Nonprofit Capacity Building Nonprofit Capacity Building

PLEASE NOTE: Community Foundation's Board of Directors diverted 2020 funding for this grant program towards Phase 2 grants of the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund. Funding will NOT be available for Nonprofit Capacity Building grants this year. Click here to learn more about the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund. 

WHAT IS A NONPROFIT CAPACITY BUILDING GRANT?

The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis seeks to address the organizational strength and overall health of nonprofits in the Mid-South by supporting their capacity building efforts through financial grants. Reviewed by a committee of community volunteers, these grants are awarded to established nonprofits for one-time projects that address a part of the organization’s strategic plan to improve the management, governance, and administration of the organization, not direct programmatic improvements. By strengthening the internal capacity of an organization, the Community Foundation believes the programs and services will also be strengthened. Nonprofit Capacity Building grants require the recipient to raise matching funds ($1 for every $1), thereby encouraging the grantee to use our grant to leverage resources from other donors and funders.

TYPES OF PROJECTS THAT NONPROFIT CAPACITY BUILDING GRANTS SUPPORT

The average Nonprofit Capacity Building grant is around $15,000, and there is approximately $210,000 available this year. 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
  • Development of a new or updated strategic plan 

If you are unclear where to focus your proposal or of your organization’s capacity needs, completing an organizational assessment could be helpful. Contact Momentum’s Help Desk for more resources. Contact Director of Grants & Initiatives Elizabeth Warren  at ewarren@cfgm.org or (901) 722-0022 if you would like to discuss proposal ideas.

ELIGIBLE ORGANIZATIONS

To be eligible for a Nonprofit Capacity Building grant, your organization must have a published, reviewed profile on LIVEGIVEmidsouth.org. This profile must be maintained for the duration of the grant period. The LIVEGIVEmidsouth.org 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 Nonprofit Capacity Building grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis in the previous fiscal year

MATCHING POLICY

If awarded a capacity building grant, nonprofits are required to raise funds to match the Community Foundation’s grant dollar-for-dollar. This requirement is intended to help the nonprofit leverage funds for the project by reaching out to new donors and funders. Policies for the match include:

  • Nonprofits are required to raise funds equal to the grant amount, and therefore the grant amount requested should not exceed 50% of the total project cost. For example, if the total budget for a project is $30,000, the nonprofit may only request a grant of up to $15,000 and must raise the additional $15,000 to complete the project.
  • The match is expected to be cash, not in-kind, donated in response to the grant and specific to the capacity building project. Other arrangements may be discussed on a case-by-case basis.
  • The entire match does not have to come from one source. The strategy for raising the match should be thought out before an application is submitted and in most cases a nonprofit’s board or development committee should be involved.
  • No grant funds will be released from the Community Foundation until the nonprofit has raised 100% of the matching funds. The full match must be raised no later than nine months into the grant term. When the match has been raised, the nonprofit will complete a request for funds in the online grant portal, and the grant check will be processed in 2-4 weeks.
  • Individual donor contributions towards the match should be received before submitting a request for funds. If another foundation is awarding funds towards the match, a grant letter is sufficient, but a verbal commitment is not.
  • Funds should not be drawn from the nonprofit’s reserves or operating budget. Organizations may start raising funds before receiving a grant, but documentation that the funds are being raised specifically for the capacity building project is required.
  • If the grant project is approved by our committee and is already being partially funded by another foundation, Nonprofit Capacity Building grant funds can be used to match the other grant. Additional matching funds would not have to be raised. Please be sure that Community Foundation staff is aware of the situation if this is the case with your grant proposal.

PLEASE NOTE: Community Foundation's Board of Directors diverted 2020 funding for this grant program towards Phase 2 grants of the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund. Funding will NOT be available for Nonprofit Capacity Building grants this year. Click here to learn more and apply for Phase 2 funding from the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund. 

2019 Grant Timeline

July - Attend a mandatory pre-application information session
July 19 - Application opens online in GranteeView
August 7 - Deadline to submit a new LIVEGIVEmidsouth.org profile OR updates to an existing profile
August 21 - Deadline to submit application online via GranteeView
September 20 - Applicants notified via e-mail whether they are invited to continue in the grant process by hosting a grant committee site visit
October, November - Grant committee site visits
Mid-December - Applicants notified of funding decision via e-mail
January 1 – December 31, 2020 - Grant term

A complete application includes a published, reviewed LIVEGIVEmidsouth.org profile, a current strategic plan approved by the organization’s Board of Directors, and a line item project budget (including all project revenues and expenses). The strategic plan may be uploaded to the organization’s LIVEGIVEmidsouth.org profile. The project budget should be submitted along with the application through the Community Foundation’s online grant portal, GranteeView. Click here to access GranteeView.

