Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, gives a thumbs up after speaking in the Colorado state House of Representatives in 2018. (Christian Murdock/Colorado Politics)

In 2018, nearly 70% of Denver voters OK'd a 0.25% sales tax increase to fund mental health and substance abuse treatment in Denver.

Today, the engine behind the “Caring 4 Denver” ordinance starts running.

The Caring for Denver Foundation is the nonprofit corporation that will direct the spending of at least $35 million for programs ranging from suicide prevention to alternatives to jail for those with mental health disorders.

“I see our alarming rates of suicide, and there are three to four overdoses on the streets of Denver every day,” said state Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “The Foundation and new funding will be transformative.”

Herod was a chief supporter of the ballot initiative and is now the Caring for Denver board chair.

The foundation will host a series of in-person and online forums for the community to discuss what the funding needs are in Denver. The in-person meetings will take place as follows:

• 5-7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16 – Re:Vision

• 6-8 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 20 – Caring for Denver

• 6-8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 21 – TBD in far NE Denver

• 6-8 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 3 – Cross Purpose

There will be two online forums:

• 2:30-4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 17

• 10-11:30 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 20

To register for either, go to

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