How to Apply - Gates Family Foundation
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The Gates Family Foundation application process differs for various programs:

For Capital Grants

Please refer to the detailed information below. Our next deadline for capital grant applications is March 15, 2024. Email completed grant applications to or mail to 1390 Lawrence Street, Suite 400, Denver, CO 80204.

For Strategic Grants

Please review our strategic priorities and contact the program officer who is responsible for your area of interest to determine whether your work is eligible for funding consideration. We welcome introductory conversations to determine organizational and program alignment.

For a Gates Fellowship

Public officials in Colorado can apply in March for a Gates Fellowship to attend Harvard University’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government program — an intensive three-week summer program to build new skills, strategies and peer relationships for tackling the many complex challenges facing our state. Please see this page for details.

NOTE: Applications for Gates family funds are not accepted through Gates Family Foundation; family fund grants are made at the discretion and according to the interests of family members.

Resources and Guidance for Capital Grant Applicants

The Gates Family Foundation accepts the Colorado Common Capital Grant Application for all capital grant requests.

Please send completed grant applications by email to, or by mail or delivery to 1390 Lawrence Street, Suite 400, Denver, CO 80204.

We accept capital grant applications at any time throughout the year; however, funding decisions are made at regular meetings of the Gates Family Foundation board of trustees. In order for each proposal to be thoughtfully studied, it is important for applicants to submit proposals to Foundation staff at least 12 weeks prior to the trustees’ meeting. Annual submission deadlines are:

  • March 15 (for a decision at our mid-June board meeting)
  • September 1 (for a decision at our mid-December board meeting)

Please note that in May 2022 we changed our September deadline from the 15th to the 1st. Starting in 2020, foundation staff and board members started reviewing capital grant applications TWICE instead of THREE times each year.

To be eligible for a capital grant from the Gates Family Foundation, 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 a public charity under section 509(a)(1) or 509(a)(2) of the Code, and be able to provide documentation of tax-exempt status issued within the last five years. In limited circumstances, the Foundation also considers grant requests from governmental entities.
  • Provide services benefiting the state of Colorado and its citizens.
  • Have commitments for approximately 30% of the funds needed to complete the project in place prior to submission, unless a waiver of this requirement has been granted.

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 communities that face greater challenges in accessing funds for capital projects
  • Projects that reinforce the foundation’s strategic priorities in K-12 public education, natural resources, and community development
  • Projects that incorporate green building and sustainable development practices
  • Organizations with sound management practices, effective executive leaders, and engaged board members

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.

The Foundation uses a two-step process to review capital grant requests. After each application deadline, staff members review submissions and identify proposals that are eligible for funding but unlikely to be recommended or approved by the board of trustees. A staff report is sent to the board via email for review, and if there is unanimous agreement among the trustees, the requests in that group are eliminated from consideration and the applicants are notified of this decision.

The balance of eligible applications are assigned to Foundation staff members for further review, who will reach out to applicants for further conversation and, in most cases, in-person site visits.

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

Planning a capital campaign can be daunting. There are many things to consider before embarking, and proper planning can be invaluable.

For these reasons, we’ve put together a handy guide to help organizations think about and plan for a capital campaign.

Recognition and Media

The Foundation welcomes but does not require recognition of our grants and/or strategic partnerships. If you plan to submit a media release or publish a significant communications piece where we are named, please contact our Vice President for Strategic Communications, Melissa Davis, and/or your program officer in advance for authorization. If you plan to include our name in a list of donors, please use “Gates Family Foundation” (no “The”).

We do not accept personal gifts or commemorative statues, plaques, or framed certificates to the Foundation in recognition of projects or organizations that we support.

Quarterly Reports

Capital grant recipients should 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 capital 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.