Where You Give

The Denver Foundation

The Foundation's 2017 numbers reflect generosity and a diversity of interest.

Where do Denver Foundation donors give? The answer to that question is as varied as our donors themselves, according to the Foundation’s 2017 Annual Report. 

Released in early August, the report reflects giving among Denver Foundation fundholders as deep, broad, and generous. In 2017, donor-advised fundholders awarded 3,068 grants, for a total of $48.3 million. 

As in years past, donor-advised giving and the Foundation’s own areas of focus for grantmaking were deeply complementary. Fundholders focused the majority of their giving in areas of Education, Community Improvement, and Basic Human Needs, all three of which align with community grantmaking priorities of The Fund for Denver. 

Education grants from fundholders totaled $12 million, up from $5.5 million in 2016. These included gifts to K-12 schools, colleges and universities, as well as after-school programs, arts education, and early childhood education programs. The Foundation’s 2017 Education grantmaking focused on improving school readiness for young children, and student engagement, academic achievement, and equitable learning for K-12 students. 

Denver Foundation donors’ commitment to education was also evident in $4 million in scholarships, equaling nearly 1,100 awards. These scholarships helped high school and college students, as well as educators, professionals, and others, attend 73 schools. 

Fundholders invested more than $10 million in Community Improvement, which includes economic initiatives, public safety, civil rights, and advocacy, and disaster response and preparedness, among many others. In 2016, giving to Community Improvement was $4 million. 

In the category of Basic Human Needs, which encompasses food and housing insecurity, employment, and human services, fundholders direct $8.8 million in grants, up from $4.3 million in 2016. Again, this giving complemented the Foundation’s own 2017 grantmaking in the area of Basic Human Needs, which supported organizations working on issues of food and housing insecurity, homelessness, domestic violence, and lack of access to basic medial care. 

Fundholders granted an additional $17.2 across the five categories of Health ($5.2 million), Animals and Environment ($3.3 million), Religious Institutions ($3.1 million), Youth ($3.1 million), and Arts, Culture, and Humanities ($2.5 million). 

Most of these dollars remained closed to home. Nearly 90 percent of all donor-advised gifts were made to organizations in Colorado. Of those gifts, the majority went to organizations based in Metro Denver. 

In total, The Denver Foundation and its donors gave away $66 million in 2017 through donor-advised grants, directed grants, field of interest funds, The Fund for Denver, and other investments. Through the Community Grants Program, the Foundation distributed $4.8 million to scores of nonprofit community organizations working in the four core focus areas of Basic Human Needs, Economic Opportunity, Education, and Leadership & Equity. 

These numbers are up 30 percent from 2016, an increase that can be tied to several large gifts from individual funds as well as two factors that sparked trends in philanthropy nationwide: an improving economy, and an energized philanthropic environment, spurred in part by current events in the United States. 

These impressive numbers reflect the generosity and engagement of philanthropic people in Metro Denver and beyond.

  • Collective Impact