All eligible applications are reviewed by a Community Foundation grant committee to determine which applicants are invited to move forward in the process and host a site visit. (If your organization is invited to host a site visit, further information and instructions will be provided upon notification.) Members of the committee then attend applicant site visits, before making funding recommendations to present to the Community Foundation’s Board of Governors.

Grants are awarded for a 12-month term, and all funds must be raised and spent by the end of that term. 

EVALUATION BY COMMITTEE

The volunteer grant committee is composed of 10-15 members who reflect our community and/or serve on the Community Foundation’s Board of Governors. Committee members have significant nonprofit leadership experience, other deep industry experience, and/or are engaged donors to the foundation. All members understand the grant requirements and are given evaluation tools by which to guide their decision making.

HOW ARE APPLICATIONS PRIORITIZED?

All else being equal, the grant committee gives funding priority to the following. 

Applications that:

  • Clearly define the challenge the proposed project will address and how this addresses goal(s) in the organization’s strategic plan
  • Demonstrate potential vendors, consultants, and/or products for the project have been thoroughly researched and identified
  • Include a realistic timeline for completion and demonstrate that ongoing maintenance and/or costs have been accounted for, if applicable
  • Show evidence of sufficient internal capacity to implement the project
  • Include a clear, detailed, and feasible project budget
  • Clearly define success for the project that can be easily communicated to stakeholders
  • Outline a clear strategy for raising matching funds and how this grant can provide leverage to attract donors or serve as a final element to fully fund the project

Applicants that:

  • Have a history of success in the community they serve
  • Have stable revenues and expenses
  • Can demonstrate appropriate diversity in board and staff leadership, specifically in ethnicity and gender

OTHER APPLICANT RESOURCES

For any questions, please contact Elizabeth Warren, Director of Grants & Initiatives, at ewarren@cfgm.org or (901) 722-0022.

Need to submit a grant progress report?

Organizations that are awarded a grant are required to complete two grant reports, one at 12 months after the completion of the term and the other at 18 months to share the project’s short-term impact on the organization's capacity. These and any other grant requirements are included in your organization's grant contract.

Click to Login to GranteeView and submit written grant reports.

Once you have logged in, click on 'Application Status & History' in the portal's navigation menu. Search for the application associated with your grant by updating the search date range to 'Before [today's date]'. Click on the associated application, and complete your reporting requirements listed in the Application Uploads table. 

If the person who initially submitted your organization's application is NOT who will be the best contact throughout the grant term, please notify Elizabeth Warren, Director of Grants & Initiatives, at ewarren@cfgm.org or (901) 722-0022.

About

PLEASE NOTE: Community Foundation's Board of Directors diverted 2020 funding for this grant program towards Phase 2 grants of the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund. Funding will NOT be available for Nonprofit Capacity Building grants this year. Click here to learn more about the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund. 

WHAT IS A NONPROFIT CAPACITY BUILDING GRANT?

The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis seeks to address the organizational strength and overall health of nonprofits in the Mid-South by supporting their capacity building efforts through financial grants. Reviewed by a committee of community volunteers, these grants are awarded to established nonprofits for one-time projects that address a part of the organization’s strategic plan to improve the management, governance, and administration of the organization, not direct programmatic improvements. By strengthening the internal capacity of an organization, the Community Foundation believes the programs and services will also be strengthened. Nonprofit Capacity Building grants require the recipient to raise matching funds ($1 for every $1), thereby encouraging the grantee to use our grant to leverage resources from other donors and funders.

TYPES OF PROJECTS THAT NONPROFIT CAPACITY BUILDING GRANTS SUPPORT

The average Nonprofit Capacity Building grant is around $15,000, and there is approximately $210,000 available this year. 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
  • Development of a new or updated strategic plan 

If you are unclear where to focus your proposal or of your organization’s capacity needs, completing an organizational assessment could be helpful. Contact Momentum’s Help Desk for more resources. Contact Director of Grants & Initiatives Elizabeth Warren  at ewarren@cfgm.org or (901) 722-0022 if you would like to discuss proposal ideas.

Eligibility

ELIGIBLE ORGANIZATIONS

To be eligible for a Nonprofit Capacity Building grant, your organization must have a published, reviewed profile on LIVEGIVEmidsouth.org. This profile must be maintained for the duration of the grant period. The LIVEGIVEmidsouth.org 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 Nonprofit Capacity Building grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis in the previous fiscal year

MATCHING POLICY

If awarded a capacity building grant, nonprofits are required to raise funds to match the Community Foundation’s grant dollar-for-dollar. This requirement is intended to help the nonprofit leverage funds for the project by reaching out to new donors and funders. Policies for the match include:

