2019 Annual Report

Letter from the President & Board Chair

As we release this 2019 Annual Report, Colorado and the nation are in the throes of a global pandemic and an overdue reckoning for racial justice. Yet even in the face of current upheaval — and possibly even more so, because of it — we know it is important to reflect on where Gates Family Foundation directed its focus and its funding in our previous year of work in Colorado. 

The report below reflects our deep and ongoing commitment to improving quality of life for all Coloradans, through support for more equitable public education, stewardship of our state’s vast natural resources, and access to economic opportunity that underpins vibrant communities, both rural and urban. But in 2019 Gates staff and board members also increased our focus on cross-cutting issues that impact all of our strategic focus areas — the substantial challenges presented by climate change, the decline of our independent sources of local news and civic information, and the racial inequities that continue to permeate every aspect of our society. 

As you will see in the highlights provided below by the various staff teams, the Foundation’s work in 2019 addressed these and other important challenges – and opportunities – facing the state. 

Educational Equity

Capacity-building in rural districts, innovation zone expansion, district-charter cooperationand collaboration on climate change were highlights.

Natural Resources

Large-scale habitat restoration, protecting Fisher’s Peak, and launching efforts to increase land trust collaboration and resilient rivers were top priorities. 

Vibrant Communities

Resident-led redevelopment, housing affordability, and minority- and woman-owned small businesses statewide were among the efforts we supported.

The vision set out in our current strategic plan – to leverage all of the Foundation’s resources in service to the Colorado community – was realized as we put $30.5 million to work pursuing mission-relevant charitable activity in one form or another. That amount includes: 

  • $21.1 million in grants distributedincluding $9.1 million from the main Foundation and $12 million from eight Gates family funds; 
  • Just over $2.4 million operating the Foundation with a team of 12 professionals working in multiple fields; 
  • A total of $7.6 million deployed as impact investments, including $2.2 million in Program-Related Investments (PRIs, below-market return commitments of capital) and $5.1 million in Mission-Related Investments (MRIs, market-return commitments of capital); 
  • Roughly $1 million invested to complete exterior repairs to the Hover Building, the Foundation’s home base, and a meeting and event resource for many nonprofit and community partners, including the edXchange public education shared-space collaborative. 

The Foundation ended 2019 with total assets of $514 million, which represents an annual return of 18.5% for the portfolio. The Foundation’s portfolio has consistently ranked in the top 5-15% for performance compared to peer endowments over the last three-year, five-year, seven-year, and ten-year periods. However it’s notable that, like most foundations, the Gates portfolio has already seen a dramatic decrease due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a value of $464.9 million as of the end of May 2020. 

Rocky Mountain Public Media – Buell Public Media Center

In 2019 our capital grants program received 188 requests, and ultimately we made a total of $2.8 million in capital grant commitments to 71 organizations, including 39 projects in rural Colorado. Significant awards went to Rocky Mountain Public Media to construct and outfit a collaborative local journalism hub uniting 10 public-service newsrooms; Aurora Public Schools for construction of the new Aurora School of Science and Technology campus; Elevation Community Land Trust to help prevent gentrification and promote affordable home ownershipand the Greenway Foundation to support the Chatfield Environmental Pool and enhance water flows in the urban stretch of the South Platte River. In addition, nearly $3.3 million in previously awarded capital grants were paid in 2019.

 

The past year also saw significant growth in the Foundation’s impact investing portfolio. We committed to seven new MRIs totaling $13 million, including $3 million to preserve multi-family affordable housing and $3 million to invest in companies that are redefining resource efficiency in industrial sectors to combat climate change. We also added one new PRI, a $500,000 investment in DreamSpringto support low-interest loans to diverse array of small business owners across Colorado. 

Colorado Water Trust’s Poudre Flows Project is addressing impacts of climate change on the Cache la Poudre River

2019 was also a year of significant work internally for Gates Family Foundation. As mentioned above, our board and staff committed to a Foundation-wide focus on addressing climate changeto guide our grantmaking, investments, convening, communications, and leadership roles. We also reallocated funds from each of our strategic and capital grantmaking portfolios to devote an additional $1.125 million toward strengthening local journalism, which is so vital to informing and engaging all Coloradans in the civic issues that impact the future of our state. 

Finally, in 2019 our board and staff began a deep-dive, facilitated exploration of the history, impacts, and strategies for addressing systemic inequity in our communities. Through this work, we artaking a critical look at ourselves and the role we must play in advancing equity and opportunity. This work is ongoing, and is already influencing the way that we approach our work and commit our resources.

While there were no significant staff changes in 2019, Rich Kiely retired from the Gates board after 12 years of service as one of three Gates family trustees. Marshall Wallach, son of longtime Gates Family Foundation board member Diane Wallach, was elected to take his place starting January 1, 2020. In addition, the board extended Dori Biester’s term for an extra year, keeping her on the board until the end of 2020.

