We have formed strong roots and a special relationship with Jefferson County as a result of our history with Lutheran Medical Center. To honor our heritage, we look for funding opportunities that build strong community in this region.
Community First Foundation is infusing $1 million in grants into organizations working to improve community health in Jefferson County. By broadening the concept of health to include a wide range of contributing factors–such as social, emotional and economic health–the Foundation is awarding the ongoing contributions of 66 organizations.
“This is the largest multi-grant initiative we’ve ever awarded,” said Noah Atencio, vice president of community impact. “Supporting community health in Jeffco helps the Foundation address multiple grantmaking focus areas: honoring our heritage in Jefferson County, strengthening nonprofits and promoting mental wellness.” See list of grantees >
This fund promotes health and wellness and the prevention of sickness and disease. It specifically benefits the communities served by Lutheran Medical Center. Its initial focus is mental health.
A Community Advisory Board for the Fund identifies funding priorities and provides strategic direction. It is comprised of the following leaders from Jefferson County and the surrounding areas:
Harriet L. Hall, Ph.D.
President & CEO, Jefferson Center for Mental Health
Executive Director, Jefferson County Department of Human Services
Mark Johnson, M.D., M.P.H.
Executive Director, Jefferson County Department of Health & Environment
Superintendent, Jeffco Public Schools
Ron Meyer, M.D.
Board Member, Community First Foundation
Glenn Most, Psy. D.
Executive Director, West Pines Behavioral Health
President & CEO, Metro Community Provider Network
President & CEO, Seniors’ Resource Center
The Lutheran Legacy Fund recently funded a three-year $1.7 million initiative to improve community access to mental health resources in Jefferson County. Seven organizations received grants over three years to launch and implement a training strategy. They used Mental Health First Aid and other “gatekeeper” approaches to train community members in schools, churches, civic groups, workplaces and other locations to identify persons who may benefit from mental health resources. Ten staff members from seven grantee organizations were certified to conduct Mental Health First Aid training and trained more than 1,500 people. Grant recipients included The Action Center, HealthSET, Jeffco Public Schools, Jefferson County Public Health, Metro Community Provider Network, Seniors’ Resource Center, and the Visiting Nurse Association.
After the close of the three-year grant, an additional $250,000 from the Lutheran Legacy Fund is being awarded to support the expansion of Mental Health First Aid in Jeffco by forming a collaborative of trainers.
In 2016, the Lutheran Legacy Fund granted $150,000 to fund a pilot program designed to ease the transition from being a hospital patient to recovering at home. A Perfect Homecoming, a new program of Seniors’ Resource Center and Lutheran Medical Center, provides transitional care services to seniors including transportation to the pharmacy and follow-up appointments. The program’s primary goals are to reduce the risk of hospital readmission within 90-days, improve health outcomes, enhance quality of life and promote cost savings in the health care system.
The Lutheran Legacy Fund also seeks to reduce the number of patients who routinely use emergency departments at local hospitals for their primary care needs. In 2016, the Fund granted $50,000 to Jefferson Center for Mental Health on behalf of the Jefferson County Hotspotting Alliance. The Hotspotting Alliance will strengthen collaboration between two existing community-led efforts addressing overutilization of emergency departments in Jefferson County to better address patient needs, improve care quality and reduce health care system costs.
Community First Foundation contributed one of the largest gifts in its history to help build the new health sciences building at Red Rocks Community College Arvada campus. The $1 million grant helped the college cluster its health professions programs in one place, accelerating the number of graduates entering health occupations and adding vital new training opportunities. The college broke ground in July 2015 and the facility opened for the fall 2016 semester. It is transforming the Arvada location into a full-service campus dedicated to the health and wellness of Jefferson County and surrounding communities.
Community First Foundation is granting $250,000 over two years to strengthen Tools of the Mind, a program used in several preschools and kindergartens in Jefferson County Public Schools. This research-based program provides teachers with skills to help young children develop the social and emotional tools they need for learning.
The grant will provide the resources to add Tools of the Mind to more classrooms and improve parent and teacher understanding of early childhood development.
To honor our heritage in Jefferson County, we contributed funding to The Jeffco Prosperity Project, a collaborative effort to help Jefferson County families break the cycle of generational poverty. The Jeffco County Prosperity Project believes success for families in poverty can only be achieved with a two-generation approach that includes family-driven education, economic support and social capital.
The program aims to get families the services they need to support their children through school. Families are helped until the youngest child graduates from high school, ensuring that today’s low-income students become tomorrow’s successful adults. Over time, the Jeffco Prosperity Project will reduce poverty in Jefferson County by helping to ensure children from low-income homes graduate on time and have access to post-secondary opportunities. Parents will have the support they need to become self-sufficient.
The Jeffco Prosperity Project is a collaboration between Jeffco Human Services, the Action Center, Jeffco Schools Foundation and the county’s health department. Families can sign up at Jefferson County Head Start in Arvada.