economically underserved

Since its inception, COSI has provided matching funds to help over 10,000 Colorado students advance their educational attainment.  While we have attempted to ensure that COSI benefits as many students as possible, we are also aware that the financial match required has been a barrier for many areas of the state, particularly those with a high percentage of underserved students.

Our Advisory Board came to understand that our 1:1 match is unattainable for many communities in some areas of our state where the potential for fund raising is limited because of economic conditions, smaller populations, sparseness of business and industry, or other reasons.

Recognizing this need, our Advisory Board has special funds to be applied to a reduced-match program that would allow qualifying counties to provide a 25% to 50% match, rather than the normal 100%. To qualify for this special reduced match, counties must be part of an enterprise zone and have either a free-or-reduced lunch rate above the state average or an educational attainment rate below the state average.

In January 2018 we sent an announcement to qualifying counties to notify them of their eligibility to apply to be considered for the reduced match opportunity approved by our board in Fall 2017.  

To qualify for the reduced match, counties must first confirm their enterprise zone status and either the free-or-reduced lunch rate or the post-secondary attainment rate, and submit a brief letter of intent to the COSI Advisory Board detailing your responses to the four criteria listed below to be considered for the special match opportunity. The initial funds for this reduced match program are very limited ($90,000 total), so applicants will need to clearly demonstrate philanthropic deficits in their community and the need for fundraising technical assistance in order to participate or continue their participation in the COSI matching scholarship grant program. The advisory board requests this additional criteria for the letter of intent:

·         Demonstrate that they either have secured the required match or have detailed plans for the necessary fundraising

·         Describe their current capacity for fundraising/philanthropic need and/or the limitations on such activity

·         Describe any required technical assistant needed to accomplish their fundraising goals

The COSI Board recognizes that given their circumstances, some communities have had little fund-raising opportunities and thus have only limited experience.  The COSI staff is prepared to offer marketing and other technical assistance, and even small grants, to help facilitate the fund-raising process.  Our primary goal is to help each qualifying community be successful in receiving matching grants.

·         Describe what efforts they expect to undertake to secure matching funds in future years.

These materials can be submitted as part of the letter of intent through our online portal at:

Once we have received your letter, our staff and Board will review your responses and determine whether the special reduced match would be appropriate for your county. You will be notified as soon as we have made that determination. 

If you have any questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the COSI staff at

Map of counties that meet the initial qualifiers: