Capital Grants

Land, facilities, and civic infrastructure are long-term assets that can transform the ability of nonprofit and community organizations to serve Colorado communities. For this reason, the Gates Family Foundation invests in capital projects across the state, in both rural and urban areas. We strive to be responsive to each community’s unique needs and opportunities.

Our capital grants are generally limited to comprehensive capital campaigns, which are typically for building purchases, construction, expansion, renovation, and/or land acquisition. Only nonprofit organizations with capital projects that benefit Colorado and its residents are qualified to apply. 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

We fund capital projects within five categories that overlap somewhat with the Foundation’s strategic priorities, but are broader in scope in order to be more responsive to community needs:

Arts and Culture

Artistic expression arouses the imagination, stimulates creativity, and prompts self-discovery. Organizations dedicated to art and culture enrich the spirit and enhance economic vitality. We support capital projects that:

  • enhance the cultural quality of community life while also strengthening the economy
  • link a community with its heritage and contribute to usable community infrastructure
  • serve as an educational resource for children, youth, and adults

Funding examples:

  • libraries and museums
  • community theaters
  • performing arts organizations
  • historic preservation that contributes to community revitalization

See our recent capital grants supporting Arts and Culture

Community Development

Colorado’s economic health is dependent on the vitality of all of the state’s communities — large and small, urban and rural. We support capital projects that:

  • create economic opportunity, add to the quality of life, and enhance stability for the residents of a community
  • have the potential to reinforce and enhance the economic vitality of a community
  • involve partnerships between public and private sector organizations that seek to improve the economic and cultural health of communities

Funding examples:

  • restoration of historically significant architecture that contributes to community revitalization
  • heritage tourism or development of rural main streets as a means of promoting economic health for rural areas
  • public-private partnerships for economic development

See our recent capital grants supporting Community Development

Education

Closing the achievement gap for children from low-income families and increasing access to experiential, life-long learning for all Coloradans enhances the economic, social and civic life of our communities. We support capital projects that:

  • serve a majority (at least 50%) of students from low-income families (who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch)
  • build or improve education facilities that will be heavily used by a majority of the community
  • increase access to education in rural areas
  • provide life-long learning to a broad audience

Funding examples:

  • high-performing charter schools seeking matching funds for a BEST grant
  • rural schools improving an auditorium or athletic field for community use
  • licensed early childhood education centers, particularly in underserved rural communities
  • GED, literacy, or vocational training centers
  • independent school and public and private university capital campaigns only on a highly selective basis

See our recent capital grants supporting Education

Parks and Recreation

Appreciation and conservation of Colorado’s natural beauty, resources, and opportunities for outdoor recreation are fundamental to the quality of life and the economy of the state. We support capital projects that:

  • protect and steward land and water resources, habitat, and the health of natural systems
  • preserve the state’s agricultural legacy
  • construct and improve parks, trail systems, and open space for public recreation and access
  • provide environmental education and leadership opportunities for young people

Funding examples:

  • land conservation and easement purchases
  • greenways and trail systems
  • outdoor/indoor recreation facilities
  • urban public spaces and community gardens

See our recent capital grants supporting Parks and Recreation

Well-Being of Children, Youth, and Families

Healthy individuals have greater opportunities to be productive members of society who contribute to the economic, social and cultural life of their communities. We support capital projects that:

  • develop greater self-sufficiency, including the well-being and independence of disadvantaged families and the elderly
  • increase leadership and life skills
  • maintain good health and well-being rather than cure disease

Funding examples:

  • human service organizations promoting self-sufficiency
  • community and senior centers
  • family resource centers
  • youth mentoring organizations
  • transitional housing facilities
  • job training centers

See our recent capital grants supporting the Well-Being of Children, Youth, and Families

COVID-19 Update

Like many foundations, Gates has adjusted our grantmaking priorities in 2020 to free up funding for projects that meet immediate needs related to the COVID-19 public health and economic crises. Unfortunately, this means that our capital grants program overall will become more competitive this year, and we will not be able to commit to as many capital projects as usual. 

Currently a number of requests from our March 15 deadline remain on hold, to be reviewed on a rolling basis. Our primary objective is to be responsive to the evolving and urgent needs of our communities.

Inquiries

Prior to submitting a proposal, many applicants find it useful to contact a program officer of the Foundation to review the substance of the proposed project. We also accept inquiries that follow the Narrative Section III of the Colorado Common Application for Capital Grants.

Deadlines

Starting in 2020, Gates reviews capital grant applications TWICE (instead of THREE times) each year. Annual deadlines are March 15 (for a mid-June decision) and September 15 (for a mid-December decision).

Applicants must have at least 30% of their project budget raised prior to being considered.

Capital Grants Team

Recent Capital Grants

Year Grantee Amount Type Strategic Priority Area Served
2019 Swallow Hill Music Association $25,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Denver

2019 Guidestone Colorado $20,000

Capital Grant

Community Development

Chaffee

2019 Salud Family Health Centers $30,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Las Animas

2019 Colorado Open Lands $35,000

Capital Grant

Natural Resources

Delta

2019 Grand Mesa Arts & Events Center $30,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Delta

2019 Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County $25,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Larimer

2019 Sedgwick County Organized Recreation $40,000

Capital Grant

Natural Resources

Sedgwick

2019 Dove’s Nest $20,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Dolores

2019 Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project $45,000

Capital Grant

Community Development

Montezuma

2019 Clinica Tepeyac $25,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Denver

2019 Central Colorado Conservancy $50,000

Capital Grant

Natural Resources

Chaffee

2019 Concrete Couch $20,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

El Paso

2019 Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver $120,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Boulder

2019 North London Mill Preservation, Inc. $25,000

Capital Grant

Natural Resources

Park

2019 Valley Settlement $20,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Garfield

2019 San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition $40,000

Capital Grant

Community Development

Alamosa

2019 Homeward Bound of the Grand Valley $75,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

Mesa

2019 Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation $50,000

Capital Grant

Natural Resources

Rio Blanco

2019 San Juan County Historical Society $40,000

Capital Grant

Community Building

San Juan

2019 Colorado Nonprofit Association $20,000

Capital Grant

Community Development

* Statewide