEJcNP.

If someone in your life is in crisis today and needs immediate help, Colorado Crisis Service is available 24-7. You can call 844-493-8255, or text the word "TALK” to 38255.

Thank you, as always, for helping us do some good for our community.

RELATED: Mental health and addiction resources for Colorado residents

UPDATE: We have raised more than $50,100 to support this mental health service. Thank you for your generosity!

9/9/20: District 6 Food for Success

Lunch debt gets paid off one of two ways: Either families that are often struggling will come up with the money, or the district has to cover it, taking money from other programs.

That led us to the Greeley-Evans School District, the twelfth-largest district in Colorado, and its nonprofit partner. In this week's Word of Thanks giving campaign, we are highlighting the District 6 Food for Success program.

The Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of District 6 Food for Success is “fuel.” 

The Greeley-Evans School District and its nonprofit foundation know food fuels learning, so kids aren't shamed if they can't pay for lunch. They get the same meal as other students, and no one knows any different. 

The United States Department of Agriculture is offering school districts funding to provide free meals now for a limited amount of time. Those federal funds cannot be used to pay off existing school lunch debts.

Lunch debt is not accumulated by the two-thirds of Greeley-Evans students who qualify for free or reduced-cost lunch. Those meals are federally subsidized. The lunch debt is incurred by families that are often just above the income line to qualify for free or reduced lunch.

The district has stopped trying to collect student lunch debts from families due to the economy and the pandemic. That means there's $147,000 owed to the district for student lunches that will come out of the district's general fund.

District 6 Food for Success has worked for years to find people in their community willing to pick up the cost of a few kids' lunches, so families can focus on paying their bills and that high-need school district doesn't have to cut elsewhere to cover the cost.

We’re hoping we can cover at least a classroom’s worth of meals. As always, we ask you to consider just a $5 donation. Kyle will match the first 50 of those.

Thank you so much for joining us in helping this cause: https://www.coloradogives.org/d6food4success.

UPDATE: With nearly $96,000 in donations, this has become our most successful "Word of Thanks" event yet! You have our thanks for your continued generosity. We couldn't help these causes without your help.

9/2/20: Dumb Friends League Solutions – Veterinary Hospital 

It was a year ago today that Kyle and his family said goodbye to their dog, Porter, and that started one of the most wonderful conversations we've had on Next about the role of pets in our lives.

That's why we are highlighting Dumb Friends League Solutions – Veterinary Hospital this week.

The Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of this nonprofit is "companions."

The veterinary hospital provides low-cost treatments so that pet owners don't have to give up or put down a pet that can recover with the proper care. The demand for their services is overwhelming. People line up with their pets before dawn.

Six full-time vets are on staff, and people pay what they can instead of surrendering their pets because of finances. Dumb Friends League runs this clinic at a loss and never turns someone away because they cannot pay.

People who cannot pay sometimes bring cards or homemade food to show their appreciation for a chance to have more time with the pets they love. Those of us who deeply love pets know the impact they have on us humans, especially at a time when people feel isolated due to the pandemic.

We've raised almost a half-million dollars since June for a series of non-profits, asking for at least just $5 per donation. Kyle will match the first 50 $5 gifts.

If you'd like to give, you can donate here: https://bit.ly/3bk5C2i

UPDATE: Together, we raised $93,000 for these veterinary services -- our third-highest total yet. Thank you!

8/26/20: Colorado Youth for a Change

This week, we’re turning our attention to students. So many students in Colorado just went back to school. The trick is keeping them there.

We’re not talking solely about preventing COVID-19 related shutdowns. Colorado's dropout rate is a concern in a normal year, and this is a year of added stress on students who might decide just to walk away from classrooms or remote learning.

If you have $5 to spare for our micro-giving campaign, we hope you’ll consider Colorado Youth for a Change.

They are the re-enrollment specialists with years of experience helping students who have left the school system to get back in and get what they need to graduate. They got more than 400 kids back in to graduate last year.

This non-profit is preparing for a challenge unlike any other this year, as we've already seen students dropout and disappear from remote learning. So, Colorado Youth for a Change has more than doubled its team of specialists working with 17 school districts along the Front Range, north to Estes Park and south to Colorado Springs.

We know that students are going to just vanish from school this year with the challenges of the economy, the pandemic, and remote learning. Colorado Youth for a Change can get them back, because they've been doing it for years.
And we can help.

