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A 'Word of Thanks' from Next

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

COLORADO, USA — We have started offering up 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.

The routine is simple. Each week, Kyle presents a new organization he'd like to highlight and asks you to consider just a $5 donation. He won't share any cause that he won't donate to himself and will match the first 50 donations of $5 every time.

We will share the causes within this article every week.

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!

>> 2020 tax information: If you're looking for the tax ID for any of these causes, we compiled a list with all of them.

For those keeping track, we have raised more than $3 million together since June 2020! Here's how we've done it:

4/14/21: SAVA Center

We know that sexual assault can create a lifetime of trauma, which is why Colorado is in the process of removing the statute of limitations for civil actions alleging sexual assault.

It’s also why the support for sexual assault survivors in Colorado is so critical.

This week, our Word of Thanks campaign will help expand the work of the Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center, or SAVA Center, in Northern Colorado.

This nonprofit offers help to survivors of recent assaults, as well as to survivors of assaults that happened years, or even decades ago. They also work on prevention, creating programs that reach thousands of students.

Now, SAVA has a few particular focuses.

The pandemic has made it harder for survivors to escape abusive situations, and the SAVA Center expects to see a wave of people seeking help as society fully reopens. Sadly, the pandemic has impacted funding, as well.

The SAVA Center also continues to build trust with the immigrant community, where convincing people to come forward after an assault and assuring them they'll be protected is a challenge.

The SAVA Center does all its work on a limited budget, but we can help.

The ask this week is the same as it is every week for our Word of Thanks campaign. We hope you consider just a $5 donation if you’re able to help. Kyle will match the first 50 $5 donations given to SAVA.

Thank you for your help this week and always

If you're interested in giving, you can donate here.

4/7/21: Center for African American Health

The Center for African American Health (CAA) has been committed to supporting Denver's Black community since 2005.

This group started within the Black Church Initiative and has grown into a nonprofit that addresses the community's physical health and wellbeing.

CAA offers free prostate screenings to men and overall health screenings at its health fair. It helps connect people with healthy food and offers mental health first-aid training. It even teaches people about health insurance coverage and aging in a healthy way.

Now, as all adults in Colorado are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, CAA is focusing its work on access.

Colorado's Vaccine Equity Task Force and Immunize Colorado praised the work being done by CAA -- COVID testing, vaccine clinics, vaccine education and outreach.

This non-profit is making the one-on-one personal connections that help Coloradans make informed choices about vaccines, and is breaking down barriers to getting people vaccinated.

We ask you to consider a $5 donation to help this nonprofit, whether you have already been vaccinated, secured a future appointment, or even if you're still looking for one. Your generosity will go a long way to helping our community.

If you're interested in giving, you can donate here.

3/31/21: COVA

The Boulder County Crisis Fund, which is providing short and long-term help for those impacted by the mass shooting, has passed $1 million in total fundraising. Next viewers accounted for more than a quarter of that and were and two-thirds of the individual donors.

This week, let’s focus on the majority of crime victims who don't receive public attention and support.

Our Word of Thanks micro-giving project today supports a long-time nonprofit that can quickly help crime victims with emergency funds for things like groceries and phone bills – the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance (COVA).

The names of crime victims line the walls at their office, and most names would not be familiar. Their cases aren't always in the news, so strangers aren't likely to reach out to help.

There are state and federal victims assistance funds, but COVA keeps a small emergency fund to help out when that other assistance will be too slow or too limited to immediately help a crime victim in Colorado.

Victims' advocates apply for the funds on behalf of their clients, so it's all legitimate. COVA can then turn around emergency help in 20 minutes if that's what's needed.

The money can be used to get a car out of impound, get a phone bill paid, repair property damage, get someone a gift card for gas or groceries for their family.

These victims' advocates work all across our state and are there for people in the worst moments in their lives when they can not only feel victimized, but forgotten. 

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

You can donate here.

3/17/21: The Matthews House

There’s a nonprofit in Northern Colorado with an established record of helping young people. 

The Matthews House started 15 years ago with an original goal of helping those who were aging out of foster care. The vision grew, and this group now works with more than 3,000 families each year to help younger people succeed, especially trying to intervene earlier with at-risk kids.

