Who is eligible to apply for a grant?
By law, we may only grant to tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, organizations using a nonprofit fiscal agent, and municipalities.
What geographic area does the Community Foundation serve with its grants?
The Community Foundation serves a 33-town region located in North Central Massachusetts. We grant funds to support activities that benefit residents of our area. Organizations based outside our region can apply for a grant as long as the work described in the grant application is clearly carried out in one or more towns in our communities.
What grants are available?
Our grantmaking focuses on the environment and animal welfare, education and career readiness, community enrichment, organizational development, community health, and racial equity. See our Grant Opportunities page to learn more, including guidelines and deadlines.
When are the deadlines for each grant program?
Each grant program operates at a specific time during the year. A schedule for the year can is located on our Grant Program Schedule page. When a grant program is open, a link to the online application will be posted on the grant opportunities pages on our website and our social media pages.
How much funding can we request?
While the Community Foundation does not have set minimums and maximums, grant awards generally range from $2,000 to $10,000. Considerations to keep in mind when determining the request amount are the scale of the proposed activities and the organization’s size.
Can an organization request multi-year funding?
No, the Community Foundation generally provides funding for 12 months.
Can an organization apply to more than one grant program?
Yes, you may apply for more than one grant, but we ask that each organization only submit one application per grant program. For example, an organization can apply for grants through the Racial Equity and Organizational Development grant programs but cannot submit two Racial Equity grants.
What are the general criteria for grants?
In addition to meeting the grant program’s objectives, applications should be able to demonstrate:
- Capacity for impact: capacity and potential for achieving and sustaining long-term impact.
- Plan of action: a plan of action with evidence that the plan is likely to achieve its intended outcomes.
- Collaboration: the ability to leverage new and/or existing resources, organizations, relationships, initiatives, and investments to improve the likelihood of significant impact, efficiency, and sustainability.
- Gauging progress: ability to achieve measurable objectives and outcomes with a plan to monitor progress.
What are the elements of a strong proposal?
- Compliance with all funding requirements
- Clearly stated need supported with factual evidence
- A clearly stated action plan that aligns with grant program guidelines
- Quantifiable outcomes with the ability to measure progress
- Diverse funding sources that adequately cover expenses
- A plan for sustained funding for ongoing projects
- Organizational capacity and expertise to complete the plan of action
- A compelling narrative that ties the pieces together from need to action, to goals and outcomes
- For more tips, please see below.
How does the Community Foundation make its funding decisions?
Each grantmaking program has a committee comprised of board members, other community volunteers, and CFNCM staff. Each committee member reads and scores every submitted proposal. The scores are averaged and are used as the starting point for the committee’s confidential discussion to weigh the merits of each proposal. The committee then presents its funding recommendation to the Board of Trustees for final approval.
Why are some grant proposals rejected or only partially funded?
Each year, we receive far more requests than is available to spend, so it is impossible to fund all proposals fully. For example, during the Fiscal Year 2021-2022, the Community Foundations reviewed 162 submitted applications totaling over $2.4 million. The Board of Trustees approved awards for 62 of the proposals totaling approximately $538,000.
What happens after my organization receives an award?
Once the Board of Trustees approves the final funding recommendation, CFNCM emails an award letter and grant agreement to the CEO and the primary contact listed on the grant proposal. After reading the grant agreement, the CEO should sign it electronically. We will issue the check once we have received the signed grant agreement. An interim report is due approximately halfway through the funding cycle, and a final report is due about one month after the funding cycle is complete. The grant committees are just starting to schedule site visits, so we may be in touch to meet face-to-face to see your program in action.
My organization was awarded funds, but we need to make a change. What should we do?
We do not expect an organization to change the grant program presented in the proposal, but we understand that extenuating circumstances arise. If you need to make a change, please get in touch with Meghan Maceiko as soon as possible to discuss the issue and request a grant modification.
What can my organization do to keep in touch with CFNCM?
We would love for your organization to follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Follow these tips for a quality grant application:
- Carefully read the funding guidance. Attend an info session if possible.
- Make sure your organization meets the eligibility criteria.
- Unsure if your proposal is a good fit? Contact us, and we will happily arrange a time to discuss.
- Leave enough time to complete and review your application thoroughly.
- Writing an application should be an iterative process. Write, review, and revise over a period of time. You may want to draft your application in Word or another similar program, then copy and paste it into our online application tool.
- Write in simple, clear, and understandable language. Avoid jargon and acronyms. Use data and evidence to support your narrative.
- Please review your application before submitting it. We suggest having another person read your application, especially someone unfamiliar with your initiative. Proofreading is essential!
- Ensure you submit before the deadline. No late applications will be accepted.
For More Information
Director of Grants and Impact 978-345-8383 Ext. 104