Strategic Grants

The Gates Family Foundation uses a portfolio approach to grant making in three priority areas: K‐12 Education, Natural Resources, and Community Development. Overall, strategic grants constitute about 60% of the Foundation’s annual grant making budget (with the remaining 40% dedicated to capital grants). This approach allows the Foundation to pursue ambitious, large-scale outcomes with a set of key partners while also remaining responsive to the broader community’s needs.

While the Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals for funding in these areas, we encourage you to browse our grants and investments database and strategic priorities to determine our scope of interest — and if you believe you might be a fit, reach out to one of our program officers.

Please note that this type of funding is not an opportunity for ongoing operating or program support, though it does allow us to work over multiple years with grantees focused on a specific set of goals and outcomes. While we continually work with grantees to adjust strategies and approaches, we expect to maintain a commitment to these broad priority areas over time.

Education

Approximately 25% of the Foundation’s annual grant making is devoted to strategic efforts to increase the quality and equity of Colorado’s public K-12 education system. Our K-12 education team uses this portfolio to support five key strategies: autonomous public schools, innovation and incubation, advocacy, human capital, and systems reform.

Natural Resources

Approximately 25% of the Foundation’s annual grant making is devoted to strategic efforts to protect and steward our state’s precious land and water resources. Our natural resources team uses this portfolio to support five key strategies: landscape conservation, land trust capacity building, balanced water management, stewardship at scale, and payment for ecosystem services.

Community Development

Approximately 10% of the Foundation’s annual grant making is devoted to strategic efforts to increase the vitality and resilience of Colorado’s urban and rural communities. Our community development team uses this portfolio to support five key strategies: multi-modal mobility, food systems and agriculture, access to economic opportunity, placemaking, and community planning.

Recent Grants

Year Grantee Amount Type Strategic Priority Area Served
2019 RootED $20,750

Strategic Grant

Education

2019 CityCraft Foundation $30,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

2019 The Nature Conservancy $300,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

Las Animas

2019 Generation Schools $60,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2019 Colorado Cattlemen’s Association $120,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

* Statewide

2019 Colorado Public Radio $175,000

Strategic Grant

Community Building

Denver

2019 America Succeeds $670,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Denver

2019 Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Educational and Charitable Foundation $97,500

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Pueblo

2019 Palmer Land Trust $3,000,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

Otero

2019 RISE Colorado $100,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Arapahoe

2019 National Wild Turkey Federation $200,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

* Statewide

2019 GRID Alternatives Colorado $10,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Pueblo

2019 Alpine Achievers Initiative $25,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Saguache

2019 High Country News $150,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Delta

2019 Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust $2,000,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

Alamosa

2019 Colorado Children’s Campaign $100,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2019 Adams State University $40,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

Alamosa

2019 DreamSpring $100,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

* Statewide

2019 We Are FARMily Center $25,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Pueblo

2019 Bicycle Colorado $225,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver