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Denver Public Schools will no longer apply for NRA grants

Two Denver Public Schools received thousands of dollars in grants from the NRA.

Denver Public Schools will no longer apply for grants from the National Rifle Association Foundation, nor will the district accept equipment that was already awarded to Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs in district schools.

“Denver JROTC programs did accept NRA grants that provided equipment utilized in conducting air rifle marksmanship training in previous years,” DPS spokeswoman Alex Renteria said in an email.

“DPS has decided, however, that its JROTC programs will no longer apply for NRA grants moving forward. Additionally, schools that have been awarded grants for the 2017-18 school year will not accept the equipment.”

George Washington High School received grants totaling more than $11,000 from the NRA Foundation, and Thomas Jefferson High School received $5,400 since 2013, according to an Associated Press analysis of community grants listed in the NRA Foundation’s annual tax filings.

Grants are often provided as equipment instead of cash. According to the tax records, the Denver schools primarily received non-cash grants.

Denver Public Schools received several additional grants for the 2017-18 school year, but Renteria said the equipment has not yet been received and the schools will not accept it.

The DPS decision came days after Florida’s Broward County school district said it would stop accepting grant money from the NRA in the wake of the mass shooting last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The alleged shooter had been on the school rifle team that received NRA funding.

The NRA Foundation dolls out millions of dollars every year in grants and equipment to support schools, non-profits and government organizations around the country. The Associated Press analyzed tax records from 2010-2016, finding the foundation gave away $61 million – more than half of which was dispensed to groups that specifically mentioned youth programs in the grant descriptions.

Organizations in Colorado accepted more than $2.9 million in grant money from the foundation, but only four high schools received grant money. In addition to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in Denver, Fountain Fort Carson JROTC and Montrose High School JROTC each accepted more than $5,000.

The single largest beneficiary of the NRA Foundation grants in Colorado was the Independence Institute, which was given $909,500 – nearly a third of all the cash given to Colorado organizations.

The data indicate that the grants were awarded to the Independence Institute for the purpose of Second Amendment Protection and “research writing.”

Other groups that took in cash include 4-H clubs and shooting or sportsman groups.

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