The Gates Family Foundation will not be accepting capital grant applications for the April 1, 2016 deadline.  The Foundation will be focusing on updating its strategic plan.  Please contact the capital grants program officer, Lisa Rucker, if you have any questions regarding this change.

Please note this online application is for capital grant request submission only.  The Gates Family Foundation application deadlines are January 15, April 1, July 1, and October 1.  Please review the following information carefully prior to filling out an application for a grant from the Gates Family Foundation.



  • Applicants must be classified by the Internal Revenue Service as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (the "Code"), classified as public charities under section 509(a)(1) or 509(a)(2) of the Code, and be able to provide tax-exempt documentation issued within the last five years. In limited circumstances, the Foundation also considers grant requests from governmental entities.
  • Capital grant requests are generally not considered until commitments for approximately 30% of the funds needed to complete the project are in place.
  • Grant support is generally confined to organizations that provide services benefiting the state of Colorado and its citizens.
  • Wherever possible, the Foundation seeks to invest its funds in organizations that address root problems with substantive solutions.
  • The Foundation places importance on sound management of an applying organization, including effective leadership of the organization's board that fully supports the project in question.
  • The Foundation expects evidence of strong support for the project from the community.
  • Applicant organizations should incorporate green building and sustainable development practices into their projects whenever possible.


Although the Gates Family Foundation reviews each proposal separately, it generally does not:

  • Grant funds for general operating or program expenses unless initiated by the Foundation.
  • Provide loans, grants, scholarships, or camperships to individuals.
  • Grant funds for projects that have been substantially completed prior to the next trustees' meeting.
  • Grant funds for conferences, meetings, or studies that are not initiated by the Foundation.
  • Consider more than one proposal from an organization in a calendar year unless initiated by the Foundation, and does not reconsider previously denied proposals.
  • Grant funds to other private foundations or organizations engaged in grant making.
  • Grant funds to retire operating or construction debt.
  • Grant funds for the purchase of vehicles.
  • Grant funds to purchase office or computer equipment unless they are part of a comprehensive capital campaign.
  • Grant funds directly to individual public schools or public school districts unless initiated by the Foundation.
  • Grant funds for medical research or grant funds for the construction of major medical facilities.
  • Purchase tickets for fundraising dinners, parties, benefits, balls, or other social fundraising events.
  • Support religious organizations or activities.
  • Schedule interviews with the Foundation trustees unless the trustees initiate the meeting.
  • Grant funds for political or lobbying activities.
  • Grant funds to supporting organizations described in section 509(a)(3), other than a Type I, Type II or functionally-integrated Type III supporting organization of which is not (and the supported organization of which is not) directly or indirectly controlled by a disqualified person of either the Foundation or a family fund.
  • Grant funds to foreign organizations.


You will be required to upload or attach documents to your application.  These documents must already be saved on your computer before you can browse and upload them to your application.  Documents that are requested ca be in Word, Excel, PDF, or JPG  format.


  1. The first time you apply online, you will be prompted to create an account using an e-mail address and a password. Your organization should create only ONE account and password to be shared by persons in your organization responsible for submitting grant requests.  Passwords should contain between 5 – 25 characters. This account will contain copies of your in-progress and/or submitted applications, which you can access at any time.
  2. Please save the confirmation e-mails reminding you of the e-mail and password you used to create your account and the link to access your account (to return to your saved application or to view your submitted application). Be sure cookies are enabled on your internet browser.
  3. You may copy and paste from other documents into fields, as needed.
  4. You may spell check your entries by clicking the red check mark to the right of the field.
  5. You will be required to upload or attach documents to your application. File size should not exceed 20mb.  These documents must already be saved on your computer before you can browse and upload them to your application. Documents that are requested can be in Word, Excel, PDF or JPG format.
  6. Verify that the information is correct. Once your application has been submitted, you will NOT have an opportunity to make changes or include attachments.
  7. Add the following e-mail address to your address book and approved senders list to ensure that you receive our automated e-mails:
  8. Gates Family Foundation Foundation uses MicroEdge GIFTS© software for our online applications. You are not able to work in more than one application that uses the MicroEdge GIFTS© software at the same time, even if the applications are for different Grantors. The software allows you to save only one application if multiple applications are open. You can save responses into a Word document and then cut and paste into your application from the Word document. You will know you are in a MicroEdge GIFTS© application when the webpage address begins with “”. Please log out of any other applications using this software prior to beginning or editing an application.


