Educational Equity

Colorado’s workforce is one of the most highly-educated in the country. Yet among our children, staggering income-based achievement gaps persist — especially in urban neighborhoods and rural communities. The majority of the state’s K-12 students who live in poverty attend public schools that are not yet adequately preparing them for success in higher education, the workforce, and life as an adult.

Despite this reality, public education remains one of the most effective and powerful tools for creating equitable access and opportunity. We believe that all students can succeed if they have access to K-12 pathways that are engaging, caring, rigorous, and relevant. Increasing the quality and equity of Colorado’s public K-12 education system is a guiding principle for all of the initiatives that we support. While our work looks different in rural and urban areas across the state, we believe in the power of these strategies:

Autonomous Public Schools

Ashley Elementary, Luminary Learning Network

Ashley Elementary – Luminary Learning Network

To help increase the number of students from low-income families who have the opportunity to attain a high-quality education, we support the growth of effective public schools that empower excellent campus leaders with sufficient resources and autonomy over decisions about the best use of time, people, and money.

We also support networks, systems, and partners that advance school-based autonomy as a way to build community-level ownership, drive improvement, and expand quality.

See recent strategic grants supporting Autonomous Schools

 

Innovation and Incubation

Denver Green School – Denver Urban Gardens

We support innovative leaders, new school models, and innovation within existing models to better meet the needs of low-income students. We also support districts or partnering organizations that are developing and implementing new approaches to teaching and learning.

In combination with these investments, we support the dissemination of learning across systems and geographies to share best practices and promote smart risk-taking aimed at further advancing school improvement.

See recent strategic grants supporting Innovation and Incubation

Advocacy

Family Star

Family Star

We support grassroots and grasstops advocacy efforts at the school, district, and state levels that push the education system to be more iterative, transparent, and responsive to the needs of students. We also support media efforts that build awareness and empower the public to hold decision-makers accountable.

See recent strategic grants supporting Advocacy

Human Capital

Creativity Challenge Community, Luminary Learning Network, Denver Public Schools

Creativity Challenge Community, Luminary Learning Network, Denver Public Schools

We support efforts to recruit, train, and retain effective teachers, school leaders, and district and organizational leadership. We also support efforts to build a talent pool that reflects the racial and ethnic diversity of the student population in the state.

See recent strategic grants supporting Human Capital

Systems Reform

Luminary Learning Network

We support reforms that allow systems to become more responsive and adaptive, and that spur school and district improvement. We also provide targeted support to efforts that aim to encourage large-scale and transformational change.

See recent strategic grants supporting Systems Reform

Rural Community-Based Programs

In many rural areas across Colorado, profound shortages in financial resources and human capital, the small size of districts, and geographic barriers to accessing school options present unique challenges and opportunities for delivering high-quality public education. Through our work in rural communities, we understand that the ingredients for success include open and innovative school district leaders, a robust teacher recruitment and development pipeline, strong family and community support, and potential to attract additional philanthropic support.

See recent strategic grants supporting Rural Community-Based Programs

How We Support Education

Strategic Grants

Foundation staff work closely with a diverse group of education partners to initiate and support education projects that advance the strategic priorities and goals listed above. A few examples include launch support for Denver’s Luminary Learning Network, multi-year support of A+ Colorado, and a new rural education community planning initiative. If you think your project or organization might be a fit for our Education program, we encourage you to browse our past strategic grants or contact a team member below.

Capital Grants

Three times a year, we accept applications for education projects that fit the criteria of our capital grants program. We support a wide range of construction, expansion and renovation projects for high-performing charter schools, rural schools that are improving buildings for community use, or other organizations that provide life-long learning.

Impact Investments

Currently, the Foundation’s primary impact investments in education are a Program-Related Investment with Colorado Charter Facility Solutions, which helps high-quality charter schools access capital and evaluate real estate options, and a Mission-Related Investment with Reach Capital, a prime equity fund focused on early stage education technology venture opportunities.

Education Team

Our education team brings an array of experiences and talents to work with our partners and grantees. Whether it’s education research and data analysis, school district governance and systems reform, or community engagement and facilitation, our team is here to help our partners thrive.

Education News & Insights

Colorado Voices: Building the Next Generation of School Leaders

Colorado Voices: Building the Next Generation of School Leaders

"It is a myth to believe that there are not people of color -- or women -- who want to open a school." Learn More

Grassroots Organizing Supported by Education Funders Collaborative

Grassroots Organizing Supported by Education Funders Collaborative

A strong and expanding field of nonprofits are organizing grassroots communities around education issues in Denver and Aurora public ... Learn More

Urban Land Conservancy Connects the Dots Between Housing Policy and Segregated Schools

Urban Land Conservancy Connects the Dots Between Housing Policy and Segregated Schools

Eighty years after it was common practice for public and private sector housing officials to systematically impose residential ... Learn More

Education Grantmaking

Year Grantee Amount Type Strategic Priority Area Served
2018 Colorado Industrial Areas Foundation $30,250

Strategic Grant

Education

Adams

2018 Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism $25,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Arapahoe

2018 New Legacy Charter High School $250,000

Capital Grant

Education

Arapahoe

2018 Rocky Mountain Preparatory School $5,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Denver

2018 RootED $4,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Denver

2018 Edgewater Collective $27,500

Strategic Grant

Education

Jefferson

2018 Jefferson County School District $40,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Jefferson

2018 Empower Schools, Inc. $21,519

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2018 America Succeeds $252,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Denver

2018 Colorado Succeeds $30,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Chaffee County

2018 Grassroots Foundation, Inc. $40,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Yuma

2018 Colorado League of Charter Schools $80,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2018 Colorado Education Organizing Funder Collaborative (CEO) $60,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Denver

2018 Colorado Youth Congress $60,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2018 Academy of Advanced Learning $50,000

Capital Grant

Education

Arapahoe

2018 RootED $300,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Denver

2018 Charter Board Partners $20,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Denver

2018 A+ Colorado $120,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2018 Education Reform Now $150,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2017 Ricardo Flores Magon Academy $200,000

Capital Grant

Education

Denver

2017 Colorado Charter Facility Solutions $80,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2017 A+ Colorado $5,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Denver

2017 Valley Settlement Project $80,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Garfield

2017 Lake County School District R-1 $150,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Lake

2017 Bellwether Education Partners Inc. $105,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Denver

2017 Colorado Children’s Campaign $100,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2017 Chalkbeat $150,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2016 Colorado Public Radio/KCFR $50,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2015 Rocky Mountain Preparatory School $850,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Denver

2016 Roots Elementary School $160,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Denver

2014 Teach For America $1,050,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2016 Mesa County Valley School District #51 $298,299

Strategic Grant

Education

Mesa

2018 Keystone Center $100,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Montezuma

2018 Roaring Fork School District $10,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Garfield

2018 Colorado Future Farmers of America Foundation $30,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2018 Civic Canopy $40,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2018 Climb Higher Colorado $40,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2018 Atlas Preparatory School $35,000

Capital Grant

Education

El Paso

2018 National Black Child Development Institute $25,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Denver

2018 Rural Education Community Planning Initiative $75,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2015 Colorado Charter Facility Solutions $5,000,000

Program-Related Investment

Education

* Statewide

2014 AXL Academy $250,000

Program-Related Investment

Education

Arapahoe