Strategic Grants - Gates Family Foundation
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STRATEGIC GRANTS

Gates Family Foundation uses a portfolio approach to grant making in the priority areas of Education, Natural Resources, Community Development and Informed Communities. 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 we do not accept unsolicited proposals for funding in our priority areas, we do encourage you to browse our grants and impact 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 or submit your idea online.

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 23% 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 three key strategies: innovative learning environments, school system innovation, and conditions for sustained innovation.

Natural Resources

Approximately 23% 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 three key strategies: balanced water management, forest health and watershed restoration, and landscape conservation and land trust capacity building.

Community Development

Approximately 12% 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 two key outcomes: economic mobility for families and individuals, and equitable community assets.

Informed Communities

Approximately 5% of the Foundation’s annual grant making is devoted to catalyzing innovations in Colorado’s civic news ecosystem that make it more collaborative, sustainable, and responsive to the communities it serves. Our Informed Communities team uses this portfolio to support three key priorities: a stronger civic news ecosystem, more coverage of Gates’ core issue areas, and more diverse and inclusive local news leadership, voices and models.

Recent Grants

Year Grantee Amount Type Strategic Priority Area Served
2023 Elevation Community Land Trust $500,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

* Statewide

2023 Lyra Colorado $1,750,000

Strategic Grant

Education

* Statewide

2023 National Forest Foundation $625,000

Strategic Grant

Natural Resources

* Statewide

2023 Bicycle Colorado $225,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

2023 Center for Community Wealth Building $120,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

2023 Start Up Colorado $110,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

* Statewide

2023 Montbello Organizing Committee $70,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

2023 Fax Partnership (The) $70,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

2023 Fort Lewis College Foundation $150,000

Strategic Grant

Education

La Plata

2023 Legacy Institute $150,000

Strategic Grant

Education

El Paso

2023 Enterprise Community Partners Inc. $100,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

* Statewide

2023 Chalkbeat $100,000

Strategic Grant

Education, Informed Communities

* Statewide

2023 Justice for the People Legal Center $60,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

2023 Activate Work Inc. $50,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

2023 Denver Housing Authority $50,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

2023 BEN Colorado $50,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

* Statewide

2023 Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press $25,000

Strategic Grant

Informed Communities

* Statewide

2023 CLLARO $20,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

* Statewide

2023 Colorado Inclusive Economy $30,000

Strategic Grant

Community Development

Denver

2023 RootED $400,000

Strategic Grant

Education

Denver