Denver Grants Program to Help Nonprofits Repay

DENVER – Denver nonprofits could benefit from increased funding from a city grant program aimed at helping alleviate fundraising deficits caused by the pandemic.

Denver Economic Development and Opportunity extended the Pandemic Grants Program and allocated $ 485,000 to the nonprofit Emergency Relief Fund. Last year, the program injected $ 3 million into more than 300 organizations that applied for grants. The program launched during the pandemic is funded by the Cares law. Organizations can request a maximum of $ 15,000.

“You have a lot of nonprofits that were trying last year to raise funds to support their operations and services this year, and we are seeing gaps,” said Seneca Holmes, the director of equity and stabilization of neighborhoods.

Table Urban Farm, a non-profit organization, applied for funding last year and qualified. The organization has felt a growing demand for its services since the pandemic and has struggled to raise funds.

Jeanine Kopaska Broek and her husband are the co-directors of the organization. Broek said older people fearful of going to the grocery store were lining up for the vegetarian bike. The Vegetarian Bike is a bike that carries a cart filled with a variety of free vegetables to food deserts and city neighborhoods.

“We felt this deep sense of responsibility to grow as much food as possible and we worked tirelessly,” Broek said.

The association manages 15 gardens on donated property. The volunteers plant and harvest 30 different vegetables. Broek picked tomatoes in the garden outside Hope Fellowship Christian Reformed Church near Ash Street. So far this year, they’ve harvested 360 pounds of vegetables and fruit from one location.

“We grow about 6,000 pounds of food each season, which adds up to 35,000 pounds in the 10 years we’ve been doing it in Denver,” Broek said.

Funding last year helped expand the organization’s reach in access to food and increase education.

“People come up to the vegetarian bike and look around and say, ‘I’m not cooking’. We can help them learn. You don’t need to cook a cucumber, you can eat it fresh, ”Broek said.

Broek plans to apply for the nonprofit Emergency Relief Fund again this year.

The last day to apply for a grant is September 30. Technical assistance for the application process is also provided by the city.

For Broek, it’s more than agriculture. Their work has an impact on the environment.

“We know that gardens are part of how we can deal with climate change and the climate crisis,” Broek said.


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