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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. The Innovators Society 2.0 showcases innovations that are changing public perceptions of mental health and mental illness while reducing mental health stigma.

The selected innovators spent three months with a pitch coach preparing for the Community Pitch Showdown. At the Showdown in June 2018, over 100 audience members awarded $450,000 grant dollars to the nonprofits. The innovators then complete six months of high impact coaching and develop a solid plan for their innovation. They will present their plans at a Grand Prize event in early 2019. Community members will invest one grand prize of $50,000 to the innovation of their choice.

Meet the 2.0 Innovators

Apprentice of Peace Youth Organization

AOPYO engages youth to normalize mental health stigmas through leadership, arts, wellness, skilled trades, and the Apprentice of Peace philosophy and principles.
Email Derwin Pos Ryant


The B.I.O.N.I.C. Team empowers young people to reach out to students facing challenging times so they know they are not alone.
Email Sandy Austin

My Quiet Cave

My Quiet Cave creates spaces for faith and mental health. They tap into the power of faith communities and empower and equip congregations to give people tangible tools and skills, share stories, and experience their value together.
Email Brandon Appelhans

Opens Labs

Open Labs is the vehicle behind the Open Movement, placing the people who experience brain conditions (or mental illness) in the driver seat. They are building a world where we all have the hope we need to live openly.
Email Hollis

Young Invincibles

YI’s leadership program, Young Advocates for Healthy Living, trains and empowers young people who are committed to improving mental health care access, and ending stigma on college campuses.
Email Christina Postolowski


The YouthRoots RAISE Program uses our youth-led civic engagement model to empower high school students to support mental health work and tackle stigma in their schools.
Email Lauren Czajka

Watch the Community Pitch Showdown 2.0

We made a recap video so you can see for yourself why The Innovators Society believes the fresh, new ideas of these innovators will make an impact in Denver.

The Grant Awards

Apprentice of Peace Youth Organization:


My Quiet Cave:

Open Labs:

Young Invincibles:


The Inaugural Innovators Society

The Innovators Society’s inaugural year advanced five fresh solutions for mental wellness into the Denver metropolitan area. The nonprofits selected were Bright by Three, Clayton Early Learning, Center on Network Science, CU Denver, Im’Unique and Project Helping. These innovations focused on early childhood mental wellness, improving systems and changing public perceptions.

The innovators received an initial $25,000 to pay for coaching and pitch practice to develop their ideas and presentations. The program culminated in September 2016 at the Community Pitch Showdown, where 250 audience members awarded $500,000 grant dollars to the nonprofits.

Bright by Text
Bright by Three

Bright by Text sends text messages to parents and caregivers with tips and resources to support children in the early years of life.
Email Jared Wigdor
Read Impact Summary (PDF) >

Clayton Early Learning

EMBRACE is a mindfulness training program to help early childhood educators reduce stress, build emotional resiliency and create a positive learning experience for vulnerable children.
Email Cathy McCarty
Read Impact Summary (PDF) >


Patient-Centered Network (PCN) App
Center on Network Science, CU Denver

The PCN App analyzes patients’ social support network data and provides a menu of resources for health care providers.
Email Danielle Varda
Read Impact Summary (PDF) >

Breakin’ Bread, Breakin’ Barriers

Breakin’ Bread, Breakin’ Barriers fosters healthy lifestyles and awareness by enriching the mind and body through holistic wellness education such as yoga, cooking classes and healthy living workshops.
Email Tyrone Beverly
Read Impact Summary (PDF) >

Volunteer Projects
Project Helping

Project Helping organizes meaningful and socially engaging volunteer experiences to improve mental wellness and combat depression.
Email Justin Kruger
Read Impact Summary (PDF) >

Watch the Community Pitch Showdown from the inaugural year
The Grant Awards

Bright by Three:

Carson J Spencer Foundation:

Center on Network Science, CU Denver:

Clayton Early Learning:


Project Helping:
$80,703 + $50,000 grand prize = $130,703