Need some help navigating and understanding Colorado Grants Guide®? This user’s guide should help you find what you need. Click the categories below to find a step-by-step explanation of how to search the database, how to use each function and feature, and a section-by-section breakdown of what each funder profile contains.
Where to Begin
There are a few different ways to search for funders using the Colorado Grants Guide®:
- Click ”Browse the Database” to search alphabetically or by funder type.
- Click “Advanced Search” to search more specifically for the name of a funder, your program areas, the type of grant you need (operating vs. program), a keyword, an application deadline timeframe, et cetera.
Advanced Search Functions
Funder Name Contains
Enter partial or whole words or phrases to search within funder names. For example, a search for “community found” pulls a list of all Colorado community foundations.
Area of Interest
Select an area of interest from the drop down list that best describes your organization or program to search for funders that support that program area.
You can search between one and three areas of interest. AND searches are inclusive, meaning that if you select two criteria for a category, the results will show profiles that match both. OR searches are exclusive, meaning that if you select two criteria for a category, the results will show profiles that match either one criterion or the other.
For example, an area of interest search for Health AND Human Services will show funders who support both Health and Human Services. A similar OR search will show funders which support either Health or Human Services.
Select a region or specific county to narrow your search results by the geographic funding preferences of funders. We recommend you try your search for geographic areas several different ways. A search for more than one will pull up funders which list one or the other in their geographic focus areas.
Type of Grant
Select from six different types of funding provided:
- Project/Program Support
- General Operating Support
- Capital Improvement/Purchase
- Technical Assistance
- Emergency Loans
You can search between one and three types of funding. A search for more than one will pull up funders that list either one or the other as types of grants that they provide.
For more information on what each type of funding includes, please see the section in this guide entitled Types of Funding.
Select from seven different types of funders:
- Colorado Foundations and Trusts
- National Foundations
- Government Agencies
While holding either Shift or Ctrl, you can select and search for more than one type at a time.
For information about what specific organizations each funder type includes, please see the section in this guide entitled Types of Funders.
Desired Grant Size
Enter the desired dollar amount (punctuation does not matter) to search the average range of grants awarded in Colorado during the last fiscal year (for which there is available information). A search for a $100,000 grant size, will only pull up funders with an average range which includes $100,000. If the dollar amount you have entered does not fall in a funder’s average range for the last fiscal year (for which there is available information), whether too high or too low, that funder will not appear in your results list. For example, search for a $500 grant will not bring up funders with an average range of $1,000-$5,000, even if that funder does provide grants at $500 level.
Total Colorado Grants
Enter a dollar amount in either the Greater Than or Less Than field to search the total dollar amount of grants awarded in Colorado. A search for greater than $1,000,000 will pull funders that gave grants totaling over $1 million in Colorado during the last fiscal year (for which there is available information).
Total Asset Fair Market Value
Enter a dollar amount in either the Greater Than or Less Than field to search funders’ total net assets (fair market value). A search for greater than $6,000,000 pulls funders that held assets totaling more than $6 million during the last fiscal year (for which there is available information).
There are three ways to search for funder deadlines:
- Select “Funders with no Deadlines” to search for funders that accept proposals year-round.
- Select “Funders to Contact with Deadlines.” Funders with this deadline designation either: had not released a deadline at the time the profile was updated or have complex deadlines covering a variety of programs.
- Search for deadlines that fall within a certain date range by selecting a begin date and end date from the drop-down boxes. For example, if you want to submit applications during the first quarter of the year, you could search for deadlines between January and March.
Common Grant Application
Select the “Accepts Common Grant Applications” box to pull a list of funders that accept the Colorado Common Grant Application.
Select the “Accepts Unsolicited Proposals” box to pull a list of funders that do not require applicants to complete a preliminary step before submitting a full proposal. These funders would not require organizations to submit a Letter of Intent/Inquiry, pass an eligibility quiz, or submit proposals only in response to a Requests for Proposal. For these funders, you can simply submit a full proposal (following the specified guidelines) for consideration.
Funder City Contains
Enter partial or whole words to search for funders located in a specific city. For example, a search for “fort” results in a list of funders located in Fort Collins, CO, Fort Morgan, CO, and Fort Worth, TX.
Enter a state abbreviation (CO, AK, DC, et cetera) to search for funders located in that state.
This field does not accept fully spelled-out state names. Search “CO” instead of “Colorado.”
Enter partial or whole words to search for keywords within funder profiles. This is a great search feature to use if your organization’s program areas are hard to specify using the Areas of Interest feature. For example, you could search for terms like “entrepreneurship,” “STEM education,” or “veterans.”
Funder Profile Content Sections
Each funder is assigned to one of seven categories to help you distinguish the funding source type. These categories are:
- Colorado Foundations and Trusts
- National Foundations
- Government Agencies
For more information on what types of specific organizations can be found in each category, see the section in this guide entitled Types of Funders.
