We Power the Innovators

Announcing the 2018 innovators!

  • Apprentice of Peace
    The Apprentice of Peace youth organization uses Tai Chi as a tool to teach youth about mental wellness and leadership. Their innovation includes expanded programming to additional schools in the Denver metropolitan area.
  • B.I.O.N.I.C. 
    The B.I.O.N.I.C. (Believe It or Not I Care) Team is a club that supports students and staff going through challenging times and prevents other students from falling through the cracks. Their innovation includes a toolkit for participants and a plan to expand into several additional high schools and school districts.
  • My Quiet Cave
    My Quiet Cave is a program that bridges the gap between the church and mental health community. Their innovation includes providing churches with tools, resources and stories to destigmatize mental illness and help people heal.
  • Open Labs
    Open Labs harnesses a community of people with mental health conditions to reduce stigma in the workplace and beyond. Their innovation is a “Workplace Experiment” that will implement a series of workplace interventions for employees experiencing mental health conditions.
  • Young Invincibles
    Young Invincibles works to ensure young people’s voices are heard in the debate over health care reform. Their innovation is a plan to reduce stigma around mental health for students of color attending public colleges in the Denver metropolitan area. They will support student groups on the Auraria campus and conduct training to expand their services to other colleges and universities.
  • YouthRoots
    YouthRoots engages high school students in personal development, community partnerships and innovative ventures to foster leadership, integrity and social action. Their innovative program, “RAISE” (Raising Awareness & Inhibiting Stigma Everywhere), will infuse existing leadership curriculum with a mental wellness focus to develop youth ambassadors to become agents of change around mental health awareness.

The Innovators Society Accelerates New Solutions for Mental Wellness

The Innovators Society, a program of Community First Foundation, invests in promising, but not yet proven, nonprofit innovations to increase awareness and change perceptions of mental health. We engage a network of committed nonprofit innovators, community leaders and community investors to accelerate new solutions for mental wellness.

The Innovators Society 2.0

Launched in November 2017, The Innovators Society 2.0 focuses on reducing the stigma associated with mental health.

Mental health stigma is a significant barrier to changing public perceptions of mental health and mental illness. It often prevents individuals from seeking and/or receiving adequate treatment. Innovators Society 2.0 builds on the Foundation’s goal to build strong communities by showcasing innovations that are changing public perceptions of mental health and mental illness while reducing mental health stigma.

Learn about the successes of The Innovators Society’s inaugural year, which addressed Community First Foundation’s focus areas for promoting mental wellness.

The Experience

The Innovators Society selects six nonprofit innovators to participate in an accelerator experience that includes initial funding, rigorous coaching, hands-on workshops and the chance to compete for more grant dollars in a pitch competition (The Community Pitch Showdown). At the event, more than 200 community leaders are empowered to award $450,000 in Community First Foundation grant dollars among the innovators to accelerate their innovations into Denver communities. After a period of high-impact coaching, one nonprofit is chosen to receive a $50,000 grand prize.

“This is by far the most innovative and inclusive approach to grant funding we’ve ever been part of. This program has given us the tools to make a massive impact in the community.” Justin Kruger, founder and CEO of Project Helping, inaugural year grand prize winner

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Join the Society

Are you passionate about accelerating new solutions for mental wellness? Want to stay up-to-date on the latest news and events? Take the first step and subscribe to our Innovators Society newsletter.

Check out these highlights from The Innovators Society inaugural year!