Editor's note: This article was revised and updated on 9/3/2021.
Colorado is home to over a dozen community foundations that focus on specific geographic regions of the state. One of these is the Aspen Community Foundation (ACF), which has offices in the towns of Basalt and Aspen. Here are a few specifics to keep in mind when approaching ACF.
ACF’s Service Area
The reach of ACF extends along an 80-mile corridor along the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers. The service area is about 4,000 square miles and encompasses two counties, part of a third county, four school districts, and 14 communities. The communities include Aspen, Snowmass Village, Woody Creek, Basalt, El Jebel, Carbondale, Redstone, Marble, Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Silt, Rifle, Battlement Mesa, and Parachute.
Overall, this is a region where many working-class families struggle to get by while employed in the businesses that serve local tourism from the ski and other resorts. This is an area of tremendous wealth disparity, educational achievement gaps, and very limited services for low-income families. The region is home to about 20,000 children, which are of particular interest to ACF.
Areas of Interest
There are several major areas of interest for ACF based upon its commitment to closing wealth and achievement gaps in the Aspen region of Colorado. Discretionary grantmaking is split up into three focuses: community grantmaking, scholarships and direct assistance. ACF interests over the years have included youth development family support, basic human needs, and emergency assistance. However, children are the primary targets of this funder’s grantmaking.
Large, small, and mid-size organizations of all budgets and reaches are supported by ACF in its grant cycles. There are good opportunities here for brand-new foundations too.
Grants are Between $10,000 and $50,000
ACF has been providing nonprofit grants for over three decades to address a variety of community needs. Community grants come in the form of both programmatic and general operating grants to groups working in ACF’s fields of interest. Almost all of these grants are between $10,000 and $50,000 each. Also, almost all grants are for a single year—ACF rarely commits to multiyear support.
Unsolicited Requests are Welcome
Fortunately for local grantseekers in this part of Colorado, you can access the qualifying application starting in April and submit that initial inquiry form online. The executive director and board chair may request a meeting after reviewing a submission to learn more about an organization and its services. At that point, ACF may request a full application, which is also to be submitted online. Full applications are due in June, and funding decisions come in October.