Funding Opportunity: Infusing Equity into Built Environment for Better Health

Funding Overview

This funding opportunity aims to support capital investments in the built environment – such as playgrounds, parks and outdoor spaces – across Colorado that allow children, youth and families to engage in physical activity more regularly. This funding opportunity prioritizes communities living on low income, communities of color and rural communities in Colorado.

Interested applicants may apply for funding through one of two pathways: planning grants or shovel-ready projects. Strong applicants will demonstrate how communities have been – or will be – engaged in an equity-centered, community-driven design (ECCD) process that brings them together to create outdoor spaces that reflect their community's history, culture and legacy.

The ECCD process focuses on highlighting a community's cultural capital while understanding their needs and moving forward with creating lasting change. Tools to dismantle systemic oppression and create a future with equity for all are designed with the community, including youth. Communities will be asked to demonstrate that their ECCD process addresses the below four pillars:

  • Equity
  • Humility-Building
  • Integrating History and Healing Practices
  • Addressing Power Dynamics

Learn more about the ECCD approach we are asking participating communities to adopt if awarded.

Proposed program and/or projects must reflect the Foundation’s cornerstones. These outline who we serve, how our work is informed and our intent to create health equity.

Have questions? We’re here to talk through your ideas and encourage you to connect with us before applying for funding. If you’re not already connected with a program officer, please reach out to us by email or phone at 303-953-3600.

Si necesita acceder la solicitud de fondos en español, por favor contáctenos a grants@coloradohealth.org

Focus Area
Maintain Healthy Bodies
Grant Deadlines

We're here to help

Have questions? Contact your Program Officer for more information.

Interested applicants can apply for funding through one of two pathways:

  1. Planning grants: Funds – ranging from $25,000 to $75,000 – can be used to support and engage in the ECCD process at varying levels of readiness. Planning grants may include meeting space, stipends for community members, administrative cost, materials, etc. Technical assistance (TA) is also included to support you through the ECCD process as needed. Costs for TA will be covered separately from the funding allocated for the planning grant.
  2. Shovel-ready projects: Funds – ranging from $250,000 to $700,000 – can be used for projects that demonstrate advanced planning stages for which construction can begin in a short period of time. Shovel-ready applicants must demonstrate that the project is an equity-centered, community-created and comprehensive plan, including activation and long-term maintenance requirements. The Foundation can help identify TA providers if needed, and will consider supporting TA costs for shovel-ready projects on a case-by-case basis.

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

  • Alignment with the Foundation’s cornerstones that advance our efforts to bring health in reach for all Coloradans.
  • Design and construction of public spaces in high-need areas that serve individuals of all ages, create access for intergenerational activities and shared spaces, and stimulate creativity to encourage physical activity.
  • Commitment to building intergenerational spaces that encourage physical activity, socialization and strengthen community building. Projects may include age-specific segments to the design as appropriate, such as playgrounds. If on school grounds, the space must be open to the general public during non-school hours.

Preference will be given to communities with programs/projects that are:

  • Serving a higher than average enrollment of students of color at the nearest school and/or serving 50% or more free and reduced lunch.
  • Serving economically disadvantaged households.
  • Serving rural communities through an intergenerational approach that demonstrates:
    • The need for public spaces and/or amenities that sufficiently serve the most disadvantaged community members.
    • The need to replace existing unsafe or outdated equipment in a public space within five miles of a proven community-hub, public location or space.

Examples of project elements and features we’re interested in funding:

Funding to support shovel-ready projects that have already undergone an ECCD process may include the following:

  • Fixed infrastructure: Funds can be used to purchase non-movable tables and benches and tangible, immovable, age-appropriate, outdoor play space equipment for diverse age groups, as well as necessary associated surfacing.
  • Playground markings: Funds can be used to support costs associated with painting a play area and public space with colorful, engaging and stimulating game and activity patterns that encourage physical activity.
  • Signage: Up to 5% of funds, but not to exceed $5,000, can be used to purchase and install clear and identifiable signage and information in and around the public space to provide directions to the play spaces and to encourage the use of the equipment.
  • Activation: A total of $3,000 of the budget can be used for promoting environmentally friendly materials and events, including a one-time groundbreaking ceremony.
  • Weather protection: Funds can be used to purchase structures for sun, rain and snow protection, including canopies and trees, to encourage intergenerational use year-round.
  • Amenities: Funds can be used to build bathrooms and water fountains; construct sidewalks as needed so youth can bike or walk to the park or playground safely.

Examples of project elements and features that are not eligible for funding at this time

  • Freestanding equipment: Funds cannot be used for freestanding equipment such as balls, bats, nets, jump ropes, parachutes, weights and other movable, non-stationary equipment that would require storage.
  • Competition courts and fields: Funds cannot be used to build competition courts and fields or pools for specific sports such as football, lacrosse, softball, soccer or swimming.

Measurable Reach:

Applicants will be asked to estimate how many individuals will use the outdoor space and to indicate how their work will increase the number of Coloradans who have convenient access to recreational physical activity.

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 grants@coloradohealth.org or call our senior director of Grantmaking Operations at 303-953-3600.

We encourage all applicants to sign up in our grants portal 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 June 15, 2022.

Si necesita acceder la solicitud de fondos en español, por favor contáctenos a grants@coloradohealth.org