The Employer Identification Number (EIN) can be useful for researching the funder on Guidestar, Foundation Center, and other websites. Using this number ensures you are viewing the correct organization.
This “time stamp,” located in the top right-hand corner of the profile, indicates when the profile was last updated by our Research Team.
The contact information included in this section is for the person, team, or department which receives grant applications. If the funder receives applications via mail, the address listed here is the mailing address for applications.
This section lists the geographic areas the organization funds. Geographic designations include: International, National, Multi-State, Colorado Statewide, Metro Denver, and individual Colorado counties.
In some cases, funders only support organizations located in their geographic area of interest. Other times, funders support organizations that provide services to those communities, regardless of where they are located. This information is generally specified elsewhere in the profile (usually the RESTRICTIONS section).
This section will only appear if the funder requires a Letter of Intent, and lists the deadline(s) for their submission. The deadline will be displayed as a month and date (i.e. September 1) or the profile will state “Accepted Year-Round.” If there are multiple deadlines, please read the rest of the profile to determine if these indicate multiple cycles or are submission deadlines for different programs.
This section lists the application deadline(s) for full proposals. The deadline will be displayed as a month and date (i.e. September 1) or the profile will state: “Accepted Year-Round,” “Does Not Accept Unsolicited Proposals,” or “Contact Funder/Visit Website for Deadline.”
“Does Not Accept Unsolicited Proposals” usually means that the funder requires applicants to complete a preliminary step (complete an eligibility quiz, submit a LOI, respond to a Request for Proposal, or make contact with its staff) before submitting a full proposal. Funders that do not have competitive grantmaking processes will be categorized as “Pre-Select.”
“Contact Funder/Visit Website for Deadline” usually means one of three things:
- The funder has a variety of programs and it is too difficult for us to accurately distinguish between their distinct deadlines.
- The deadline had not been released at the time the profile was updated.
- The funder does not publicly release its deadlines and requires interested applicants to inquire about submission timelines.
This section summarizes the funder’s mission and/or the purpose of its grant making program.
This describes the type of support the funder provides. The available options are:
- Project/Program Support
- General Operating Support
- Capital Improvement/Purchase
- Technical Assistance
- Emergency Loans
For more information about what each grant type includes, please see the section of this guide entitled Types of Funding.
Primary and Secondary Areas
These represent the funder’s “primary” and “secondary” funding priorities. Just because your area of service is listed in the Secondary Areas section does not mean you should be discouraged from applying. The primary and secondary areas are often used to distinguish between categories and subcategories. For example, if a funder supports Health, broadly, but is “particularly interested in projects serving minorities, children, and the elderly,” you might see Health selected as primary and Minorities, Children & Youth Services, and Senior Citizens/Aging selected as secondary.
These eight to ten grantees were chosen as a sample from the most recently available list of grants awarded by the funder. Our Research Team tries to choose grantees to be featured in the profile that span various areas of interest, geographic areas, and grant amounts. The year in which these grants were awarded is listed at left.
This section provides other useful details related to the funder’s granting process and indicates where you should look for additional information. If the box is checked, the statement at right applies.
How to Apply
Here you will find a summary of the application process. This section is designed to give you an idea of what is required but is not always comprehensive. It will indicate whether applications should be submitted via mail, fax, email, or an online system, if deadlines are postmark or “receive by” deadlines, and the basic information that must be provided in the application.
Many funders have strict eligibility guidelines, which will be listed here. This section will generally include information about eligible entities and/or activities as well as what the funder will not support. For government programs: if the recipient organization is required to match funds awarded, that information eligible match information is also generally noted here.
Board Chair and Board/Trustees
This is a list of board members/trustees for the given year (listed at left). This information can be helpful during the grant solicitation process. Oftentimes, nonprofit board members have connections to the funding organizations’ board members/trustees and can provide a warm introduction.
This section is reserved for information that does not fit neatly into any of the other sections in the profile. Sometimes you might find information about additional areas of interest that could not be selected using our designations. Other times you might find information about when grant decisions are made and funds are distributed.
This section will only appear if our Research Team felt there was some important piece of information that should be added to the profile and should stand out from the other sections.
Here we will notify you of name changes, of related profiles, or of updates to the status of the funder’s grant making program.
This section is a snapshot summary of the funder’s financials. It provides some context for the grants awarded in Colorado by listing the organization’s fair market value of assets and the number of grants given in Colorado in relation to all grants awarded.
The link at the bottom will direct you to the funder’s most recent IRS Form 990, financial statement, list of grantees, or annual report.
Types of Funders
Colorado Foundations and Trusts
These are foundations and trusts which are located and fund primarily in the state of Colorado.
These are foundations which distribute funds to nonprofit organizations across the nation, including in the state of Colorado.
These are government agencies or programs, usually state and federal, which distribute grant funds to nonprofit organizations in Colorado. Above the Category, these profiles also specify the government department that operates the grant program.