If you're in for 5 bucks, Kyle will match the first 50 $5 donations.

If you'd like to give, you can donate here: https://youthforachange.org/donate/

UPDATE: We raised $20,200 to help this organization and the kids it works with!

8/19/20: Wildland Firefighter Foundation 

For this week’s Word of Thanks, we can tell the wildland firefighters working to save lives and property across the state that we have their backs.

The Word of Thanks that comes to mind for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation is “defenders.”

When one of Colorado’s defenders gets injured fighting a wildfire, the nonprofit steps up to support that firefighter and their family.

They do that for wildland firefighters throughout the Mountain West, because Colorado’s firefighters often travel to other states, and firefighters from other states often work here.

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation was created after the Storm King Fire that killed 14 firefighters outside Glenwood Springs in 1994. When a firefighter dies in the line of duty, this nonprofit makes sure their family can get by before benefits arrive.

It’s easy to feel powerless when smoke fills Colorado skies. Here’s our chance to do something for those firefighters, together.

As always, we ask you to consider just a $5 donation, if you're able. Kyle will match the first 50 of those.

If you'd like to give, you can donate here: https://bit.ly/2E7w57a

UPDATE: We set a record with this one. Together we collected $90,825 to support these firefighters!

8/12/20: Newborns in Need

A Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of Newborns in Need is “beginnings.” Life’s beginnings has been on Kyle’s mind this week with the birth of his second daughter.

Every newborn in Colorado deserves a happy and healthy beginning. Newborns in Need makes sure that every newborn leaving Denver Health – especially those from low-income families -- has what they need for a good beginning.

For every family, that’s a basket with diapers, wipes, clothes, a book and a stuffed animal, so that no child starts life without those things. For families that need extra help, Newborns in Need provides a car seat, stroller and crib.

Imagine a family worried about taking their baby home from the hospital and knowing they don’t have a safe place for their baby to sleep. Let’s not let that happen.

As always, we ask you to consider just a $5 donation, if you're able. Kyle will match the first 50 of those.

If you'd like to give, you can donate here: https://bit.ly/33UPcf6

UPDATE: We raised $28,509 for Newborns in Need!

8/5/20: The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative 

The Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative is "peak."

This non-profit protects Colorado's highest peaks from the wear and tear of our treks. The Colorado 14ers Initiative builds and rebuilds trails, and replants high altitude vegetation that can take decades to grow and only needs one careless step off the trail to destroy.

They usually have hundreds of volunteers helping with this work each summer, but because of social distancing in the time of the coronavirus, volunteers aren't able to help. The work is done by paid crews that are together as a unit.

Anecdotal reports suggest Coloradans and visitors are putting a lot of extra wear and tear on our outdoor spaces during the pandemic.

The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative is out there protecting and restoring the natural integrity of those places we're all proud of. Their "Adopt A Peak" program this summer is working atop the peaks we can see from the Front Range, like Mount Elbert and Grays and Torreys peaks.

They have 15 total projects in the works:

  • Mount Elbert
  • Mounts Belford and Oxford
  • Missouri Mountain
  • Huron Peak
  • La Plata Peak
  • Quandary Peak
  • Grays and Torreys Peaks
  • Mount Evans
  • Mount Bierstadt
  • Capitol Peak
  • Pyramid Peak
  • Uncompahgre Peak
  • Wetterhorn Peak
  • Handies Peak
  • Redcloud and Sunshine Peaks

As always, we ask you to consider just a $5 donation, if you're able. Kyle will match the first 50 of those.

If you'd like to give, you can donate here: http://bit.ly/CFI_Donate.

UPDATE: We raised $10,342 for the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative!

7/29/20: A Little Help

The Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of the non-profit A Little Help is "connection." A Little Help is about connecting Coloradans who want to be of assistance with someone who doesn't have a person close by that they can count on, or who they can call on for anything they might need.

The coronavirus pandemic has created a surge of volunteerism in Colorado -- people stepping forward to help their neighbors.

Hundreds of people have particularly offered to help a group that assists older Coloradans with daily needs in the Denver area, Northern Colorado and the Roaring Fork Valley. A Little Help pairs about a thousand older adults with 2,000 volunteers who get their groceries, pick up medication, drive them to doctor appointments, and help with their yard work. At this time of year, they're even installing swamp coolers to help with the heat. 

When the pandemic hit, they also set up a check-in system to make sure these older adults are not feeling too isolated, or to see if they need help.

