denver nonprofits

12 Inspiring Denver Nonprofits Making a Difference

In a vibrant city nestled against the stunning backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, a dynamic and diverse array of Denver nonprofits is making waves, tirelessly paving the way toward a brighter and more inclusive future.

These organizations, each with its unique mission and approach, form the lifeblood of the community, tackling pressing social issues and providing essential services that enrich the lives of residents.

From addressing homelessness and hunger to advocating for LGBTQ+ equality and environmental conservation, these nonprofits embody the spirit of Denver, characterized by resilience, innovation, and a deep-seated commitment to community well-being.

As we delve deeper into the stories of these Denver nonprofits, we explore their foundational missions, trace their historical journeys, and celebrate the significant impacts they have achieved.

Their work not only showcases the charitable spirit of Denver but also highlights the collective resolve of its people to foster a community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive, making Denver a model city for impactful and compassionate nonprofit work.

Denver Nonprofits Making a Difference


1. Denver Rescue Mission

denver nonprofits

  • Mission: To provide shelter, food, and assistance to Denver’s homeless population, aiming to help individuals achieve self-sufficiency. In a long history of Denver nonprofits offering a pathway out of poverty and homelessness, DRM is a beacon of hope.
  • History: Founded in 1892, Denver Rescue Mission is one of the oldest full-service Christian charities in the Rocky Mountain region, evolving from a small rescue home to a comprehensive provider of services for those facing homelessness. Its legacy is a testament to enduring commitment to community support.
  • Impact: They serve over 600,000 meals annually and provide emergency services, rehabilitation, and transitional programs to thousands of people in need, significantly reducing homelessness in Denver.

2. Mile High United Way

denver nonprofits

  • Mission: To improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good. This Denver nonprofit stands as a pillar of community support, driving social change and fostering a spirit of unity.
  • History: Established in 1887, Mile High United Way has a long-standing history of supporting community needs, being the first United Way in the country. Its innovative approach has set a precedent for community-based support.
  • Impact: Focuses on education, health, and financial stability, impacting tens of thousands of individuals each year through various programs and partnerships, making it a key player among Denver nonprofits.

3. The Denver Foundation

denver nonprofits

  • Mission: To inspire people and mobilize resources to strengthen the Denver community. Through strategic philanthropy, this Denver nonprofit plays a critical role in local development and support.
  • History: Since 1925, The Denver Foundation has been a catalyst for change, supporting a wide array of community initiatives and philanthropic efforts. It has established a rich history of community engagement and investment.
  • Impact: Manages over $900 million in assets, distributing millions in grants and scholarships annually to address community needs, proving its significant role amidst the rich landscape of Denver nonprofits.

4. Urban Peak

denver nonprofits

  • Mission: To help homeless youth and young adults overcome real-life challenges by providing essential services and a supportive community. Urban Peak is dedicated to ending youth homelessness in Denver through comprehensive support services.
  • History: Founded in 1988, Urban Peak has grown to offer a full convergence of services including street outreach, education, employment programs, and housing assistance. Its growth reflects the increasing need and its responsive approach to youth homelessness.
  • Impact: Assists over 2,000 youth each year, aiding them in becoming self-reliant adults, marking it as a cornerstone among Denver nonprofits in addressing youth challenges.

5. Food Bank of the Rockies

denver nonprofits

  • Mission: To help families thrive by efficiently procuring and distributing food and essentials to the hungry through their programs and partner agencies. Of several Denver nonprofits fighting hunger and providing nutritional support in the community, the Food Bank of the Rockies plays a key role.
  • History: Established in 1978, it has become one of the largest food banks in the country, serving people across Colorado and Wyoming. Its extensive reach and efficiency make it a vital part of the region’s fight against hunger.
  • Impact: Distributes nearly 60 million pounds of food annually, providing meals to over 500,000 people, showcasing its pivotal role in Denver’s nonprofit network and its fight against food insecurity.

6. Joy as Resistance

denver nonprofits

  • Mission: To empower marginalized communities in Denver through the arts, fostering joy as a means of resistance and healing.
  • History: Founded in 2020, Joy as Resistance has quickly become a beacon of hope and empowerment in Denver, using art as a tool to bridge divides and inspire change.
  • Impact: Through community-based art projects and workshops, Joy as Resistance provides a platform for underrepresented voices, promoting mental well-being and social justice, and illustrating the power of joy and creativity in building a more inclusive society. View their full and newly published impact report here.