Board Members

Richard G. Kiely, Chair

Richard G. Kiely is President of Kiely Enterprises and has a deep interest in the future of Colorado and how philanthropy will influence Colorado’s future.  He is a practicing veterinarian focusing on Equine Medicine.

Rich earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado.  He then attended Colorado State University and graduated in 1976 with his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine.  In addition he spent three and one half years at Texas A&M University where he completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine and pursued additional graduate studies in Physiology.  He has attended the Harvard School of Business “Families in Business” program and the Wharton School of Business “Private Wealth Management” program.

In addition to his service with the Gates Family Foundation he has served on various hospital and health care boards, the Wickenburg Rural Fire District (AZ), Bear Creek Inc. a Wyoming Trust Company, the Roundup Riders of the Rockies and is on the board for the Cody Resources Management located in Denver.

He is an active pilot, scuba diver and an avid horseback rider.

Rich and his wife Sandra live in Wyoming and have two children.

Valerie Gates, Vice Chair

Motivated by a passion for balance in the natural world, Gates creates and sponsors environmental education and conservation programs nationally and internationally.   Currently, her work is focused on the protection of water resources in Colorado, with a continued interest in Colorado land conservation, and the development of leadership skills in young adults.  Large carnivore research remains a long-term investment.

Gates is an honors graduate from San Diego State where she earned her degree in finance.

In addition to the Gates Family Foundation, Gates has served on the boards of Bear Creek Inc. (a private trust company), Graland Country Day School, and is currently chairman of Gates Capital Management.

A Colorado native, Gates has two adult sons.

Doris J. Biester

Dr. Biester served as President and Chief Executive Officer at The Children’s Hospital, Denver, Colorado from July 1998 to January 2007.  Prior to assuming the position of President and Chief Executive Officer, Dori served as Senior Vice President, Director of Nursing, then as Senior Vice President/Patient Care Services, and as Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer.  During her tenure at Children’s, she created the vision and strategic direction to establish new modalities for the care of children, established professional nursing at the hospital as a national model, and provided leadership for the planning and development of a new Children’s Hospital on the Anschutz Medical Campus.  While Dori served as CEO, The Children’s Hospital was consistently ranked among the top 10 children’s hospitals by U.S. News and World Report. Most recently, Dori has held the position of Interim Director for the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus.

Dori earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Iowa, her master’s degree in pediatric nursing from the University of Wisconsin, and her doctorate degree in nursing from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

In addition to her involvement with the Gates Family Foundation, Dori serves on Rose Community Foundation’s Education Advisory Committee, and is a Board Trustee for Clayton Early Learning.

Richard F. Celeste

Dick Celeste has had a diverse and distinguished career.  In 1970, he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives from Cuyahoga County. He was subsequently elected the 55th Lieutenant Governor in 1974. President Carter appointed Celeste Director of the Peace Corps from 1979 to 1981, where he was responsible for programs in 53 countries. In 1982, Celeste was elected governor of Ohio and served as governor from 1983 to 1991. As governor, Celeste increased support for human services, mental health and addiction recovery services, funding for education, and children services including providing onsite daycare for state employees. Before the Celeste era, Ohio ranked near the bottom among states in funding for these programs. Later in his career, Celeste established the consulting firm Celeste & Sabety Ltd. in Columbus. After he served as the Director of the Democratic National Committee’s healthcare campaign in 1993, President Clinton appointed him as US Ambassador to India, a position he served in from 1997 to 2001. Celeste was inaugurated as the 12th President of Colorado College in 2002. He retired in 2011.

Celeste graduated magna cum laude from Yale University, and received a Rhodes Scholarship to attend Oxford University

Celeste is married to Jacqueline Lundquist. He has six children from a previous marriage and one child, Samuel, with Lundquist.

Lauren C. Davis

Lauren Cannon Davis joined the Foundation board in January 2016.  Lauren is part of the vibrant heart of the new Denver, while remaining steeped in the heritage of our historic city. She also brings an intimate understanding of Colorado’s mountain communities, from Evergreen to Steamboat Springs. 

Entrepreneurship is a key driver in our state’s economic and cultural emergence. Lauren is deeply invested in this movement as President of Lauren Davis Designs, an interior design firm specializing in high-end residential projects. Lauren’s path to independent business ownership was a deliberate one; she honed a particular skillset over a decade with JF Design, MDC Holdings (parent of Richmond Homes) and Colorado Expression Magazine.

