Why We Make Capital Grants

Capital projects are typically defined as building purchases, new construction, expansion, renovation, and/or land acquisition. The Gates Family Foundation has a rich tradition of providing support for capital projects. Because we believe land and facilities are long-term assets that can help nonprofit and community organizations serve Colorado communities, we will continue to invest in capital projects throughout the state. 

  1. Arts and Culture
  2. Education
  3. Well-being of Children, Youth & Families
  4. Parks & Recreation
  5. Community Development
  • Artistic expression arouses the imagination, stimulates creativity, and prompts self-discovery. Organizations dedicated to art and culture enrich the spirit and enhance economic vitality.

    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

    • libraries and museums
    • community theaters
    • performing arts organizations
    • historic preservation that contributes to community revitalization
    • Dolores Library
    • Lake City Museum
    • Su Teatro
    • Wings Over the Rockies Museum

    More Information

    Program and Operating Support

    The Foundation does not provide program and operating support, unless initiated by the Foundation’s board of trustees.

    Historic Preservation

    Gates has a long history of supporting historic preservation projects.  Increasingly, the Foundation is focusing on preservation projects where the ultimate use serves community needs (relevant to the Foundation’s mission). Note that a project is much more compelling if the facility will be accessible to the community and/or will be used to provide programs for local residents.

  • Investments in this funding area are focused on nonprofit and community organizations that are working to close the achievement gap for children from low-income families. The Foundation also supports organizations that provide opportunities for experiential and life-long learning.

    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



    • Academy 360 Charter School
    • DSST Science Lab
    • West Denver Prep
    • North Routt Charter School

    More Information

    Public Schools and Public School Districts

    The Foundation normally does not make grants directly to district K-12 public schools, except through Foundation initiatives or unless the district is in a rural area with a project that qualifies because of high community usage.

    Smaller ECE Capital Grants - Qualistar QCap Grants

    The Foundation generally supports major capital campaigns (with a scope of work that will be greater than $100,000) for early childhood education centers.  In order to support smaller capital needs, the Foundation has made a three–year commitment (2011-2013) to Qualistar to support a competitive grant opportunity for eligible nonprofit early childhood education programs for permanent facility improvements tied to improving quality indoor and outdoor physical environments.  Please contact Qualistar to learn more about QCap eligibility and the types of grants available.

    Computers and Equipment

    The Foundation's capital grant program does not provide funding to support the purchase of computers (hardware or software), or other equipment unless part of a comprehensive capital campaign.

    Foundations for Great Schools

    The Gates Family Foundation is a partner of Foundations for Great Schools (FGS), a coalition of private Colorado foundations that share a common commitment to helping advance the success of public schools serving low-income families in metro Denver.  For more information visit:
    Please note that the annual grant awards program is NOT an open application process.

  • Healthy individuals have greater opportunities to be productive members of society and contribute to the economic, social and cultural life of their communities.
    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)
    • Denver Children's Advocacy Center
    • Care and Share Food Bank Distribution Center
    • Colorado Coalition for the Homeless

    More Information

    Health Clinics

    The Foundation supports certified rural health clinics, especially when they bring a variety of health services together in one facility and enhance the economic health of the community or region. Support is limited to health clinics that do not receive federal reimbursement/funding apart from Medicaid and Medicare; these are typically free-standing clinics and are not located next to or in the same city as a hospital.

    Dental Clinics

    The Foundation supports nonprofit dental clinics, including the purchase of major equipment such as operatories and x-ray machines.

    Mental Health and Hospice

    While these are valuable community services, the Foundation does not provide grants in these areas.

    Faith Based Organizations

    The Foundation does not make grants to organizations for which program services are contingent on participation in religious services or events or adherence to religious doctrine.

    Senior Services

    The Foundation does not support adult day care or assisted living facilities.

  • Appreciation and conservation of Colorado’s natural beauty, resources, and opportunities for outdoor recreation is fundamental to the quality of life and the economy of the state. Funding in this area also supports the Foundation’s interests in youth, health, education, leadership, and community revitalization.
    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
    • Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust
    • Sangree Mitchell Froelicher Hut - Tenth Mountain Division Hut Assn.
    • Rocky Mountain Field Institute

    More Information

    Conservation Easement Support

    The Foundation will continue to provide support for purchases of conservation easements, particularly where GFF funds are well leveraged, there are appropriate landowner contributions and demonstrated community support.  The Foundation is placing increased emphasis on the commitment of land trust and conservation organizations to best practices, including but not limited to, formal accreditation.

    Focus Landscapes

    Note that the Foundation will give priority to conservation activity within landscapes selected as focus landscapes under the initiated grant program.  See the Natural Resources section under Initiatives for more information regarding focus landscapes.

  • The Foundation believes that the economic health of the state is dependent on the vitality of all of its communities, large and small, urban and rural. As such, it seeks to support community development and revitalization projects that will leverage the strengths of communities. For its purposes, the Foundation defines community development and revitalization as activities which create economic opportunity, add to the quality of life, and enhance stability for the citizens of a community.

    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
    • Carousel of Happiness
    • St. Francis Center
    • City of Rifle Ute Theatre
    • San Juan Historical Society

    More Information

    Economic Development Organizations

    The Foundation does not provide operating or planning grants for economic development offices through its capital grant making program.