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What We Fund

URGENT: Your gifts are needed now. Donate today to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Foundation supports many programs critical to our city’s vulnerable populations. With the generous contributions from our donors, we provide more than $9 million annually to assist Denver Health in the delivery of high-quality care and vital resources to Denver’s citizens, helping them to heal and lead healthy lives.


Sbarbaro Public Health Lectureship

This lectureship is supported by a fund established in memory of the late Dr. John Sbarbaro, who wielded tremendous influence in the operations and policy development of Denver Health for decades. Between 1965 and1986, Dr. Sbarbaro served in several capacities at Denver Health, but primarily as the Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine. The lectureship honors Dr. Sbarbaro’s legacy of iconoclastic, innovative public health and highlights the need for creativity, courage and innovation as we face the public health problems of today.

Ann Logan Lectureship

This annual lectureship was established to recognize the outstanding contribution of Ann Logan in children’s literacy and early childhood development. It provides a forum for an exchange of ideas to ensure a healthy start for all of Denver’s children.

Newborns in Need

Denver Health’s Newborns in Need program exists to give every baby we deliver the healthy start he or she deserves. The program collects thousands of new baby items (and cash donations) through a series of baby showers held across the city throughout the year. Volunteers then package the baby essentials in Warm Welcome bags to be distributed at the hospital to new families who are struggling financially. In 2018, we distributed more than 3,500 Warm Welcome bags, each with a retail value of approximately $120.  Each gift bag contains diapers, a sleep sack, bibs, socks, hats, sleepers, baby lotion and shampoo, a stuffed animal, and a book.  The program also provides portable cribs and car seats for parents who are unable to afford them.  The Newborns In Need program is sustained entirely through the generosity of private donors.   

Would you like to help a new baby get off to a great start?

Our current "wish list" of needs includes bibs, burp cloths, receiving blanket, boys and girls sleepers (3-6 months) and hooded towels. You can drop off a donation weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at Denver Health's Volunteer Services Office in the Pavilion for Women and Children at 790 Delaware Street. If you enter the hospital driveway from Delaware Street, south of 8th Avenue, the Pavilion for Women and Children is the last stop on the circle drive. Feel free to double park and ask someone in the Volunteer Services Office to help you unload your donation.

You also can make a financial contribution, or click here to learn more about in-kind donations and volunteer opportunities with Newborns in Need.

Thank you for your support!

Nursing Scholarships

Denver Health employs 1865 nurses who have earned their RN certification or higher.  They comprise the largest department in the organization (by far) and each and every one of them is critical to our success.  Nurses can be found in traditional roles comforting patients at the bedside or giving inoculations in clinic exam rooms.  They provide direct care to patients throughout the Denver Health system like delivering babies, regulating medications, and assisting in the operating room.  But beyond that, they also manage staff in Community Health Clinics, do research, train employees, coach nursing students, manage records and counsel families.  They stabilize trauma victims, put broken legs in casts, start IV lines and monitor safety regulations.
It’s impossible to overstate their importance.  And, we know that there is strong evidence that indicates a direct correlation between nurses with college degrees and better patient outcomes.

That’s why the Denver Health Foundation is committed to providing significant support for nursing scholarships in the coming years.  We want to encourage nurses to advance their education and nursing scholarships are one of the most important forms of financial aid that current, and future nurses have available to them. Denver Health’s commitment to nursing education began in 1887, when we opened the first school of Nursing west of the Mississippi.  Our pride in our nurses continues, as well as the dedication to promote the professional development of the largest workforce at Denver Health.  The Denver Health Nurses Care Scholarships are an opportunity to support the growth of nurses to assist Denver Health in reaching our vision:  “To be the healthiest community in the United States.”

The purpose of the scholarships is to promote high standards of health care by facilitating the advancement of nursing through academic support. Through the promotion of nursing and the encouragement of excellence in nursing practice, the ultimate goal is to improve the quality of health care to all of the Denver Health community by advancing the profession of nursing.

The program will award scholarships to extraordinary employees, supporting the professional development of existing nurses and of other employees who aspire to become nurses.  The average cost of tuition (only) for Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees in top Denver schools of nursing is $26,500 annually.  This puts a BSN completely out of reach for many in our workforce.

In 2011, a report titled “The Future of Nursing:  Leading Change, Advancing Health (Institution of Medicine)” recommended that 80 percent of nurses in the United States be baccalaureate prepared in nursing (BSN) by the year 2020.  Our goal would be for Denver Health to meet or exceed the IOM’s recommendations. Currently Denver Health has an RN BSN rate of 71%.  In addition, the scholarship program will work to recruit minority applicants whose ethnicity will more closely match that of our patient population.

To make a contribution click HERE

Patient Assistance Fund

Denver Health serves the most vulnerable residents of Denver, and we are proud to provide high-quality care for those in need. But though we provide more than $246 million annually in uncompensated care to uninsured patients, even that amount is not sufficient to meet the specific needs of some patients. All too often the sick and elderly find themselves in fragile circumstances with a shortage of funds. The Patient Assistance Fund provides a safety net in these difficult situations, covering the many needs that cannot be addressed within the confines of a hospital’s operating budget, like co-pays, eyeglasses and hearing aids, transportation costs, to name just a few. It takes a collective effort to ensure the well-being of special populations, and your donation to the Patient Assistance Fund helps our neediest patients, including the poor, uninsured, mentally ill, pregnant teens, persons addicted to alcohol and other substances, victims of violence, the homeless, and people living with AIDS. We rely entirely on gifts and grants to underwrite the Patient Assistance Fund, which is why your contribution is so important.

