Grants at our Community Foundation

Our Community Foundation is a public charity organized as a collection of permanent endowments.  The income from these endowed funds is awarded through a grant application process to provide charitable funding to non-profits classified by the IRS as 501(c)(3) organizations and other eligible entities (such as municipalities, schools and faith-based organizations) that benefit residents of Clinton, Eaton and Ingham Counties in Michigan.

Changes in our Grant Application Process

Beginning in 2017, we will apply our "Impact Criteria" to ALL regular grantmaking and our Community Foundation will utilize a short “Preliminary Application” for all grantmaking, due February 15, 2017

  • Preliminary Applications for Impact Grants of $10,000-75,000 will be reviewed by committee; those that meet our Impact Criteria (see below) will be invited to submit a full grant application for funding consideration.
  • Preliminary Applications for mini-grants of $2,500-5,000 will be forwarded to our Donor Advised Fundholders and our Youth Action Committee for funding consideration. 
Only one Preliminary Application may be submitted per organization per year. Impact projects generally will not be funded more than one year.


Grantmaking Definitions and New Criteria

Operations / Operating Expenses

An organization’s operating expenses are defined as routine expenses in its operating budget, including expenses related to existing, ongoing programming, occupancy, administration, etc.

Impact grants - $10,000-75,000

To apply for funding, projects must meet at least one of the following Impact Criteria:

  • Increase the long-term impact of an organization or program, not to provide cash assistance for ongoing operations as defined above.  For example: Impact grants will not be made to purchase food for a pantry, but the committee may consider purchasing refrigeration and storage equipment that would allow a food pantry to stock fresh meat, dairy and produce in order to provide healthier options for recipients.
  • Intended to help nonprofits significantly increase their ability to reach underserved populations, not to simply serve more people. For example: Impact grants will not be made to support additional people utilizing an existing program, but the committee may fund some costs of starting a satellite program to serve people in a different area of town. To qualify, the need for expanded services must be substantiated along with a detailed sustainability plan long-term increased services.
  • May support innovative, collaborative efforts that have the potential for transformative and sustainable community change.

​Note: All Impact Grants must fulfill or leverage a 1:1 cash match.

Capacity-building grants - $100-75,000

May support capacity building efforts that increase a nonprofit’s sustainability and effectiveness by strengthening management systems and governance. Our Community Foundation can assist with referrals to consultants and educational opportunities. Projects that may be eligible for capacity-building grants include:

  • Fund development education and planning
  • Diversification of revenue streams
  • Board development
  • Staff training
  • Organizational assessment and evaluation of overall effectiveness
  • Strategic planning
  • External communications strategies
  • Technology improvements

Mini-Grants - $2,500-5,000

  • Not part of our Community Foundation’s regular grantmaking process
  • Considered by Donor Advised Fundholders and Youth Action Committee
  • Annual organizational budget cannot exceed $350,000
  • Can be requested for existing, ongoing programming and/or capacity building
  • Meeting Impact Criteria is recommended but not required (see criteria above)


Impact Grant - 2017 Funding Priorities

Grant applications for any projects meeting Impact Grant criteria will be considered, but special attention will be given to projects that fall in one or more of the following categories, while also meeting Impact Grant criteria.


Projects that will create vibrant communities that enhance economic prosperity in our region, including re-imagined public spaces (such as waterfronts, parks, plazas, markets, etc.) and the arts and activities that create culture and a social environment.

Workforce Development

Programs that link middle school students, high school students and unemployed/underemployed adults to post-secondary education, especially the skilled trades with workforce shortages in the region. NOTE: Workforce Development does NOT include traditional K-12 education or scholarships.

Neighborhood Centers

Improving/expanding neighborhood centers that are one-stop shops of needed services for families in a defined geographic area. To qualify as a neighborhood center, a diverse range of services must be offered, including at least three of the following: access to nutritious food, healthcare, human services, housing assistance, tax services, career-readiness/job placement, financial coaching, senior services and youth programming.

Capacity Building

Strategic investments in an organization that increase its sustainability and effectiveness by strengthening management systems and governance (see examples listed above). Capacity building grants do not require a 1:1 match.

What our Community Foundation generally will not fund

The following are areas which will not be considered for funding through the application process at this time:

  • Sectarian or religious programs
  • Individuals
  • International organizations
  • Endowment funds
  • Annual meetings
  • Routine operating expenses (existing programming and administration)
  • Existing obligations, debts or liabilities, incurred before committee reviews proposal 

Regarding Capital Campaigns

Our Community Foundation will consider leadership gifts at the beginning of capital campaigns in order to leverage other giving. Please contact us for information.

Regarding colleges, universities and schools

For Impact Grants, our Community Foundation will not support routine operating expenses, projects and activities, or equipment which are within the primary instructional and service responsibilities of a college, university or school, or which benefit only the college, university or school faculty, staff and students.  Applications for funding of projects and activities sponsored or provided by colleges, universities and schools must: 1) demonstrate benefit to the broader community, beyond the academic institution, and 2) include letters of support from community organizations with their applications. 

Inclusion/Non-discrimination Statement

The Capital Region Community Foundation values projects and agencies that promote inclusiveness and that do not discriminate in hiring staff or providing services on the basis of race, gender, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, age, national origin or disability.

Revised 1-26-2017

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330 Marshall St. | Suite 300 | Lansing, MI 48912 | Directions
P: (517) 272-2870 | F: (517) 272-2871 | Email Us

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