One of their great success stories is educational support. The Matthews House helps students stick with school and get on track to graduate. Last fall, students came in with an average of 45% in their classes and left with an average grade of 73%.

The non-profit has 14 learning sites in Fort Collins and Loveland, and the program has grown eight times larger during the pandemic.

The Matthews House is currently looking ahead to summer after what has been a difficult school year. They’re getting ready to help hundreds of students in Northern Colorado make up credits they missed and prepare to graduate.

All of that accompanies the larger goal of helping these kids and their families overcome poverty and achieve self-sufficiency. It's important work, and together, we can help them do more for more families.

As always with our weekly Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign, we ask you to consider just a $5 donation. Kyle will match the first 50 of those.

If you're interested in giving, you can donate here.

3/10/21: Cultivando

A mass vaccination event might get shots in the arms of 10,000 people and still not necessarily reach the people who need them the most.

That's where the women of Cultivando are doing important work.

Our Word of Thanks micro-giving project this week supports a small but mighty non-profit that has a long track record of advocating for health equity in the Latino community. The promotoras, the community health workers of Cultivando, are trusted resources in Adams County, the only county in the metro area where more than a third of the population is Latino.

Cultivando's promotoras have been working to get out accurate information about the COVID vaccine and provide access from both ends of the system. They work with government agencies and health providers to make sure that vaccine events have effective outreach and cultural competency, so they attract and serve the communities in need of vaccination. They also work on the individual level, helping Coloradans navigate the maze of information and resources to get connected with a vaccine.

There's more demand for their services than they can meet right now. Olga Gonzalez, who runs Cultivando, says they're ready to scale up with our support. Our donations can help them expand their team's reach right now, during this crucial time for vaccinations.

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

Thank you for being part of this weekly project. We couldn’t do this without your support. 

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

3/3/21: Epic Experience

Sharon Ritzman watched Next from her home in Golden. And before she died last month, she was a regular supporter of our Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign – so much so, that her family asked for people to consider giving to our weekly Word of Thanks causes in her obituary.

Sharon lived a life full of adventures with her family and volunteerism tied to the medical community. This week, Kyle asked Sharon's family if they would help pick our featured non-profit so that we might find something that would have made Sharon smile.

That's how we learned about Epic Experience, based in Arvada. Sharon supported their work, and now we can, too.

Epic Experience hosts weeklong adventure camps for adult cancer survivors, strengthening their mental health and connecting them to a network of survivors who can help them explore life beyond cancer.

This nonprofit is gearing up for a return to in-person camps this year, while they're also launching a new virtual reality getaway for people in cancer treatment -- a chance to escape the confines of treatment.

The people who run this small non-profit say they have eight times as many cancer survivors interested in these no-cost camps than they have available spots. Our donations will allow them to offer these experiences to more survivors.

Sharon's daughter, Michelle, went on an Epic Experience camp. And Sharon herself went back to school to become a nurse to work with families facing cancer.

Tonight, in celebration of the life of Sharon Ritzman, let's provide more cancer survivors with a life-changing experience.

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

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

2/24/21: Lincoln Hills Cares

In 1922, Black entrepreneurs in Denver began building a resort in Gilpin County. It was intended to be a mountain getaway for Black Coloradans who faced discrimination at other vacation spots.

Lincoln Hills grew into a thriving community of cabins, drawing families who wanted an escape from life in the city and racial inequality.

That's the past. Now, 99 years later in this Black History Month, we’re taking a look at Lincoln Hills’ present and future, and our role in helping that special place impact more lives.

Our Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign this week supports Lincoln Hills Cares, the non-profit based at the old resort property. Today, Lincoln Hills is a place where, every year, more than a thousand kids get to explore nature, learn about science and gain a new appreciation for their cultural history. Young Coloradans have the chance to come away with new interests and new skills in outdoor survival, biology and entomology -- not to mention a new appreciation for what previous generations of Black Coloradans built at that special camp.

These young visitors come from all over the state, primarily from marginalized communities where economic factors might prevent families from getting the mountain experience that a lot of Coloradans take for granted.

Lincoln Hills Cares is getting ready for a busy 2021 full of Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA groups, church groups and other student visits. We have the chance to help them expand their programming to add more young people from across Colorado.

