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 75,000 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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 CHA@denverfoundation.org