2023 Deadlines for Operating & Project Support Coming Soon
The Community Grant Program is the signature competitive grant program for GWCF. The program awards close to $2 million in annual grants in a range of focus areas and aims to be a responsive and flexible funding pool.
The Community Grant Program is rooted in the belief that we can collectively work towards a more equitable, vibrant and just community by offering flexible grant options, implementing strategic focus areas, and emphasizing the underlying approaches nonprofit organizations apply to their work.
Eligibility, Scope & Limitations
- 501c3 tax exempt nonprofit or an entity operating under the fiscal sponsorship of a tax-exempt nonprofit are eligible
- Collaboratives or loosely organized coalitions are welcome to apply and should be submitted by the designated lead partner
- Organizations and/or projects need to be highly aligned with one strategic focus areas and key lenses (see below)
- The Community Grant Program does not accept requests in the following areas:
- Capital Projects/Campaigns
- Event Sponsorships
- Support for individuals (Tuition, scholarship, direct aid etc..)
- Projects led by Public organizations or municipalities (Not typically, discuss with program team member before submitting an application)
- Projects led by Houses of Worship, or programs/organizations that proselytize (Not typically, discuss with program team member before submitting an application)
- Your organization’s work is within GWCF’s geographic area served. Priority is given in the following order:
- Nonprofit organizations based in and serving Worcester County
- Nonprofits not based in Worcester County but have a physical presence (staff or location) should focus their application entirely on their work within Worcester County
- Nonprofits providing an unduplicated service in Worcester County without a physical (staff or location) presence will be expected to demonstrate their authentic relationships with local stakeholders (local board members, formalized partnerships, local committee/coalition service etc.)
The Community Grant Program considers two types of grants – General Operating Grants and Project Grants.
General Operating Grants:
Invest in organizations with mission statements that are highly aligned with our strategic focus areas and whose success we see as vital to reaching our vision for a strong healthy, vibrant and equitable community. Grants will vary in size, but in general range from $5,000-$50,000.
Funding for a specific project or program with outcomes highly aligned with our strategic focus areas. Grants will vary in size but in general range from $2,500-$25,000 to be applied to project budgets that include meaningful overhead.
You should apply for a Project Grant if:
- This may be your first time applying to GWCF
- You are designing or implementing a new program/project
- You operate a discrete program or project that you are seeking funding for
- You are part of a multiservice organization that doesn’t fully align with our strategic focus area, but have a discrete project that does
You are part of a larger institution (hospital, university etc.) and have a discrete project
Strengthening the systems that ensure those from historically excluded populations have equitable access to healthcare and behavioral healthcare. Strategies include:
- Expanding access to behavioral health services
- Expanding culturally-responsive healthcare workforce
- Improving pre-natal care/healthy pregnancies
- Wellness programs that promote health and/or improve health outcomes
Ensuring that families have what they need to thrive and that young people have access to critical supports and meaningful experiences. Strategies include:
- Increasing access to quality early childhood care
- Providing meaningful out-of-school experiences
- Delivering critical family support services including housing & food security
- Providing opportunities to increase family wealth (job training, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, increasing minimum wage, etc.)
- Offering family oriented educational and/or recreational opportunities
For Worcester to have a diverse and strong Arts & Culture ecosystem where residents share a sense of ownership and belonging in all creative spaces. Arts & Culture will be fully recognized as a key component in assisting individuals, families and communities in living healthy and thriving lives. Strategies include:
- Increasing access to the arts
- Developing alignment between local diverse populations and arts & culture programming.
- Artists & creatives engaging as active partners in the growth and evolution of the city and its neighborhoods.
- Supporting the financial stability of cultural organizations
Key Criteria: Lenses
In addition to the strategic focus areas, we also want to ensure we are investing our resources in organizations that are on a journey to examine, learn and pivot in the areas of racial equity, community voice and changing policies and systems. GWCF believes this criteria key to moving organizations forward to a more inclusive, equitable and just community where all can thrive.
We seek to understand the journey organizations are on in this area, and therefore are not necessarily looking for advanced responses, but rather honest and authentic reflections. We seek to partner with grantees with a commitment to Racial Equity, Community Voice, and Policy & Systems, as defined below:
We believe racial equity to be the condition achieved if one’s racial identity no longer predicted, in a statistical sense, how one fares. We believe equity is one part of racial justice, and thus we also include in our approach work that addresses root causes of inequities, not just their manifestations (racialequitytools.org). This looks like:
- Moving beyond diversity and inclusion into understanding systems that create and perpetuate racial inequities
- Recognizing the role your organization plays in the system and looking to re-orient your mission and resources to create an impact on systemic inequity
- Working towards elimination of policies, practices, attitudes, behaviors and cultural messages that reinforce differential outcomes by race or that fail to eliminate them
- Prioritizing leaders, staff and volunteers from historically excluded groups.
Community Voice exists within organizations who help amplify, uplift and center community needs/voice and share power. Organizations with strong community voice co-create and lead programming and create structures in partnership or led by those more impacted by the issue.
- Co-designing and implementing programming that are the direct request of the community you serve and reflect an expressed need
- Creating mechanisms to engage in dialogue and receive feedback from individuals and groups you serve and use it to enhance and refine your services and organization
Related to both racial equity and community voice, we are interested in supporting organizations that are looking closely at ways to move our community to a more equitable place by engaging in advocacy and policy efforts that will result in systems change and address root causes.
- Engaging in advocacy efforts that influence the policies and systems making it more difficult for individuals to engage/participate
- Aligning with others through strategic partnership to move issues forward
- Championing the gathering and sharing of important data and research
What We Will Not Fund
- Capital Projects/Campaigns
- Event Sponsorships
- Public organizations or municipalities (Not typically, discuss with program team member before submitting an application)
- Houses of Worship, or programs/organizations that proselytize (Not typically, discuss with program team member before submitting an application)