These are corporations with philanthropic arms which distribute funds to nonprofit organizations in Colorado and across the country.
These are generally small private foundations or trusts which do not have an open application or competitive granting process. The board members/trustees handpick the organizations that will receive grants based on prior giving and/or personal connections. Because these funders do not accept proposals, the Colorado Grants Guide® does not list their contact information.
These are organizations or programs which provide (generally low interest) loans to nonprofit organizations in the state of Colorado.
These are granting organizations which do not fit well into the other six funder categories. Here you will find organizations like local United Way or Rotary offices and religious organizations which do not have IRS-assigned Employer Identification Numbers (EIN).
Types of Funding
Project/Program Support grants are restricted grants, meaning that the funds awarded must be used for the particular project or program specified in the grant application. When requesting project/program support, it is important to always inquire about what costs can be covered using that grant. For example, some funders might allow for a certain percentage of staffing costs to be covered by a project/program support grant; however, this varies from funder to funder.
General Operating Support
General Operating Support grants are unrestricted grants, meaning that the grantee can use the dollars in whatever way it likes, as long as this is consistent with what was laid out in the request for funds. For example, general operating support grants can be used for “overhead” or “administrative” costs, as long as this is laid out in the grant application.
Capital Improvement/Purchase grants are generally awarded for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, or renovating a building and are commonly associated with “bricks and mortar.” However, these grants can be tricky, as funders define “capital” in different ways. For example, some funders might consider equipment like large machinery for hospital or the construction of non-traditional structures like a playground or park restroom facilities to be capital expenses. Typically, capital grants are awarded for large purchases that are made only made once every 10 or so years and that depreciate in value over time. It is important to always check with the specific funder to determine what it classifies as “capital.”
Challenge/Matching are grants that funders use to help organizations leverage other support by agreeing to award a certain amount with the condition that the requesting organization matches that amount using other sources of funds. The source could be another grant from a different funder, money raised from individual donations, or even in-kind donations in some cases. Most often, funders require a 1:1 match. Funders often use this technique if they want to see an organization diversify its funding portfolio.
Technical Assistance is most often a service that funders offer to grantees in addition to a traditional grant. Technical assistance is not technical/IT support, but rather, capacity-building for the recipient organization. This might include professional development trainings to which the funder will pay to send the grantee organization’s staff, in-house project/program capacity-building support that the funder offers, et cetera.
Emergency loans are funds that funders loan out to nonprofit organizations during a time of crisis. This might be an internal crisis (i.e. the organization is at risk of shutting down due to lack of funds) or an external crisis (i.e. a natural disaster, the economic downturn, et cetera).
Special Funder Profile Lists
The Updated Funders tab at right generates a list of all funder profiles which have been updated in the past quarter (three months).
The New Funders tab at right generates a list of all funder profiles which have been added to the Colorado Grants Guide® during the current calendar year. These additions to the database are often new funders or funders that have expanded their funding to Colorado.
Not Currently Funded
Some profiles might state “This funder is dissolved or not currently funded” at the top of the profile. The Not Currently Funded tab at right generates a comprehensive list of these funders. A funder may be designated this way for several reasons, but in each of these cases, we try to add an explanatory note to the top of the profile.
- A limited time grant opportunity has closed. This is common with government programs.
- The foundation filed its final IRS Form 990 and its assets were distributed.
- The foundation was absorbed by another funder. Community foundations sometimes absorb smaller funders and create a “fund” in the same name or incorporate their assets into its general pool.
- The granting program has been postponed for an indefinite period of time, either due to a lack of funds or because the funder is reassessing its grantmaking priorities.
We keep these profiles in the Colorado Grants Guide® because our subscribers often search those funders that have historically supported them. This serves as an alert to the inactive status of the grant making program. Additionally, if grant making is resumed in the future, this note will be removed.
Research Management Functions
The following features are included in the Nonprofit, Business/Individual, and Municipal/Government subscriptions.
Favorite Funders List
You can add a funder to your list by clicking “Add this funder to my favorite funders list” at the top of the profile. To view your full list, click on “Favorite Funders” at right.
The User Notes field appears below the funder profile. It allows you to add notes to a profile that only you can see. You can use this feature to track when you applied to a funder, additional things that you found in your research, and to track your communications and relationship with the funder.
To utilize the User Notes, simply enter your notes and click “Update Notes.” When you log back in to view this profile again, you will see your entered notes at the bottom along with a time stamp with the last date these were edited.
The Alert Data field appears below the funder profile. If you enter a date (MM/DD/YYYY) in this field, an automatic email will be sent to you on the specified date with a copy of your User Notes for that profile. You can use this to remind yourself of an upcoming deadline, to check back for updates, et cetera.
For more information, please contact:
Bailey Smith, Program Coordinator
Please visit the FAQs page for the answers to frequently asked questions about how to use the Colorado Grants Guide®.