Thanks to the vision of several bereavement experts in our community and the support of reknowned grief expert, Alan Wolfelt, Ph.D., a grief program was created with a curriculum grounded in his teachings on understanding grief. As time passed we saw the need to expand the program to include children, teens and their caregivers. Dr. Debby Baker, a retired Air Force Colonel and Clinical Psychologist who had moved to Greeley volunteered her services to individuals referred to her through the network. This need was larger than any one business could provide alone, so an appeal was presented to the community to help create a community grief center. The idea was met with a very positive response from the community, and a board was formed to lead the development. Under the board’s leadership, a relationship with the Community Foundation was established to receive tax deductible contributions to support the center. In January 2016 the board received the center’s 501(c)3 non-profit designation. Meanwhile, Dr. Baker began developing programs and working with some other local grief groups to bring them under the Community Grief Center's umbrella of services. Later that year, a generous donor purchased a facility for the mission to call home and the doors opened in August of 2016 just in time for National Grief Awareness Day.
Recognizing that the workload was too great for Dr. Baker to run operations and programs, the board hired a paid executive director in July 2017. A year later, we realized we had already outgrown our facility and our executive director found a potential home at the old Rehabilitation & Visiting Nurse Association (RVNA) building on Clubhouse Drive. The same generous donor sold the old building and purchased RVNA. Six months later and hundreds of volunteer hours later with donated materials and services from several local businesses, we moved into our new home for hope and healing.
Dozens of dedicated and trained volunteers assist in the programs and activities to make our mission successful in serving as many grieving hearts as possible. Since 2016, nearly 1,000 individuals with a variety of kinds of death loss have participated in one of our programs. The Community Grief Center continues to be governed by a Board of Directors that provides visionary leadership and works to ensure continuous funding from the community and other sources.