Denver Foundation Community Grants

The Denver Foundation

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Grant amount: US $5,000 - US $20,000

Next anticipated deadline: Aug 1, 2019 4:00pm PDT

Later anticipated deadlines: Feb 1, 2020 4:00pm PST

Applicant type: Indigenous Group Nonprofit Government Entity

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Applied Project / Program, General Operating Expense

Location of project: Counties in Colorado: Adams County, Arapahoe County, Boulder County, Broomfield County, Denver County Expand all

Location of residency: United States

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About this funder:

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About the Denver Foundation

The Denver Foundation is a community foundation dedicated to improving life for people who live in the seven-county Metro Denver region, which includes Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson counties


We inspire people and mobilize resources to strengthen our community.

Core Values: Community Leadership and Racial Equity

The Denver Foundation supports nonprofits that advance our Core Values of community member engagement and racial equity. We believe nonprofits have greater impact in the community if they make community member engagement and racial equity a core part of their programs, policies, and overall approach.

Community Member and Constituent Engagement

Community member engagement is the inclusion of people of color and those who live in low-income communities in making decisions. Constituent engagement is the inclusion of recipients of services in making decisions.

We believe that nonprofits are more effective if they engage community members and constituents in planning, programming, and leadership. We support nonprofits that:

  • Ask for input from community members and constituents.
  • Understand the assets that community members and constituents bring to the work.
  • Respond to the self-described needs of community members and constituents.
  • Include community members and constituents as members of the board and staff, and as volunteers and donors.

Continuum of community member engagement: 

  • Engagement: Nonprofit develops the capacity to engage community members and constituents beyond providing services. 
  • Relationship: Relationships are focused on the nonprofit learning and understanding the needs and assets of the community.
  • Leadership: Engaging community members and constituents is the standard practice of the nonprofit. Relationships are dynamic. Programs and goals promote and support community member and constituent leadership 

Racial Equity Definitions

The following definitions are terms used within the Community Grants Program’s core values framework:

Diversity is the “who” of a nonprofit. A diverse nonprofit involves people of different races, ethnicities, and experiences. Diverse people are involved as members of the board and staff, and as volunteers and donors. Diversity is often the starting place for racial equity work.

Inclusion is the “how” of a nonprofit. Inclusion is how (or whether or not) people of color can participate fully in making decisions. Inclusive nonprofits embrace the assets, needs, and perspectives of people of color into everything they do.

Racial equity is the “why” of diversity and inclusion. Racial equity is when advantage and disadvantage are not determined by race. Barriers to access are removed and everyone can participate and reach their full potential. We believe that diverse and inclusive nonprofits achieve more equitable outcomes. Racial equity is the intended outcome of diversity and inclusion practices

Continuum of racial equity: 

  • Diversity: People of color are involved as members of the board and staff, and as volunteers and donors.
  • Inclusion: People of color can fully participate in planning and making decisions. Differences in assets, needs, and perspectives are valued.
  • Racial Equity: Advantage and disadvantage are not determined by race. Barriers to access are removed and everyone can participate and reach their full potential.

Community Grantmaking Objective Areas

Basic Human Needs

Basic Human Needs  grabts will focus on improving the lives of those experiencing hunger, homelessness, domestic violence, and lack of access to basic medical care.


  • Support work that allows people to obtain help in several areas of extreme need through in-depth wraparound services, continuums of care, or close connections with other providers.
  • Promote programs that address barriers to access of basic services and benefits for those most in need, e.g. through use of community navigators.
  • Support new and innovative approaches to meeting basic human needs.
  • Support programs that serve unmet basic needs as the only service provider in the area.
  • Support organizing, advocacy, and policy reform work relating to these goals.

Economic Opportunity

Economic Opportunity grants will focus on the economic health of people and communities, and the barriers to economic equity.


  • Develop and keep economic resources in communities. This includes financial and human resources.
  • Support full-service job training for those facing barriers to employment. This training should include job placement and postemployment support. Training should include a focus on career pathways.
  • Increase access to capital for business owners. This goal’s focus is on those who cannot access capital from traditional sources.
  • Support organizing, advocacy, and policy reform work relating to these goals


Education grants will focus on Culturally Responsive Education as a strategy for increasing academic achievement for P-12 students.


  • Promote systems that ensure every child enters school ready to learn.
  • Support practices that impact school culture including racial equity, teaching and learning, and family engagement.
  • Support practices that impact school climate including social, emotional learning, discipline, dropout prevention, and wraparound supports.
  • Support programs that use arts education as a means of increasing academic success.
  • Support organizing*, advocacy, and policy reform work relating to these goals.

*Education grants fund all education-specific  organizing through the Colorado Education Organizing Funders Collaborative (CEO).

Leadership & Equity

Leadership & Equity grants will build a diverse pool of leaders to increase racial equity.


  • Develop leadership skills of community members and constituents to address community-identified issues.
  • Strengthen organizations to become community-centered and inclusive in their leadership from the inside out.
  • Strengthen efforts to increase racial equity in all sectors.
  • Support community leaders’ efforts to act on issues related to our objective areas.
  • Support organizing, advocacy, and policy reform work relating to these goals.

In the focus area of Leadership & Equity, community-led initiatives are given priority.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • We fund 501(c)(3) organizations and collaborative efforts among 501(c)(3) organizations and other groups in the seven-county Metro Denver region that address one or more of the goals described.
  • We prefer requests for general operating support, but we will consider both general operating and program support.


  • In our four objective areas:
    • We prioritize improving the lives of historically oppressed people living in Metro Denver, with a particular focus on people who live in low-income communities and people of color.
    • We seek to reduce racial and ethnic disparities, as well as economic disparities.
    • We support organizations that share our core values of racial equity and community leadership.
  • After first considering how strongly a proposal fits our objective area strategies and aligns with our core values, we evaluate every grant request according to the following criteria:
    • Soundness of fiscal, strategic, governance, and program delivery practices.
    • Past success, demonstrated impact, or strong potential for impact.
    • Use of evaluation to assess progress toward goals.
    • Openness to collaboration and being part of a broader approach to improving the lives of community members.
    • Uniqueness of programs or services.


  • We cannot fund proposals outside of our four areas of focus: Basic Human Needs, Economic Opportunity, Education, and Leadership & Equity.
  • Community Grants do not fund organizations or programs that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, except to serve a historically disadvantaged group.
  • We also do not fund the following: 
    • Capital campaigns
    • Building endowments or reserve funds
    • Membership campaigns
    • Special events, sponsorships
    • Retroactive funding, i.e. activities, projects, or programs that will be completed before funding becomes available
    • Debt retirement
    • Grants to individuals
    • Grants for re-granting purposes
    • Multi-year funding requests
    • Conferences, symposia, and related travel
    • Grants for medical, scientific, or academic research
    • Grants that further political doctrine or religious activities
    • Scholarships (please visit for more information on scholarships administered by the Foundation)
    • Grants to parochial or religious schools
    • Requests from individual schools or universities that have not coordinated the request with their central school district, university administration, or fundraising arm.