GFF Capital Grants

Gates Family Foundation

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Next deadline: Mar 15, 2024

Later deadlines: Sep 1, 2024

Grant amount: Up to US $300,000

Fields of work: Art & Culture Education - Preschool / Early Learning Education - K through 12 Land/Habitat Conservation Youth Services Civic Engagement & Education Economic Services & Development Library Services Freshwater Conservation Trail Creation & Maintenance Youth Development & Leadership Historic Preservation Parks & Public Spaces Farmland Preservation Community Development & Revitalization Theater Performing Arts Child Welfare Services Family Services Wellness & Healthy Living Community Health Education Environmental Education Recreation Senior Services Vocational & Trade Education Literacy Adult Education Education - Higher Education Dental Health Supportive Housing & Shelters Workforce Preparation & Job Readiness Addiction & Substance Use Disorders Tutoring & Mentoring Rural Health Care Human & Social Services Show all

Applicant type: Government Entity, Nonprofit

Funding uses: Capital Project

Location of project: Colorado

Location of residency: Preferred: Colorado Other eligible locations: United States

990 Snapshot



NOTE: Prior to submitting a proposal, many applicants find it useful to contact a program officer of the Foundation to review the substance of the proposed project.

Land, facilities, and civic infrastructure are long-term assets that can transform the ability of nonprofit and community organizations to serve Colorado communities. For this reason, the Gates Family Foundation invests in capital projects across the state, in both rural and urban areas. We strive to be responsive to each community’s unique needs and opportunities.

Our capital grants are generally limited to comprehensive capital campaigns, which are typically for building purchases, construction, expansion, renovation, and/or land acquisition. Only nonprofit organizations with capital projects that benefit Colorado and its residents are qualified to apply. When making funding decisions, we prioritize:

  • Projects that address root problems with substantive solutions
  • Projects with strong evidence of support from the community and the organization’s board
  • Projects in rural and low-income areas across Colorado where there are fewer individuals and institutions providing support for capital projects
  • Projects that serve individuals and communities of color who have faced historic inequities and lack of access to funding
  • Projects that reinforce the foundation’s strategic priorities in K-12 public education, natural resources, community development, and informed communities
  • Projects that address climate change, and/or incorporate green building and sustainable development practices

Priority Funding Areas

We fund capital projects within five categories that overlap somewhat with the Foundation’s strategic priorities, but are broader in scope in order to be more responsive to community needs.

Arts & Culture

The Foundation supports cultural organizations that:

  • enhance the quality of community life while also strengthening the economy
  • link a community with its heritage and contribute to usable community infrastructure
  • serve as an educational resource for children, youth, and adults.

Funding examples in this area are:

  • libraries & museums
  • community theaters
  • performing arts organizations
  • historic preservation that contributes to community revitalization


The Foundation supports major capital projects for:

    • charter schools that serve a substantial proportion of low-income students (generally, at least 50% of the student body will qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch), have demonstrated high academic achievement, and are utilizing a sustainable financial model
    • public schools in rural areas that have planned capital improvements which are heavily used by the community, and that reinforce the long-term viability of the area
    • licensed early childhood education centers with particular, but not exclusive, interest in rural areas of the state to assure readiness for elementary school and to strengthen rural economies
    • organizations that provide life-long learning and experiential learning to a broad audience
    • independent school and public and private university capital campaigns on a highly selective basis

    Funding examples in this area:

    • participation in the matching requirement for a charter school receiving a BEST grant
    • rural school improving its auditorium or athletic field for school and community use
    • rural community establishing an early childhood education center to fill an unmet need
    • early childhood education center making significant facility improvements in order to advance the quality of care for the children served
    • facility improvements for an organization that provides adult GED, literacy, or vocational training
    • on a highly selective basis, support for public and private universities with campaigns to improve their science, technology, library, and engineering related facilities

      Well-being of Children, Youth & Families

      The Foundation supports organizations that encourage individuals to:

