The 2024 Community Grant Program for Operating Support will open August 1 for renewals and September 1 for new applications.
The Community Grant Program is the signature competitive granting opportunity for GWCF. The responsive and flexible program awards close to $2 million annually in a range of focus areas.
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.
Grant Program highlights are below. For full guidelines and instructions, please click here [PDF].
New for 2023- the Community Grant Program has split into two distinct categories with separate deadlines: Program Support and Operating Support. For project support, click here.
2022 Operating Grantees: Do not submit a grant through this cycle. Program staff will be in touch with your to discuss the renewal process.
Thinking about applying? Make sure to attend our virtual applicant orientation session to learn more and ask questions: Wednesday May 24, 9:30 AM.
The Community Grant Program for Operating Support seeks to support organizations with:
- missions that are highly aligned to one of our expressed focus areas (Health & Wellbeing, Arts & Creativity, Youth & Families or Basic Needs)
- sound organizational practices
- expressed commitments to equity, community voice, systems disruption
- Annual operating budgets within the limits of our available resources (see below)
Additionally, we seek to make grant investments that are as transformative as possible given our financial resources and the current needs of our local nonprofit sector and community. We are aspirational in our role to correct larger historical philanthropic trends and practices that have created barriers to accessing funding for certain types of organizations. Finally, we hope to continue to sharpen our guidance for applicants on the amount requested for operating support that is in line with our resources. To that end, we are piloting the following funding structure for the 2023 cycle.
Requested Amount Ranges Based on Annual Organizational Budget:
- Under $400,000 – up to 10%
- $400,000- $1,000,000 – up to 5%
- $1,000,001- $5,000,000 – up to $25,000
- Over $5,000,000 – ineligible
- 501c3 nonprofits or any entity operating under a fiscal sponsorship of a 501c3
- Collaboratives or loosely organized coalitions
- Organizations based in and exclusively or primarily serving Worcester County Residents.
*See full guidelines for who and what is and is not eligible
Focus Areas & Lenses:
Requests will be measured against their alignment to one of the focus areas along with the lenses listed below. We recognize the limitations of our total grant allotment and seek to be in partnership with organizations where our grant would make a transformative difference for that nonprofit, as opposed to being a drop in the bucket. Specific strategies for each area can be found on the full guidelines page
- Health & Wellbeing- Strengthening the systems that ensure those from historically excluded populations have equitable access to healthcare.
- Arts & Creativity- Building and supporting a diverse and strong Arts & Culture Ecosystem where all belong.
- Youth & Families- Ensuring families have what they need to thrive and that young people have access to critical supports and meaningful experiences.
- Basic Needs- Working to ensure all residents of our community have food and shelter.
In addition to the focus areas, we also strive to be in relationship with organizations who are on a journey to examine, learn, and pivot in the areas of equity, community voice and disrupting systems. We look for honest and authentic reflections vs. advanced responses.
Equity: We believe equity is one part of racial justice, and thus we include in our approach work that addresses root causes of inequities, not just their manifestations. Requests should demonstrate a thoughtful approach to who will benefit and how inclusion and equity are approached throughout your organization and programming.
Community Voice: Organizations with strong community voice co-create and lead programming together, create structures in partnership or are led by those more impacted by the issue.
Disrupting Systems: We are interested in being in relationship with organizations looking closely at ways to move our community to a more equitable place by understanding root causes of inequities and engaging in partnerships, coalitions and advocacy work that results in changed systems. While we recognize many small direct service providers do not have the bandwidth to engage in this work on a wide scale level, we believe all organizations have something meaningful to share in this area.