Just like every other week, we hope you consider just a $5 donation to this Word of Thanks cause. Kyle will match the first 50 of those.

And as always, thank you for helping us do some good in Colorado.

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

2/17/21: Urban Peak

Urban Peak has a 30-year track record of helping young people experiencing homelessness in Denver.

The teenagers and young adults who have turned to this nonprofit have ended up needing help for different reasons, but Urban Peak meets them where they are with experienced, specialized support.

The team helps with their specific challenges and gets them into safe housing.

Urban Peak has an overnight shelter, a place for young people to come during the day to escape the streets, as well as job training, education resources, and a focus on getting youth into housing where they'll be safe and self-sufficient.

Even with 2020's challenges, Urban Peak did that for more than 60 young people last year, doing what they could to scrape together the basics like a bed, chair and cooking utensils. With the help of our donations, the head of Urban Peak told us she’d love to let each young person buy one small thing of their choice to make their new housing feel like their home.

We’ve been working on this Word of Thanks project since June, getting money to nonprofits in Colorado that are doing great work. This could be the week we surpass the $3 million mark.

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

Thank you!

If you'd like to give, you can make a donation here.

2/10/21: Western Colorado Community Foundation

Donations made to this week's Word of Thanks cause will be divided among three non-profits doing important work in western Colorado to prevent youth suicide.

YouthZone, Gear Up and Friends of Youth and Nature use outdoor adventure as a way to get counseling and mentoring to young people who are at risk:

  • Youth Zone works with young people in Garfield County, Rifle and Parachute specifically, who have been in trouble and need guidance to get on the right track again.
  • Gear Up provides mentoring for middle schoolers in Mesa County, but it's disguised as a mountain biking program, getting young people to set goals early in life to stay out of trouble and stay away from discouragement.
  • Friends of Youth in Montrose and Delta counties does work with kids in foster care who have survived trauma so that they can build confidence and resilience skills.

The Western Colorado Community Foundation will collect our donations and split them in three ways for us. Not only is the foundation not taking any fees or overhead, but the group is also getting us started with $5,000.

Your Word of Thanks donations have blown by the $2.8 million mark, and we can’t wait to see how we add to our running total this week. As always, we ask you to consider a $5 donation. Kyle will match the first 50 of those.

If you'd like to give, you can make a donation here.

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.

2/3/21: Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking

Our Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign this week will help The Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking, a Denver-based non-profit dedicated to ending human trafficking in Colorado.

The key to stopping this practice is training more people to spot it, and this group has been working on just that for more than a decade. They've trained 35,000 people on how to spot human trafficking, including law enforcement, hospitality workers and people who work in health care and child welfare.

We heard from one of those law enforcement officers just recently. Colorado State Patrol Trooper Brent Crampton stepped in to stop a case of human trafficking last year after his training. Crampton told us that he wondered if he missed other cases before he knew the signs and techniques to intervene.

We can help The Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking reach more people across our state and train them, potentially rescuing victims and saving lives.

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

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

1/27/21: WeeCycle

No family should be forced to ration diapers, or use toilet paper and grocery bags or anything else as substitutes.

WeeCycle is a non-profit providing diapers and other baby essentials to low-income families around Denver. During the pandemic, they have focused on getting those baby items to food banks, so that families in need can get those essentials in one stop.

The staff at WeeCycle were well aware of Next viewers’ generosity before Kyle even spoke to them about being part of our Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign this week. And when Kyle asked how they might be able to immediately put our donations to work to help low-income families, they said it was simple -- instead of being able to hand families one package of diapers per visit, they could hand them two.

WeeCycle provided 1.1 million diapers and 2 million wipes to families last year. Let’s see what we can do to help them in one week. We know what happens when this Next community works together on something. It’s usually amazing.

As always, Kyle asks you to consider giving a $5 donation, and he’ll match the first 50 of you who choose to do that.

Thank you.

To donate, click here.

UPDATE: We have raised more than $83,000!

1/20/21 | Branson, Colorado's football fieldSince we started the Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign in June, we've addressed serious topics in our state ranging from hunger to wildfires. This time, we thought we'd focus on joy. 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. We helped get them $80,000 closer to their goal.