7. The Greenway Foundation

denver nonprofits

  • Mission: To advance the South Platte River and its tributaries as a unique environmental, recreational, and cultural asset. This Denver nonprofit is at the forefront of environmental stewardship, transforming urban waterways into community assets.
  • History: Started in 1974, The Greenway Foundation has been instrumental in revitalizing the South Platte River and its surroundings, transforming them into valuable community spaces. Its initiatives have spurred urban environmental rejuvenation and public engagement.
  • Impact: Has initiated more than $100 million in river corridor improvements and engages thousands of students annually in environmental education programs, establishing itself as a leader in environmental conservation among Denver nonprofits.

8. Colorado Coalition for the Homeless

denver nonprofits

  • Mission: To work collaboratively towards the prevention of homelessness and the creation of lasting solutions for homeless and at-risk families, children, and individuals throughout Colorado. This organization is a pivotal force in Denver’s nonprofit sector, addressing complex issues of homelessness with comprehensive solutions.
  • History: Since 1984, the coalition has been providing a comprehensive array of services addressing the needs of the homeless population. Its enduring efforts have significantly contributed to mitigating homelessness in the area.
  • Impact: Serves over 18,000 people a year through housing, healthcare, and employment services, significantly reducing homelessness in the community and demonstrating the vital role of Denver nonprofits in creating systemic change.

9. Denver Art Museum

denver nonprofits

  • Mission: The Denver Art Museum not only inspires and educates through art but also strives to make art accessible to all, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures and perspectives.
  • History: Since its establishment in 1893, the museum has become a cornerstone of Denver’s cultural community, continually expanding its collection to include works from around the globe and across centuries.
  • Impact: Attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, the museum not only showcases a vast array of art but also stimulates the local economy and cultural development through its dynamic exhibitions and educational programs.

10. Denver Zoo

denver nonprofits

  • Mission: The Denver Zoo is deeply committed to animal care, education, and conservation, focusing on inspiring and engaging the public not just locally but globally in wildlife preservation and environmental stewardship.
  • History: Opening its doors in 1896, the zoo has transformed from a small menagerie into a leading wildlife conservation center, setting standards in animal care, education, and sustainability.
  • Impact: By playing a critical role in global conservation efforts, the zoo not only educates over two million visitors each year but also actively participates in international wildlife conservation and research projects, making significant contributions to the preservation of species and habitats.

11. Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA)

denver nonprofits

  • Mission: DCPA is dedicated to offering a broad spectrum of theatrical and educational experiences, thereby enhancing Denver’s cultural scene and providing a platform for artistic expression and community engagement.
  • History: Founded in 1972, DCPA has evolved into the nation’s largest non-profit theater organization, fostering a vibrant arts community and becoming a hub for the performing arts in the Rocky Mountain region.
  • Impact: The center not only provides arts education to thousands and hosts hundreds of performances annually but also serves as a cultural and economic catalyst for the region, enriching lives and supporting the local arts ecosystem.

12. Access Gallery

denver nonprofits

  • Mission: Access Gallery goes beyond providing access to the arts for people with disabilities; it champions the belief that art is a universal language that can bridge communities and empower individuals.
  • History: Since its inception in the 1970s, Access Gallery has been at the forefront of promoting inclusivity in the arts, pioneering programs that support the professional and artistic development of artists with disabilities.
  • Impact: The gallery’s efforts have not only enabled numerous artists with disabilities to pursue their creative talents but also raised public awareness and appreciation of the unique perspectives and contributions these artists bring to the art world and society at large.


These Denver nonprofits not only represent the city’s charitable spirit but also underscore the collective resolve to foster a community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

Their ongoing efforts are essential to the city’s vitality, making Denver a model for impactful nonprofit work.

By addressing the diverse needs of the population and filling gaps in public services, they contribute to building a stronger, more resilient community, reinforcing Denver’s reputation as a city that cares and collaborates for the common good.

Related Posts