The 2024 Community Grant Program will open April 1 for Arts and Basic Needs projects, and April 15 for Youth and Health projects.
The Community Grant Program is our signature competitive granting opportunity. The responsive and flexible program awards close to $2 million annually across two granting cycles and 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, click here.
New for 2023- the Community Grant Program has split into two distinct categories with separate deadlines: Program Support and Operating Support. For operating support, click here.
We are excited to pilot a new method of grantmaking for this cycle. Applicants will submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) through our grant platform. Those in alignment will be invited to a discussion with GWCF staff and grants committee members. There is no traditional application.
Thinking about applying? Make sure to attend our virtual applicant orientation session to learn more and ask questions: Wednesday April 12, 9:00 am.
The Community Grant Program for Project Support seeks to support organizations that:
- Create innovative solutions to pressing community needs utilizing new and/or proven models
- Create access and reduce barriers for residents of Worcester County
- Are within a scope of work for which a grant of up to $25,000 would be financially impactful
- Have goals and outcomes that are highly aligned to one of our expressed focus areas (outlined below)
- Are committed to equity, community voice, and systems disruption
- Are sound organizations with strong financial and governance functions
Eligibility & Scope
- 501(c)(3) nonprofits, or any entity operating under a fiscal sponsorship of a 501(c)(3)
- Collaboratives, or loosely organized coalitions, under a fiscal sponsorship
- Organizations and projects serving Worcester County Residents
- Houses of worship running community-serving programs that do not proselytize
- Large multiservice institutions applying for well-aligned discrete projects
*See full guidelines for who and what is and is not eligible
- Grants will range in size from $2,500-$25,000
- Requests should include budgets with meaningful overhead and true costs
- Partial grants will be awarded
- Grant size will be determined on a multitude of factors including total project cost, organizational budget, and alignment with grant program goals
Focus Areas & Lenses
Requests will be measured against their alignment to one of the focus areas and 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 area, we also strive to be in relationship with projects and 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 will be approached.
Community Voice: Organizations and projects 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.
Ready to Apply?
Be sure to check out our tips for applicants here
Consider reaching out to a member of our program team to discuss your proposal idea before applying.