Apply for Community Impact Grants

Operation Fresh Start’s $50,000 Community Impact grant is helping to establish a dynamic, cost effective learning and training center for disconnected youth (ages 16-24).

Madison Community Foundation’s Community Impact grants advance initiatives that impact lives and our community for the long-term. Eligible nonprofits are limited to one application per grant cycle. In general, MCF will not award a grant to an organization that we funded during the previous grant cycle.

Important Notes:

Due to MCF's 75th Anniversary in 2017, highlighting the community's unique cultural and natural assets, we will not be accepting spring grants. Grantmaking and events celebrating 75th Anniversary will begin with the annual event, Madison Gives, on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. The next open grants round will be Fall 2017. Please note: fall grants will be due one month later than the usual deadline:

Deadlines:

8/15/2017 Letter of Inquiry due

10/1/2017 Complete Grant Application due from select organizations

Dec. 2017 Grant awards announced

How to Apply for a Grant:

Application

Step 1: Letter of Inquiry (LOI)

A strong Letter of Inquiry will include great ideas, measurable outcomes and project sustainability. (Get more information about designing and measuring outcomes.) Please use the MCF Letter of Inquiry Form. After submitting your Letter of Inquiry, it will undergo a preliminary review and applicants will be contacted with the decision via email within two weeks.

Step 2: Grant Application

If you are invited to submit a full grant proposal, congratulations! A grant application packet has three components: Cover Page, Proposal, and Attachments. Specific instructions for each are provided in the Grant Application (PDF). A hard copy and an electronic copy of the application must be submitted (emailed and postmarked) by the deadline.

Types of Community Impact Grants

  • Program Grants support new programs or expansion of existing programs that have a track record of success.
  • Capital Grants support the construction, purchase and renovation of facilities, land acquisition, and occasionally the purchase of vehicles or equipment.
  • Endowment Challenge Grants build capacity and sustainability by helping nonprofits leverage additional funds and incorporate endowment fundraising as a regular part of their ongoing development program. Typically, endowment challenge grants are two-to-one matches but may vary by the size of the grant awarded. Learn more about endowment challenge grants.

Scope of Funding

Approximately 25% of grant applications are funded at some level. We are rarely the sole financial supporter of projects, as we expect organizations to also seek additional resources to accomplish project goals. For examples of grants that have been funded in the past, visit Recent Grants.

Grantmaking Focus Areas

  • Arts & Culture
  • Children & Youth
  • Community Development
  • Elderly
  • Environment
  • Learning
  • Organizational Capacity Building

Grantmaking Criteria

  • Long-term impact on residents and/or physical environments in Dane County
  • Meaningful, reasonable, and measurable outcomes
  • Innovative approaches to address community issues
  • Strengthen and enhance community assets
  • Build the self-sufficiency of individuals and/or organizations
  • Attract additional funding
  • Utilize partnerships and/or collaborations

Grant Eligibility

Applicant must:

1) be a nonprofit organization, exempt from Federal income taxes under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or a governmental body, including schools and municipalities

2) conduct business without discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual preference, age, marital status, disability or national origin

3) be a nonprofit located in Dane County (with the exception of endowment challenge grants)

Grant Ineligibility: What Community Impact Grants Do Not Fund

  • Individuals
  • Endowments not held by MCF
  • Debt retirement
  • Lobbying
  • Annual campaigns
  • Scholarships
  • Religious organizations for religious purposes
  • Short-term events and celebrations, such as conferences, festivals, and fundraising functions
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Health care services, including mental health
  • Capital grants to support ongoing maintenance and operations
  • Simultaneous requests from the same organization
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Sports and recreation, except in the case of those using the programming for academic purposes

For more information, visit our Nonprofit Resources Page