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Boosting neighborhood and community engagement in Jefferson County

ARVADA, Colo. (Nov. 4, 2021) – Community First Foundation (CFF) awarded this week $517,903 in grants to Jefferson County (Jeffco) nonprofits to help identify partners, engage donors, increase community engagement in neighborhoods and inform the Foundation’s future work.

“We’re excited to learn who is working to harness the energy and passion of people in Jeffco,” said Noah Atencio, vice president of community impact for Community First Foundation. “We hope this funding helps our local nonprofits develop the skills they want and need to be more activated and engaged in their community.”

The Helping Each Other Thrive grant program supports community engagement efforts for residents living in high poverty areas in Jeffco. Funded projects focus building leadership, advocacy or other skills for local residents to become more active on issues important to their community; and supporting organizations working to increase or improve their levels of community engagement among people living in neighborhoods with the highest concentration of poverty.

Awards were given to the following nonprofits:

40 West Arts
Supporting the launch of an Equity in Arts Committee to work alongside resident-led public art projects; provide training & leadership opportunities for local residents; and support two large-scale art projects.

A Little Help
Supporting diversity, equity and inclusion efforts to deepen community engagement work in Wheat Ridge, Edgewater and Lakewood.

A Precious Child
Creating a satellite resource center in Arvada to provide clinical and community resource-based case management to people in crisis.

Apprentice of Peace Youth Organization
Supporting a Jeffco-focused coordinator and student incentives to establish a Jeffco District-wide Youth Advisory Council (YAC) that focuses on youth development and mentoring.

Archway Housing & Services, Inc.
Supporting Archway Housing’s resident-led councils and a resident survey.

B.I.O.N.I.C. Team
Expansion of school-based club, BIONIC, into four south Lakewood and Golden area schools (Jefferson Jr./Sr. High, Lumberg Elementary, Creighton Middle and South Lakewood Elementary) to support student training on creating meaningful connections with students facing challenges

Balon USA
Expansion of organized sports program to additional elementary schools to increase access to out of school programming for low-income families in underserved communities.

Benefits in Action
Supporting the Coalition to End Hunger’s educational efforts about food security in Lakewood to engage diverse stakeholders in identifying solutions.

Benefits in Action
Supporting Volunteer Leadership Program series at McClain High School that focuses on informing students about food insecurity in Jefferson County, mental wellness, impacts of social isolation, health insurance benefits, and volunteer experience.

Supporting two resident-led community projects focusing on foodbank space and providing summer enrichment activities to children.

City of Lakewood
Supporting the City of Lakewood and City of Wheat Ridge who collaboratively provide the Sustainable Neighborhood Program, a civic leadership training program that supports resident-led projects.

Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition
Supporting efforts to inform and activate the immigrant community in implementation of Senate Bill SB21-199 to remove barriers to certain public opportunities.

Edgewater Collective
Supporting community outreach and resident-led projects within multi-family living communities.

Front Line Farming
Supporting the delivery of five workshops focusing on food growing and education specifically for Arvada residents.

Golden Backpack Program, Inc.
To support access to nutritious food for Jeffco families by implementing two new initiatives informed by school liaisons and families.

Golden United
Supporting the identification and mentorship of high school and community college students to build young adult community leaders.

Jeffco Schools Foundation
Supporting five partner organizations focusing efforts in the Jefferson Articulation Area to build parent and family leadership efforts to better support students.

Junior Achievement – Rocky Mountain
Supporting the marketing, recruitment, and training/development of local volunteers from the South Lakewood/Golden area to help implement financial literacy programming for students.

Project Helping
Supporting the joint effort of Project Helping and My Quiet Cave to expand mental health and community engagement programming into Jefferson County.

Reading Partners
Supporting Reading Partner’s recruitment of 65 Arvada neighborhood volunteers/tutors to help Stevenson Elementary students achieve 3rd grade reading proficiency.

Sprout City Farms
Supporting Mountair Park Community Farm programs to expand local partnerships, including a bilingual Community Navigator staff to deepen community engagement.

The Action Center
Supporting community outreach to families from four elementary schools in Wheat Ridge, Edgewater and Lakewood.

YMCA of Metropolitan Denver
Supporting efforts to increase the number of childcare programs available to families in Jeffco’s marginalized communities.

Nine other applicants received a $2,500 unrestricted award they can use to support their local efforts. These organizations include: American Red Cross; America’s Kids Belong; City of Wheat Ridge; Colorado Young Leaders; Day at a Time; Epic Experience; NAMI Colorado; National Trust for Local News; Outdoor Lab Foundation; Spark the Change Colorado.

“These projects are connecting people, ideas and resources to help make good happen,” said Kelly Dunkin, president and CEO for Community First Foundation. “We recognize the value of these connections and collaborations to helping our communities become more connected and resilient.”

Learn more about these efforts and others at CommunityFirstFoundtion.org/grants.

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