ReproCollab Funding Priorities Announced

ReproCollab is a Caring for Colorado-led initiative that builds partnerships and provides grant funding to advance reproductive equity in Colorado. Our goal is for all people to have the information, services, and power needed to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive autonomy, including health, rights, and well-being.
With a focus on communities that have historically carried the burden of racial, economic, and social inequalities, ReproCollab will build partnerships and provide grant funding across three strategic areas over the next three years:
Goals: Improve access to person-centered contraceptive care within Colorado’s healthcare safety net system.
Goals: Promote community-led solutions in sexual and reproductive health education for young people.
Goals: Leverage community, regulatory, legislative, and philanthropic expertise to create public policies that advance reproductive equity.
These efforts build on earlier work of the Colorado Collaborative for Reproductive Health Equity, an initiative created in 2017 by Caring for Colorado and co-funded by the Colorado Health Foundation.  In 2021, ReproCollab was launched to further advance the movement for sexual and reproductive equity across Colorado with the support of two additional funders – The Colorado Trust, and the Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation.
To learn more about new funding opportunities:

$550K in Grants Awarded to Statewide Policy and Advocacy Organizations to Advance Reproductive Health and Rights

Caring for Colorado’s multi-year initiative, ReproCollab, recently awarded $550,000 in grants to 11 organizations working to improve public policies for reproductive health and rights. Funding also was awarded to build and grow grass-roots leadership in reproductive justice in Colorado.

Funding was prioritized to support advocacy efforts for the effective implementation of existing state laws designed to expand access to reproductive health care. This work will ensure that Colorado’s law and policies work for people who need and use reproductive health care. Read more about the Lead and Advocate for Reproductive Equity grantees and their work.

ReproCollab collaborates with funders, clinicians, researchers, community organizations, and grassroots leaders to improve reproductive health care, strengthen advocacy efforts, and develop leadership for reproductive health equity in Colorado. ReproCollab is supported by a collaboration of funders, including Caring for Colorado, The Colorado Health Foundation, the Colorado Trust, and the Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation.

The History of Choose When

In 2016, a group of friends concerned about reproductive rights started talking about how they could come together to support women in their community. They began by asking women’s health providers what they saw as the most pressing needs of patients, and how they could support their efforts in meeting these needs.
After a lot of research, listening and will-building in the community, Choose When was born. The goal of Choose When was to help women in Northwest Colorado, with financial barriers to care, access long-acting reversible contraception. The Choose When steering committee settled on this approach after hearing from the women in the community that they wanted more options for birth control than the pill, and that long-acting methods were out of reach for those without insurance or for those needing confidential services.
About 200 people attended a Choose When kick-off event in April 2017. Photo credit: Steamboat Pilot & Today.

“The group that started Choose When are all women involved in the community in many different ways. We all see the economic stresses that working families are under in this area; housing, medical costs, inflation. We just want women to be able to manage their own lives.”

– Kathleen Wasserman, Choose When steering committee co-chair
Choose When volunteers began raising money toward their goal and started to reimburse safety-net health clinics for the cost of providing long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) for people who qualified for the program. 
Over five years, more than $600,000 dollars were raised and over 500 women received LARCs.  Due to the proven success of Choose When in northwest Colorado, Caring for Colorado was interested in trying to scale the program statewide. Our goal is ensuring that every person in Colorado can access their contraception method of choice, regardless of their financial situation. 
On Oct 1, 2023, Choose When was transferred to Caring for Colorado. The foundation will follow the Choose When model of individual and foundation fundraising to offset the costs of LARCs for people with financial barriers to care. In 2024, the foundation will begin its efforts to grow Choose When into a statewide solution addressing barriers to care.
Choose When Founders talk about scaling the work to a statewide initiative with Caring for Colorado at an event in Steamboat Springs in August 2023. 

