A message from Christine Benero, President and CEO, Mile High United Way:
On December 15, 2020, philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott published a blog post entitled ‘384 Ways to Help.’ Quoting poet Emily Dickinson, she writes ‘ “’Hope’ is the thing with feathers,” “/ That perches in the soul / And sings the song without the words / And never stops — at all -”
Ms. Scott certainly inspires hope. It is within this blog post she announced a transformational $20 million gift to Mile High United Way, along with investments in 383 other organizations across the country.
We have been inspired by her belief in us ever since. Celebrating its 135-year history as the first United Way in the world, Mile High United Way lives in the knowledge that we are stronger when we are united. We believe that together, we will ensure every Coloradan has an opportunity to thrive and our children should have a fair start that allows for educational success. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to reach economic sufficiency and have their basic needs met. We believe in diverse and inclusive voices. We believe in neighborhoods.
The events of the last two years have challenged our families. Basic needs, such as access to childcare, housing, and food, became essential needs. In response, Mile High United Way immediately invested $5 million in neighborhoods to address these challenges. We also partnered with BIPOC-led and BIPOC-serving organizations to get resources where they are needed as well as investing in BIPOC organizations through capacity building, fundraising coaching, trauma-informed trainings, and evaluation.
Today, we are pleased to announce a transformational investment of $8 million in five partnerships that will continue to serve and transform our local neighborhoods well into the future. These projects include:
- Mile High United Way’s Bridging the Gap: Mile High United Way has acquired an apartment building that will allow us to provide housing to individuals who have aged out the child welfare system through our Bridging the Gap program. Participants will have access to safe and stable housing as well as onsite Independent Living Coaching. Learn more about Bridging the Gap.
- Warren Village: Warren Village recently acquired land in southwest Denver from the Denver Housing Authority to build a third “2Gen” campus. The facility will provide affordable housing, training and support services, and early childhood education for 74 single-parent families transitioning from homelessness. Mile High United Way’s investment will support the construction of a 100-seat early learning center on this new campus. Learn more about our partnership.
- Mercy Housing: Mercy Housing is proud to collaborate with the City and County of Denver and Mile High Early Learning for the mixed-use development of The Rose on Colfax in Denver. The development will combine 82 affordable apartment homes with an affordable, quality early childhood education center that will offer a community inspired, family focused property funded by Mile High United Way. The property is under construction and is anticipated to open Spring of 2023. Learn more about our partnership.
- Lifespan Local: In 2022, Lifespan Local will begin construction at Westwood Redeemer near Alameda Ave and Morrison Road. This community center will include early childhood education, a Denver Public Library branch, youth discovery lab, hydroponics, mental health supports, legal services, a community kitchen, event space and much more. Mile High United Way is incredibly proud to partner with Lifespan Local to support families in this neighborhood through these wraparound support services. Learn more about our partnership.
- Family Tree: The Family Tree GOALS (Generational Opportunities to Achieve Long-term Success) program serves families experiencing homelessness on a four-building campus in Aurora. One building is the future home of the early childhood education center. A key component of the program is a high-quality, affordable early childhood education center. The renovated facility will include five classrooms designed to serve approximately 70 children ranging from the age of 6 weeks to 5 years of age benefitting GOALS residents and the surrounding community. Mile High United Way is proud to partner with Family Tree to make this a reality. Learn more about our partnership.
These are long-term partnerships. Mile High United Way will work with each individual organization to bring additional resources that will serve each community tailored to their needs, including our Mile High United Way 211 Help Center, expanded early childhood education openings, early care and education training for parents and so much more. We are grateful to partner with such incredible organizations who will help us deepen the impact in our most needed neighborhoods.
Ms. Scott’s transformational gift in support of our work has told us that she, too, believes in Mile High United Way. She believes in the vision of our Board of Trustees. She believes in the meaningful work of our staff, partners, and volunteers. She believes in the generosity and commitment of our donors and is adding her support to stand alongside them in the meaningful work they fund each year in the hopes that it will inspire others to join us.
This gift has allowed us to be nimble as we address our community’s most urgent and long-term needs. It has also given us hope and the opportunity to leverage this incredible investment so we can continue to support programs and projects that positively impact Colorado’s children and families well into the future.
Thank you for standing by our side and for believing in our work as we serve the individuals and families who need it most. Together, we are a Community United.
This is just the beginning.