It continues to be a privilege to invest in so many of the people and places that make Colorado special, and to contribute to the legacy of the Gates family in Colorado. We look forward to continued work alongside our amazing partners, in all of the fields the Foundation touches.

Sincerely,

Dane G. Harbaugh
Board Chair
Gates Family Foundation

Thomas A. Gougeon
President
Gates Family Foundation

2019 Financials

Total Philanthropic Activity:
$30.5 million

GFF Strategic Grants Paid:
$5,531,506

GFF Capital Grants Paid:
$3,534,627

Grantee Paid in 2019 Type Strategic Priority Area Served
A+ Colorado $60,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

Adams State University $40,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

Alamosa

Alliance for Sustainable Colorado $15,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

Alpine Achievers Initiative $25,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Saguache

America Succeeds $128,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Denver

Artspace $50,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Las Animas

Aurora Community School $25,000

Capital Grant

Education

Arapahoe

Aurora Public Schools $250,000

Capital Grant

Education

Arapahoe

Aurora Rotary Foundation, Inc. $15,000

Capital Grant

Natural Resources

Arapahoe

Beartooth Capital Fund III $605,839

Mission-Related Investment

Natural Resources

Colorado and beyond

Bent County Historical Society $20,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Bent

Big Sandbox $2,832

Capital Grant

Community Building

Denver

BikeDenver $12,500

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

Blackhorn Ventures – Industrial Impact Fund $900,000

Mission-Related Investment

Natural Resources

Colorado and beyond

Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County $25,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Larimer

Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver $40,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Boulder

Bridges to Prosperity $35,000

Capital Grant

Community Development

Denver

Canon City School District $35,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Fremont

Canon City School District $50,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Fremont

Center for African American Health $50,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Denver

Chalkbeat $75,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

CityCraft Foundation $30,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

CiviCO $40,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

* Statewide

Clayton Early Learning $25,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Denver

Clinica Tepeyac $25,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Denver

Coalitions & Collaboratives, Inc. $75,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

* Statewide

Colorado Association of Funders $10,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

* Statewide

Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust $40,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

Routt

Colorado Cattlemen’s Association $60,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

* Statewide

Colorado Charter Facility Solutions $40,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

Colorado Charter Facility Solutions $1,093,750

Program-Related Investment

Education

* Statewide

Colorado Charter Facility Solutions $100,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

Colorado Children’s Campaign $50,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

Colorado Education Initiative (The) $20,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

Colorado Education Organizing Funder Collaborative (CEO) $60,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Denver

Colorado Forum Fund $65,000

Capital Grant

Community Development

* Statewide

Colorado Fourteeners Initiative $70,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

* Statewide

Colorado Future Farmers of America Foundation $15,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

Colorado Impact Fund $548,257

Mission-Related Investment

Community Development

* Statewide

Colorado League of Charter Schools $40,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

Colorado Nonprofit Association $20,000

Capital Grant

Community Development

* Statewide

Colorado Public Radio $75,000

Strategic Grant

Community Building

Denver

Colorado State University $75,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

* Statewide

Colorado Succeeds $5,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Douglas

Colorado Water Trust $40,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

* Statewide

Community Resource Center $10,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

* Statewide

Compass for Lifelong Discovery $9,765

Capital Grant

Education

Garfield

Concrete Couch $20,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

El Paso

Costilla County Economic Development Council $30,000

Capital Grant

Community Development

Costilla

Crested Butte Land Trust $70,000

Capital Grant

Natural Resources

Gunnison

Crested Butte Land Trust $40,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

Gunnison

Denver Botanic Gardens $50,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Denver

Denver Center for the Performing Arts $60,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Denver

Denver Press Club $35,000

Capital Grant

Community Development

Denver

Denver South Park and Pacific Historical Society $10,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Park

Denver Urban Gardens $22,500

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Arapahoe

Dove’s Nest $20,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Dolores

DreamSpring $500,000

Program-Related Investment

Community Development

* Statewide

DreamSpring $50,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

* Statewide

Education Reform Now $75,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

Elevation Community Land Trust $75,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

Elevation Community Land Trust $175,000

Capital Grant

Community Development

Denver

Empower Community High School $35,000

Capital Grant

Education

Arapahoe

Empower Community High School $50,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Arapahoe

Food Bank for Larimer County $100,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Larimer

Forum280 $20,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Denver

Generation Schools $30,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

Grassroots Foundation $20,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Yuma

Greater Colorado Venture Fund $200,565

Mission-Related Investment

Community Development

* Statewide

Greenline Ventures LLC $563,256

Program-Related Investment

Community Development

* Statewide

Greenway Foundation $100,000

Capital Grant

Natural Resources

Denver

GRID Alternatives Colorado $10,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Pueblo

