Grants at the Community Foundation

2019 Grantmaking Guidelines

We are 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), for projects that primarily benefit residents of Clinton, Eaton and Ingham Counties in Michigan. 

PLEASE NOTE: To be considered for funding, your organization MUST have:
1. Federal tax-exempt status
under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; OR must apply through a fiscal agent that meets this criteria.

2. State of Michigan Charitable Solicitation License (unless your organization raises funds exclusively using volunteers and receives less than $25,000 a year; OR if your organization is designated by the State as an “other qualifying entity.” For information, please visit the Michigan Attorney General website

These documents do not need to be submitted with your application, but the numbers are required for the application.


A nonprofit may qualify for more than one grant category per year. However, because funding is limited, nonprofits should be thoughtful before submitting applications for multiple categories. Only one grant application per category will be accepted. 

  • Impact Grants (Closed for 2019) range from $10,000 to $75,000. Impact grantees are not eligible to apply in consecutive years. Projects must predominantly benefit residents of Ingham, Eaton or Clinton counties. Impact Grants must fulfill or leverage a 1:1 cash match.

  • Capacity Building Grants (Closed for 2019) are up to $40,000. 2019 capacity-building grants are available only to capacity building partners who were funded in 2017 and/or 2018.

  • Mini Grants (Closed for 2019) range from $2,500 to $5,000. A summary of Mini-Grant requests is provided to the foundation’s Donor Advised fund holders for consideration, with a requested decision date of June 15. (There is no guarantee that your grant request will be funded.)

  • Youth Fund (YAC) Grants (Closed for 2019) $500-5,000. The Community Foundation’s Youth Action Committee is made up of approximately twenty high school students from around the tri-county area. This committee participates in service projects, and makes grants from the Foundation’s Youth Fund, focusing on issues that are helpful for youth 12-18 years of age. Based on a needs assessment survey, the 2019 YAC will give priority to programs/projects that address the issues of teen mental health, college preparedness, youth homelessness and drug use prevention.

  • Patrons Fund Playground Grants (Closed for 2019) (Application period is February 1 - April 1, 2019) **NOTE: You must save this writable PDF onto your computer first, then fill it out, then save it again, then print it. The Patrons Fund will assist in furnishing school playgrounds, playground equipment, athletic fields, athletic field equipment, swimming pools and swimming pool equipment, for K-12 schools in Ingham, Eaton or Clinton counties. The Patrons Playground Fund rotates funding between the three counties each year, and will focus on Eaton county in 2019.

  • Patrons Fund Faith-Based Organization Grants (Closed for 2019) (Application period is May 1 - July 1, 2019) Please download this fillable form first, save it to your computer, complete, print and mail it in.  The Patrons Fund awards 10 grants of $500 each to support faith-based charitable initiatives that benefit the less fortunate or disadvantaged residents of Eaton, Clinton or Ingham counties. Applications are accepted from May 1, to July 1, 2019 only. Organizations may apply annually for one grant only. Grants are awarded by the end of July, with award or denial letters sent to each applicant as appropriate. Funds cannot be used to build places of worship or for faith-formation activities. Proposals must address community needs and may NOT require anything in return for services provided (such as attending services or volunteering.) Examples of eligible projects include food pantries, clothing distribution, after-school programs, and other efforts that meet the needs of underserved populations.

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 obligations, debts or liabilities, incurred before committee reviews proposal 

Regarding Capital Campaigns

We 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, we 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. 

Scholarships - Are you a student looking for a scholarship? We hold many scholarship funds, administered directly by local high schools. Contact your high school for details about available scholarship opportunities.

Inclusion/Non-discrimination Statement

The 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 1/8/2019


Contact Information

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

Fundholder Login

Connect with Us

Stay Informed