Lauren is equally passionate about Colorado’s culture of giving. She serves on the Board of Directors of The Kempe Foundation and has held positions of event or committee leadership with the Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens, Susan G. Komen and the University of Denver. Lauren also serves on the Board of Managers for Gates Capital Management.

Lauren graduated from the University of Denver with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a Major in Marketing. In addition to design and philanthropy, Lauren’s interests include family, friends, travel, fitness, reading and outdoor adventure. She lives in Denver with her husband Christopher and son Charlie.

Donald M. Elliman, Jr.

After graduating from Middlebury College in 1967, Don Elliman went to work for Time, Inc. He began in the advertising sales department, was appointed President of Time Distribution Services, became Advertising Sales Director for Time International and later, Publishing Director for the same division. In 1985, Elliman was appointed Publisher of People Magazine. During his tenure the magazine was the most profitable magazine in the world. In 1991, Time, Inc. consolidated management of all its advertising sales functions into a single division, with Elliman as its President. It had some 900 employees and more than $2 billion in revenue. He also served as President and Publisher of Sports Illustrated for six years. Elliman left Sports Illustrated in 1998 to become Executive Vice President of Time, Inc. He retired from Time in 1999.

In January 2000, Elliman became CEO of Ascent Communications, owners of the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets and Pepsi Center. The company was sold to Liberty Media and then Stan Kroenke. Elliman continued as CEO, adding two additional pro sports teams and a cable channel, before retiring in 2004. From 2004-06, he focused on his role as Chair of the board of Children’s Hospital and Co-chair of the fundraising campaign for its new hospital. In 2007, Gov. Bill Ritter asked him to serve as Director of the Office of Economic Development. In 2009, the governor appointed him Chief Operating Officer of the state of Colorado. In 2011, he joined the University of Colorado as Executive Director of the Charles C. Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Biology.  He now serves as Chancellor of the University of Colorado Denver and Anschutz Medical Campus.

In addition to serving on the board of the Gates Family Foundation, Elliman serves on the governing boards of Middlebury College, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Economic Development Commission, The National Western Stock Show, and Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority.

Elliman and his wife, Mary, have four children.

Walter R. Obermeyer

Wally Obermeyer, a Colorado native, lives in Aspen and brings a Western Slope perspective to the Foundation.  He has a keen interest in the environment, education and economics.

Wally is President of Obermeyer Asset Management Company, an investment advisory firm that manages approximately $800 million for clients residing in roughly 40 states. For five consecutive years, the firm has been recognized in Barron’s list of the Top 100 Independent Financial Advisors.

Wally also serves on the board of his family’s ski wear business and is the president of a hydroelectric generation company.

In addition to his service as a trustee for the Gates Family Foundation, Wally is a trustee for the Aspen Buddy Program and, until recently, served as president of the Aspen Valley Land Trust’s board.

Wally earned his bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from Harvard College and his master’s in business administration from Harvard Business School.

Wally is married to Helen Ward.  He has two sons, a daughter and two step-daughters. His passions include fly fishing and aviation.