1/13/21 | Jeffco Prosperity PartnersJeffco Prosperity Partners helps families reach their personalized goals while getting out of poverty. If the goal is a better-paying job, Jeffco Prosperity Partners can come in with career counseling and tuition assistance. If the focus is on overcoming mental health challenges, they are there to walk side-by-side with them through that. If the hope is to buy a house, 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. You raised $29,000 to help them achieve those goals.

1/6/21 | Mountain Family CenterThe Modern West podcast is where Kyle learned about the struggle to find and afford fresh, healthy food in Jackson County. For the relatively isolated and small communities in the North Park area, 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. They also have three other locations in Grand County, in Granby, Kremmling and Fraser. They particularly are focused now on feeding families with kids while they're out of school. You raised $66,000 this week to get fresh food to these families.

12/30/20: Family Promise: Family Promise helps families in the Denver metro area that are homeless find temporary housing, and then a permanent home. We raised more than $183,000 for this nonprofit so that they could 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.

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 2020 to provide food from restaurants to these workers, and even communities nationwide that were heavily impacted by the pandemic. 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, as well as meals for the people working hard during COVID-19. But donations slowed after a while. You raised more than $162,000 to help ramp up the effort during the holiday season.

12/16/20 | Angel Relief FundRestaurant 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. The Angel Relief Fund is the foundation arm of the Colorado Restaurant Association. It has tried to support workers in this industry when they have been laid off or furloughed due to COVID-19 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 for mortgages, utility bills, car repairs and more. You were able to provide a massive tip during the holiday season, raising more than $94,700.

12/9/20 | Friends of DHAMaking sure kids have a happy holiday was harder than ever in 2020 because of the pandemic. Even so, the people at Friends of DHA wanted to make sure kids living in Denver's subsidized housing had a holiday gift. Normal traditions had to shift because of the pandemic, so Friends of DHA vowed to get kids $25 gift cards to places selling toys for delivery or curbside pickup. The plan was to start with the first family to ask for help and the staff would work its way down the list, getting gift cards for as many kids as possible. When the money ran out, the families further down the list would have to go without. Because you raised more than $147,000 for Friends of DHA, you not only provided a gift card for every child living in Denver's public housing, but you also raised money to go toward groceries for these families.

12/2/20 | Family TreeFamily 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 Next community was able to provide them with an extra $52,258.

11/25/20 | SECOR CaresThe 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 quadrupled after the pandemic began. We raised more than $84,000 to help.

11/18/20 | Denver Indian CenterFor almost 40 years, the Denver Indian Center has had a tradition of celebrating heritage while also helping the vulnerable in the native community. The food bank run out of the nonprofit's location in West Denver has seen a 400% increase in need during the pandemic. And while COVID changed how they operate, Denver Indian Center is still finding new ways to honor and support its elders. In 2020, that included hosting a drive-up Thanksgiving dinner distribution, open to all. We raised more than $66,000 to help this nonprofit replenish its food bank so that it could continue serving through the holiday season.

11/11/20 | Project SanctuaryVeterans are 50% more likely to die by suicide than the rest of the population, and Project Sanctuary provides life-changing, lifesaving support for Colorado's veterans and their families. 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 connects veterans and their families with the resources they need, both short-term and long-term, to succeed after service. It’s also worth noting that this group was founded in Grand County, and one of the lodges where they've held veteran retreats was lost in the 2020 wildfires. But they were determined to push ahead. We raised more than $61,000 to help them do just that.

11/4/20 | Community Foundation of Northern ColoradoDownstream from the burn areas of the largest fires in Colorado history is the drinking water supply for Northern Colorado. The fires of 2020 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. The Community Foundation of Northern Colorado was behind the urgent effort to prevent erosion into the rivers, streams and mountain reservoirs. We raised $42,633 to help them protect the water supply.

10/28/20 | Grand Foundation, Community Foundation of Boulder County and Larimer County United WayHundreds of Coloradans lost their homes in the 2020 wildfires, and there will be long-term needs in Boulder, Grand and Larimer counties because of it. Each area has its own separate, dedicated fund to help its citizens impacted by the wildfires, but we found a way to help all three at once. The Grand Foundation, the Community Foundation Boulder County and the Larimer County United Way's wildfire fund 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 collected our donations and split them between the counties, without any overhead fees, and they even gave us $5,000 to get us started. When all was said and done, we raised $191,384 for the effort in these counties.

