Health<br>Policy & Advocacy
2014 to 2020

Strategy overview
The Colorado Trust believes advocacy for policy change is a cornerstone to achieving health equity. Health Equity Advocacy (HEA) was a multi-year funding strategy with the goal to build a strong and diverse field of health equity advocates in the state. This strategy was informed by the belief that building a strong field of advocates—rather than merely strong, individual advocacy organizations operating in isolation—would lead to greater sustainability and to advocates’ ability to successfully respond to a changing political climate.

The strategy was comprised of a partnership of 18 direct service, community organizing and policy advocacy grantees; Social Policy Research Associates (SPR), an evaluation firm; and The Colorado Trust. Referred to as the HEA "Cohort," this partnership worked to build and nurture a strong field of organizations that could advocate together to impact policy decisions to improve health equity in Colorado for years to come. Cohort members collaborated on decisions related to which policy topics to address, capacities to build and strengthen the partnership, communications activities to undertake, how to assure engagement of affected populations in their advocacy effort and how strategy funds would be used. Download any of the resources below to learn more. Grant contact: ned [at] (Ned Calonge, MD, MPH), president and CEO, (303) 837-1200.

Network partners
The HEA Cohort provided “network strengthening grants” to partner organizations in 2018-19 as part of the Cohort’s strategy to build a cohesive field of advocates. Cohort members were responsible for selecting their partners, working with their network partner to determine the scope of work, and ensuring that they connected to the field-building framework. The Trust acted as a thought partner in implementing the strategy and administering the grants. During this phase of the HEA strategy, $1,020,000 was allocated for grants to network partners. Click here for more information and a complete list of HEA network strengthening grants.

SPR conducted an independent evaluation of the HEA strategy. The evaluation documented and assessed the progress made toward the creation of a robust health advocacy field; identified challenges, opportunities and lessons learned to support further progress; and provided ongoing learning opportunities for grantees as a means to reflect on and refine activities, tactics and strategies. Evaluation contact: felisa [at] (Felisa Gonzales, PhD, MPH), evaluation & learning manager, (303) 539-3110.

Strategy Evaluation Reports:

Learning Papers:

Watch the videos below to learn how the HEA strategy has informed the work of select grantee organizations.

Health Equity
Padres & Jóvenes

Health Equity
Full Circle of
Lake County

Health Equity
Center for
Health Progress

HEA Summit Series
The Health Equity Advocacy Summit Series was a four-month series of interactive training, discussions and presentations with national and Colorado-based leaders that took place August to December 2020. See below to watch recordings of previous events. The summits provided opportunities to engage with other community members to advance policy, change the narrative and promote healing towards action. The speakers and topics in this series were overseen by the members of the Health Equity Advocacy (HEA) Cohort, and co-sponsored by the Colorado Health Foundation and The Colorado Trust. In this series, presenters:

  • Examined modern-day racism;
  • Shared the latest updates on statewide policy wins and continuing challenges; and
  • Discussed a new narrative to heal and move towards action.

Aug. 12, 2020
Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr.: “America is Changing. Are You Ready?”
Dr. Moore founded The Privilege Institute, which engages people in research, education, action and leadership through workshops, conferences, publications and collaborative partnerships and relationships. This session challenged participants to examine their own biases, behaviors and belief systems. Click here for the event recording.

Aug. 19, 2020
Colorado Legislative Panel: Leading in Extraordinary Times
A panel of state legislators discussed the work that happened during the 2020 legislative session to improve health equity in the state and contribute to an equitable recovery from the health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for the event recording.

Aug. 21, 2020
john a. powell: “Building Communities of Belonging in the Face of Othering”
As director of the Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley, john a. powell brings together stakeholders to identify and eliminate the barriers to an inclusive, just and sustainable society in order to create transformative change. This session focused on his most recent book, Racing to Justice: Transforming our Conceptions of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society. Click here for the event recording.

Aug. 31, 2020
Building the Health Equity Advocacy Field in Colorado
HEA Cohort members offered reflections and lessons learned on the past six years of building and nurturing a strong field of community advocates to impact policy decisions and improve health equity in Colorado for years to come. Click here for the event recording.

Sept. 2, 2020
Akaya Windwood: “Exploring the State of the Possible”
Akaya is internationally recognized for elevating the effectiveness of leadership and collaboration in the nonprofit and social benefit sectors. She offered her perspective on patriarchy, hierarchy, race, the future of the planet, climate change, being a woman and where to source our wisdom. Click here for the event recording.