Staff Members

Rennie and Boo
Thomas A. Gougeon, President
Tom Gougeon has served as the President of the Gates Family Foundation since August of 2010. Prior to Gates, Tom was a Principal and the Chief Development Officer for Continuum Partners (2000-2010), a developer and operator of mixed use urban real estate projects. Tom worked extensively on the Belmar redevelopment project in Lakewood, CO and the Union Station transit hub in central Denver among others. Tom also served as the Executive Director of the W.M.B. Berger Foundation (1997-2000), the CEO of the Stapleton Redevelopment Foundation (1991-1996) and as Assistant to the Mayor of the City and County of Denver (1983-1991). While in the Mayor’s office Tom was responsible for activities in the areas of budget and finance, planning, community development, infrastructure and liaison with the state and federal governments. Tom was heavily involved in the development of Denver International Airport and had direct oversight of the project from 1987-1990. Tom also worked as an Associate in the Industrial Economics Division of the Denver Research Institute, as a policy analyst at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and on the staff of U.S. Senator Gary Hart. Tom has served on the boards of numerous community organizations including The Nature Conservancy, Denver Civic Ventures, the Urban Land Conservancy, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, the Piton Foundation, Neighborhood Housing Services, the Stapleton Foundation, Preservation Action, A+ Denver, the Denver Urban Renewal Authority and the Denver Water Board. Tom has a BA in Economics and Political Science from the University of Denver and a MCRP from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.
Beth H. Conover, Senior Vice President for Natural Resources and Community Development
Contact for information on Natural Resources, Rural Communities, and Urbanism Initiatives
Senior Vice President – Natural Resources, Rural Communities and Urbanism Beth Conover has worked for over twenty-five years at the intersection of environmental protection and economic development. She is a senior vice president with the Foundation, leading its initiated grant making for natural resources, rural communities and smarter, greener, healthier urbanism. As policy advisor to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper from 2003-2007, she was the architect of Greenprint Denver, one of the nation’s earliest and largest urban sustainability programs, and helped lay the groundwork for the greening of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. Beth worked for the Stapleton Redevelopment Foundation and the Stapleton Development Corporation from 1994-1998 as Director of Parks and Programs. Conover also worked in Zimbabwe, southern Africa from 1989-91 on a community forestry initiative, and was a consultant in private practice for 9 years, helping public, private and non-profit clients with strategic planning and program and policy development. Beth is a native of Denver, a graduate of Brown University and holds a joint MBA/Masters of Environmental Studies from Yale University. She is author/editor of How the West Was Warmed: Responding to Climate Change in the Rockies, a collection of over 40 essays by leading journalists and policy makers (Fulcrum Press, 2009), and author of Trees for Zimbabwe: An Illustrated Guide for Teachers (ENDA-Zimbabwe, 1991). Beth has served on numerous boards, including those for the Colorado Youth Corps Association, the Sand Creek Regional Greenway, Conservation Colorado, the Africa Schools Assistance Project and the Beim Family Foundation in Minneapolis, MN. She is a recipient of the University of Colorado Wirth Chair Sustainability Award (2008).
Laia C. Mitchell, Program Associate
Contact for information on Natural Resources, Rural Communities, and Urbanism Initiatives
Laia Mitchell joined the Gates Family Foundation in April of 2015, and works in the areas of Natural Resources, Rural Communities and Smarter, Greener, Healthier Urbanism. Laia has twelve years of experience, largely in the nonprofit sector. From 2003 to 2006, Laia lived in northern Spain, where she worked with organic farmers with support from a Fulbright grant. She also served as an English language teacher and tutor. More recently, she worked as a vocational rehabilitation specialist in Florida and as a shelter and program manager/caseworker for the Emergency Family Assistance Association in Boulder, CO. Laia graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Anthropology and Political Science from the University of Florida, and received her Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Colorado, Denver in May of 2015. While pursuing her graduate degree, Laia served in a number of research assistant and intern roles with organizations including the Mile High Business Alliance, the Piton Foundation/Gary Community Investments, the Public Works Department of the City and County of Denver and Mile High Connects. She also provided staff support to the DRCOG Sustainable Communities Initiative analyzing transit oriented development options at rail station sites and conducted research on livable streets in ten Denver neighborhoods on behalf of the Department of Urban Planning at the University of Colorado, Denver.
Forrest Bluebador
Mary Seawell, Senior Vice President for Education
Contact for information on P-12 Education Initiative
