Strategic Plan - Gates Family Foundation
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Gates Family Foundation is committed to Colorado, as both a resource and a catalyst for progress in core areas that impact the quality of life in our state for the long-term. In 2021, our board and staff updated the Foundation’s next five-year strategic plan for grantmaking, impact investments, and engagement in the community — as funders, conveners, and advocates.

Our 2022-2026 strategic plan is driven by a number of inter-related challenges facing our state, and was guided by a community engagement process that involved extensive feedback from our partners, grantees, and peers. In early 2022, our team shared the highlights from our new plan in a series of interactive webinars — lifting up small shifts and significant changes to our priorities from the previous five years.

Traffic in DenverToday, Colorado faces an unprecedented convergence of challenges — from widening gaps in educational attainment and economic advancement to crises driven by climate change and disinformation. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of our state’s challenges, expanded fault lines, and made it more apparent than ever that we must address persistent inequities at their core.

Our new strategic plan is built on a legacy of dedication to Colorado.

Gates Family Foundation is committed to using all of our assets and resources — grants, investments, convening power, staff expertise, and connections — to maximize our impact in Colorado. To do so, we have focused in areas where the state faces important long-term challenges and where our engagement can add value and make a difference. We also have the dual responsibilities of balancing our sense of urgency for immediate impact with long-term stewardship of our assets so that future generations can also be philanthropic on behalf of our state.

We are committed to playing a strategic role in finding creative solutions that create opportunities for youth, support stewardship of our state’s extraordinary natural inheritance, and improve the lives of all Coloradans. Interested in learning more? Read our full Strategic Plan for 2022-2026.

Our strategic philanthropy and mission-forward investing reflects our focus on impacting quality of life challenges facing Colorado in four key areas:



All of Colorado’s children, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, should have access to a public education that supports their long-term success and participation in economic, social, and civic life. Yet staggering opportunity gaps persist for children in our poorest urban and rural communities. Strengthening quality and equity in Colorado’s public education system is a core priority for the Foundation.

Natural Resources

Colorado’s landscapes and waterways face challenges due to development, climate change, declining forest health, catastrophic wildfires, and the growing recreational economy. We support a balanced approach to finding smart, innovative solutions that address the needs of farmers and ranchers, city dwellers and outdoor enthusiasts, and precious wildlife and ecosystems.

Image courtesy of DreamSpring

Community Development

As Colorado’s population continues to grow, urban and rural areas throughout the state are experiencing profound impacts. Some communities and cultures are struggling to survive, while others are experiencing unprecedented pressures from development. The Foundation supports partners and projects that build civic infrastructure, advance economic opportunity, and foster livable communities.

Informed Communities

Informed, engaged communities are vital to democracy and key to addressing a wide range of critical challenges facing our state.  Trustworthy, rigorous, fact-based local news and information is a foundation of healthy, thriving communities. We work with partners to catalyze innovations that help make Colorado’s civic news ecosystem more collaborative, sustainable, and responsive to the communities it serves.

Our Mission, Vision and Values

As part of our 2021 strategic planning process, we updated our mission, vision and values. It’s the first time we’ve done this, as a board and staff, since our founding.

MISSION: We work with partners and communities to build a more equitable, resilient, and sustainable Colorado for all.

VISION: A vibrant and verdant Colorado where all people and communities thrive

You can see our core values here.

Our Commitment to Equity

Starting in 2018, our Foundation board and staff embarked on a journey to promote learning and advance organizational commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion. These activities took on heightened relevance in 2020 with the racial justice movement, and intersected with our strategic planning activity in 2021.

The results have been two products: a Foundation-level Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion statement adopted by the board and an internal DEI Action Plan describing the ways in which the Foundation will operationalize the values and commitments included in our DEI Statement.