Choose When Resources

Clinic and Contraception Resources

Clinic Resources

For statewide resources, visit the Colorado Department of Public Health website to find a clinic. You can also find family planning clinics by county.
Initially Choose When provided access to long-acting reversible contraception, like IUDs and hormonal implants, for women in Northwest Colorado who could not otherwise afford it. If you need to access care now, visit the Northwest Colorado Health website  to make an appointment today.

Upstream USA Resources

ReproCollab awarded $1.5M to 12 health care organizations to streamline clinic work around person-centered contraceptive care. We also partnered with Upstream USA and are developing a long-term, statewide approach.
Upstream USA is a national implementation partner working to increase equitable access to the full range of contraceptive options. Upstream is working with individual clinics on a tailored technical assistance plan to implement eight sustainable best practices in contraceptive care.

Other Resources About Health Care Coverage

$1.5M Awarded to 12 Health Care Organizations to Improve Person-Centered Contraceptive Care

ReproCollab awarded $1,575,000 to 12 health care organizations to improve access to person-centered contraceptive care within Colorado’s health care safety net system over two years. During the first year of funding, clinics will receive individualized technical support from Upstream USA, a national implementation partner. Year two will entail a learning community to explore system and policy solutions.

ReproCollab is a multi-year initiative with funding support from Caring for Colorado Foundation, The Colorado Health Foundation, Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation, and The Colorado Trust. ReproCollab supports health care organizations to improve the delivery of contraceptive care and to strengthen the capacity of advocates and institutions in addressing systemic and policy barriers to reproductive equity.

Funding Opportunity: Lead and Advocate for Reproductive Equity – Closed

The Lead and Advocate for Reproductive Equity funding priority was developed with the guidance of our Kitchen Table, an advisory board that recognized the need to sustain and bolster the movement for reproductive equity in the state. Through this funding opportunity, ReproCollab will be a partner in working toward a more connected field of advocates with power and influence to advance equitable reproductive health policy.
Funding awarded under the Lead and Advocate for Reproductive Equity priority will support state and local efforts in:
  • Emerging Leadership – leadership development for new and emerging leaders for reproductive equity
  • Policy Implementation – supporting a field of advocates to effectively implement policy
  • Coalition Building – supporting a strong and intersectional advocacy network for reproductive equity
ReproCollab’s Part 1 application to Lead and Advocate for Reproductive Equity is Closed
For questions about this funding opportunity, please email ReproCollab staff at [email protected].

Funding Opportunity: Protect and Expand Contraceptive Access – Closed

The first ReproCollab funding opportunity – Protect and Expand Contraceptive Access – closed.

This past spring ReproCollab opened a funding opportunity for Colorado-based safety net clinics (federally qualified health centers, independent safety net clinics, school-based health centers and local public health agencies with existing contraceptive care programs) to improve their contraceptive care delivery and influence broader policy change for reproductive equity. Funding announcements are expected in Fall 2023.
The sector faces significant challenges in advancing reproductive equity, particularly post-pandemic. Barriers range from a shortage of trained providers to a limited range of contraceptive methods, prohibitive financing, limited-service hours or locations, and more. These grant funds will support safety net clinics and agencies for up to 24 months as they respond to the ongoing and urgent need for equitable access to contraceptive care.
For questions about this funding opportunity, please email ReproCollab staff at [email protected].

Peer-Led & Anti-Oppressive Youth Sex Ed

Advocates are working together with school and community educators to advance the inclusiveness and effectiveness of youth sexual health education through an anti-oppressive approach and the use of peer-led learning. ReproCollab is partnering with and providing support to these community-based efforts to ensure young people have medically accurate information that equips them to make informed decisions about a healthy sexual life and family planning that fits their life and aspirations.

“We have begun to address the absence of youth voice in sexual health education by intentionally engaging young people in the development of the forthcoming 2022 State of Adolescent Sexual Health (SASH) report in order to better understand the lived experiences of adolescent sexual health from young people and with greater knowledge of the systems of oppression that impact sexual health.” said Adrienne Gomez, Senior Program Manager for the Trailhead Institute’s Youth Sexual Health program. 

