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Lorez Meinhold - Caring for Denver Foundation

Lorez Meinhold

Executive Director

Caring for Denver Foundation

Location: Denver

Founded: 2019

Industry: Nonprofit

Lorez Meinhold has dedicated her personal and professional life to strengthening the community. As a leader with over 20 years of grantmaking, health policy and advocacy experience she holds a relentless drive to embed equity and engage the community in all her work. Her career has spanned a variety of organizations, including leading a health advocacy organization, serving as a senior program officer for the Colorado Health Foundation and now as the executive director for the Caring for Denver Foundation.

Along with Representative Leslie Herod, Meinhold developed and championed the ballot initiative that created the Caring for Denver Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting Denver’s healing and recovery. Caring for Denver was created from a simple, yet powerful idea. For every $100 spent in Denver, 25 cents goes toward addressing mental health and substance misuse needs in the city.

Lorez led the foundation from a startup phase to fully operational in less than 18 months following the authorization of the foundation by Denver voters in 2018.

“Her leadership and vision for centering people with lived experience in identifying priorities and shaping solutions has been vital for building community trust and partnership so that Caring for Denver can effectively address mental health and substance misuse needs in our city,” said her staff. “She is somehow never too busy to sit down with someone for coffee and facilitate a meeting, make a recommendation or be a thought partner for solving a problem.”

In her role, Lorez has been an active participant, raising funds and volunteering for events, and fulfilling needs in the organizations she serves. She helped to support the creation of the Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) program, which connects nonviolent 9-1-1 calls with a mobile unit that includes mental health professionals. Lorez has long been an advocate for decriminalizing mental illness and addiction, and her support helped to launch the pilot of the program with Caring for Denver funds. In the first six months, health professionals with the STAR program responded to 748 calls.

Her efforts have led to recognition by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Colorado Chapter for National Philanthropy Day and Lorez is a semi-finalist for the 2024 9News Leader of the Year award.

Leading is about seeing everyone’s strengths, said Lorez. “Leading is about being open to sharing personal successes, failures and the reasons for both,” she said. “To lead, you must be able to connect, motivate and inspire a sense of ownership of shared objectives.”

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