Colorado Restorative Justice Council: Request for Applications Community Engagement and Capacity/Innovation Micro-Grants

The Colorado Restorative Justice Council is offering two types of micro-grants. All applications are due October 15, 2020. Funding decisions will be announced by Nov 1, 2020. Select and complete the application that best fits your proposal, along with any attachments, and email as one PDF to by 5pm, October 15, 2020. Please read the RFA carefully, as it contains all relevant information related to the application process. Additional questions must be submitted through the email above and will be answered through a weekly update to this FAQ link throughout the application period. Please do not contact staff directly.  

Grant Types: To further our strategic vision to integrate restorative values and practices into as many contexts as possible, make restorative opportunities equitable across the diversities of persons who have been harmed and who have caused harm, and increase RJ practitioners who represent local community demographics and priorities, the Restorative Justice Council will offer a total of $150,000 to fund two categories of micro-grants in FY21:

  • Community Engagement grants between $500 - $5000 per award, and
  • Capacity/Innovation grants between $10,000 - $25,000 per award


  • Applicants should identify and integrate RJ principles clearly within their proposals. Here is a link to the “Essential Points of RJ Practices in Colorado.” More information on RJ principles and practices can be found at the Council’s website
  • Applicants and related service providers are encouraged to create a profile on the Council’s website, if not already in the RJ provider directory here.
  • Highest priority in both grant categories will be given to proposals directly addressing racial and other social justice inequities within Colorado communities, systems, and/or the RJ field itself.
  • Preference will be given to proposals initiated and/or led by members of the impacted communities identified in an application.

Timeline for FY21 applications and awards:

  • September 15, 2020: Request for Applications released
  • Oct. 15, 2020, 5 pm: Deadline for emailing completed applications
  • Nov. 1, 2020 (no later than): Awards announced
  • Dec. 1, 2020 (or as soon as possible): Grant contracts and purchase requests approved
  • June 30, 2021: All funds must be expended (end of state fiscal year)

General Guidelines: All applicants must meet the general guidelines below, along with any additional criteria outlined separately for the specific award type selected:

  • Applicant located and proposing activities in Colorado
  • One micro-grant application accepted for review per applicant per year
  • Grants awarded on a one-time, competitive basis
  • No late or incomplete applications, including required attachments, will be considered
  • Award decisions are final, not subject to further review or appeal
  • Funding requests must fit within the grant contract period, estimated to begin Dec.1, 2020 and expiring June 30, 2021(end of state fiscal year)
  • Funds cannot be released in advance, only by reimbursement of expenses (except direct purchases approved under the Community Engagement grant category)
  • No awards to individuals or for-profit entities, except direct services to Community Engagement or Capacity/Innovation projects that support community, regional or sector-wide initiatives)
  • No funding of out-of-state travel
  • If Applicant plans to engage a facilitator, trainer or consultant - or Applicant is a professional proposing services to a target audience – attach a letter of understanding or agreement to document the mutual interest and availability of relevant persons, organizations, and/or representatives.
  • An end-of-year report will be required, setting out use and impact of grant funds

Community Engagement Grant:  Specific Criteria

These smaller grants are designed to support immediate community needs for critical conversations, networking, and basic operations for emerging or smaller-scale restorative initiatives. These are examples of possible activities suited to this grant category:

  • Listening and/or dialogue processes within identified communities and/or between community and system representatives – such as law enforcement – to raise awareness and address racial and other social justice inequities
  • Community engagement to strengthen relationships, develop strategic partnerships, and assess readiness to launch restorative initiatives in communities and/or systems
  • Emerging or smaller-scale restorative and transformative justice projects – including non-police alternatives - to prevent or address harm in identified communities
  • Consultations related to start-up needs for restorative initiatives
  • Mutual training, coaching and mentoring opportunities, to share learning and strengthen relationships within and between Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities of practice and White practitioners/allies

Community Engagement requests that require state contracts such as professional services, and meeting space, are available. However, smaller grants are encouraged to utilize funding requests that can be quickly funded without contracts, such as:

  • Technology hardware, software, and 1-yr enrollment in virtual platforms or internet services
  • Conference and training registrations, including on-line learning opportunities
  • Tangible office, operating or participant supplies,
  • COVID-19 needs including PPE
  • Printing services, such as promotional materials, ads, training materials
  • Publication purchases, such as books, training manuals, on-line publications
  • Travel within Colorado

Click here to access the application for Community Engagement funds. To request a brief phone consultation regarding the fit of your Community Engagement Funds project for an RJ Council micro-grant, send request to  

Capacity Building/Innovation Grant Specifics

These mid-size grants are designed to strengthen best practices in RJ across communities, regions, and the state. While individual organizations may apply for grants, this grant category is not intended for general operating support or larger capital expenses. The focus is capacity-building and innovation within programs - such as enhancing skills and operating systems to improve effectiveness, sustainability, fidelity to RJ values and principles, and forwarding equity and inclusion goals - as well as support for broader collaborative efforts across communities and sectors. These are examples of possible activities suited to this grant category:

  • Regional or sector-wide strategic networking, training or infrastructure development
  • Volunteer stipends
  • Develop/implement evidence-based research and data collection tools
  • Organizational or system assessments (e.g., fidelity to best practices, equity-specific audits re barriers to access such as eligibility biases, language justice, etc.)
  • Targeted strategies to increase under-represented groups within board and staff leadership, community volunteers, and client populations
  • COVID-19 adjustments and innovations to program delivery
  • Specialized trainings for professional development of board, staff and/or volunteers
  • Explore/implement strategic transitions or collaborations (e.g., leadership succession, mergers, strategic networks, public-private partnerships)

If you feel your project is ready for contracting funds in the $10,000 - $25,000 range, then click here to access the application for Capacity/Innovation grants.

Application Instructions:

  • Complete each section of the application for your selected grant category. Use 12pt font and 1” margins. Single spacing is permissible. Please do not exceed text allotments in each section.
  • Email completed applications, with any attachments, as a single PDF to by 5pm, October 15, 2020