Colorado RISE Education Fund

The COVID-19 crisis has had an enormous impact operationally, educationally, and economically on our P-12 school districts, charter schools, and institutions of higher education, as well as students, parents and families. In particular, students who already faced challenges, including low-income students, minority students, English learners, students with disabilities, students experiencing food or housing insecurity, or system-involved students such as those in foster care risk falling further behind or dropping out entirely in the absence of targeted support. In addition, schools and institutions of higher education are facing significant budget cuts and must innovate to respond to these cuts, while maintaining or improving quality, filling learning gaps, and preparing for partial or full remote schooling in the fall.

In order to address these challenges and promote innovation, Colorado will accept applications for grants for the $32.7 million Response, Innovation, and Student Equity (RISE) Education Fund sponsored through federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Funds to address the learning challenges related to the economic, social, and health impacts of COVID-19. Applicants can pursue awards between $250,000 and $4,000,000, depending on the size of the applicant, number of children served, and quality of the application. Funds are available for use by September 30, 2022.

You can find the full application here and the rubric here

Find Frequently Asked Questions here.

Eligible applicants include:

  • School districts (on behalf of all schools or particular schools) or BOCES 
  • Charter School Institute (CSI)
  • Charter schools
  • Public degree-granting institutions of higher education (or systems)
  • Federally-recognized Tribes 
  • Early childhood councils 
  • Consortia of such entities

Other organizations may partner with an eligible applicant, including: 

  • Non-profit or community-based organizations 
  • Early childhood providers
  • Local government entities
  • Employers or workforce partners

Priority will be given to proposals that: 

  • serve a rural community; or
  • propose to serve schools or districts with priority improvement or turnaround plan types, and
  • address significant academic gaps between students based on income, race or ethnic group, status as an English learner, or disability status.  

Key Dates:

Funds are anticipated to be awarded in two rounds: 

  • 1st Grant Application Deadline: October 17, 2020 at 5 pm MT

Grant awards will be announced by November 6, 2020 

  • 2nd Grant Application Deadline: December 19, 2020 at 5 pm MT

Grant awards will be announced by January 22, 2021

Planning and Design Support 

To ensure the fund reaches a diversity of geographies across the state, the Gates Family Foundation (GFF) is partnering with the Colorado Governor’s Office and Gary Community Investments (GCI) to provide resources and design support and assistance to those interested in applying for the second grant deadline of December 19, 2020.  This support is intended to help applicants score high on the RISE Education Fund criteria by giving them more time to develop their initiatives, build capacity through small planning grants, and work with strategic design partners to strengthen their applications. You can find the full application for Planning and Design Support here. Please submit completed applications to by September 30, 2020 by 5pm for review. If you are interested in supporting applicants as a Design Partner, please complete this survey by September 25, 2020 by 5pm.

Contact Information:

Please contact with any questions or contact the following staff listed below.

Alana Plaus, Policy Advisor |

Round One Winners

Governor Polis announced the recipients of round one on November 10. The winners include Fort Lewis College, Lake County School District, Academy of Advanced Learning and Coperni 2&3, University of Northern Colorado, Peyton School District, Silverton School Districts, Elizabeth School District, Montrose County School District RE-1J, Centennial School District R-1, Clear Creek School District, Charter School Institute, Metro State University of Denver, and Centennial BOCES.

Click here for more details on the winners. Congratulations! 

Round Two Winners

Governor Polis announced the recipients of round two on January 25. The winners include St. Vrain Valley Schools, Plateau Valley High School, Adams State University, Hayden School District, Montezuma Cortez School District RE-1, Northeastern Junior College, West Grand School District, Bennett School District 29J, Academy 360 Charter School, Charter School Innovation Consortium, Campo School District RE-6, Colorado Mountain College, Park County School District RE-2, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Adams County School District 14, Cripple Creek-Victor School District,New Legacy Charter School, Santa Fe Trail BOCES, and Pueblo Community College.

Click here for more details on the winners. Congratulations!