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Colorado Announces Our First Round RISE Fund Winners

Gary Community Investments was honored to partner with Governor Polis and the Gates Family Foundation to create a first-in-the country competitive grant fund we called the Response, Innovation, and Student Equity (RISE) Fund, that used $32.7 million in federal funds from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, to support high-needs school districts, charter schools, and public institutions of higher education in creating sustainable innovations to improve student learning, close equity gaps, and enhance operational efficiency for pre-K-12 through higher education.

Our CEO, Mike Johnston, was honored to chair the RISE Fund selection committee, and saw incredible inspiration, dedication and innovation from all 86 first-round applicants.

Today, with the Governor, we announced the first round winners! Check out the first round of community-designed projects that will launch the innovations we hope will build models for the rest of the country to follow:

  • Centennial BOCES: $482,091 for a partnership between the Immigrant and Refugee Center of Northern Colorado, UNC,  and CSU to improve student and family outcomes for migrant families. 

  • Fort Lewis College: $3,607,096 for the Southwest Colorado District Collaborative, a partnership between Pueblo Community College and Southwest CO school districts to pool resources and build strong postsecondary pathways for students in the build trades and environmental science.

  • Lake County School District: $492,149 for a Mobile Learning Center that will be housed in a repurposed school bus to bring school-based resources and learning opportunities directly to students. 

  • Academy of Advanced Learning and Coperni 2 & Coperni 3: $723,000 to reimagine school by advancing a “one classroom, three locations” instructional model and providing credit to students for experiences, not just academic learning. 

  • University of Northern Colorado: $2,369,999 for a partnership with Weld County District 6 to improve kindergarten readiness for children with disabilities. 

  • Peyton School District: $852,541 to develop an innovative postsecondary and workforce readiness program in partnership with neighboring postsecondary institutions. 

  • Silverton School District: $297,500 to bring the Silverton School campus into their communities’ homes by expanding family outreach, choice, and supporting families’ needs like food, rent, mental and physical health .

  • Elizabeth School District: $555,909 for a partnership between Big Sandy, Calhan, Elbert, and the Colorado Education Initiative to develop intentional career pathways in cybersecurity, construction, and agriculture. 

  • Montrose County School District RE-1J: $846,320 for a partnership between Hilltop Family Resource Center, Center for Mental Health (CMH), and local police departments to address adverse childhood experiences.

  • Centennial School District R-1: $851,369 for a partnership with History Colorado to integrate local San Luis Valley history into social studies, civics, and history curriculum. 

  • Clear Creek School District: $375,700 to partner with their students to create and implement a student-led Recovery Plan that includes resource realignment, professional learning, and community building.

  • Charter School Institute: $277,591 to provide targeted academic support to new immigrant students at all three campuses of the New America Schools.

  • Metro State University of Denver: $2,385,045 for a structured educational pathway to successfully motivate and lead students of color, underserved, and rural students from 9th grade through college graduation and into the Colorado workforce, particularly in rural areas.