The Foundation recently awarded a total of 61 organizations through the Special Projects Program to better understand and respond to community health needs across the state. View lists of the first cohort and second 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 was designed to help us better understand and respond to community needs. It was also a way for the Foundation to identify new partners and new ways to support solutions over time.

The purpose of the program was to fund time-limited projects that addressed a pressing community need, proposed new work or built on existing work, supported a promising innovation or practice, and may set the groundwork for sustainable collaboration and programs. The program did not support projects currently funded by the Foundation and/or projects that aligned with one of the Foundation’s existing funding opportunities.

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

Grant Deadlines:

Not accepting applications. This work is in progress.


To be considered for funding, proposals were required to demonstrate that they met 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 Foundation's focus areas.

What we funded:

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

What we did not fund:

  • Work that could have been considered under an existing funding opportunity.
  • Ongoing programs that required 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)