In 2014, The Colorado Trust (The Trust) launched the Health Equity Advocacy (HEA) strategy, a multi-year investment aimed at building a field of advocates focused on advancing policy solutions to address systemic inequities that affect the health and well-being of diverse communities in Colorado. The launch of the HEA strategy was predicated on The Trust’s strong belief that meaningfully addressing health inequities facing Colorado’s diverse communities would require a new approach to policy advocacy— one that was deeply centered in community and led by a broad range of organizations collectively advancing policy solutions with communities and on their behalf.
To put this community-centered approach into practice, The Trust funded a cohort of 18 HEA grantees (the Cohort) that included a diverse array of organizations that reflected different scopes (statewide, regional and local), represented different geographic regions (rural and urban communities throughout
Colorado), and represented and served a range of diverse populations. The Cohort also reflected a typology of three specific types of organizations envisioned to bring complementary and distinct assets that could be strategically leveraged in health equity advocacy efforts: policy advocacy organizations, direct service providers and community organizing groups.
This paper tells the story of the HEA Cohort’s efforts to develop a new approach to advocacy
and the core lessons that have been learned from the efforts to build advocacy capacity to
advance health equity.