10/21/20 | Red Cross of Colorado and WyomingIt's not even a contest. You raised more for this cause than any other we have supported. At $536,464 the response was huge, and for good reason. The Red Cross of Colorado and Wyoming set out to provide comfort and care to the thousands of Coloradans forced out of their homes by the Cameron Peak Fire, the CalWood Fire, the Lefthand Canyon Fire and others that burned in the fall. The Red Cross gave our neighbors food and a place to stay when they needed it most.

10/14/20: Project WorthmoreFor nearly a decade, Project Worthmore has welcomed refugees to Colorado by helping families trying to establish a fresh start in America build a foundation for self-sufficiency. This includes help with English classes and help to navigate public services. There’s now a food bank, too. This nonprofit’s goal is to help refugees feel welcome, connected, and ready to thrive on their own in America. 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. The Next community raised more than $30,000 to help Project Worthmore continue its work.

10/7/20 | SafeHouse DenverSafeHouse Denver saves the lives of people facing abuse. They strategize a safe way for these people to leave an abusive situation through their 24/7 crisis line, and provide temporary housing for women, children, and men escaping abuse through their emergency shelter. SafeHouse Denver said the calls to its crisis line since the pandemic started indicated that more severe physical abuse was happening in our community, though the pandemic also impacted SafeHouse Denver's funding. 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. We nearly erased this need with $39,000 in donations.

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.

9/30/20 | Metro CaringMetro Caring is 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. This group not only wants to feed people, but also wants to fight the root causes of poverty that bring people in looking for food in the first place. To be blunt, Metro Caring told us they had never before seen need like the need in 2020. The number of families looking for food increased three times over, and this nonprofit required plenty of supply to serve the community. Together, we were able to give them more than $52,000.

9/23/20 | Food Bank Network of the San Luis ValleyWith one paid employee and a group of volunteers, the Food Bank Network of the San Luis Valley reaches Coloradans in a persistently poor part of our state. 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 size of Massachusetts, so that people aren't driving 50 miles just to get fresh food. 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 in the metro area. Together, we were able to give $90,000 to fill the food banks of the San Luis Valley.

9/15/20 | The Second Wind FundSuicide is the leading cause of death for youth in Colorado. 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. This group works fast, cutting through red tape and insurance hurdles to get kids quickly matched with therapists. The nonprofit will pay any bills that result. They've been doing this for 18 years and work in 30 of Colorado's counties. This nonprofit estimates it can save a life for about $1,000, and we were able to help. You raised more than $50,000 this week.

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.

RELATED: Mental health and addiction resources for Colorado residents

9/9/20 | District 6 Food for SuccessLunch 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. The district and its nonprofit foundation, District 6 Food for Success, know food fuels learning, so kids aren't shamed if they can't pay for lunch. Students in need get the same meal as other students, and no one knows any different. The lunch debt here is incurred by families that are often just above the income line to qualify for free or reduced meals. Our $96,000 in donations knocked out more than half of the $147,000 owed.

9/2/20 | Dumb Friends League Solutions – Veterinary Hospital: Dumb Friends League Solutions – 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, especially because of the economic hardships caused by the pandemic. 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. Together, we raised $93,000 to support them.

8/26/20 | Colorado Youth for a ChangeColorado's dropout rate is a concern in a normal year, but the pandemic put added stress on students who might decide just to walk away from classrooms or remote learning. Colorado Youth for a Change has re-enrollment specialists with years of experience helping students who have left the school system come back and graduate. They got more than 400 kids back in to graduate in 2019. You raised $20,200 to help this team of specialists that works with 17 school districts along the Front Range, north to Estes Park and south to Colorado Springs.

8/19/20 | Wildland Firefighter FoundationWe can tell the wildland firefighters working to save lives and property across the state that we have their backs. But we decided to show them. You raised more than $90,000 to support firefighters who are injured while fighting a wildfire, as well as their families. The Wildland Firefighter Foundation does 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. This nonprofit was created after the Storm King Fire that killed 14 firefighters outside Glenwood Springs in 1994. That's why the group also responds if a firefighter is killed, making sure their family can get by before benefits arrive. 

