Community Grant Program

Greater Worcester Community Foundation awards Community Grants to support nonprofit organizations that create access to opportunity in the Greater Worcester Region. Our communities need to be environments where basic needs are met, children are cared for, young people are educated and become productive citizens, and opportunities for civic participation and upward mobility are accessible to all. Community Grants are made possible by donors who have set up endowment funds with us for this purpose. 

Our Values

Greater Worcester Community Foundation believes that we will build a community of opportunity for all by:

  1. Improving access to community resources and meaningful opportunities for those who have been traditionally excluded or have difficulty because of income or other barriers.
  2. Creating community conditions that enable upward mobility.
  3. Promoting diversity, equity and inclusion and eliminating disparate outcomes driven by race, ethnicity, geography, or socioeconomic status.
  4. Addressing the root cause of systemic problems.
  5. Listening to the diverse voices of our community, especially those with lived experience of the issues our funding seeks to address.
  6. Fostering dynamic collaborations among nonprofits and across sectors through shared goals and productive relationships.
  7. Adopting efforts that are based on proven evidence, for both “tried and true” and more innovative approaches. 
  8. Encouraging nonprofit strength through improved financial conditions, strong management and governance practices, and an expanding base of community support.

Areas of Interest

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 early 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 seek to be a community that creates the conditions that will allow all of its children to thrive. 

Organizations interested in applying for a grant for Early Childhood services should use the separate Early Childhood Community Grant application to apply. Click button below for details.

Early Childhood Grant Guidelines

Economic Security

All members of our community deserves meaningful opportunities to meet their needs and achieve their potential.

Those seeking to rise out of poverty face particular challenges and deserve effective assistance and support. 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.
  • Provide adult basic education, ESOL, skills training to low income populations.

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 addresses the social determinants of physical and behavioral health and provides access to quality comprehensive care for all.
  • Support the goals, strategies and objectives of the CHIP.

Youth Development & 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 best promoted through asset-oriented activities and experiences that help develop social-emotional, ethical and cognitive competencies. We are especially interested in projects and programs that:

  • Effectively support high school graduation and success in post-secondary education.  
  • Increase work readiness and provide employment opportunities. 
  • Teach conflict resolution, teamwork, persistence, and other 21st Century skills.  

Terms & Conditions

Grant amounts typically range from $2,500 to $25,000. Applicants must be 501(c)(3) public charities serving Worcester or the cities and towns of Worcester County. Organizations located in the Greater Worcester area, engaging local partners or building local capacity will be preferred. 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.

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.


September 16, 2019

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