Groundwork Denver Inc. $40,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

Hinsdale County School District $20,000

Capital Grant

Natural Resources

Hinsdale

Homeward Bound of the Grand Valley $75,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Mesa

Jefferson County School District $30,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Jefferson

Keep it Colorado $125,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

* Statewide

Keystone Center $60,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Montezuma

Keystone Center $75,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

* Statewide

Kiowa County $30,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Kiowa

KIPP Colorado Schools $25,000

Capital Grant

Education

Denver

KUTE, Inc. $15,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

La Plata

Lake County School District R-1 $50,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Lake

Land Trust Alliance $50,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

* Statewide

Lyme Timber Company LP – Opportunities Fund $210,000

Mission-Related Investment

Natural Resources

Colorado and beyond

Lyme Timber Company LP — Forest Fund V $1,078,000

Mission-Related Investment

Natural Resources

Colorado and beyond

Lyra $151,231

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

Mile High Connects $75,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

Montessori del Mundo $30,000

Capital Grant

Education

Arapahoe

Montezuma County Historical Society $15,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Montezuma

Montezuma Land Conservancy $50,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

Montezuma

Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project $20,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Montezuma

Moonshot edVentures $60,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

Mountain Area Land Trust $16,900

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

Park

Mountain Family Center $20,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Grand

National Museum of World War II Aviation, Inc. $50,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

El Paso

National Trust for Historic Preservation $22,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

* Statewide

National Western Stock Show $50,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

* Statewide

National Wild Turkey Federation $80,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

* Statewide

National Wildlife Federation $60,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

* Statewide

New Legacy Charter High School $150,000

Capital Grant

Education

Arapahoe

New Venture Fund $150,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

* Statewide

North London Mill Preservation $48,330

Capital Grant

Community Building

Park

PGIM Impact Value Partners $1,224,189

Mission-Related Investment

Community Development

Colorado and beyond

Pool of Funds for San Luis Valley Focus Landscape $440,000

Pool of Funds

Natural Resources

Rio Grande

Pulliam Community Building Foundation $20,000

Capital Grant

Community Development

Larimer

Qualistar Early Learning $100,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

* Statewide

Reach Capital II $180,000

Mission-Related Investment

Education

Colorado and beyond

Redline Contemporary Art Center $20,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

Regional Transit-Oriented Development Fund $76,915

Program-Related Investment

Community Development

Denver

Ricardo Flores Magon Academy $75,000

Capital Grant

Education

Denver

Rio Grande Child Development and Family Services $35,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Rio Grande

Rise School $35,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Denver

River Network $100,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

* Statewide

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Educational and Charitable Foundation $32,500

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Pueblo

Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network $15,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

* Statewide

Rocky Mountain Microfinance Institute $50,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

Rocky Mountain Public Media $50,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Denver

Rocky Mountain Public Media $50,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

* Statewide

Rocky Mountain Public Media $70,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

* Statewide

RootED $20,750

Strategic Grant

Education

Rose Affordable Housing Preservation Fund V $150,000

Mission-Related Investment

Community Development

Colorado and beyond

Rose Andom Center $25,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Denver

Salud Family Health Centers $30,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Las Animas

San Juan County Historical Society $40,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

San Juan

San Luis Valley Great Outdoors Coalition $10,000

Capital Grant

Natural Resources

Saguache

San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition $40,000

Capital Grant

Community Development

Alamosa

San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition $25,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Alamosa

Sedgwick County Organized Recreation $40,000

Capital Grant

Natural Resources

Sedgwick

Southeast Colorado Creative Partnership $50,000

Capital Grant

Community Development

Otero

Springs Rescue Mission $40,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

El Paso

Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports $50,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Routt

Streetsblog Denver $35,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

Teach For America $40,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Denver

Teaching Tree Early Childhood Learning Center $25,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Larimer

The Nature Conservancy $300,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

Las Animas

The Other Side Academy $25,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Denver

The Wildflower Foundation $45,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

Together We Count $40,000

Capital Grant

Community Development

* Statewide

Town of Oak Creek $60,000

Capital Grant

Natural Resources

Routt

Trendlines $45,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

Trust For Public Land $50,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

* Statewide

Two Peaks Fitness $20,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Huerfano

University of Colorado Foundation $20,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

* Statewide

University of Colorado Foundation $20,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Denver

University of Denver – Colorado Media Project $300,000

Strategic Grant

Community Building

* Statewide

Valley Settlement $20,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Garfield

Valley Settlement Project $50,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Garfield

VFW Post 1 Foundation $25,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Denver

WalkDenver $25,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

We Are FARMily Center $25,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Pueblo

West Colfax Business Improvement District $30,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

West Community Economic Development Corp. $25,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

Western Landowners Alliance $75,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

* Statewide

Western Rivers Conservancy $75,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Alamosa

Youth Initiative of Adams County $20,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Adams