With funding support from the ReproCollab, Trailhead launched an initiative to reimagine the 2022 SASH report using an anti-oppressive framework, beginning with the convening of a Youth Sexual Health Program Board comprised of young people and adults whose identities have been made marginalized by systems of oppression.

Under the vision and leadership of this board, the SASH is evolving with a focus on centering youth voices, uplifting pleasure-based sexual health education and emphasizing nontraditional forms of data like storytelling to shape the future of youth sexual health education in Colorado.

As leaders of Colorado’s WISE initiative (Working to Institutionalize Sex Education), Trailhead recognizes that helping schools and community-based organizations move toward the use of a comprehensive curriculum and an evolving approach is a long-term undertaking. Another big task is ensuring access. Colorado is not among the 39 states that mandate some form of sex education programming (Planned Parenthood). State law leaves it up to each Colorado school district whether to teach sex ed and the state does not track the districts that do or don’t teach it. The districts that do choose to teach sex ed are required to use a curriculum that is comprehensive and medically accurate. Trailhead Institute is working together with a number of school districts, as well as community-based youth-serving organizations, to create effective and sustainable approaches to providing sexual health education. The goal, says Gomez, is to make the programming both comprehensive and liberatory – a framework lead by sexual health advocates from BIPOC communities wherein young people are active agents in their own learning – and to ensure educators are well qualified.

Gomez points to peer-to-peer education as a successful approach for teaching youth about sexual health topics with programs such as AUL Denver’s peer sex educators and the Colorado Health Network’s #unfiltered youth program as two prime models of liberatory sex education. Colorado Health Network’s Sexpert School peer education program teaches teens how to host lessons on sexual health and become champions in their community.

Diverse cohorts of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are recruited for the program. Selected applicants receive training through online, interactive courses, followed by in-person, in-depth facilitation training. The trained peer-leaders then recruit youth participants and facilitate up to three peer trainings. The whole process takes about three months and sexperts receive a $500 stipend.

Leila Jones participated in the first-ever Sexpert School cohort during her junior year at Denver Center for International Studies high school. Now a rising junior at Loyola University New Orleans, Leila said, “When I was in middle and high school, the prime-time for receiving any sort of sex ed, I did not have that kind of help and heard so many conflicting or incorrect rumors about sex from my own peers.”

“I also discovered that the participants had begun telling their own friends what they had learned in the course,” Leila said. “This showed me that they were spreading positive, comprehensive, well-researched information about sex, rather than just spreading further misinformation or harmful rumors. It was like dominoes falling from my peer-led session out into a larger community of young people.”

Trailhead Institute and Colorado Health Network are grantee partners of ReproCollab. 

Cover photo credit

Graduation Ceremonies Mark Pilot Phase Completion for SOMOS

Over the past three months, two groups of middle and high school Latina youth and many of their caregivers met one evening a week to participate in the SOMOS pilot program. SOMOS aims to increase understanding about sexual and reproductive health, while strengthening the ability of youth and caregivers to connect in healthy conversation, as well as inspire Latinas to advocate for themselves.
SOMOS, “we are” in Spanish, was created through a human-centered design process supported by the Caring for Colorado and the Colorado Health Foundation. The design process involved more than 300 interviews with young Latinas and caregivers in Pueblo and Adams counties, exploring their life goals, and the supports they have, and then exploring the topics of sexuality, intimate relationships, and contraception.

Cohorts of 30 participants in Adams County and 31 in Pueblo – about equal parts of middle schoolers, high school students, and caregivers – recently celebrated completion of the SOMOS program with graduation ceremonies. “We held class for SOMOS in Pueblo every Friday evening. The girls prioritized SOMOS, working out their schedules around the class. Can you imagine teens devoting their Friday nights to a class about reproductive health,” exclaimed Brenda Figueroa, who facilitated the SOMOS program in Pueblo. 

