Funding Opportunity:
Responsive Grants Program

In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and its far-reaching impacts on nonprofits across the state, the Foundation closed the responsive grants program during our June and October 2020 deadlines and reallocated this funding to focus on supporting COVID-19 response and relief efforts.

We understand many of our grantees, partners and other organizations across the state are affected by and responding to the pandemic, and rapidly evolving circumstances are leading to questions about funding from the Foundation. Please take a look at our FAQs for grantees and view other resources to learn more and find emergency funding.

We encourage you to visit our Open Funding page for more information on other funding options that will be made available for our upcoming grant deadline.

The responsive grants program is dedicated to giving communities an opportunity to shift the way they address long-standing community needs through innovative solutions, ambitious expansion of successful programs or the adaptation and deployment of approaches backed by credible evidence of impact. We believe that addressing enduring community challenges takes daring and audacious thinkers. And when we dare to imagine out-of-the-box possibilities, we can unleash novel and creative ideas that lead to healthier lives and more vibrant communities for all Coloradans.

Within the priorities that we have outlined below, the responsive grants program gives applicants the opportunity to define the problem they want to address, propose solutions and show us their vision of what success would ultimately look like for the people they serve.

Proposed programs and/or projects must reflect the Foundation’s cornerstones, as our work is grounded in serving Coloradans who have 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.

Interested in learning more about the program? Watch our live webinar and Q&A for more information.


Successful applications will center on one of the following approaches:

  • Never-before-seen innovative approaches or innovations that use existing resources and tools in a new way; or
  • Expansion of programs that have already demonstrated they are successful in the community; or
  • Adaptation and deployment of approaches backed by credible evidence of impact in other communities.

This program is flexible by design, to provide funding for the three types of approaches outlined above. Please see below for further information on how the Foundation defines innovative solutions, expansion and credible evidence.

Preference will be given to applications that are able to demonstrate how their work will achieve impact at the intersection of two or more funding priorities.

Note: the program is not designed to provide core or ongoing funding to existing programs that don’t meet the criteria indicated on this webpage.


Innovative Solutions

For the purpose of this program, the Foundation thinks about innovation in two ways:

  • It might mean creating a program or solution or approach that’s never been seen before and is totally new.
  • Innovation might also mean a smart, creative idea about how to use existing practices, tools or resources in a new or unconventional way.

We feel innovative ideas should aim for two outcomes:

  • Innovations should be designed to replace an existing solution. They are not “in addition to” whatever is currently happening.
  • Innovations should provide clear cost benefits, whether by creating the same results for less resources, better results for the same resources, far greater results for greater costs, by adding costs in one place but saving costs in another, or by achieving clear impact now that will create significant future savings.

Ambitious Expansion
For the purpose of this program, we are looking to support successful ideas that are ready to be expanded – to more people, new populations or new places. We will support expanding work that you’re already doing or helping you bring ideas and programs that have worked in other places to your community. If you want to expand or scale a solution that already exists, you must have compelling and credible evidence (see definition below) that this particular solution is impactful for people or communities where it is currently implemented. 

Credible Evidence
For the purpose of this program, the Foundation thinks of evidence as approaches with a history of impact, including programs, practices or interventions that have demonstrated their effectiveness. Credible evidence can come from lots of different methods, so it’s not necessary that the program you’re proposing has been evaluated using any specific technical method (such as randomized control trials, quasi-experimental designs, etc.). However, the evidence available should show there is a credible case to be made that what you’re proposing will be effective for the specific problem, context and populations you’re proposing to work with. You might draw on research, previous evaluations and/or practice and experience.

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.

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