Mary Seawell leads work on education initiatives, particularly in the areas of innovations in governance and delivery of public education services, rural school innovation, public policy and strategies for expanding the pipeline of excellent school leaders and teachers. Mary has served previously as the Executive Director of the Sturm Family Foundation and the Judith Ann Griese Foundation. She has also served as a Director and member of the Grantmaking Committee for the Charles T. Beaird Foundation, and a board member and Chair of the Grantmaking Committee for the Chinook Fund. From 1993 to 2003 she worked in various capacities at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Denver District Attorney’s Office. Mary also worked for Get Smart Schools developing an MBA program at the University of Denver for autonomous school leaders. Mary has served on numerous community boards including the Odyssey School, the Denver Language School, The Lab at Belmar, Bluff Lake Nature Center and Rape Assistance and Awareness Program. Mary was elected to the Denver Public Schools Board of Education in 2009 and served as its President from 2011-2013. Mary is a graduate of American University (Print Journalism and Philosophy) and has a law degree from the University of Denver College of Law. She also studied Literature at Cambridge University in Cambridge, England.
Lucy and Layla
Rebecca Holmes, Senior Program Officer
Senior Program Officer
Rebecca joined the Gates staff in October of 2015. Prior to Gates, Rebecca was the Associate Commissioner for Innovation, Choice, and Engagement at the Colorado Department of Education. Her areas of responsibility included leading Next Generation Learning initiatives, identifying areas for innovation aimed at preparing students for learning, work, and life in the 21st century while also supporting systems-level innovation activities at the district and state levels. Additionally, she oversaw the state’s work in postsecondary readiness, dropout prevention, student engagement, health and wellness, and adult education. Prior to CDE, Rebecca was the CEO of KIPP Colorado Schools, a network of public charter schools serving over 90% low-income students. Rebecca began her career as a teacher at Wyatt-Edison Charter School in Denver’s Cole neighborhood and then as a Fellow and Program Director at El Pomar Foundation in Colorado Springs. She also has private sector experience as a Senior Consultant with Deloitte Consulting, where she worked with a variety of clients on change management, talent strategies, and organization design. Rebecca is a Denver native, a graduate of Yale University and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. Rebecca’s extensive community volunteer activities have included the Philanthropy Committee of the Colorado Health Foundation, Fellowship Alumni Trustee for El Pomar Foundation, founding board member of the Colorado Student Leadership Institute, founding board member for STRIVE Prep (formerly West Denver Prep), Habitat for Humanity Africa team leader and board member and program chair for Denver Urban Scholars. Rebecca is also a trained at-risk youth facilitator.
Abigail Schaller, Education Pioneers Graduate Fellow
Abby joined the Foundation staff in September of 2015 as part of a 12-month Education Pioneers Graduate Fellowship assignment. In her role with the Foundation, Abby works with the Gates education staff, providing analytical and other support to a variety of projects. A primary element of Abby’s work is assisting the Foundation with development of a more rigorous system for defining and tracking relevant metrics to assess the impact of the Foundation’s investments in the public education sector. Abby has worked as a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs. She also served as a Summer Research Assistant in 2014 for the Jefferson County School District, supporting the collection, reporting, analysis and interpretation of data to inform curricular and instructional decision-making. Previously Abby worked as a Research Assistant for the Klein Buendel firm in Golden, CO and as a Program Assistant (Americorp member) for an activity and employment center for adults with developmental disabilities in Tacoma, WA. Abby has a BA in Sociology from the University of Puget Sound and a MA in Public Administration from the University of Colorado Denver.
Lisa Rucker, Program Officer/Grants Manager
Contact for information on Capital Grants
Lisa Rucker joined the Foundation in April of 2014. She is the primary Foundation staff for the capital grants program, and oversees the Foundation’s grants management system. Lisa was most recently a Program Officer/Grant Administrator for the Anschutz Foundation from 2009 to 2014. In that role she performed staff review and analysis of proposals and was responsible for the Anschutz Foundation’s grants management system. Prior to Anschutz, Lisa worked for a developer of senior living communities, Siemens Building Technologies and Farmers Insurance. Lisa has a degree in Business Administration from Towson University in Maryland, with a concentration in Marketing.
Carol A. Menard, Office and Assistant Grants Manager
Carol Menard joined the Foundation in 1998. She serves as office manager, coordinator of information technology services, provides grants management staffing for the family funds housed at the Foundation and supports the Foundation’s overall grants management activities. Prior to Gates, Carol worked as an administrative assistant for Gates Capital Management. From 1989 to 1998, she served as a purchasing assistant and inventory control manager for a private business in Denver.
Christina H. Turissini, Comptroller
Christina Turissini is Comptroller of the Foundation, having been hired in February, 1976 to oversee its financial affairs. She is responsible for all financial management, accounting and investment management activities at the Foundation, as well as all compliance and reporting obligations. Christina was brought on board along with former Executive Director Chuck Froelicher who she worked for at Colorado Academy during his final year there, to assist in ensuring that the Foundation be operated in accordance with the complicated tax rules enacted by Congress in 1969. As a native Scot, from a naval family, educated at a private religious boarding school in Scotland, and having also lived in France and Spain for almost three years, learning both languages and working and studying during that time, she brings a different perspective to the workplace on life and work on both continents. Personal interests currently revolve around developing subtlety and finesse in equestrian activities with her two horses, pursuing excellence and creativity in photography, and enjoying a rural lifestyle in Indian Hills.