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Types of Funding

Capital Improvement/Purchase

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.

Emergency Loans

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).

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.

Project/Program Support

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.

Technical Assistance

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.

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 corporations with philanthropic arms which distribute funds to nonprofit organizations in Colorado and across the country.

Government Agencies

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 organizations or programs which provide (generally low interest) loans to nonprofit organizations in the state of Colorado.

National Foundations

These are foundations which distribute funds to nonprofit organizations across the nation, including in the state of Colorado.

Pre-Select Foundations

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 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).