The Foundation recently awarded a total of 37 organizations through the Special Projects Program to better understand and respond to community health needs across the state. View a list of the first cohort for more information on funded organizations and their project descriptions.

We know that there are diverse needs across Colorado communities that are experienced as health barriers or challenges, and that it is sometimes difficult to access funding for a project or an innovative idea that addresses a demonstrated community need.

The Special Projects Program is designed to help us better understand and respond to community needs. It is also a way for the Foundation to identify new partners and new ways to support solutions over time.

The purpose of the program is to fund time-limited projects that address a pressing community need, propose new work or build on existing work, support a promising innovation or practice, and may set the groundwork for sustainable collaboration and programs. The program will not support projects currently funded by the Foundation and/or projects that align with one of the Foundation’s existing funding opportunities.

Applicants will be asked to describe how the project seeks to address a pressing community need and how this approach builds on existing evidence of what works to improve health in their community. The program funds project support for planning, implementation, evaluation, or capacity building to strengthen an organization’s business capabilities. There are no required funding limits for potential grants or a specifically designated length of time required for a grant, but proposed budgets need to be reasonably aligned with the scope of the project.

Grant Deadlines:

Not accepting applications. This work is in progress.  2017 deadlines to be determined. 

Program Officers: 

Erik Ortiz (303.953.7912), Rose Green (303.953.7910) 


To be considered for funding, proposals must demonstrate that they meet the following criteria:

  • Applicant organization is eligible to receive funding as described on the Foundation’s website.
  • Address a community need that is experienced as a barrier to health (or health challenge).
  • Project support is used for planning, implementation and/or time-limited evaluation activities related to a specific project.
  • Capacity building support is used to strengthen an organization by enhancing operations, financing, governance and other business capabilities.
  • Is for a specific set of activities carried out over a defined period of time (clear start and end date), and not a long-term program that requires ongoing effort, resources or staff past the project period.
  • Proposed work is new or expands existing work that supports an innovation or promising practice and builds on evidence of what works in the target community.
  • Must be aligned with one or more of the following focus areas

    Access to care: Good access to care is complex. From adequate health coverage to comprehensive primary care, we are helping to ensure our communities, systems and policies cultivate good health for all Coloradans.

    Behavioral health: The ability to engage in and enjoy a vibrant life requires a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. We are helping to foster sustainable pathways, policies and solutions that nurture healthy minds throughout the lifespan.

    Healthy behaviors: What we do — or don’t do — on a daily basis shapes how healthy we are as individuals. We are helping to ensure that Coloradans can reach their fullest health potential through positive and preventive behaviors. 

    Healthy children and adolescents: The promise of lifelong health begins with a healthy start. We are helping to improve the experiences and environments that children and adolescents need to live healthy lives.

    Healthy communities: Communities are inherently able to transform and solve their own challenges toward better health. We are helping to support Colorado’s communities by understanding their unique conditions and offering tools that support their solutions for improved health.  

    Social determinants of health: Health happens where we live, work and play, and is largely determined by factors outside of the health care system itself. We are helping to level the playing field for Coloradans by addressing social and economic drivers of health that vary for individuals and communities.

What we will fund:

  • Planning, implementation or evaluation projects that address a pressing community need
  • Capacity building projects that seek to strengthen an organization by enhancing operations, financing, governance and other business capabilities
  • Projects with a defined start and end date

What we will not fund:

  • Work that could be considered under an existing funding opportunity.
  • Ongoing programs that require effort and resources past the project period
  • Pilot projects without a demonstrated plan for sustainability after pilot is complete
  • School-based projects* 
  • General operating support
  • Disease or condition-specific projects
  • Capital projects
  • Research

*Proposals from schools or school districts, or proposals to conduct projects in school-based settings should be submitted through our Creating Healthy Schools funding opportunity. Projects related to school-based health clinics are eligible to apply through the Special Projects Program in alignment with our primary care strategy.


Program Officers: 

Erik Ortiz (303.953.7912), Rose Green (303.953.7910)