Congratulations to SPA Associate Professor Danielle Varda, who was one of a select group of applicants that was invited to participate in The Innovators Society, a program of Community First Foundation.
As stated on its website, “The Innovators Society is committed to improving mental wellness by investing in fresh, new ideas to improve awareness, foster well-being and change perceptions of mental illness.”
Danielle’s proposal is to develop the Patient-Centered Network (PCN) App for providers to easily collect patients’ social support network data and link the results of that assessment to available community resources in real-time. Based on the PCN App’s questions and assessment, a provider can provide individualized, family-specific referrals for mental health and social support services through existing community resources and services.
Six Denver-area nonprofit organizations were selected to participate in a year-long accelerator program to develop their innovative mental wellness ideas. Each received a $25,000 grant and is assigned a coach, who works with the organization for approximately nine months on strategic planning, marketing, branding and preparing a presentation pitch. This is modeled after private sector, high-tech entrepreneur pitch programs.
In September 2016 the selected organizations will participate in a theater-style event where The Innovators Society and a group of community leaders, investors and funders vote on the final presentation pitches. Up to $500,000 in Community First Foundation grant dollars will be awarded based on real-time voting.