Put COVID-recovery funds into nonprofits to help the marginalized

As leaders of Colorado nonprofits that work in underserved and under-resourced communities of color and rural areas of the state, we’ve seen firsthand over the past two years the devastating and disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 crisis. As we rebuild in the wake of the pandemic, we need to ensure an equitable recovery for all, and that means investing in the communities that have been hit hardest. 

Mardi Moore, left, and LaDawn Sullivan

Thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, we now have an opportunity to truly build back better for all Coloradans. That’s why our organizations have joined the Asian Pacific Development Center, the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado, and The Hispanic Affairs Project to create the Communities Lead, Communities Thrive Coalition.

Our coalition is made up of smaller Colorado nonprofits serving Black, Indigenous, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, LGBTQ+, and rural communities who have come together to ensure that our organizations and the communities we serve are not left behind as we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ: Colorado Sun opinion columnists.

The coalition is working to pass House Bill 22-1356, sponsored by Representatives Edie Hooton and Leslie Herod and Senators Julie Gonzales and Bob Rankin. This bipartisan bill will make a critical investment of Rescue Plan funds in the small community-based nonprofits that have been critical lifelines throughout the pandemic for marginalized communities.

Throughout the pandemic, many nonprofits had to abruptly shift focus and resources to support their communities. After-school recreation programs began providing neighborhood meals. Mental-health organizations began providing housing assistance. Advocacy groups began providing direct assistance grants to families. In unexpected ways, nonprofits across the state have stepped up to serve their neighborhoods.

The COVID-19 pandemic was devastating for the countless Coloradans who lost their jobs, their homes, or worse, a…

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