Reach Out & Read

Reach Out and Read, celebrating 20 years at Denver Health, started as a simple solution to an obvious problem: to provide books in hospital and clinic waiting rooms that lacked reading material for children. But with the clear knowledge that reading aloud is vitally important to the development of young children, Reach Out and Read has grown into an invaluable, ongoing literacy program. Nurtured by the passionate and inspired efforts of many educators, doctors, volunteers, parents, corporations, foundations and politicians, Reach Out and Read at Denver Health makes literacy an integral part of pediatric care during the first five years of life.

Your donation to this program helps buy books that are distributed by pediatric health care providers to their patients at each well-child visit from six months to 5 years. Every child receives a book from his/her pediatrician, and parents are encouraged by their physicians to take the books home and read aloud to their children. Since 1991, the Reach Out and Read model has been studied by academic investigators in a variety of settings, providing an extensive body of peer-reviewed research on the effects of the program. Researchers have found that parents served by Reach Out and Read are up to four times more likely to read aloud to their children. During the preschool years, children served by Reach Out and Read score three to six months ahead of their non-Reach Out and Read peers on vocabulary tests. Donor support allows Denver Health to provide this important program through every one of our pediatric health care providers, at the hospital and all of our pediatric clinics.

R.O.C.K - Refugee Outreach Clothing Kids

A clothing distribution for refugee patients at Denver Health’s Lowry Clinic, Sunday March 26, 2017

Each year 70,000 refugees are settled in the US.  Many of them arrive after experiencing unspeakable hardships on their long journey to America.  They have fled religious and political persecution, starvation, illness, civil war, famine and drought.  With the help of the United Nations and the US government they are re-settled in communities across the country.  When refugees are placed in Denver, their healthcare is provided at the Denver Health Refugee Clinic (DHRC) located in Lowry at 1001 Yosemite Street.  Some 600 refugees are screened at DHRC per year.
The clinic sees both adult and pediatric patients. Current patients have recently arrived from:  Afghanistan
Democratic Republic of Congo

For these families, their needs can be overwhelming.  In addition to the culture shock and social adjustment, a large number of them have vitamin deficiencies and their children struggle with malnutrition.  Fortunately, they have been welcomed with open arms by Denver Health.  For the first time in their lives they are now receiving life-saving medical care and they are on the road to recovery.

On Sunday, March 26, 2017 the Denver Health Lowry Clinic will host a clothing distribution for newly arrived refugee children.  You can welcome them to denver and ease the transition to their new home by supporting R.O.C.K., Refugee Outreach Clothing Kids.

The following NEW items are needed for kids in grades K-12.

• *Coats
• Jackets and sweaters
• Jeans and slacks
• Collared shirts
• Underwear
• Athletic shoes
• Toiletry items like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes and deodorant

*Gently used coats are acceptable.  All other clothing items must be new.

Clothing items will be accepted at Denver Health Medical Center, Pavilion C, 790 Delaware St., after March 1, 2017.  The clothing distribution will be held on Sunday, March 26, 2017. 

To make cash donations to R.O.C.K., Refugee Outreach Clothing Kids, click here.  

$12 will purchase an illustrated book, The First Thousand Words in English, for a refugee family.
$50 will purchase 8 pairs of canvas sneakers for little boys.
$100 will purchase leggings, gloves, hats, socks and underwear for 6 girls.

Contact Robin Engleberg, for more information and to learn how your school group or faith community can get involved.

Presented by the Denver Health Foundation.

Safety Net Fund

Denver Health must be responsive to the ever-shifting landscape in today’s world of health care. When funding falls through for a critical community resource or new patient needs emerge due to changing economic conditions, our Safety Net Fund allows us broad latitude to support unforeseen emergencies in patient care, as well as urgent programming needs. These funds are critical in filling the gaps in services when all other means have been exhausted. They also provide critical start-up funds for innovative projects throughout the entire Denver Health system. In the past, the Safety Net Fund has paid for a wide range of expenses, including:

  • Guardianships for patients who have become incapacitated and can’t make decisions regarding their own care but have no one else to assume this responsibility
  • Translation of educational materials, consent papers and end-of-life directives for refugees who are patients in the Geriatric Department and aren’t literate in English
  • Support for the outpatient high-risk clinic that sees Denver Health’s most chronic hospital users
  • Music therapy and pet therapy to improve morale and aid recovery among hospitalized patients

School-based Health Centers

Your donation to Denver Health’s School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) helps keep Denver’s children — including some of the most vulnerable and underserved — healthy, in school, and out of the emergency room. Located within 17 Denver Public Schools sites, the SBHCs serve students from each host campus as well as students from 50 neighboring schools. Here’s more on our SBHCs:

  • More than 35 percent of DPS students have access to care at a SBHC.
  • The program has been in operation for more than 25 years and has served more than 115,600 students.
  • Almost 91 percent of the students served are ethnic minorities, and 71 percent live at or below the poverty line.

Donations to this program help children who might otherwise have no health services receive free, easily accessible, high-quality care. Certified nurse practitioners, physician assistants, substance abuse counselors, and mental health providers who specialize in the treatment of children and adolescents staff the program, providing comprehensive medical and mental health services at each site. Insurance companies, Medicaid and the Child Health Plan reimburse about one-third of the program’s costs, with donations like yours covering remaining costs.

STEP (Substance Treatment Education Prevention) in Denver Health School-Based Health Centers

There is an urgent need to provide substance treatment in schools.  Almost 7% of 12-17 year olds have a substance use disorder, and only 10% of these youth receive treatment.  In addition to substance use, many of these youth have co-occuring mental health needs (PTSD, depression, ADHD, anxiety disorder, and conduct disorder).  Over the last 6 years, substance-related school suspensions and expulsions have increased 40% in Denver Public Schools.  

To make a contribution, click HERE.