Jenica Tomdale, 720.898.5938

Second Year of Nonprofit Mental Health Accelerator Program Kicks Off

ARVADA, Colo. (February 21, 2018) – Community First Foundation is excited to announce the next cohort of nonprofit innovators to participate in The Innovators Society.

The Innovators Society is an accelerator experience powered by Community First Foundation that invests in promising, but not yet proven, nonprofit innovations to increase awareness and change perceptions of mental health. The inaugural year focused on early childhood mental wellness, improving systems and changing public perceptions. This year, the focus is on reducing the stigma associated with mental health and mental illness.

The 2018 innovators are as follows:
  • 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 2.0 officially kicked off on February 20th, 2018, with orientation and a welcome reception at Community First Foundation for the selected innovators. They will now begin rigorous coaching and hands-on workshops, facilitated by White River Strategy, as they prepare to compete for grant dollars in the June pitch competition called The Community Pitch Showdown.

“Following the success of the inaugural year, where 583 community members were involved in selecting, coaching and granting $500,000 to nonprofits, we are excited to see what this second round holds,” said Noah Atencio, Vice President of Community Impact at the Foundation. “We are proud to see a true community network leveraging their support to power these amazing innovations.”

For photos and/or to interview The Innovators Society participants, funders or founders, attend the June 5th Community Pitch Competition or to connect with first year innovators, please contact Jenica Tomdale at or 720.898.5983.

About The Innovators Society

The Innovators Society, a program of Community First Foundation, invests in promising, but not yet proven, innovations to increase awareness and change perceptions of mental health. We engage a network of passionate community leaders to accelerate new solutions for mental wellness. At Community First Foundation, we power the innovators. For more information, visit

About Community First Foundation

Since 1975, Community First Foundation has been helping generous donors and innovative nonprofits come together to improve the quality of life and create positive change in Jefferson County, the Denver metropolitan area and beyond. We serve as a connector, partner, collaborator and resource to fuel the power of community for the greater good. We are proud to use our energy, leadership and trusted stewardship of financial resources to energize giving across our state, strengthen nonprofits, support donors and find new ways to address community needs. For more information, visit