Oct. 12, 2020
Indigenous Peoples’ Day: Honoring our Relations
This summit featured Indigenous leaders and activists, who shared their perspectives on sovereignty, representation, missing and murdered Indigenous women, the impact of COVID-19, and what these issues show us about structural racism. They discussed the role cultural narratives play in liberation movements, Indigenous perspectives on allyship and solidarity between people of color-led movements, and identified lessons on how to advance equity and heal towards action. Panelists included Tara Houska, Regis Pecos, Maymangwa Flying Earth and Adrienne Maddux. Click here for the event recording.

Oct. 22, 2020
Young Leaders Rising: Reimagining the Future
Young people in Colorado are leading the movement for racial equity and justice, bringing new energy to building a better society. Several of these leaders shared their wisdom, experiences and vision. Click here for the event recording.

Oct. 26, 2020
Fierce Civility: A Conversation with Joe Weston and Michelle Otero
Millions of people worldwide fight for change across the political spectrum, while many more are experiencing deep anxiety and fatigue. There is a need for a new foundational approach that will reduce the fighting and polarization, and energize people to be respectful and responsive to one another, the planet and themselves. In this summit, Joe Weston, founder of the Fierce Civility Project and author of Respectful Confrontation, and Michelle Otero, coach and community healing practitioner, discussed a new approach to civility that meets the demands of the 21st century. They shared ways to activate more profound levels of civic engagement and respectful civil discourse within ourselves, and shift from “breaking and othering” to “bridging and alliance building,” to find unity and new solutions in the most unlikely places. Click here for the event recording.

Nov. 9, 2020
Post-Election Summit: What’s Next? The Role of Philanthropy in Advancing Equity through Policy
Our government entered a transition period following the 2020 election. What role might philanthropy play in supporting community-based efforts to build equitable systems through local and statewide policy? How can philanthropy partner with communities to advance democracy, inclusion and belonging? Panelists included Jehan Benton-Clark of the Colorado Health Foundation; Alison Friedman Phillips of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado; Damion LeeNatali of Gary Community Investments/The Piton Foundation; Crystal Middlestadt of the Chinook Fund; and David Portillo of The Denver Foundation. The panel was moderated by Neha Mahajan of Transformative Leadership for Change. Click here for the event recording.

Nov. 16, 2020
Standing at the Gates of Hope: Stories from Three Women Who Bend the Arc Toward Justice
Aunty Puanani Burgess, Susan M. Glisson and Liz La quen náay Medicine Crow reflected on their combined 100+ years of activism as women who stood in their power of resistance and defiance against patriarchal systems (the U.S. Navy, the University of Mississippi and the U.S. government, respectively)—and won. Through stories, they shared their wisdom on how to hold many roles (sister, daughter, mother, spouse, friend) while being a torchbearer and finding joy in the struggle. The panel was moderated by Kevin John Fong. Click here for the event recording.

Dec. 7, 2020
Colorado Legislative Summit: Planning for 2021
This summit was opened by Meta Sarmiento, an artist, poet, author, teacher and recipient of the 2020 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion award from the Denver Asian American Pacific Islander Commission. Colorado state legislators from both sides of the aisle shared their plans and vision for the 2021 legislative session. Panelsts addressed major issues affecting the state, such as the health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the budget crisis and the affordable housing crisis. Legislator panelists included Rep. James Coleman, Sen. Julie Gonzales and Rep. Chris Kennedy. The panel was moderated by Carol Hedges, executive director of the Colorado Fiscal Institute. (Note: The Colorado Trust and the Colorado Health Foundation do not support or oppose ballot initiatives, candidates or legislation.) Click here for the event recording.

February 2020 Webinars on Housing and Food Insecurity Challenges in Colorado
The Health Equity Advocacy Cohort hosted a series of webinars in February 2020 about advocacy efforts to address housing and food insecurity challenges in Colorado. Recordings are available in English and Spanish.

Rent Control (View the recording in English)
In this political education webinar, participants learned about Colorado law that prevents local communities from enacting affordable housing solutions. They also learned about how to get communities involved in a growing movement to address increasing rents, which are leaving more and more Coloradans struggling to find affordable homes.

Food Security (View the recording in English)
In this webinar, the Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger shared information about three policies intended to help address hunger in the state. This webinar also provided participants the opportunity to discuss how those policies work in their communities.

Inclusionary Housing (View the recording in English)
In this political education webinar, participants learned why it’s often impossible for Colorado communities to ensure new housing developments include affordable options.

Mobile Home Enforcement Act (View the recording in English)
In this webinar, participants learned about community-driven efforts to enforce the rights of people that live in mobile home parks.

NOTE: The content of these webinars was solely produced by and the responsibility of Health Equity Advocacy Cohort organizations, and intended for educational purposes. The Colorado Trust was not involved in creating the content for these webinars.

GRANT AMOUNT: $19,950,500