8/12/20 | Newborns in NeedNewborns 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. Your donations gave $28,500 to this nonprofit.

8/5/20 | The Colorado Fourteeners InitiativeThe Colorado Fourteeners Initiative protects Colorado's highest peaks from the wear and tear of our treks. It 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 couldn't help in 2020. And anecdotal reports suggested Coloradans and visitors put extra wear and tear on outdoor spaces during the pandemic. Maintenance fell to paid crews that worked together as a unit. We raised $10,342 to help this group take care of Colorado's peaks.

7/29/20 | A Little HelpA Little Help connects Coloradans to others who need help. Maybe it's someone who doesn't have another person close by that they can count on, or someone who needs a person to call on for any little thing they might need. The group pairs about a thousand older adults with volunteers who can get their groceries, pick up medication, drive them to doctor appointments and help with their yard work. When the pandemic hit, they also set up a check-in system to make sure these older adults are not feeling too isolated. You raised more than $15,000 to help cover the costs of background-checking volunteers, training them and getting them dispatched.

7/22/20 | Struggle of LoveDenver saw a youth violence problem over the summer like we hadn't seen in a while. Teenagers had become targets, even those police say they 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. Over the summer, Executive Director LaKeshia Hodge told us that the kids in her program in northeast Denver were 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. We raised $20,000 for this group to help them support young people, not just giving them a safe place but also the giving skills they need to stay out of trouble and succeed. 

7/15/20 | United Way of Morgan CountyMorgan County, on the Eastern Plains, had Colorado's second-highest COVID-19 rate per capita when we highlighted the local United Way in early July. The COVID-19 response drained money that would usually go to a bunch of small non-profits and groups there that do vital work on a small scale. We raised $43,000 for United Way of Morgan County, which got the money to those small non-profits that needed help to continue serving that rural community -- groups 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.

7/8/20 | Mental Health Center of Denver's STAR programPolice officers are not social workers, yet they often end up on calls where someone in distress needs medical or mental health support instead of an armed response. Denver's new Support Team Assisted Response program, or STAR, 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. Our $40,000 in donations went toward helping them expand what they can do to better serve people and to keep citizens and officers safe.

7/1/20 | Nurse-Family Partnership Family FundThe Nurse-Family Partnership works with first-time mothers across Colorado. Anything they need, day or night, they can call a nurse who is dedicated to helping the vulnerable first-time moms through pregnancy and the first two years of motherhood. These moms are women taking care of their babies while also dealing with the pressure of paying the bills to keep their young families housed, clothed and fed. NFP is a strong non-profit, but when a mother calls their nurse to ask about extra needs like avoiding eviction, getting groceries or taking care of an unexpected car repair, the group's Family Support Fund comes in and gets them the help they need. You all collected more than $24,000 to help the cause.

6/24/20 | PCs for PeopleThis non-profit refurbishes used laptops and other devices, and offers low-cost internet for students. In the week we highlighted this organization, it was launching a new initiative for seniors who were forced to stay home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For many of them, technology became the only way to connect with the people they love. We raised more than $17,000 so that PCs for People could get devices to local seniors and help them feel connected.

6/17/20 | The Center on ColfaxIn honor of Pride Month, we raised $43,000 for The Center on Colfax, which is the center of the local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community in Denver. When the coronavirus pandemic canceled Denver's 2020 Pride Parade, the group lost a massive source of annual funding that it usually relies on. This week, we particularly focused our donations on the nonprofit's SAGE of the Rockies program. It serves as 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.

6/10/20 | The Crowley FoundationYou raised more than $54,000 for The Crowley Foundation in Denver. This group works with young Black men, mentoring them, tutoring them and helping them become leaders in the community in hopes that they return the favor for the next generation. The donations collected during this one week covered one year's worth of operating costs for the nonprofit.

6/3/20 | Civic Center ConservancyIn our first week of Word of Thanks, we raised $90,000 to clean up Civic Center Park in downtown Denver, the city's only National Historic Landmark. Civic Center Conservancy cares for the park and lost funds it normally depends on without Civic Center Eats, the weekly food truck event that was canceled during the pandemic. The funds were particularly needed for clean-up following the racial injustice protests in 2020.

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