Community Grant Program

OVERVIEW: Greater Worcester Community Foundation awards Community Grants to support nonprofit organizations that build healthy and vibrant communities in Central Massachusetts. Community Grants are made possible by donors who have set up endowment funds with us for this purpose. The typical grant ranges is $5,000 to $25,000.


Greater Worcester Community Foundation believes that we will build a stronger community by --

  1. Improving access to community resources for those who have been traditionally excluded or have difficulty because of income or other barriers.
  2. Building upon the assets of a diverse community, addressing injustice, welcoming newcomers, promoting inclusion, and incorporating the views of those who are intended to benefit from programs.
  3. Fostering dynamic collaborations among nonprofits and across sectors through shared goals and productive relationships.
  4. Adopting efforts that are based on proven evidence, for both “tried and true” and more innovative approaches. 
  5. Encouraging nonprofit strength through improved financial conditions, strong management and governance practices, and an expanding base of community support.


Civic Life, the Arts and the Environment

We believe that everyone in Greater Worcester should have access to our community’s cultural and natural resources, and opportunities to help move our community forward. This includes arts and culture, civic engagement and environmental stewardship. We are especially interested in projects and programs that:

  • Increase truly equitable access for all to artistic and cultural resources that reflect the diversity of the community.
  • Inform and improve civic engagement and dialogue.
  • Protect our region’s natural resources, and make them accessible to all.
  • Create meaningful civic participation opportunities for economically or socially marginalized populations.

Early Childhood Development

A child’s first eight years are the most critical for human development, and we believe that building a solid foundation during these years is the most effective way to assure a healthy and productive life. We are especially interested in programs that:

  • Increase the quality and quantity of formal early education for low-income children.
  • Provide a foundation for lifelong development rooted in behavioral and physical health.
  • Support parents and families in their roles as teachers, caregivers, and supporters of their children’s development.
  • Help eliminate summer learning loss among low-income children in greater Worcester.

Youth Development and Education 

As a community, we want to prepare our young people to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood and to achieve their full potential. Youth development is promoted through activities and experiences that help youth develop social, ethical, emotional, physical and cognitive competencies. We are especially interested in projects and programs that:

  • Effectively support high school graduation and foster the completion of college or other post-secondary education.  
  • Work closely with school systems and other youth-serving organizations.
  • Provide employment opportunities.
  • Provide access to networks of support for continuing success through quality relationships with caring adults.  
  • Teach conflict resolution, teamwork, persistence, and other 21st Century skills. 
  • Deliberately and effectively engage high-risk youth. 

Economic Security

Every member of our community deserves access to basic resources, stable housing, and employment opportunities, and to live in a community where they feel safe, secure and respected. We are especially interested in projects and programs that:

  • Address the basic needs of those facing the greatest challenges.
  • Effectively prevent homelessness and increase access to affordable housing.
  • Ensure all people have equal access to wholesome food and healthy physical activity. 
  • Provide adult basic education, skills training, and English language instruction.
  • Work in tandem with employers to meet the current demands of our local economy.

Healthy Communities

We support the Greater Worcester Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). Accordingly, we are committed to health equity, which means that all people, regardless of ethnicity, socio-economic status, sex or age, have equal opportunity to develop and maintain health through equal access to resources. We also want to insure that all people, particularly those most vulnerable, have access to the care they need when and where they need it. We are especially interested in projects and programs that:

  • Create a well-coordinated, respectful, and culturally-responsive environment that encourages prevention of chronic disease, reduction of infant mortality, and access to quality comprehensive care for all.
  • Foster a community responsive to mental health needs of all populations, considerate of all ages and cultures, and resilient to adapt to changing demographics in the population.
  • Prevent and reduce substance use disorder and associated stigma for all populations.
  • Support the goals, strategies and objectives of the CHIP.

Applicants must be 501(c)(3) public charities serving Worcester or the cities and towns of Worcester County. Organizations located outside this area must demonstrate the significant role of local partners in order to be considered. Projects that are not incorporated as independent organizations must apply through an established nonprofit as fiscal agent. Public agencies, municipal departments, and houses of worship are not typically eligible to receive Community Grants.


September 14, 2018

Application Forms & Instructions

The application form is online. The first time an organization applies to the Foundation through our online application system, it creates an Organization Account to use for each application going forward. Please use the same account you have previously used, or create a new one if this your first time applying online. You may contact Foundation staff to find out if your organization already has an account in our system.

To help you prepare a more effective proposal, we have created a set of instructions for your use. Click here to view them. We have also created a webinar, which you can view here


Share this page

370 Main St. Suite 650, Worcester, MA 01608   (508) 755-0980   Email us   Enews Signup

Give Now   Donor Central