With donations, we can help them cover the cost of background checking their volunteers, training them, and getting them dispatched.

As always, we ask you to consider just a $5 donation, if you're able. Kyle will match the first 50 of those.

If you'd like to give, you can donate here: https://www.alittlehelp.org/donate.

UPDATE: We raised $15,609 for A Little Help!

7/22/20: Struggle of Love

The Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of the Struggle of Love non-profit is "safe."

Denver is seeing a youth violence problem this summer like we haven't seen in a while. Teenagers have become targets, even those police say aren't involved in gangs.

Struggle of Love is an impressive non-profit that's been on the ground in Montbello for more than a decade, doing community outreach, sports mentoring and even running a food bank.

The City of Denver just gave them a micro-grant to continue their work against youth violence, but our Word of Thanks campaign has the potential to give them that funding many times over to expand their work when it's needed most.

Struggle of Love Executive Director LaKeshia Hodge told us that the kids in her program in northeast Denver are often fearful -- fearful of how COVID-19 will impact their families, and fearful of how easy it is for kids their age to get guns.

This non-profit works with young people to give them not just a safe place but also the skills they need to stay out of trouble and succeed.

We have the opportunity to build on the boost that Struggle of Love just received from the city's microgrant, so they can reach more kids in northeast Denver and provide them with a safe place outside of school.

As always, we ask you to consider just a $5 donation, if you're able. Kyle will match the first 50 of those.

If you'd like to give, you can donate here: paypal.me/Struggleoflove.

UPDATE: Not only did we raise more than $20,000 for Struggle of Love, but the organization tells us they had a ton of requests from people who want to volunteer. Thank you for showing generosity in more ways than one.

7/15/20: United Way of Morgan County

The Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think of Morgan County is "united." The people there are united, and we can all unite with them for a good cause.

Morgan County, on the Eastern Plains, has Colorado's second-highest COVID-19 rate per capita, and the COVID-19 response has drained money that would usually go to a bunch of small non-profits and groups that do vital work on a small scale.  

The United Way of Morgan County will organize our donations and get them to small non-profits that need help to continue serving that rural community -- like Baby Bear Hugs, which helps with new parent education to build safe and successful families or the Morgan County Family Center, which advocates for and assists low-income families with life's challenges.

This is our first "Word of Thanks" campaign solely focused on part of rural Colorado. As always, we ask you to consider just a $5 donation, if you're able. Kyle will match the first 50 of those.

If you're interested in giving, click here: https://mcunitedway.org/donate.

UPDATE: Next viewers raised just over $43,000 for nonprofits in Morgan County, after COVID-19 drained resources in that rural county. Thank you all!

7/8/20: Mental Health Center of Denver's STAR program

The Word of Thanks that comes to mind when we think about the STAR program is "lives." Their work truly has the potential to save lives.

Talk to police or protesters and they'll agree - police officers are not social workers, yet they often end up on calls where someone in distress needs medical or mental health support, and not an armed response.

And that brings us to Denver's new Support Team Assisted Response program, or STAR. This is a pilot program in which 911 dispatchers can send a mental health professional and a paramedic instead of an officer.

They can handle non-criminal calls, like mental health crises and overdoses, and it keeps those calls out of the hands of officers, who will readily say they're not the best equipped to handle them.

So far, STAR has handled 136 calls, none of which have escalated to a law enforcement response.

Denver Police are working with community partners including the Mental Health Center of Denver on this six-month pilot program.

Our support will allow them to expand what they can do to better serve people and to keep citizens and officers safe, and with support, we can send a strong statement that this kind of new thinking about how we respond to emergencies is worth supporting.

As always, we ask you to consider just a $5 donation, if you're able. Kyle will match the first 50 of those.

If you're interested in giving, click here: https://mhcd.org/donate-star-9news/ 

UPDATE: We raised $40,000 together for the STAR program!

7/1/20: Nurse-Family Partnership Family Fund

The word that comes to mind when you think of the Nurse-Family Partnership Family Fund is "anything."

The Nurse-Family Partnership works with first-time mothers across Colorado. Anything these they need, day or night, they can call their nurse at the Nurse-Family Partnership. It's a personal nurse dedicated to helping vulnerable first-time moms through pregnancy and the first two years.

These are women navigating the challenge of motherhood while dealing with the pressure of paying the bills to keep their young families housed, and clothed and fed.