      • develop greater self-sufficiency, including the well-being and independence of disadvantaged families and the elderly
      • increase leadership and life skills
      • maintain good health and well-being rather than cure disease

      Funding examples in this area:

      • human service organizations promoting self-sufficiency
      • community and senior centers
      • family resource centers
      • youth mentoring organizations
      • nonprofit dental clinics
      • residential treatment centers for youth
      • transitional housing facilities
      • job training
      • rural health centers (non-FQHC)

      Parks & Recreation

      The Foundation supports capital projects that:

        • invest in land and water protection that safeguards important natural resources, habitat, and the health of natural systems
        • help preserve the state’s ranching and agricultural legacy and encourage smart land use patterns
        • construct and improve urban and mountain parks and open space for public recreation and access
        • maintain the state’s urban and mountain trail systems
        • provide recreation, environmental education and leadership opportunities for young people
        • encourage the spirit of scientific inquiry as well as the preservation of natural habitat

        Funding examples in this area:

        • land conservation and easement purchases
        • greenways and trail systems
        • outdoor/indoor recreation facilities
        • urban public spaces and community gardens

        Community Development & Revitalization

        The Foundation invests in projects that:

          • have the potential to reinforce and enhance the economic vitality of a community
          • involve partnerships between public and private sector organizations that seek to improve the economic and cultural health of communities

          Funding examples in this area:

          • restoration of historically significant architecture that contributes to community revitalization
          • development of rural main streets as a means of promoting community revitalization
          • heritage tourism as a means of promoting economic health for rural areas
          • public-private partnerships for economic development

          You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


          • Applicants must be classified by the Internal Revenue Service as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (the "Code")
            • classified as public charities under section 509(a)(1) or 509(a)(2) of the Code
            • be able to provide tax-exempt documentation issued within the last five years. In limited circumstances.
          • The Foundation also considers grant requests from governmental entities.
          • Capital grant requests are generally not considered until commitments for approximately 30% of the funds needed to complete the project are in place.
          • Grant support is generally confined to organizations that provide services benefiting the state of Colorado and its citizens.
          • Wherever possible, the Foundation seeks to invest its funds in organizations that address root problems with substantive solutions.
          • The Foundation places importance on sound management of an applying organization, including effective leadership of the organization's board that fully supports the project in question.
          • The Foundation expects evidence of strong support for the project from the community.
          • Applicant organizations should incorporate green building and sustainable development practices into their projects whenever possible.


          • Although the Gates Family Foundation reviews each proposal separately, it generally does not:
            • Grant funds for general operating or program expenses unless initiated by the Foundation.
            • Provide loans, grants, scholarships, or camperships to individuals.
            • Grant funds for projects that have been substantially completed prior to the next trustees' meeting.
            • Grant funds for conferences, meetings, or studies that are not initiated by the Foundation.
            • Consider more than one proposal from an organization in a calendar year unless initiated by the Foundation, and does not reconsider previously denied proposals.
            • Grant funds to other private foundations or organizations engaged in grant making.
            • Grant funds to retire operating or construction debt.
            • Grant funds for the purchase of vehicles.
            • Grant funds to purchase office or computer equipment unless they are part of a comprehensive capital campaign.
            • Grant funds directly to individual public schools or public school districts unless initiated by the Foundation.
            • Grant funds for medical research or grant funds for the construction of major medical facilities.
            • Purchase tickets for fundraising dinners, parties, benefits, balls, or other social fundraising events.
            • Support religious organizations or activities.
            • Schedule interviews with the Foundation trustees unless the trustees initiate the meeting.
            • Grant funds for political or lobbying activities.
            • Grant funds to supporting organizations described in section 509(a)(3), other than a Type I, Type II or functionally-integrated Type III supporting organization of which is not (and the supported organization of which is not) directly or indirectly controlled by a disqualified person of either the Foundation or a family fund.
            • Grant funds to foreign organizations.

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          This page was last reviewed November 30, 2023 and last updated November 30, 2023