Nine volunteers stand in front of a truck at Papagayo, a nonprofit committed to assisting people in vulnerable situations without distinction of origin, belief, ethnicity, culture, race or gender

Newcomers Fund supports migrant-serving nonprofit organizations 

In December 2022, Rose Community Foundation partnered with Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and peer funders to launch the Newcomers Fund to mobilize the community’s philanthropic interest in supporting the incoming migrant population fleeing unrest in South and Central America.  

In just a few short months, the Newcomers Fund received more than $460,000 in contributions from 1,800 compassionate Coloradans. Donors included foundations, donor-advised funds and individuals from across the community. A steering committee guides the work and grantmaking of the Fund, with partners from The Denver Foundation, Latino Community Foundation of Colorado, and Mile High United Way. 

To date, the Fund has granted out almost every dollar received to 15 organizations that have been on the frontlines, providing essential services including emergency shelter, transitional housing, basic needs including food and clothing, and wraparound services including translation and interpretation services. The Newcomers Fund steering committee recently held a webinar with representatives from three grantee organizations to update donors on the impact of their contributions.  

One grantee, ViVe Wellness (ViVe) addressed the health equity, physical and mental wellness needs of communities in Denver that face significant health disparities and lack access to physical activity and health education.  

“After securing 250 leases for newcomer families, we ran out of funding, but still had another 20 families that had to leave the city shelters,” said Yoli Casas, executive director of ViVe. “Thanks to the grant from the Newcomers Fund we were able to house those families.” 

Papagayo is a nonprofit committed to assisting people in vulnerable situations without distinction of origin, belief, ethnicity, culture, race or gender. Like ViVe, Papagayo are using their grant to take care of newcomers’ emergent and essential needs while also elevating the vital, yet often overlooked, need for emotional connection. 

“Your dollars have allowed us to provide housing, mental health, and necessities like diapers for young families,” said Marielena Suarez, executive director at Papagayo. “And thanks to your help, we are able to provide a human touch and connection for people who need it.” 

And while grants from the Newcomers Fund have been key in addressing the immediate needs of the migrant community, panelist Ana Vizoso, vice president of health & wellness at Servicios de la Raza, emphasized the continued need for funding in this area. 

“Once folks become stable and get more access to resources there will continue to be additional needs that come up,” said Ana. “Being able to provide those wraparound services long-term is crucial.”  

The Newcomers Fund is still accepting contributions at Rose Community Foundation. As donations are received, the Fund will continue to make grants to organizations providing immediate triage services. A future funding allows, we also hope to be able to support longer-term needs for the individuals and families that make their home here in Greater Denver. 


Sonya Ulibarri, Chief Impact Officer, Latino Community Foundation of Colorado 

Yoli Casas, Executive Director, ViVe Wellness 

Marielena Suarez, Executive Director, Papagayo 

Ana Vizoso, Vice President of Health and Wellness, Servicios de la Raza 

Donations to the Newcomers Fund can be made here. 

For questions about receiving services or volunteering to help, please dial 211 or visit 211 Colorado Immigrant and Refugee Services. 

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