2017 Risk Capital Fund


Square Product Theatre


The resiliency of Boulder’s cultural organizations, businesses, and creative professionals is enhanced by their ability to innovate and take risks. Too often do pioneering ideas get sacrificed as cultural leaders deal with day-to-day operations and tight budgets. The goal of the Risk Capital Fund is to provide risk capital: the bump in funding needed for taking bold moves on organizational management and strategic planning, new ways of using technology, and projects that open doors to untapped resources and audiences.  


An ideal project funded by the Risk Capital Grant will not be a part of an organizations regular programming.  In fact, it will look much different: an experiment on new ways of doing business.  Below are a few examples of great projects that can serve as models:

  • Big, new endeavors. The Jaipur Literature Festival @Boulder. This is an example of a new project which brings internationally acclaimed authors to Boulder for a free festival of literature … “rich with words and ideas, the Festival invites us to join together in examining the human experience through the reflections and imaginations of distinguished contemporary authors from around the world.”
    Also Colorado Art Tank.  Awarded by Bonfils Stanton foundation, this is a grantmaking program that will make strategic investments in Colorado’s best arts-based entrepreneurial ventures.
  • Cross organization collaborations. One Action 2016: Arts + Immigration Project. This arts-based campaign pulls together cultural arts, immigrant serving and educational organization for a countywide collaboration which “fosters conversation on both historic and contemporary issues of immigration.”
  • Internal management Improvements. Central City Opera. Awarded by Bonfils Stanton Foundation to this opera company to purchase a web-delivered ticketing software program.
  • New technology pilot. Colorado Symphony Association. Awarded by Bonfils Stanton Foundation, a grant to support the Virtual Concert Hall pilot project.

Total Funds: $30,000
Details: As a “fund”, there is no specific dollar amount or set number of grants.  Rather, this is considered a pool of funding which can be mobilized for the best proposals.
Cycle: Annually.

Eligibility Criteria

  • General Eligibility. Meets all general eligibility requirements.
  • Open to All. Anyone may apply once the general eligibility guidelines are met, including individuals, artists, non-profit organizations, organizations with pending non-profit status, fiscally sponsored organizations and for-profit organizations with a community focus. Organizations not headquartered in Boulder may be considered, though organizations headquartered in Boulder or focused on Boulder programming will be given preference.
  • Service Area and Programming. Must be able to demonstrate that a majority of the organization’s programming takes place in the City of Boulder and that the programming meets the criteria described in the Chapter 14-1-2 of the City of Boulder Revised Code.
  • Projects must take place after the grant funding decision and be completed by June 30, 2018.

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated and scored based on the following criteria:

  • Value of the Experiment (8 points possible). Do the goals and desired outcomes promise to have real and positive impact on the organization, their audience, or the community?
  • Organized and Strategic Approach (8 points possible). Does the proposal have a realistic plan, capacities, resources, timeline, and budget?  Does the organization have the capacity and organizational health to take on this experiment?
  • Community Priorities (8 points possible).  Does the project described align with the stated community priorities for culture found in the Community Cultural Plan?
  • Evaluation (8 points possible).  Do the plans for data collection, measurement of success, and interpretation seem reasonable and accurate?
  • Boulder Focus (4 points possible). Is the applicant a Boulder-based organization/individual?  Or, are they serving Boulder from a headquarters outside the city?  To what degree do they focus on Boulder programming?
  • Equitable Use of Funds (4 points possible).  Has the applicant already received funds this cycle?  Does the organization represent a community, in leadership or audience, that is typically underserved by grants of this type?

The full scoring rubric for the Community Project Grant can be found through this link.


Applications for 2017 Risk Capital Grants are now closed. Awarded proposals can be found on this page. Check back in winter 2017 for the new deadlines.

More Information

Risk Capital Fund Guidelines  / Process
General Eligibility Requirements
2017 Grant Application Schedule, General Guidelines & Process
Grant FAQs