Jan 19, 2021

Recent articles

NEWS RELEASE: CCLP to Serve as Fiscal Sponsor for Mile High Connects

Two nonprofit advocacy groups strongly committed to advancing racial equity and stemming poverty have joined forces in an agreement that promises to build a more equitable Colorado.

Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP) agreed to become Mile High Connects’ (MHC) fiscal sponsor at the end of 2020. Under this agreement, CCLP will be the fiscal agent of MHC under its 501(c)(3), tax-exempt status.

The partnership will provide MHC with a fiscal home that is well-aligned to advance its objectives in affordable housing and economic equity. The agreement allows MHC to continue to robustly pursue its valuable mission as it always has, but with CCLP managing some of MHC’s administrative functions.

CCLP and MHC: Together in Equity

The MHC collaborative, which includes organizers, nonprofits and philanthropy, came together in 2011 to address affordable housing and transit equity. With a new focus on advancing racial and social equity, MHC’s research-informed mission is to prioritize and increase equitable investment into community-driven solutions by advancing collective action among nonprofits, community organizers and the private and public sector.

CCLP is a research, legislative and legal advocacy organization committed to advancing racial equity and economic security for Coloradans facing poverty. Since 1998, the nonprofit has worked with state agencies, policymakers, community leaders and elected officials to remove systemic barriers that keep Coloradans from thriving. The organization focuses on food access and security, access to quality affordable health care, safe and affordable housing and financial security.

“Our region is facing a critical moment when it comes to policies and decisions that will shape how we navigate the escalating risks facing Black, Brown and all communities of color and how we reimagine recovery from COVID-19,” says Deyanira Zavala, Executive Director of MHC. “We are excited to dig in with our long-time partners at CCLP and look forward to seeing the results of our efforts as we build a racially equitable, resilient region where community drives the solutions that are at the center of transformative systems.”

Tiffani Lennon, J.D., LL.M., Executive Director of CCLP, says she is delighted that CCLP will serve as a fiscal sponsor of MHC’s visionary work, and noted that the partnership is closely aligned with CCLP’s newly updated vision, mission and values.

“CCLP has been committed to stemming poverty with proven results and continues to explore ways to meet the growing needs of Colorado’s diverse communities,” Lennon says. “MHC comes to the table with a fresh outlook in community engagement and forging community-driven solutions for positive change. Together, we will be a powerful advocacy force during a time when racial and geographic disparities are painfully apparent and action is badly needed.”

Zavala notes that MHC’s advocacy and policy efforts to date have strengthened tenant protections, centered community, and brought community solutions to life. However, real change – systems change – requires sustained coordination and action that looks beyond the headlines.

“It’s up to us to be there to meet the moment,” she says.

In a recent opinion piece in Colorado Politics, Lennon encouraged state policy makers to “think bigger and re-imagine what is possible in Colorado,” adding to do that, “we need a collective plan of action to advance racial equity and to stem poverty.”

MHC previously operated with the fiscal sponsorship of The Denver Foundation (TDF).

For more information about the fiscal sponsorship, contact Tiffani Lennon at tlennon@copolicy.org or Deyanira Zavala at dzavala@milehighconnects.org.

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.