Jan 13, 2017


Recent articles

MHC Steering Committee Seeking New Core Nonprofit Partners

by | Jan 13, 2017

What Are We Looking For in New Partners?

As we prepare to embark upon development of a new four-year strategic plan, Mile High Connects is opening up this call for partners and is looking to invite two to three nonprofit organizations to newly join our Steering Committee, which serves as the decision-making and governance body for the collaborative.

As a part of our equity and inclusiveness values, Mile High Connects is particularly interested in organizations that have a value of being resident-driven/resident-informed, those that prioritize leadership of people of color, and approach their work through a commitment to equity.

Being part of the Mile High Connects Steering Committee and one of our core nonprofit partners is something that requires a unique commitment. In addition to serving in a decision-making role for the overall direction of the organization, core partners work together each year to develop a collective workplan for Mile High Connects. Each organization then commits to executing on the strategies within the plan and to working in deep collaboration and coordination with each other and MHC’s external partners. Core partners should expect that this on-the-ground work will take approximately the time equivalent of a half-time staff.

Mile High Connects embraces a full range of civic participation and a core strategy for us is bringing together grassroots and grasstops actors to work toward broad social change. It is important that partners in the collaborative share this value and are willing to push and challenge themselves by being at a collective decision making table with partners with whom they might not normally work.

Typically Steering Committee representatives from each core nonprofit partner includes the most senior leader at the organization and often one additional staff person responsible for the on-the-ground work relating to MHC’s mission (if they are not one in the same).

Core nonprofit partners will receive a stipend for participation and, beginning in 2018, a small level of grant support during each of the four years of their commitment to serving as a MHC. However, it is important to note that to fully deliver on the bold vision of MHC’s collective work, partners will also be expected to bring their own aligned resources to the table and will the have opportunity to participate in collective fundraising. Mission-fit and belief in the value of collaboration should be the foundation of any potential partner’s decision to respond to this call.

What Do We Really Like About Being on the Steering Committee?

  • Ability to work with other leaders to bring positive change to our community and build relationships by working together on a common cause
  • Getting to know and work with unusual partners that we might not normally sit together with at a common table
  • Gain more influence by leveraging the work of others
  • Ability to better deliver on our own organizations’ missions by working in partnership with others using different strategies, but working toward the same goals
  • Learning about different perspectives and challenging our own thinking about the ways to tackle complex issues
  • Opportunities to work together to bring more data and financial resources to our organizations
  • Ability to be part of a collaborative that has strong staff support and a functioning “backbone” without having to pay member dues or contribute to the overhead of the coordinating staff
  • Use expertise and experience to influence the direction of a broad group of people working on important issues
  • Work in a partnership that is committed and devotes time and attention to strengthening its equity lens

What Is Most Challenging About Being on the Steering Committee?

  • Being part of a collaborative takes time – time that could be used to accomplish our own organization’s work/goals
  • Partnership work can be complicated – we sometimes have to hash things out, things move too slowly or too quickly for us (often at the same time), we have to compromise, we have to communicate
  • We are working on complex, systems-level issues – it can be hard to see the progress as immediately as we’d like
  • We are committed to deepening our ability to live our equity values and it is a journey; we are practicing and still learning

Time Commitment and Logistics:

  • We ask that core nonprofit partners engage with us in development of our strategic plan in 2017 and commit to participation on the Steering Committee through the term of our strategic plan, which will run 2018 – 2021.
  • The Steering Committee currently meets every other month for a two-hour period (second Fridays from 9am – 11am at The Denver Foundation).
    • Note: We are also recruiting resident leaders from directly impacted communities to our Steering Committee and, depending on who is selected, may change the time of our meetings.
  • Key Dates:
    • March 21: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.: New Steering Committee Member Orientation & Team Building 1
    • April 6: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.: Steering Committee Team Building 2
    • April 14: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.: First Steering Committee Meeting
    • June 20 and 21: Overnight Retreat in Estes Park (expenses paid)
  • Staff and existing Steering Committee members are available to meet, talk with and support new Steering Committee members in their participation outside of meetings as needed.

How To Apply

  • Interested organizations should fill out this application.
  • Send the application to us by February 2nd, by email, mail (make sure to allow enough time for it to arrive), or in person at:



Mile High Connects

55 Madison St., 8th Floor

Denver, CO 80206

  • By February 14th, we’ll be scheduling times to get to know you a little better. If you submit an application indicating your interest, please also hold the following windows on your calendar for conversations to explore the opportunity:
    • February 22: 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
    • February 23: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
    • February 27: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    • March 6: 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

About Mile High Connects

Mile High Connects (MHC) is a broad collaborative of private, public, and nonprofit organizations committed to increasing access to affordable housing, good jobs, quality schools, and healthy and resilient communities through public transit. By increasing resources, influencing policy, and working with residents, MHC seeks to leverage the current and expanding Metro Denver transit system to promote a vital region full of opportunity for everyone. Our mission is to ensure that the Metro Denver regional transit system fosters communities that offer all residents the opportunity for a high quality of life. Please visit our website at www.milehighconnects.org for more information.

