Funding Opportunity:
Funding Opportunity: Infusing Equity into Built Environment for Better Health
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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.

This funding opportunity differs from previous opportunities as it emphasizes a more dynamic process of how communities are engaged in designing the built environment. Communities must engage in an Equity-centered, Community-driven Design Process (ECCD) that brings various participants together to create outdoor spaces that reflect the community's history, culture and legacy. Created by Creative Reaction Lab, ECCD is a unique creative problem-solving process based on equity, humility-building, integrating history and healing practices, addressing power dynamics, and co-creating outdoor spaces with the community.

The ECCD process highlights a community's culture and needs while assessing and addressing what needs to happen to create lasting change. Dismantling systemic oppression requires an understanding that those most impacted by the inequities they experience are best equipped to solve them. Every community member, especially children and youth, is a valuable contributor or "designer" in this process.

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. Use this tool to connect with a program officer based on your area of interest or geographic area. Still have questions? Reach out to us by email or by phone at 303-953-3600.

Si necesita acceder la solicitud de fondos en español, por favor contáctenos a [email protected]

Click on the below accordion menu for additional detail on funding criteria to help prepare you for submitting a grant proposal.

  1. Planning grants: Funds up to $25,000 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 learn more about the ECCD approach we are asking participating communities to adopt, please click here. To review a more detailed overview of the ECCD approach, please click here to review our ECCD Toolkit.

  • 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, inclusive of those with physical and/or developmental disabilities, 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, with considerations for those living with physical and/or developmental disabilities, 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.


  • Equity
    • The ECCD process lifts up the voices of people with different identities, perspectives and backgrounds. It will bring holistic insights into any setting through knowledge building, problem-solving and implementation. In addition, different views and knowledge bases need to include the individuals and communities affected, also known as living experts, who are often excluded from design and decision-making processes.
  • Empathy and Humility
    • Building empathy and humility helps communities understand others while acknowledging our biases. The ECCD engagement process requires the humility to recognize where our assumptions and biases lie and the empathy to observe and listen with suspended judgment
  • Integrating History and Healing Practices
    • We have learned about our cultures and history through media, education and social interaction with our family, friends and colleagues. However, some important stories and identities have been forgotten because we have learned within the context of structural oppression. The ECCD engagement process will support the unlearning and reclaiming the culture and history part of our identity as the way toward restoring our collective legacy.
  • Addressing Power
    • Power constructs are invisible delineations of power that are created and maintained by larger systems such as government, media, education and private industries. The ECCD process requires that communities acknowledge and dismantle these systems because they continually disenfranchise marginalized populations by limiting and erasing their social, economic and cultural growth.


  • 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.


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: Funds for signage must not exceed $2,500 and 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 $2,000 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: Funding for amenities will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 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.


  • 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.


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 [email protected] 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 Oct. 15, 2022. Applications submitted in advance of deadlines (Feb. 15, June 15 and Oct. 15) are not reviewed until the deadline has passed.

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