Funding Opportunity: Community-initiated Solutions

Funding Overview

At the Colorado Health Foundation, we believe that keeping equity at the heart of our work will lead us to better health. We know that all communities have their own unique assets and often have the best ideas for solving their own health-related challenges. When community members themselves identify the issue and are then invited to generate and implement the solutions, they are able to raise their collective voice and strengthen their power. The resulting community-initiated solutions are more likely to serve the needs of the specific community and demonstrate more long-term impact. 

However, community change efforts are too often carried out by organizations who work “to” or “for” community members, instead of “with” them or by supporting opportunities where change is driven “by” the community members themselves. 

With this funding opportunity, the Foundation is reaching out to community members living on low income directly and the organizations that support their direct action. We want to fund ideas that increase health equity and lead to healthier communities by implementing solutions where community members drive the decision making. We want to provide an opportunity for them to address the health challenges that directly affect their lives. The Foundation is not determining which health focus/challenge will be chosen, or suggesting the approach to solving it. We want community members themselves to identify the health issue that they want to tackle and take the lead in implementing solutions.

Thus, applications may request funding to support a range of programs and/or projects identified by community members as necessary to address their own health challenges. As part of these proposed programs and/or projects identified, we require that organizations collaboratively work with community members living on low income to:

  • Address a health challenge
  • Develop and implement a solution
  • Leverage existing strengths and resources
  • Improve health equity 

Proposed programs and/or projects must reflect the Foundation’s cornerstones, as our work is grounded in serving Coloradan’s who are low-income and historically have had less power or privilege, putting the creation of health equity at the center of everything we do, and being informed by the community and those we exist to serve. 

Have questions? We’re here to talk through your ideas and encourage you to connect with us before applying for funding. If you don’t already work with a program officer, please reach out to us by email or by phone at 303-953-3600, and be sure to note the county you work in and area of interest.

Focus Area
Strengthen Community Health
Grant Deadlines

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Have questions? Contact your Program Officer for more information.


To be considered for funding, organizations must meet the following criteria:

  • Clarify the specific issue/challenge and how it impacts health.
  • Identify how the health challenge and the proposed solution were developed.
  • Define who is involved in the implementation of the program/project, who is leading the effort and why and/or how they were selected.
  • Explain how the proposed solution is not only actionable but within the existing capacity of the community. (Preference will be given to proposals that build upon and leverage existing community capacity to successfully implement the solution.)
  • Demonstrate how the solution will improve health equity.

Examples of organizations considered for funding:

  • Community-based groups or nonprofit organizations (at this time, community groups or community-based organizations without 501(c)(3) nonprofit status will need to partner with a fiscal sponsor).
  • Other applicants that can demonstrate a substantial commitment to community-identified and community-led efforts to address complex health-related issues and/or challenges.

We often partner with third-party evaluators, contractors and other organizations over the course of our work with applicants and grantees. Your application and its attachments may be shared with these individuals or entities during the review process and grant cycle. All third-party organizations partnering with the Foundation have signed a confidentiality agreement and will not use or share the information for purposes outside of the scope of work specific to the grant application or grant award. If you have any concerns or would like additional information, please email or call our senior director of Grantmaking Operations at 303-953-3600.


  • Community: A social group of any size whose members reside in a specific and shared locality, and often have common characteristics, interests and/or cultural and historical heritage. For this funding opportunity, we are looking to directly support people living on low income.
  • Health Equity: Health equity exists when there are no unnecessary, avoidable, unfair, unjust or systemically-caused differences in health status.
  • Local/Locality: A community belonging or relating to a particular geographic area, specifically at the sub-regional level, and commonly described as neighborhood, sub-area, district, town, city, municipality or county; or a distinct population found at the sub-regional level.
  • Power: At its core, power is defined as “the capacity to impact change.”

Funding Opportunity

Our funding opportunities focus on specific needs aligned with a particular priority within our focus areas. These vary for each funding deadline (Feb. 15, June 15 and Oct. 15). Applicants will be required to address detailed criteria specific to that funding opportunity. Grant funding is highly competitive within the pool of applicants for each individual funding opportunity.

We encourage all applicants to sign up in our grants management system to confirm registration is complete at least a week in advance of submitting a grant application. Apply for funding by 5 p.m. MDT on Feb. 15, 2020.