Action Area Competitive Grant Program

Our mission at the Community Foundation is to improve the quality of life in North Central Massachusetts through philanthropy. One way we do this is by directing grants to programs, projects, and initiatives within our 33-community region.These competitive grants are made for activities that address the Foundation’s action areas and objectives, are executed by a non-profit organization, and align with the applicant’s mission.
Proposal Principles

Proposals for Action Area grants are expected to address each of the following principles:

  • Capacity for impact: Demonstrate capacity and potential for achieving and sustaining long-term impact.
  • Plan of action: Include a plan of action with evidence that the plan is likely to achieve its intended outcomes.
  • Collaboration: Leverage new and/or existing resources, organizations, relationships, initiatives, and investments to improve the likelihood of significant impact, efficiency, and sustainability.
  • Gauging progress: Include measurable objectives and outcomes with a plan to monitor progress.

Grant amounts

While there are no set grant amounts, grants tend to fall between $2,000 and $30,000. The median grant amount is $10,000.

Grant application exclusions

What we do not fund:

  • Individuals
  • For-profit organizations
  • Loans or debt reduction
  • Political activity

Action Areas

This action area focuses on preserving, enhancing and providing access to the natural beauty of North Central Massachusetts and on enhancing the welfare of domestic animals.

This action area focuses on increasing the competitive position of local residents for family-supporting jobs through post-secondary education and training, and other educational initiatives.

Community Enrichment and Organizational Development
This action area covers a broad range of activities that enhance the quality of life in our communities. They include community development, social services, and arts and cultural initiatives.  It also seeks to help nonprofit efforts to enhance their organizational performance and capacity and staff development.

This action area focuses on especially severe challenges to the welfare and safety of people in North Central Massachusetts.

Nashoba Valley Community Healthcare Fund


Offered jointly through the Greater Lowell Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts, the Nashoba Valley Healthcare Fund’s purpose is to advance the community health of residents in thirteen (13) communities: Ashby, Ayer, Bolton, Dunstable, Groton, Harvard, Lancaster, Littleton, Lunenburg, Pepperell, Shirley, Townsend, and Westford.

Grant awards will range from $5,000 up to $20,000; however, larger scale collaborative projects with requests that are more than $20,000 will be considered if the increased funding request is justified by the impact of the project.

This year, we are especially interested in funding proposals that address systemic issues such as racism*, addiction, food insecurity, obesity, mental health, and other specific issues determined by community needs.

Priority will be given to, but not limited to, proposals pertaining to:

  • Racism as a public health crisis
  • Prevention of health problems
  • Access to healthcare
  • Elder health
  • Youth and adolescent health
  • Mental health
  • Health care service provision

We are especially interested in seeing proposals that address systemic issues like (but not limited to) opiate addiction, food scarcity, obesity, substance abuse, suicide screening and prevention, and other specific issues as indicated by community needs.




Key Dates:

RFP Open   October 28, 2020
Grant Proposals Due   November 30, 2020, Noon
Acceptance/Rejection Letters Sent   February 5, 2020


*SOURCE: APHA’s determination that racism is a public health crisis:


649 John Fitch Hwy
Fitchburg, MA 01420


Phone: 978-345-8383
Fax: 978-345-1459
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