Fund to help migrants arriving in Denver has raised more than $300,000 from donors

Governor Jared Polis and Mayor Michael Hancock launched the Newcomers Fund in December to respond to the rise in migrants coming to Denver.
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Piles of donated items available for people arriving from the U.S. southern border inside a rec center serving as Denver’s second emergency shelter. Jan. 6, 2023.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

More than 1,600 donors contributed $305,000 for a special fund set up to help migrants and asylum seekers arriving from the southern U.S. border in Denver since its launch at the end of December.

Gov. Jared Polis and Mayor Michael Hancock launched the fund in partnership with the Rose Community Foundation to meet needs of those arriving. Denver opened emergency shelters and issued a state of emergency to support the increase in people seeking asylum.

Gifts have ranged from $2 to $25,000, according to Rose Community Foundation spokesperson Sarah Kurz.

While donations have come from a wide range of sources, Kurz said that because the Rose Community Foundation has its roots in Colorado's Jewish community, as many people have shared personal connections to immigration. A massive effort led by dozens of Jewish organizations was set up to collect donations at Denver's Temple Emanuel this month.

"I think in the Jewish community that resonates a lot for folks whose family may have fled Europe in the '30s and '40s, and they know that America stepped up to welcome them, and they have a real desire to sort of pay it forward," Kurz said. "That commitment to welcoming immigrants and refugees from all over is something that we've heard over and over again from our donors."

The money has gone out in the form of $125,000 emergency grants to organizations working directly with migrants, including Casa de Paz, Colorado Hosting Asylum Network, Papagayo, Servicios de la Raza and ViVe.

As money continues to roll in, the Rose Community Foundation has launched an application for other nonprofits in Colorado to apply.

The funding will go to groups that focus on providing shelter, housing, food, clothing, medical care, childcare, employment opportunities and other support services. Interested organizations can go here to apply.

Kurz said that while some migrants are moving on to other cities where they have family, the fund wants to make sure there are enough resources in Denver for people who want to make the city their home.

"For the hundreds of people who are planning to stay here, the kind of services they need are really different than just sort of the immediate shelter," she said. "We're so grateful for the support that we've seen Denver and Colorado step up to support these folks, but hope that people understand that the needs are not going away."

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