Grants FAQ

Find support for your grant application.

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General FAQ

Through our Community Grants, The Denver Foundation funds organizations that serve residents of the Metro Denver area — Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson counties. Field of Interest Funds, Donor-Advised Funds, and other Special funds are not limited to Metro Denver. 

We will consider requests from organizations based outside of Metro Denver as long as the program or project serves residents in one or several of the seven counties listed above.

If your organization provides services statewide or nationally, your proposal must address how the requested funding will be limited to the seven counties listed above.

The Denver Foundation will launch a new strategic framework, including new grant priorities and timelines, in early 2021. We look forward to sharing this new plan with you. In the meantime, please note that organizations that received awards in the February 1, 2020, Community Grant cycle are invited to submit applications for the first grant cycle in 2021. Applications are due by Monday, February 1, 2021, at 5 p.m.

However, there are many other opportunities at The Denver Foundation. See a full list of opportunities

In general, grant applications must be received in our office by 5:00 p.m. on the deadline date. To be fair to all applicants, the deadline dates and times are firm and non-negotiable. Late proposals will not be accepted, regardless of the reason for the delay.

In the past, about 80 percent of our grants were for general operating support. We anticipate that we will continue to fund general operating support for organizations whose work is a strong fit with our strategies. In some cases, such as a national 501(c)(3) with a program in the Metro Denver area or a nonprofit that has an outreach program that fits our priorities, program requests may make more sense. If you’re not sure what to request, we strongly encourage you to give us a call!

Email our grants team or call us at 303.300.1790.

We have been tracking this for several years, and there is no way to predict the number that will be received, nor is there a “low” or “high” deadline.

We are always happy to respond to your questions. However, be aware that we receive a large volume of calls in the two weeks prior to the grant deadlines, and may take more time to respond to requests at those busy times of the year. Call us at 303.300.1790.

No. We require that applications be complete and submitted to us by 5:00 p.m. of the deadline day. We will consider a proposal that is missing one or more items incomplete, and it will be withdrawn from consideration. If your organization is missing one or more of the required attachments or is unable to provide them by the grant deadline, it would be better to wait until the next deadline and submit a complete proposal.

Here are a few common mistakes that weaken a proposal:

  • Not including revenue in agency or program budgets.
  • Not dating financial statements and financial documents.
  • Not completing a final report before applying.
  • Not including an audit if agency revenue is over $500,000.
  • Not explaining any “red flags” or unusual situations in the financial statements at the time of submission. The Colorado Common Grant Application allows for unlimited space to explain financial discrepancies, challenges, and plans to address deficits, shifting budgets, and fund diversity.
  • Not including evaluation results. The Colorado Common Grant Application has an optional evaluation attachment, and we strongly encourage organizations to use this space to provide information about past impact and their approach to learning and assessment.
  • Not describing the demographics of the population the organization serves or hopes to serve.
  • Not including the additional Resident Engagement and Inclusiveness attachment requested by The Denver Foundation.

The Colorado Common Grant Application User’s Guide is a valuable companion piece in crafting a proposal, and helps to demystify components of the grant review process.

The Denver Foundation is strongly committed to funding organizations that are inclusive. The Foundation requires every Community Grants applicant to submit its board-approved anti-discrimination statement or policy. If these policies do not include every category identified in The Denver Foundation’s anti-discrimination policy, we will discuss this with the organization at the site visit. In addition, when one or more categories are not included, the Foundation will recommend the agency review its anti-discrimination policy to make it more inclusive.

If your organization falls in one of the categories listed below, you must provide information and documentation in addition to, or different from, what is normally required:

  • Local affiliate of a national organization and operates under the 501(c)3 determination of the national organization
  • School district or university/college
  • Program, project, department, or individual school within a school district or university/college
  • Foundation that is a the fundraising arm for another nonprofit organization or is an organization that raises funds for another nonprofit
  • Organization applying on behalf of a collaborative group

In these circumstances, it is very important that you get the special information that you need (from our website or the Associate Grants Manager) before you submit your grant proposal. Failure to do so may result in an incomplete status or declination of your proposal.

Download the Collaboration Guidelines.

We require that proposals include all of the listed information and attachments. The only exception to this is if your organization is less than 12 months old and therefore does not have fiscal year-end financial statements. In this case, please be sure to include a page explaining this situation or the application will be deemed incomplete and automatically withdrawn from consideration.

The Foundation funds many faith-based organizations. However, we do not fund religious activities or programs that require religious activity as a condition of receiving services.

We have two key differences from the CGA.

  • All applications must include a one-page attachment to the CGA narrative with responses to the four additional questions about resident engagement, inclusiveness, and equity. You can find these questions in our guidelines.
  • Like the CGA, we require financials from your most recently completed fiscal year. However, please note the following difference, which is based on your total revenues for the most recently completed fiscal year:
    • Revenues greater than $500,000: You must provide a complete audit (with notes, management letter, etc.) performed by a Certified Public Accountant who is independent of your organization. If an audit is unavailable for the most recently completed fiscal year, you must turn in two things:
      • internal year-end financial statements (balance sheet and income statement) for the most recently completed fiscal year, and
      • an audit from the previous fiscal year.
    • Revenues less than $500,000: When an audit is not available, you must provide your Statement of Financial Position (Balance Sheet) and Statement of Activities (Income and Expense Statement).

In either case, you may NOT substitute the IRS Form 990 for the required materials.

