For more than four decades, Aspen Community Foundation has been addressing the diverse and changing needs of the Aspen to Parachute region through annual discretionary funding. Each year, approximately $2 million is raised and disbursed. This funding is made possible by annual contributions from donors wishing to support a pooled grantmaking fund including individuals and families, businesses, foundations, and donor advised funds.
Aspen Community Foundation discretionary grantmaking is made up of three primary investment areas:
Community Grantmaking - providing general operating and program-specific grants to nonprofits working in the areas of early childhood education, K-12 education support and youth development, family support, and essential human services.
Scholarships - helping students in need reach their postsecondary goals. ACF holds 10 funds that provide tuition assistance to graduating high school seniors and returning college students. These funds help students from diverse backgrounds with varying college and career paths, including first generation college attendees, low-income students, and those pursuing technical certification.
Direct Assistance - helping those on the edge of financial hardship afford essential services such as housing, food, transportation and health care.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible for a grant?
ACF welcomes grant inquiries from tax exempt organizations that benefit communities from Aspen to Parachute, CO. Included in our service area are Pitkin and Garfield counties and portions of Eagle County in the Roaring Fork Valley. If you have any question about area eligibility please contact us at 970.925.9300.
I’m not a nonprofit organization; I’m just a person who needs some extra help. Can I apply for a grant?
ACF makes grants to qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. We are unable to award grants to directly to individuals. ACF offers four direct assistance programs through which case managers may apply for financial assistance on behalf of their clients. If you need help with food, rent, utility, medical, or other basic necessities, please contact Western Colorado 2-1-1 for information on resources available in our community. Dial 2-1-1 on your telephone or visit http://www.wc211.mesacounty.us/. ACF also offers college scholarships, which are awarded directly to the educational institution on behalf of the student. If you are a student, please refer to our scholarships page for more information.
Does my organization need a 501 (c)(3) from the IRS before I can apply for funds?
Your organization or your fiscal agent must have a 501(c)(3) designation or be a public educational institution or be a government agency. ACF does not generally support organizations primarily supported by tax-derived funding unless funding supports a new program that is outside of the organization’s operating budget.
Does my organization have to be located in your service area?
No. However, the project must enhance the quality of life in communities from Aspen to Parachute, CO.
Does ACF fund classrooms in the Aspen, Roaring Fork, RE-2 and District 16 school districts?
ACF works with the superintendents of each school district to prioritize and request funds for programming in the schools. If you are seeking funding for your classroom, please contact your superintendent.
Does the foundation fund faith-based organizations?
ACF may fund faith-based organizations but does not fund projects of a religious nature or projects that require participation in a religious activity as a condition for receiving services.
We are not a 501(c)(3) organization, may we use a fiscal agent to apply for funding?
Do you fund new organizations?
Yes, as long as you have the 501(c)(3) designation and comply with all of our grant requirements.
Does ACF fund local offices, chapters or affiliates of national organizations?
Yes. Examples of national organizations receiving funding in recent years are Catholic Charities and Planned Parenthood.
How Do I Apply for Funding
What is the process for applying for a grant from Aspen Community Foundation?
To initiate a request of ACF a qualifying application must be submitted. The qualifying application, which is available in April, can be accessed through the Apply for a Grant - Nonprofit Organizations page of our website. After submission of a qualifying application, a meeting may be requested with your Executive Director and Board Chair to learn more about your organization and services. A determination will be made regarding whether your organization is invited to submit a full application for funding. If invited, you will be asked to log in where a link to the online application for funding will be provided.
Does the foundation have submission deadlines for grants?
Yes. Qualifying applications are available in April. If you are invited to submit a full application, those are typically due in June. Funding decisions are announced in October.
Can I meet with a program officer in person before submitting a grant?
Due to the volume of requests it is not possible for staff to meet individually with each organization prior to submitting a qualifying application.
Who decides which applications are awarded grants?
After thorough review by program staff, funding recommendations are presented to ACF’s Board of Directors. ACF’s Board of Directors makes the final decision regarding all grant awards.
If I know members of the foundation’s board of trustees, staff or a donor, does it increase the likelihood that my proposal will be funded if I contact them?
No. The ACF Board requests that individual members not be lobbied.
How are grant applicants notified if they were awarded a grant?
All applicants submitting a qualifying application will be notified within approximately four weeks whether they have been invited to submit a full application for funding. Those nonprofits submitting a full application for funding will be notified in October regarding the final status of their application including a grant agreement to be signed if a grant is awarded.
Will I need to submit reports?
Yes. Staff will communicate reporting requirements at the appropriate time.
What size grants does ACF generally make? How much money should I request?
ACF generally grants amounts in the range of $10,000 – $50,000. ACF asks that you request the amount you need for the specific program or project for which you want funding.
What sort of programs does the Foundation’s Community Grant Program support?
ACF typically provides operating and programmatic support for nonprofits working in the areas of youth development, family supports, basic human needs and emergency assistance.
Does ACF only fund large organizations … or only small organizations?
There is not a “right” size organization. ACF funds organizations of all sizes, budgets, and reaches. An organization’s capacity to raise funds does factor into our decision.
If my organization has received grants in the past, are there limitations to how many years we can receive grants?
No. However, past funding does not guarantee future grants.
Does the Foundation make multi-year grants?
Not usually. ACF fundraises annually for its grantmaking dollars and is therefore only able to award grants based upon current resources available.