Wellness. Prevention. Support. Home. These are the tenets upon which It Takes a Village builds its community.
Since 2002, the Aurora, Colo., nonprofit has worked to make health care and social resources accessible for people of color in the Denver metropolitan area. Its impact will soon grow as the organization becomes more mobile.
It Takes a Village received a major donation as part of the 2021 All-Star Legacy program, an initiative in which Major League Baseball and the Rockies donated approximately $5 million to local organizations in the Denver area. Rockies vice president of community & retail operations Jim Kellogg and MLB chief baseball development officer Tony Reagins visited It Takes a Village on July 8 to thank the staff for their work and present them with a $60,000 donation to drive their community impact.
It Takes a Village provides free health care services for all in order to address the disproportionate effects that health and social issues can have on people of color -- especially those in the Black community. Among the services It Takes a Village provides are assistance with health care enrollment and HIV and STI testing, as well as support groups for transgender women, gay men of color and people living with HIV.
The donation to It Takes a Village will go toward purchasing a van, which will allow the organization to bring its services directly to people in need. It Takes a Village first began researching the benefits of having a mobile unit in 2018 and had conducted focus groups, identified volunteers and chosen locations to target. All that was missing was the van itself.
Imani Latif, executive director of It Takes a Village, was visibly moved when Reagins presented the check to her and other assembled staff. With a van, she said, the organization will be able to provide testing, care and other resources for people who are more difficult to reach.
“You have no idea how much this means to us,” Latif said. “Our mission is to reduce health and social disparities, and we have a lot of people that come into the office, but with this van, we’ll be able to go out into the community instead of waiting for people to come in.
“We can take that to the folks, so it’s unbelievable. It’s beautiful.”
Both Kellogg and Reagins applauded the powerful work It Takes a Village has done in the Denver area, adding that its services will have an enduring impact on the wellness of the community.
“Keep doing what you’re doing,” Reagins said. “I know that it gets discouraging out there sometimes, but the work that you’re doing is going to carry forward many, many, many more years to come.
“It definitely takes a village, and you guys are doing tremendous work, so keep doing what you’re doing.”
The All-Star Legacy initiative is an annual program that gives back to All-Star host cities through community enrichment projects and financial donations that will leave a lasting impact on the area. Notable projects in 2021 include upgrades for youth baseball and softball fields, as well as donations to a chapter of the Boys & Girls Club of metro Denver and local organizations that help people in need.
Since 1997, MLB and All-Star host clubs have donated approximately $95 million through the All-Star Legacy initiative.