If you work with fellow residents on a specific project, and you also are part of a nonprofit organization doing work that fits our nonprofit guidelines, you may submit separate applications requesting a resident and a nonprofit grant.

The grant guidelines include separate applications for 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and residents or constituents who do not have nonprofit status. If your proposal works with both constituencies, such as a collaborative program, please apply using the nonprofit guidelines.

Submitting an Application

Organizations that received a grant from The Denver Foundation are eligible to reapply annually.

Organizations who have been declined may apply again one year later. We strongly encourage all organizations to review our guidelines, and to contact us to talk about potential fit prior to submitting an application.

For more information or to schedule a conversation with a member of The Denver Foundation staff, email our grants team or call 303.300.1790.

Yes. We will need an interim report on your current grant to consider a new application for funding. You can submit this with your application via the “Final Report” upload attachment.

Please use the Colorado Common Grant Report cover page and narrative sections for your interim report, and be sure to address the starred items in your grant rationale. Attachments are not required until the final report due date.

We invite collaboratives of all types to apply, including collaboratives made up of several nonprofit organizations, schools, governmental entities, resident groups and nonprofits, or nonprofit and business partnerships.

By collaboration, we do not mean an organization that contracts with another organization to provide a specific service for a fee. Funded collaborations likely include shared financial investment by partners, shared planning and accountability, and/or shared staffing. The strongest collaborative applications will come from organizations and groups working together to achieve greater impact and do things in the community that they could not do alone.

Funded collaboratives are eligible to apply every 12 months. Nonprofit organizations can request support for their organizations and as a part of a collaborative in the same cycle. Note that collaborative applicants should use the special checklist when applying, as we require collaboratives to submit several additional documents.

Online Application Portal

Visit The Denver Foundation’s Grant Application Portal overview page for instructions on how to create an account.

If your organization is not already in our database, you will need to provide basic contact information and your organization’s Federal Tax ID number.

The Denver Foundation suggests you register as far in advance as possible, but no later than 5 business days before the application deadline.

Yes. When the Organizational Admin registers on behalf of your organization, The Denver Foundation will have to approve your registration. After an Organizational Admin is registered, they will need to approve the registration of individual Grant Writers.

The Organization Admin can manage all aspects of a nonprofit’s profile, including who is authorized to write grants on behalf of the organization. If you are the Organization Admin for your nonprofit and will also be writing the grant, you should also register as a Grant Writer.

The Grant Writer is the person who applies for grants on behalf of an organization. We encourage consultants working on behalf of an organization to choose this option. After registering, Grant Writers may request authorization to write a grant on behalf of an organization. The Organization Admin will approve or deny this request.

Denver Foundation staff members on the grant processing team have access to your profile. The Organizational Admin will approve or deny your request to associate your profile with their organization but otherwise cannot access your profile.

Yes, saved applications will be available by choosing “My Saved Applications” under “Grant Applicant” in the menu on the right of The Denver Foundation’s Grant Application Portal.

The required attachments are noted in the Colorado Common Grant Application. There are some additional requirements that are listed in the Community Grants Program 2018 Guidelines for Nonprofits.

Attachments are accepted in PDF format only.

Narrative questions are limited to 3,000 characters. There is a character counter showing your progress toward the limit.

In the application for the Community Grants Program, you will be able to indicate that your application is for only one objective area or for more than one objective area.

You should progress through the application page by page from start to finish. Your answers to questions in each section determine the questions you will see in the next section. Avoid skipping around to different sections of the application.

Only basic registration information such as contact information will be stored for future applications.

If you run into a problem, please email our grants team or call 303.300.1790 and ask to speak with a grants manager.

Once you create a profile you may request to associate your account with multiple organizations by going to “My Profile” in the menu on the right of the portal. Please keep in mind, an Organization Admin must register the nonprofit and then approve your request.

Review Process

The site visit is an opportunity for The Denver Foundation to develop a deeper understanding of your organization and your proposal after the initial stage of the review process. The assigned program officer or consultant will get a chance to meet you face-to-face and discuss your organization’s programs, staffing, financial situation, board of directors, etc. It is also an opportunity for you to bring your organization “to life” in a way that just doesn’t happen in a proposal. While program officers necessarily ask a lot of questions, we strive to have the site visit be a two-way exchange of information. Site visits generally last about 1.5 hours.

Not necessarily, since funding depends on many factors. It just means that your organization will have two individuals who know its work well, rather than one, at the meeting at which funding is decided.

Too many people can overwhelm or slow down a site visit. We recommend having no more than three or four people. Your program officer will make suggestions about who you might include, such as a board member or a program participant who can provide a valuable perspective on your work. Someone else from the Foundation may accompany an Impact officer, such as another staff member that will be reviewing your proposal, a committee member, or a donor. If this is the case, the program officer will let you know who else will be coming.

You are the expert about your organization, so you will probably be able to answer most questions with little difficulty. We recommend you re-read your proposal and have it available during the site visit. Try to imagine what kind of questions you would ask if you were just learning about your organization. Some staff or consultants develop a list of questions that they will forward to you before the site visit, but there are always questions that arise spontaneously during the discussion.

A site visit is not a test, it’s a discussion designed to help inform decisions related to grants and to learn from one another regarding a specific area of work. If there is information you don’t have readily available during the site visit, it can be supplied later.

Don't see your question?

Ask it here. Email our grants team or give us a call at 303.300.1790

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