NFP is a strong non-profit, but when a mother calls their nurse to ask for help avoiding eviction, or for money for diapers, or for groceries, or for an unexpected car repair, that's where the group's Family Support Fund comes in.

And today, that's where we come in. This is a chance to keep these first-time moms and their babies safe and supported. We're hoping you'll consider a $5 donation to the cause. Every penny will go directly to that fund (no overhead). 

As always, Kyle will match the first 50 $5 donations.

If you're interested in giving, you can make a donation here.

UPDATE: Next viewers raised more than $24,000 for the Family Support Fund!

6/24/20: PCs for People 

A word that comes to mind for PCs for People is “connection.”

This non-profit refurbishes used laptops and other devices, as well as offers low-cost internet for students. They’re launching a new initiative tonight for seniors who are staying at home right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For many of these seniors, technology is the only way to connect with the people they love … and it’s something many of us take for granted. PCs for People is working to get those devices to seniors, and they’re doing it with our support.

Together, we can offer a connection to seniors who have spent months cut off from the world, and who are preparing for many months more at home.

As always, we’re just asking for $5 to help seniors make the connections we all desperately need, especially right now. Kyle will once again be matching the first 50 donations.

People can give by clicking this link: https://bit.ly/37X2Azv

UPDATE: Since Wednesday, 756 of you have donated $17,100 for @PCsforPeople. THANK YOU for your generosity. 

6/17/20: The Center on Colfax

We're calling this segment "Word of Thanks," and a word that comes to mind when we think of The Center on Colfax is "celebrate."

The Center on Colfax is the center of the local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community.

Because of the coronavirus, they will celebrate Denver's Pride weekend virtually this year. Losing the traditional Pride parade means they lose their largest source of annual funding.

The Center has one particular program we'd like you to consider supporting: SAGE of the Rockies. It's a welcoming place for older people in the LGBTQ community -- people who are twice as likely to be single and living alone, and four times less likely to have children to connect with for support.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling banning LGBTQ job discrimination this week is a reminder that many people went through most or all of their working lives fearing what would happen if their boss found out who they were - or who they loved.

So, in the same week as that ruling, we're asking you to join in on celebrating and recognizing this group by supporting the SAGE program at The Center on Colfax.

As always, we're asking for you to consider even just a $5 donation. Kyle will match the first 50 of those. Let's send a clear message this year for Pride that we see, and we admire, the elders of the LGBTQ community.

You can give here: https://lgbtqcolorado.org/Next4Sage/

UPDATE: The Center on Colfax has received $43,000 from around 1,600 donors! As usual, your generosity is astounding! 

6/10/20: The Crowley Foundation

One word comes to mind when we think of The Crowley Foundation: potential.

The Crowley Foundation sees the potential in young black men in our community and comes alongside them and their families to make sure they reach that potential.

For more than a decade, they've been mentoring young men into strong community leaders - into "kings," as they like to say - with social guidance, emotional support and leadership training. Their participants graduate high school, then college, and cycle back to mentor the next generation.

They're proving to young black men that people in our community believe in them and know they can succeed.

If even just one in five Next viewers gave $5, we could allow them to expand their program to include more young men. Kyle will match the first 50 Next viewers who give just $5.

You can give here: https://crowleycollegeprep.com/donate/

UPDATE: Your donations totaled more than $54,000 - nearly one year's worth of their typical operating costs! They asked that we share their own word of thanks:

6/3/20: Civic Center Conservancy

This week, our first week, it's Civic Center Conservancy.

Civic Center Park is a one-of-a-kind, beautiful public space for people, for parties and for protests. It’s also Denver's only National Historic Landmark.

The park is seen by millions as a symbol of Denver and Colorado, and right now, it's a mess.

Civic Center Conservancy cares for the park and has lost funds it normally depends on without Civic Center Eats, which has been canceled during the pandemic.

If even just one in five Next viewers gives $5, that would cover the cost of cleaning up Civic Center Park, and Kyle will match the first 50 $5 donations.

You can give here: www.civiccenterpark.org

UPDATE: About 4,000 of you raised more than $90,000, and covered the cost of cleaning the park!

RELATED: Organizers cancel A Taste of Colorado for 2020

RELATED: Denver cancels all events at city-owned venues through April 12

RELATED: Downtown Denver park reopens after rat infestation

SUGGESTED VIDEOS | Full Episodes of Next with Kyle Clark