Launched in 2005, the Center for African-American Health developed out of the health programs of the Metro Denver Black Church Initiative. Established as an initiative of the Denver-based Piton Foundation and spearheaded by Piton program officer Grant Jones, the goal of the Metro Denver Black Church Initiative was to build the capacity of black churches as social service providers by providing them with grants and technical assistance.
From 1993 through 1999, the Black Church Initiative provided training and technical assistance to hundreds of pastors, associate ministers and lay leaders from black churches and granted more than $1 million in funding to black churches to support an array of social programs and children and families. It operated as a program of The Piton Foundation until 1997, when it reorganized as an independent 501(c)(3). In 2000, Grant Jones left The Piton Foundation to head the organization.
Throughout its history, the Black Church Initiative collaborated with black churches on programs for at-risk youth, academically struggling students, and ex-offenders, as well as health education and health screening programs. In 2005, the Metro Denver Black Church Initiative made the decision to focus its work solely on the health disparities facing African Americans and officially changed its name to the Center for African-American Health.
The mission of the Center is to improve the health and well-being of African Americans, who have higher rates of illness, disability, and premature death from diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.