  • Nonprofits are required to raise funds equal to the grant amount, and therefore the grant amount requested should not exceed 50% of the total project cost. For example, if the total budget for a project is $30,000, the nonprofit may only request a grant of up to $15,000 and must raise the additional $15,000 to complete the project.
  • The match is expected to be cash, not in-kind, donated in response to the grant and specific to the capacity building project. Other arrangements may be discussed on a case-by-case basis.
  • The entire match does not have to come from one source. The strategy for raising the match should be thought out before an application is submitted and in most cases a nonprofit’s board or development committee should be involved.
  • No grant funds will be released from the Community Foundation until the nonprofit has raised 100% of the matching funds. The full match must be raised no later than nine months into the grant term. When the match has been raised, the nonprofit will complete a request for funds in the online grant portal, and the grant check will be processed in 2-4 weeks.
  • Individual donor contributions towards the match should be received before submitting a request for funds. If another foundation is awarding funds towards the match, a grant letter is sufficient, but a verbal commitment is not.
  • Funds should not be drawn from the nonprofit’s reserves or operating budget. Organizations may start raising funds before receiving a grant, but documentation that the funds are being raised specifically for the capacity building project is required.
  • If the grant project is approved by our committee and is already being partially funded by another foundation, Nonprofit Capacity Building grant funds can be used to match the other grant. Additional matching funds would not have to be raised. Please be sure that Community Foundation staff is aware of the situation if this is the case with your grant proposal.

Application Process

PLEASE NOTE: Community Foundation's Board of Directors diverted 2020 funding for this grant program towards Phase 2 grants of the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund. Funding will NOT be available for Nonprofit Capacity Building grants this year. Click here to learn more and apply for Phase 2 funding from the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund. 

2019 Grant Timeline

July - Attend a mandatory pre-application information session
July 19 - Application opens online in GranteeView
August 7 - Deadline to submit a new LIVEGIVEmidsouth.org profile OR updates to an existing profile
August 21 - Deadline to submit application online via GranteeView
September 20 - Applicants notified via e-mail whether they are invited to continue in the grant process by hosting a grant committee site visit
October, November - Grant committee site visits
Mid-December - Applicants notified of funding decision via e-mail
January 1 – December 31, 2020 - Grant term

A complete application includes a published, reviewed LIVEGIVEmidsouth.org profile, a current strategic plan approved by the organization’s Board of Directors, and a line item project budget (including all project revenues and expenses). The strategic plan may be uploaded to the organization’s LIVEGIVEmidsouth.org profile. The project budget should be submitted along with the application through the Community Foundation’s online grant portal, GranteeView. Click here to access GranteeView.

All eligible applications are reviewed by a Community Foundation grant committee to determine which applicants are invited to move forward in the process and host a site visit. (If your organization is invited to host a site visit, further information and instructions will be provided upon notification.) Members of the committee then attend applicant site visits, before making funding recommendations to present to the Community Foundation’s Board of Governors.

Grants are awarded for a 12-month term, and all funds must be raised and spent by the end of that term. 

EVALUATION BY COMMITTEE

The volunteer grant committee is composed of 10-15 members who reflect our community and/or serve on the Community Foundation’s Board of Governors. Committee members have significant nonprofit leadership experience, other deep industry experience, and/or are engaged donors to the foundation. All members understand the grant requirements and are given evaluation tools by which to guide their decision making.

HOW ARE APPLICATIONS PRIORITIZED?

All else being equal, the grant committee gives funding priority to the following. 

Applications that:

  • Clearly define the challenge the proposed project will address and how this addresses goal(s) in the organization’s strategic plan
  • Demonstrate potential vendors, consultants, and/or products for the project have been thoroughly researched and identified
  • Include a realistic timeline for completion and demonstrate that ongoing maintenance and/or costs have been accounted for, if applicable
  • Show evidence of sufficient internal capacity to implement the project
  • Include a clear, detailed, and feasible project budget
  • Clearly define success for the project that can be easily communicated to stakeholders
  • Outline a clear strategy for raising matching funds and how this grant can provide leverage to attract donors or serve as a final element to fully fund the project

Applicants that:

  • Have a history of success in the community they serve
  • Have stable revenues and expenses
  • Can demonstrate appropriate diversity in board and staff leadership, specifically in ethnicity and gender

Resources

OTHER APPLICANT RESOURCES

For any questions, please contact Elizabeth Warren, Director of Grants & Initiatives, at ewarren@cfgm.org or (901) 722-0022.

Grant Reporting

Need to submit a grant progress report?

Organizations that are awarded a grant are required to complete two grant reports, one at 12 months after the completion of the term and the other at 18 months to share the project’s short-term impact on the organization's capacity. These and any other grant requirements are included in your organization's grant contract.

Click to Login to GranteeView and submit written grant reports.

Once you have logged in, click on 'Application Status & History' in the portal's navigation menu. Search for the application associated with your grant by updating the search date range to 'Before [today's date]'. Click on the associated application, and complete your reporting requirements listed in the Application Uploads table. 

If the person who initially submitted your organization's application is NOT who will be the best contact throughout the grant term, please notify Elizabeth Warren, Director of Grants & Initiatives, at ewarren@cfgm.org or (901) 722-0022.