Gates Family Foundation: Grants for Colorado

OVERVIEW: The Gates Family Foundation supports education, the environment, and communities in Colorado.

FUNDING AREAS: Educational equity, natural resources, vibrant communities

IP TAKE: Gates is a top name to know for capital support needs in Colorado.

PROFILE: Established in 1946, the Gates Family Foundation (GFF) is the creation of Colorado residents Charles C. Gates, Sr., John G. Gates, and Hazel R. Gates. Charles C. Gates, Sr. moved to Colorado in 1904 and found success in the rubber industry, cattle ranches, real estate, trucking, electronics, mutual funds, and other business ventures. Hazel was his wife, and John was his brother. Based in Denver, the foundation adopted its current name in 1995 and “promotes excellence, innovation, and self-sufficiency in public education, healthy lifestyles, community enrichment, connection to nature, and stewardship of the state’s natural inheritance.” GFF funds local education, environment, and community efforts.

The Gates Family Foundation maintains these three strategic priorities to prepare in advance for Colorado’s growing population. Education grants focus on access to public education, closing opportunity gaps, and strengthening the public school system in the state. Natural resource grants go towards forest health, wildfire prevention, climate change, the recreation economy, and the needs of farmers and ranchers. Community-focused grants target both urban and rural areas though creating livable communities, building infrastructure, and expanding economic opportunities. GFF prioritizes capital grants with about 40 percent of its annual grantmaking dedicated to this purpose. It also makes impact investments, awards fellowships, and manages family funds.

Grants range between about $5,000 and $1 million. Learn more about this funder’s local giving by examining its grants database. Grantmaking focuses on the state of Colorado, with grants distributed to communities all over the state. Past local grantees include the Colorado Future Farmers of America Association, Roaring Fork School District. Climb Higher Colorado, and Colorado Open Lands.

This foundation accepts unsolicited grant applications from nonprofits. Capital grant deadlines are the 15th of January, April, and October. Grantseekers can email or mail applications to the foundation. Contact the relevant program officer for funding consideration for strategic grants in GFF’s three priority areas. Direct general questions to the staff at or 3030-722-1881.


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