The Innovators Society 2.0

The Innovators Society 2.0 invested in six nonprofit innovations that are changing public perceptions of mental health and mental illness while reducing stigma. These innovators received expert coaching to prepare for a Community Pitch Showdown, where more than 100 audience members voted on allocating $450,000 in grant dollars. The innovators then received six months of high-impact coaching to develop a solid plan for their innovation. Community members selected B.I.O.N.I.C. to win an additional $50,000 grand prize grant for their efforts.

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

B.I.O.N.I.C. – Grand Prize Winner!

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. B.I.O.N.I.C. won the $50,000 grand prize for The Innovators Society 2.0.
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

Open 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

$160,050 ($110,050 + $50,000 grand prize)

Apprentice of Peace Youth Organization:


Young Invincibles:

My Quiet Cave:

Open Labs:

The Inaugural Innovators Society

The Innovators Society’s inaugural year advanced five fresh solutions for mental wellness into the Denver metropolitan area. The 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 a Community Pitch Showdown, where 250 audience members awarded $500,000 in grants to the nonprofits, including a $50,000 grand prize.

Meet the Inaugural Innovators

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 – Grand Prize Winner!

Project Helping organizes meaningful and socially engaging volunteer experiences to improve mental wellness and combat depression. Project Helping won the $50,000 grand prize for The Innovators Society inaugural year.
Email Justin Kruger
Read Impact Summary (PDF) >

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

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


Carson J Spencer Foundation:

Bright by Three:

Center on Network Science, CU Denver:

Clayton Early Learning: