Who Created the Grand Foundation and What Does It Fund in Colorado?


Colorado is a hub for philanthropy in the Southwest region of the U.S., with a diverse mix of family foundations, corporate givers and community foundations. While some Colorado funders focus their giving on the entire state, others have a more local focus, at times keeping most of their giving within one particular county.

For example, the Grand Foundation serves Grand County, Colorado and has a significant presence in the outdoor adventure towns of Fraser and Winter Park. To help local grantseekers get to know this funder better, here are some details about the Grand Foundation and how to approach it for support.

Background on the Grand Foundation

The history of the Grand Foundation dates back to 1996, when it was known as the Columbine Community Foundation. Jerry Groswold, CEO of the Winter Park Resort, was initially the driving force behind the foundation and funded its activities from the proceeds of the sale of transferable ski and golf passes. The funder adopted its current name in 2001 to reflect its broadened geographical range, which extends throughout the county from Kremmling to Grand Lake and Winter Park.

Interest areas

There are five primary interest areas at the Grand Foundation. The largest is health and human services — the funder has awarded well over $2 million for these causes. Past health and human services grantees include Colorado West Mental Health, Fraser Valley Seniors and the Grand County Housing Authority.

The second-largest interest area is education. The foundation has awarded nearly $1.5 million for education causes, with grants going to the Community Alliance for Libraries & Museums, Eternal Hills Christian Preschool and Colorado Mountain College.

Seeing as this foundation got its start with funds from the outdoor recreation industry, sports is also an important cause for the Grand Foundation. Sports-related grantees include Flying Heels Arena and the Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District. To a lesser extent, the Grand Foundation also supports environmental groups and arts and culture nonprofits.

Annual grant cycle

A big opportunity for grantseekers at the Grand Foundation is its annual grants program, which typically opens up in late February and has a deadline in early March. The foundation offers traditional annual grants and emergency grants, but it also manages designated and donor-advised funds that are more accessible than you might expect. In a recent grantmaking year, the foundation awarded over $3.7 million in total grants.

Accessible foundation funds

At many community foundations, donor-advised funds are somewhat mysterious and inaccessible. However, there are several donor-advised funds at the Grand Foundation that are transparent and welcome unsolicited applications. These include the funds of the Board County Commissioners and the Town of Winter Park, the Opportunity for Youth Fund, ROSH Fund, Town of Grand Lake Fund and Windy Gap Environmental Fund.

There are also designated funds that local nonprofits can directly apply to, including the following: Blue Valley Ranch Youth Fund, Brammer Family Fund, Competition Center Athlete Support Fund, East Grand Education Foundation Fund, G.A.P. Fund for Youth, Grand County Housing Assistance Fund, Middle Park High School Student Philanthropy Fund and Winter Park Housing Assistance Fund.

Applying for a grant

The process of applying for a Grand Foundation grant is straightforward because the funder makes the required forms available online and updates deadlines regularly. Learn more about the Grand Foundation in IP’s full profile of this funder, and check out IP’s Colorado funding guide for information about other grantmakers giving in the state.