Recent articles


To maintain health and well-being, people of all ages need access to quality health care that improves outcomes and reduces costs for the community. Health First Colorado, the state's Medicaid program, is public health insurance for low-income Coloradans who qualify. The program is funded jointly by a federal-state partnership and is administered by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing.

Benefits of the program include behavioral health, dental services, emergency care, family planning services, hospitalization, laboratory services, maternity care, newborn care, outpatient care, prescription drugs, preventive and wellness services, primary care and rehabilitative services.

In tandem with the Affordable Care Act, Colorado expanded Medicaid eligibility in 2013 - providing hundreds of thousands of adults with incomes less than 133% FPL with health insurance for the first time increasing the health and economic well-being of these Coloradans. Most of the money for newly eligible Medicaid clients has been covered by the federal government, which will gradually decrease its contribution to 90% by 2020.

Other populations eligible for Medicaid include children, who qualify with income up to 142% FPL, pregnant women with household income under 195% FPL, and adults with dependent children with household income under 68% FPL.

Some analyses indicate that Colorado's investment in Medicaid will pay off in the long run by reducing spending on programs for the uninsured.


Hunger, though often invisible, affects everyone. It impacts people's physical, mental and emotional health and can be a culprit of obesity, depression, acute and chronic illnesses and other preventable medical conditions. Hunger also hinders education and productivity, not only stunting a child's overall well-being and academic achievement, but consuming an adult's ability to be a focused, industrious member of society. Even those who have never worried about having enough food experience the ripple effects of hunger, which seeps into our communities and erodes our state's economy.

Community resources like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, exist to ensure that families and individuals can purchase groceries, with the average benefit being about $1.40 per meal, per person.

Funding for SNAP comes from the USDA, but the administrative costs are split between local, state, and federal governments. Yet, the lack of investment in a strong, effective SNAP program impedes Colorado's progress in becoming the healthiest state in the nation and providing a better, brighter future for all. Indeed, Colorado ranks 44th in the nation for access to SNAP and lost out on more than $261 million in grocery sales due to a large access gap in SNAP enrollment.

See the Food Assistance (SNAP) Benefit Calculator to get an estimate of your eligibility for food benefits.


Every child deserves the nutritional resources needed to get a healthy start on life both inside and outside the mother's womb. In particular, good nutrition and health care is critical for establishing a strong foundation that could affect a child's future physical and mental health, academic achievement and economic productivity. Likewise, the inability to access good nutrition and health care endangers the very integrity of that foundation.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition information for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

Research has shown that WIC has played an important role in improving birth outcomes and containing health care costs, resulting in longer pregnancies, fewer infant deaths, a greater likelihood of receiving prenatal care, improved infant-feeding practices, and immunization rates

Financial Security:
Colorado Works

In building a foundation for self-sufficiency, some Colorado families need some extra tools to ensure they can weather challenging financial circumstances and obtain basic resources to help them and their communities reach their potential.

Colorado Works is Colorado's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and provides public assistance to families in need. The Colorado Works program is designed to assist participants in becoming self-sufficient by strengthening the economic and social stability of families. The program provides monthly cash assistance and support services to eligible Colorado families.

The program is primarily funded by a federal block grant to the state. Counties also contribute about 20% of the cost.


Child care is a must for working families. Along with ensuring that parents can work or obtain job skills training to improve their families' economic security, studies show that quality child care improves children's academic performance, career development and health outcomes.

Yet despite these proven benefits, low-income families often struggle with the cost of child care. Colorado ranks among the top 10 most expensive states in the country for center-based child care. For families with an infant, full-time enrollment at a child care center cost an average of $15,140 a year-or about three-quarters of the total income of a family of three living at the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) provides child care assistance to parents who are working, searching for employment or participating in training, and parents who are enrolled in the Colorado Works Program and need child care services to support their efforts toward self-sufficiency. Most of the money for CCCAP comes from the federal Child Care and Development Fund. Each county can set their own income eligibility limit as long as it is at or above 165% of the federal poverty level and does not exceed 85% of area median income.

Unfortunately, while the need is growing, only an estimated one-quarter of all eligible children in the state are served by CCCAP. Low reimbursement rates have also resulted in fewer providers willing to accept CCCAP subsidies.