City of Denver hands out $1.5 million in COVID-19 assistance grants to nonprofits

Posted at 7:57 PM, Sep 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-10 21:57:24-04

DENVER — The City of Denver recently handed out more than $1.5 million in assistance grants to dozens of nonprofits to help them rebound from the economic effects of the novel coronavirus.

“A lot of organizations have had to cancel their fundraisers, they’ve seen donations drop, had to cancel events, programming,” Nancy Hernandez, with the City’s Department of Economic Development and Opportunity, told Denver7.

The money came from federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, and it was the city’s decision to aim the funding toward nonprofits.

“It’s just a one-time support to help these groups keep their doors open or adjust to conditions under COVID,” Hernandez said.

One nonprofit that received funding was the Access Gallery on Santa Fe. The gallery works with artists with disabilities to create and sell art for them.

“We were used to having one to two-thousand people through the door looking at art and that just stopped,” said gallery executive director Damon McLeese.

McLeese said the pandemic's effect on the gallery hit “hard and fast” in March, when they were forced to temporarily close their doors and cancel their art shows. They were concerned about paying rent and continuing their mission of helping artists create and sell art, so they applied for the grant and received one.

“So this grant gave us the flexibility and breathing room to think, 'what is it that this particular artist may need?” he said.

Artists are now back at the gallery, with social distancing and other precautions being taken. The grant money allowed the gallery to invest in a way to sell art online, allowing their artists with disabilities to continue to sell their work.

“While our sales have been down, we have been able to figure out ways to still get some of that money generated to get into the artists pocket which is our mission,” McLeese said.

For a full list of the nonprofits who received grants, click here.