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
2018 Colorado West Land Trust $95,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

Mesa

2018 Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust $40,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

Rio Grande

2018 Keystone Center $100,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Montezuma

2018 Edgewater Collective $27,500

Strategic Grant

Education

Jefferson

2018 Colorado Youth Congress $60,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2018 Aurora Cultural Arts District $18,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Arapahoe

2018 Lefthand Watershed Oversight Group $42,500

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

Boulder

2018 Roaring Fork School District $10,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Garfield

2018 Jefferson County School District $40,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Jefferson

2018 RootED $300,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Denver

2018 University of Colorado Foundation $30,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

* Statewide

2018 Palmer Land Trust – Bessemer Farmland Exchange Project $60,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

Pueblo

2018 Colorado Future Farmers of America Foundation $30,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2018 Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado $40,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

* Statewide

2018 Charter Board Partners $20,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Denver

2018 Colorado Industrial Areas Foundation $30,250

Strategic Grant

Education

Adams

2018 Denver Water $100,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

* Statewide

2018 Civic Canopy $40,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2018 Colorado Fourteeners Initiative $45,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

* Statewide

2018 Empower Schools $21,519

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide