An original work of art
SCFD is the only cultural funding model in the nation that serves a region of seven counties. This broad base has allowed us to grow into the second-largest cultural funding mechanism in the United States. We fund nearly 300 organizations across our front-range urban corridor, distributing more than $60 million annually. These tax dollars provide critical operational support for small, medium, and large organizations. We’re also a catalyst for bringing world-class exhibits and events to our metro region which would otherwise never be presented. SCFD is proof that we are stronger together. Culture is not just available in the epicenter of our cities, but surrounds us throughout the metro area.
What is the SCFD?
The SCFD is a seven-county tax district created within Colorado law, approved by Colorado’s General Assembly, and renewed by voters multiple times over more than 30 years.
How does the tax work?
Just one penny on every $10 in sales and use tax collected goes to SCFD. This money is then given out annually to qualifying organizations in three ways:
- The metro area’s largest cultural organizations – Denver Museum of Art, Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and Denver Zoo – receive specific amounts determined by a funding formula set out in the SCFD statute.
- Regional organizations like the Arvada Center, Children’s Museum of Denver, and Butterfly Pavilion, qualify by reaching certain budget and attendance thresholds. They receive funding through a second formula laid out in statute.
- Counties that participate in the SCFD also make decisions about how the tax is spent. Each county receives a share of the tax collected. County Cultural Councils then review applications for funding from eligible organizations and make recommendations on their county’s funding priorities. Those recommendations are then reviewed and approved by the board of county commissioners or city council and the SCFD Board of Directors.
Who is included in the SCFD?
The seven-county Denver metro area including Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties participate, with the exception of Castle Rock and Larkspur in Douglas County.
What are County Cultural Councils?
County Cultural Councils are made up of residents of each SCFD county who volunteer to help the county chart its cultural future. The councils are appointed by the board of county commissioners or city council to review applications from organizations funded by the SCFD and recommend funding options for those organizations.
You can learn more or apply to join a council in your county.
What were last year’s fund distributions?
Each year, funds are distributed to eligible SCFD organizations. Check out our annual reports to discover what funding your favorite organizations received.
Want to read the nitty gritty?
The SCFD is defined in state statute by the Colorado Legislature and approved by voters. You can read all the fine print.
You can see SCFD Board resolutions that govern the district
The Scientific & Cultural Facilities District does not discriminate against any person or organization based on age, race, sex, color, creed, religion, national origin, native language, sexual orientation, transgender status, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, ancestry, marital status, gender, veteran status, military status, political service, affiliation or disability.
Learn more about us.
Our annual reports provide a snapshot of our work and impact.