How to apply for Nonprofit Capacity Building grants

The Nonprofit Capacity Building grant program is no longer accepting applications for 2018. The application process will begin again in June 2019. If you are interested in applying in the future, please review the information below to learn more about grant criteria and eligibility.

Types of projects that Nonprofit Capacity Building grants support

The average Nonprofit Capacity Building grant is around $15,000. Project examples include but are not limited to:

  • Evaluation of core programs
  • Staff or board training
  • Assessment of technology systems or implementation of technology upgrades
  • Human resources planning, succession planning, or fundraising planning
  • Merger or formal collaboration between organizations

For more specific examples, please see previous Nonprofit Capacity Building grants awarded here.

The following projects are NOT eligible for grant support:

  • Operating costs, including salaries, other than those related to the capacity building project
  • Project requests from organizations with many branches or departments (YMCA, public libraries, etc.) that do not come through the office of the president/executive director
  • Expansion of existing programs or creation of new ones
  • Brick-and-mortar projects or endowment campaigns
  • Pass-through grants to other nonprofits
  • Nonprofit religious activities
  • Grants to supplant lost funding or eliminate budget deficits

If you are unclear where to focus your proposal or of your organization’s capacity needs, completing an organizational assessment could be helpful. Utilize this free online assessment tool provided by Momentum Nonprofit Partners or contact Momentum’s Help Desk for more resources. Contact Elizabeth Warren, Director of Grants & Initiatives, if you would like to discuss proposal ideas.

Eligible Organizations

To receive a Nonprofit Capacity Building grant, your organization must have a published, reviewed profile on This profile must be maintained for the duration of the grant period. The profile of eligible applicants demonstrates that the organization:

  • Has operated as a 501(c)(3) agency for the last three consecutive years or longer
  • Operates in the Community Foundation’s service area: west Tennessee, northern Mississippi, and/or eastern Arkansas
  • Is permitted by the Tennessee Secretary of State to solicit funds
  • Has the last three years of 990’s and audits, if required
  • Has at least one paid staff member and stable, demonstrated board leadership
  • Operates under sound financial management and is financially stable
  • Has a current strategic plan that is consistent with the vision of the organization with evidence that staff, board, and other stakeholders (if applicable) were involved in the process. The strategic plan, as opposed to a business plan, should have a multi-year focus addressing the whole organization and not simply one program or project.
  • Provides significant community impact in, has solid relationships with, and reflects the makeup of the communities it serves

The following organizations are NOT eligible to apply for funding:

  • Individuals, for-profit entities, private foundations, and religious organizations
  • Organizations that received a Capacity Building grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis in the previous fiscal year


Email(ewarren [at] cfgm [dot] org) Director of Grants & Initiatives, Elizabeth Warren, or call her at (901) 722-0022.