Equity Collective Initiative
We believe that communities have the inherent ability to identify and solve their own challenges when they are equipped with the decision-making power, infrastructure and financial capital to do so. Organizations led by people of color – who are deeply rooted in health equity and racial justice – have not historically been afforded the same access to resources to sustain their work and build power. The Foundation’s Equity Collective Initiative is putting these resources in the hands of organizations – that are led by people of color – to advance health equity and build power in community through approaches they determine on their own.
Through the Initiative, the Foundation has provided one-time investment awards – ranging from $750,000 to $1,500,000 – to selected organizations to develop their own approaches and long-term direction to drive health equity and racial justice work forward. Learn about the Equity Collective Initiative grantees.
This is not a conventional grant program, nor was it designed to support programmatic or project-oriented work. Rather, this Initiative was designed to seed organizations and better resource them to build power within and across the communities they serve.
The application for the Equity Collective Initiative is now closed and investments have been awarded.
Organizations who received an investment award deeply align with and reflect the following characteristics:
- Strongly aligned with the Foundation’s mission and cornerstones.
- Community-based and grassroots organizations that are based in Colorado and focus specifically on Colorado communities.
- Have existing work that is deeply rooted in health equity and racial justice efforts.
- Led by people of color
- These organizations have a governing and implementation body (board, executive leadership, staff, etc.) who are predominantly people of color—Arab/Middle Eastern, Asian/Pacific Islander, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, and Indigenous/Native American and multiracial communities— and their purpose is to center, improve the lives of and uplift that specific population.
- Clearly demonstrated credibility, trust and historical connections with communities they exist to serve.
- Positioned to conduct and advance work “with” and “by” communities they exist to serve, and a track record of collaborative and constructive approaches within and across communities to advance health equity and racial justice.
- Demonstrated strategic thinking on organization mission and purpose. The Foundation is not requesting a strategic plan, but instead want to understand the strategic thinking about the role and intent of the organization’s long-term work to advance health equity and racial justice.
- Demonstrated capacity to engage in and advance self-determined approaches to put investment award to use in advancing health equity and racial justice.
- Minimum organizational budget of $100,000 or a minimum $100,000 budget for fiscally-sponsored projects.
- Commitment to transparency, openness and reciprocal relationship with The Colorado Health Foundation and other community partners, as well as a high tolerance for risk of unknowns in the context of a fluid, participant-driven effort.
*The Initiative is focused on community-based and grassroots organizations. Public agencies, grantmaking foundations and intermediary funders, 501(c)(4)s, universities and colleges, school districts, trade associations and for-profit entities were not considered.
Examples of long-term strategies and approaches the Initiative is supporting include, but are not limited to:
Creating an endowment to achieve financial sustainability and support organization’s long-term health equity and racial justice efforts.
Building cash reserves to stabilize and scale up organizational capacity.
Long-term investments such as real estate acquisition to build financial equity, create stability and/or expand revenue streams.
- Other financial tools to leverage lending power and/or other institutional investments.
At least 80% of the investment awards have been designated for long-term investment strategies such as the examples above, and up to 20% may be used to support operational costs.
Note: Applying for or receiving an Equity Collective Initiative investment award does not preclude organizations from pursuing other opportunities for funding through the Foundation. Visit our Open Funding page for information on upcoming funding opportunities.
The Foundation’s Role in the Initiative
We envision the Equity Collective Initiative as a long-term effort that will be sustained, at minimum, for five years. The Foundation hopes to partner with organizations who received investment awards for years to come.
In addition to the investment awards, the Foundation is providing grantees with responsive wraparound support and technical assistance. The Foundation’s role in the Initiative will decline over time, as the groups in the collective continue to take ownership of their work within and across individual organizations. Collaboration and partnerships will not be forced on or required of organizations, but space and opportunities to do so will be created, supported and fostered over time. Additionally, the Foundation will continue to partner with organizations in the Initiative to leverage additional investments that will support long-term organizational and community needs.
Final investment award decisions were made late 2021, at which time selected organizations received their investment awards.
As part of this investment opportunity, the Foundation will partner with an external evaluator, and grantees will need to participate in activities related to this evaluation. The specific approach to the evaluation is still being developed, but we anticipate that each year we will ask for grantees to participate in evaluation activities such as evaluation design, interviews, surveys, etc. Evaluation activities will require no more than a few hours each year.
Health equity: Exists when there are no unnecessary, avoidable, unfair, unjust or systemically-caused differences in health status.
- POC led by: These organizations have a governing and implementation body (board, executive leadership, staff, etc.) who are predominantly people of color—Arab/Middle Eastern, Asian/Pacific Islander, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, and Indigenous/Native American and multiracial communities—and their purpose is to center, improve the lives of and uplift that specific population.
- Power: At its core, power is defined the ability 1) to do something or act in a particular way and 2) to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.
- Racial justice: Racial justice exists when there is not only the absence or alteration of systems that create and perpetuate racial disparities in areas including health, education and wealth, but the presence of a transformed and fundamentally different systems that operate on behalf and inclusive of communities of color.
The application for the Equity Collective Initiative is now closed. Please visit our Open Funding page to learn more about upcoming funding opportunities.