(Denver, CO – Januray 17, 2022) – Today the Colorado Healing Fund (CHF) announced a new joint effort with Community Health Partnership (CHP) to create a dedicated “navigator” role to reach and assist Club Q victims, as well as the formation of its Club Q Advisory Committee – composed of LGBTQIA+ leaders, victim assistance experts, and community partners – which has already met twice to provide guidance on Club Q response efforts and shape a plan for distributing remaining funds to victims.
The “navigator” role, created in collaboration with Community Health Partnership in Colorado Springs and with initial funding from the Gill Foundation, is intended to respond to the unique needs and experiences of the LGBTQ community in Colorado Springs. The navigator will continue the work to fill critical gaps in victim support, particularly for those who may face additional trauma in interacting with law enforcement and navigating processes and forms that are not LGBTQIA+-inclusive. This individual is a licensed professional counselor who is a trusted member of the LGBTQIA+ community in Colorado Springs. While other groups within the community have begun this important work, the navigator will supplement that work and coordinate directly with CHF to disburse funds to individuals impacted by the Club Q tragedy.
“When the Colorado Healing Fund approached us about this gap in Club Q response efforts, we were eager to partner with them to ensure no one is left behind,” said Rachel Keener, LGBTQIA2+ Health Equity Manager at Community Health Partnership. “The navigator position not only helps meet the immediate needs of the Club Q victims but also lays the groundwork for increasing and improving the quality of care for LGBTQIA+ folks in El Paso County to address the long-term impact of this tragedy.”
Established in 1992, Community Health Partnership is a local nonprofit transforming community health in the region. CHP specializes in supporting unique and underserved populations, including the LGBTQIA+ community. Individuals impacted by the Club Q tragedy can seek support from the navigator by emailing CommunitySupport@ppchp.org.
“The Club Q tragedy exposed systemic shortcomings in victim assistance for LGBTQIA+ survivors,” said Denise Whinnen, Director of Colorado Programs at the Gill Foundation. “The Colorado Healing Fund has been incredibly responsive to feedback from the LGBTQIA+ community and embraced opportunities to improve response efforts. We are pleased to support the Colorado Healing Fund’s collaboration with Community Health Partnership to ensure every victim of the Club Q tragedy receives the resources and care they need to recover and heal.”
Furthermore, CHF has also formed the Club Q Advisory Committee to ensure LGBTQIA+ cultural competence in response efforts and engage community partners in addressing intermediate and long-term needs arising from the Club Q tragedy.
“Colorado is all too familiar with mass tragedies, but the response to the Club Q shooting has been especially humbling,” said Cynthia Coffman, Chair of the Colorado Healing Fund and former Colorado Attorney General. “As we move into the intermediate and long-term phases of response, we are drawing on the unparalleled expertise and experience of our Club Q Advisory Committee to develop a distribution plan that accounts for the full range of victims’ needs and demonstrates Colorado’s commitment to our LGBTQ community.”
Members of the Club Q Advisory Committee include: Rachel Keener of Community Health Partnership, Denise Whinnen of the Gill Foundation, Jessica Laney of Pikes Peak Pride, Jessie Pocock of InsideOut Youth Services, Nadine Bridges of One Colorado, Cari Davis of Colorado Springs Health Foundation, Daniel Ramos of Colorado Democracy Alliance, Curt Drennen of the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Kate Horn-Murphy and Kelly Kissell of the Office for Victims Programs at the Division of Criminal Justice, Mari Dennis of Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance, Robin Finegan who formerly served as Regional Administrator for FEMA Region VIII, and Cynthia Coffman who formerly served as the Colorado State Attorney General and helped establish the Colorado Healing Fund.
“With the outpouring of generosity from individuals, corporations, and foundations, the Colorado Healing Fund was able to activate immediately and provide financial support right away to victims and their families,” said Daniel Ramos, Executive Director of Colorado Democracy Alliance and longtime LGBTQ advocate in Colorado. “We are appreciative of the organization’s laser focus on supporting the victims as our community continues to respond to this tragedy and tragedies to come.”
The Colorado Healing Fund has collected approximately $2.1 million to date, which includes donations made through the Colorado Gives platform as well as contributions made directly to CHF from foundations, corporations, and individuals. More than $450,000 has been distributed to victims through the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance providing financial support to 81 individuals – $188,500 covered immediate expenses and $265,000 distributed as cash disbursements to the five families of those killed and the 33 individuals injured during the shooting. Going forward, Colorado Health Partnership will also serve as a distribution partner for funds to victims.
“Our purpose is to be as holistic and victim-centered as possible – to be among the first funds available in the immediate aftermath and the last funds remaining to support needs that persist or arise down the road,” said Jordan Finegan, Executive Director of the Colorado Healing Fund. “The trauma endures and evolves long after the tragedy, and our unique role is to provide a steady stream of support for the long haul of healing.”