Building Community

Fighting Hunger

The Denver Foundation Fights Hunger in Metro Denver Every Day

The Denver Foundation's vision is a Metro Denver community where all people have the opportunity for a high quality of life. One essential element of this vision is that residents have access to healthy food. Unfortunately, this isn't the case today.  Today, more than one in five children experience hunger and 14% of households in Colorado do not have consistent access to food. 

During the economic downturn, food pantries saw double-digit increases in the number of people seeking emergency food supplies. It was at this time during which The Denver Foundation, in partnership with generous donors, activated the Critical Needs Fund to bridge gaps in emergency food provision. We distributed over $1,000,000 during the downturn to food programs in Metro Denver and throughout Colorado.  This fund is still active to bridge the gaps in emergency food and to respond to emergent needs for which a community-based response is necessary to ensure people have access to food. 

View Critical Need Emergency Food Grant Grantees in a full screen map.

However, the need isn't limited to emergency food. Today, Colorado ranks 45th out of 50 states in the participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program of those eligible to participate and 42nd out of 50 states for participation in the summer food program for children.  These low participation rates demonstrate that many who are experiencing hunger should not be having such an experience and that the purchasing power of food within Colorado is not being realized. 

What is The Denver Foundation doing?

Click here to watch Jeff Hirota, The Denver Foundation Vice President of Programs, on Colorado State of Mind.

Click here to read a speech about action to end hunger in Colorado, delivered by Kathy Underhill of Hunger Free Colorado at The Denver Foundation's 2012 Annual Celebration.

 Emergency Food Supply 

The Critical Needs Fund is still available as a place to which donations can be made to address hunger.  Hunger Free Colorado   There are food banks/pantries throughout Colorado to support families’ emergency food needs.  For more information about these locations, go to

Ending Hunger in Colorado

To address systemic issues of hunger in Colorado, The Denver Foundation joined Kaiser Permanente in providing initial funding for Hunger Free Colorado, an organization created through a partnership between the Colorado Anti-Hunger Network and the Colorado Food Bank Association. Visit

Hunger Free Colorado has partnered with The Governor’s Office to end hunger in our state.  Through this partnership, Colorado moved from almost last with respect to number to children participation in the school breakfast program to 31st in the nation.    Hunger Free Colorado led the passage of Breakfast after the Bell, which assured that over 80,000 more children would receive breakfast each day.  If you would like to learn more about opportunities to get involved in finding solutions to hunger, go to

Ongoing Grants 

The Foundation provides numerous grants through its Community Grants Program, donor-advised funds, and Strengthening Neighborhoods Program to help address food insecurity in Metro Denver.

For more information on The Denver Foundation's efforts to address hunger, contact Monica Buhlig at 303-300-1790. For more information about the Foundation's work to study and address poverty as a root cause of food insecurity, click here.

If you would like to give to help address issues of hunger in our community, please click here to donate and select "Critical Needs Fund" from the drop-down menu.