How to Apply

The Gates Family Foundation application process differs for various programs:

  • For capital grants, please refer to the detailed information below. Proposal deadlines are January 15April 1, and October 1.
  • For strategic grants, please contact the Foundation program officer who is responsible for implementing your program of interest to determine whether your work is eligible for funding consideration. While the Foundation does not accept unsolicited applications for strategic grants, we welcome introductory conversations to determine organizational and program alignment.
  • For the Gates Fellowship, please refer to this page for guidance. Applications for the 2019 summer session are due to Harvard University by March 9.

The resources below will help you determine if you qualify for a capital grant, assist you in the application process, shed light on Gates Family Foundation decision-making, and prepare you to make timely grant reports.

  • 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, and 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.
Proposal Deadlines

Capital grant applications are accepted at any time throughout the year; however, funding decisions are made when the Gates Family Foundation board of trustees meets. In order for each proposal to be thoughtfully studied, it is important for the applying organization to have its proposal in the hands of the Foundation staff at least ten weeks prior to the trustees’ meeting.

  • January 15 (Trustee review in early April)
  • April 1 (Trustee review in mid-June)
  • October 1 (Trustee review in mid-December)
Two-Step Review Process

Starting in 2012, the Foundation began using a two-step process to review capital grant requests. Each quarter, staff will review proposals submitted and identify any it believes are eligible but unlikely to be recommended or approved to receive funding. If there is unanimous agreement among the trustees, the requests included in the group will be eliminated from consideration at this point and the applicants notified of this decision. The balance will be scheduled for site visits and further staff review.

Award Notification

The Foundation will send letters outlining all trustee decisions on capital grants within two weeks following each quarterly meeting.

Grant Recognition & Media

The Foundation respectfully requests that all proposed press releases be cleared with the Foundation. It also requests that no statues, plaques, or framed certificates be presented to the Foundation for its support of projects or organizations.

Quarterly Reports

Please provide a one-page update at the end of each quarter that includes the following: (1) restate the total campaign goal and expected date of completion; (2) the total amount of funds raised to date (paid and pledged); (3) any significant changes in project scope and costs and/or adjustments to the overall campaign goal and timeline; (4) any new major contributors to the project and/or pending grants; (5) project or campaign highlights from the previous quarter. A sample report is provided for your convenience.

Final Reports

One year following the payment of each grant, the Foundation requires that the responsible officer in each recipient organization submit a written report on what has been accomplished with the funds granted. The funds granted may only be expended for the purposes indicated; funds not so spent must be returned to the Foundation unless other arrangements have been approved by the Foundation. A full and final accounting must be made on the occasion of the completion of the project.

Gates accepts the Common Grant Report Form.