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Colorado Health Access Fund

Funding Opportunities

The 2019 RFP is closed. The next RFP will be available in early 2020.  


The Colorado Health Access Fund (the CHA Fund) is a Field of Interest Fund managed by The Denver Foundation, which is entrusted to oversee its grantmaking and evaluation. Established in 2014 with an anonymous gift of $40 million, the Fund is dedicated to improving health outcomes for underserved Coloradans. Between 2015 and 2022, the fund was charged to distribute grants to increase access to health care and improve health outcomes for populations with high health care needs across the state. We are committed to allocating resources among rural, urban, and suburban areas in Colorado.

Areas of focus were informed by an asset-and-gap analysis commissioned by The Denver Foundation in 2014. The goal of the analysis, conducted by the Colorado Health Institute (CHI), was to glean a solid understanding of Colorado’s diverse health care landscape and to guide the development of this Request for Proposals (RFP). The report resulting from this analysis, “Flashpoints and Fixes: An Asset and Gap Analysis of Barriers to Care for Coloradans with High Health Needs,” can be found here.

The CHI report noted that the majority of Colorado Health Statistic Regions included mental/behavioral health care as a local public health priority and this was echoed in every community dialogue conducted by CHI. In discussions with health and community foundations, mental health and substance use disorder were identified as the most pressing issues across the state. Thus, the CHA Fund focuses on increasing access to the treatment of behavioral health care.

The Fund includes four focus areas for funding of behavioral health care projects:

1. Education of those with high health needs, as well as their families and caregivers;
2. Transitions in care;
3. Innovation of care delivery; and
4. Improved access to care, particularly in rural communities.

The intent of the Fund is to increase access to behavioral health care to Coloradans with high health care needs across the state. Those with high health care needs are defined as those who have an identified behavioral health issue and are a member of at least one of these populations that are known to be un/underserved:

Persons with multiple chronic or acute health conditions;
Persons impacted by racial health disparities; 
Individuals enrolled in Health First Colorado;
Persons who lack health insurance coverage or have significant barriers to accessing coverage;
Persons who are experiencing homelessness;
Persons who are justice-involved;
Persons with a disability; and/or
Persons whose primary language is other than English.

Funding Opportunities

The 2019 RFP is closed. The next RFP will be available in early 2020. 

The Denver Foundation utilizes a web-based application for the CHA Fund. Registration is required and the deadline to register is Thursday, February 28, 2019. Organizations must anticipate and allow 48 hours for The Denver Foundation to approve their registration request.

2019 RFP and Application

Required Budget Template

Required Project Work Plan Template

                                                                                       TIMELINE - 2019                                                                                                     

Thursday, January 3 

Request for Proposals released

Thursday, January 3 

RFP Q&A Webinar - details available on the webpage

Tuesday, February 26

Last day for content questions

Thursday, February 28

Last day to register with The Denver Foundation’s web-based application system.
No exceptions.

 Tuesday, March 5

Last day for technical questions related to the online application

 Friday, March 8

Proposals due

 Before the end of August     

All applicants will be notified of their status

Monday, September 2

Grant cycle begins for awardees

A Webinar below is available to provide additional information on the RFP and application. Participation is optional, but strongly encouraged. 

Evaluation of the Colorado Health Access Fund

Please download the 2017 Annual Evaluation Report and the 2017 Annual Evaluation Report-Executive Summary, an evaluation by the Colorado Health Institute of the Fund’s current grantees. The 2018 Annual Evaluation Report will be posted in the spring of 2019.

The CHA Fund's Future

The Fund is scheduled to be spent down by 2022 but aims to have a lasting impact in Colorado after its end. Thus far, the partnerships supported by the Fund have created the opportunity for almost 50,000 additional Coloradans to access behavioral health and/or addictions care.

The demand and challenges in the behavioral health and addictions treatment field are significant. Colorado has a high death-by-suicide rate and the need for the safety net exceeds the funding. The challenges are greater for our focus populations-those we care most about and those who have the greatest barriers to care.

In 2018, the Fund completed a strategic refresh to determine the addition of possible future strategies. Our core guiding principles remain the same: honor donor intent, fund sustainable projects and programs, address access challenges in rural communities, support programming that creates care solutions focused on racial equity, and invest in programming that will show measurable results prior to the end of the Fund.

With these and other principles, the Fund launched a thorough process that included but was not limited to interviews with experts, interviews with persons who have lived experience, a literature review, facilitated community meetings with providers and advocates across the state, and feedback from our statewide advisory committee, funding partners, and grantee partners.

As a result, the following opportunities were identified as areas of cross-cutting investment in the Fund’s remaining years:

Direct Public Policy Advocacy
Improving the system through direct public policy was one consistent and immediately actionable theme. The critical role public policy advocacy plays in advancing and maintaining access in behavioral health can’t be understated. In response, the Fund has sought new partnership with organizations that have a constant presence in this field and awarded funding prior to the 2019 legislative session.

Care in the Community
The Fund is exploring a systems approach to equip community members, law enforcement, and first responders with strategies to better care for persons experiencing a mental health issue or crisis.

Innovation in the Safety Net
Creating space for innovation across populations, geographies, and communities is also vital. The Fund is considering unique opportunities to create and support a culture of innovation in behavioral health.

Strengthening the Behavioral Health Workforce
The Fund will begin in-depth fact-finding about the statewide loan repayment program for graduate-level, licensed therapists serving health professional shortage areas. Additionally, the Fund identified systemic barriers within our operations that could limit our impact with partners.

Impact Investing
The Fund will now consider impact investing projects and programs which will maximize our opportunity to create change with other community organizations.

The Fund will continue our annual Request for Proposals that supports our strategy to expand direct behavioral health care treatment. Dimensions of racial equity and access to behavioral health care in rural communities will have an increasing influence when considering funding decisions.

In addition, the Fund will begin supporting public policy advocacy and will be exploring systems approach solutions to increasing care in the community, supporting innovation, and strengthening the behavioral health workforce. As with prior years, the Fund will continue our practice of sharing our external evaluation.


Questions after reading the materials? Please email our team at

Resources & Links

View the most recent list of CHA grantees [PDF]
View the CHA Advisory Committee Roster [PDF]
View Flashes & Fixes - Full Report [PDF]
View Flashes & Fixes - Executive Summary [PDF]
View Leveraging Learning: A Framework for Evaluating the Colorado Health Access Fund
Grantee Reporting Form
View and download Behavioral Health Data in Colorado and New Models for Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care by the Colorado Health Institute. The workbook is a compilation of the latest available data on the behavioral health of adults, high school students and children in each of the state’s 21 Health Statistics Regions (HSRs). The data are sortable by region, allowing for comparison across regions and to state averages.