“One class fell on the same night as the high school prom. We had girls show up in their prom dresses, their hair all done up and in high heels. They went out to dinner before class and then went to the dance after the class.” They were devoted, says Figueroa, because it’s not your usual program. “Knowing that they made the program, through the human-centered design process, meant the program content was what our youth specifically said they needed and wanted to know more about.”
The SOMOS curriculum included learnings and discussions about communication, reproductive anatomy, mechanics of sex, contraceptives, LGBTQ+ and gender identities, boundaries, consent, self-autonomy, and more.
“It’s easy for people to think SOMOS is simply sex ed, but it’s so much more than that. We are giving people the knowledge and tools to use for important life decisions,” said Brenda Acosta, who facilitated the SOMOS program in Adams County. For example, Acosta said, “We talked about communications throughout the program. After practicing what we had talked about, one mom in my SOMOS class said, ‘Now when my daughter or son wants to talk, I stop and take the time to really listen. This makes the kids want to talk more, to say more. I feel awesome about it and can tell this approach is making a difference.’ We’re seeing SOMOS help to reduce barriers between youth and adults and create family unity.”
“We also saw community building,” Figueroa says. “These individuals came in to SOMOS and didn’t know each other. They built relationships – the girls exchanged phone numbers and snapchat, said “hi” to each other in school and started hanging out. They were able to express themselves in this setting in ways that they can’t in other places and all of them created community and friendships.”
Facilitators, community advisors, and SOMOS participants are providing feedback to evaluators following completion of the SOMOS pilot. Both Brenda Acosta and Brenda Figueroa say their communities are hungry for more SOMOS programming. “Everyone who took part in SOMOS talked about it with their extended families and friends, and many of the moms said they would love for their sons to be able to participate and to engage dads,” said Acosta. “I honestly believe that this is a necessity not only in the Latino community but in the broader society.”
“We are providing middle and high school students with the opportunity to learn important information that may not be offered through school or within their families, like consent for sex, setting boundaries with partners, and contraception. This information and the tools we provide help young Latinas to make good decisions for their health, their bodies and their well-being,” said Figueroa. “This is making a difference in their lives right now, and we hope they will be empowered to advocate for policies that support reproductive rights for all people.”

Abortion is Health Care. Read more about ReproCollab’s reaction to the 6/24 SCOTUS Ruling

We are deeply disappointed in today’s Supreme Court ruling that significantly chips away at the rights and protections guaranteed by Roe v. Wade. As one of about half of the states in the U.S. that have protected the right to abortion care, now is the time to further advance reproductive equity in Colorado and, in the process, provide a beacon of hope beyond our state. 
Colorado is fortunate to have advocates and policy leaders committed to this goal. Building on more than 12 years of intensive efforts in Colorado to safeguard and increase access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, the most recent accomplishment was passage of the Reproductive Health Equity Act. With a coalition led by COLOR and Cobalt, and the leadership of Sen. Julie Gonzales, Rep. Meg Froelich and Rep. Daneya Esgar, this timely law affirms and protects the right of all Coloradans to reproductive health services, including abortion care. 
This ruling by our country’s highest court is a significant, but not unexpected, setback. It underscores the critical importance of our continuing, shared commitment to create policy, programs and services that make it possible for all people in Colorado – no matter their race, income, background or beliefs – to have access to basic health care and human rights, including abortion care. ReproCollab is dedicated to further advancing efforts to achieve reproductive equity in Colorado. We look forward to working together with communities to ensure our state is a place a state where all people have the power to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive autonomy.
In response to the recent Dobbs vs Jackson SCOTUS ruling, The Women's Foundation and ReproCollab will be co-hosting a virtual discussion with reproductive and abortion rights leaders in Colorado. Join us to learn what you can do to help protect abortion access in a post-roe era.

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