Community Grant Program

Application Opens: July 15, 2020
Application Deadline:  September 14, 2020 

Greater Worcester Community Foundation awards Community Grants to support nonprofit organizations that create access to opportunity and upward mobility 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 are accessible to all. Community Grants are made possible by donors who have set up endowment funds with us for this purpose. 

Our Values

In addition to demonstrated capacity to successfully execute proposed programs and projects, we seek to fund proposals that reflect these core values:

  1. Creation of community conditions that enable upward mobility for people facing barriers to self-sufficiency.
  2. Elimination or reduction of racial disparities in life outcomes. 
  3. Interventions that are based on convincing evidence, for both “tried and true” and more innovative approaches. 
  4. Outcomes that demonstrate a clearly articulated understanding of how program participants will benefit and measurement of suitable indicators. 
  5. Meaningful collaboration with other parties that impact the issues we seek to address.
  6. Inclusion of the perspectives of those with lived experience of the issues our funding seeks to address.

Areas of Interest

Civic Life, the Arts and the Environment

We believe that everyone in Greater Worcester should have access to our region’s cultural and natural resources, and opportunities to participate fully in the life of the community. This includes arts and culture, civic engagement and environmental stewardship. 

We are especially interested in projects and programs that:

  • Advance the goals of the City of Worcester’s Cultural Plan
  • Increase equitable access to artistic and cultural resources
  • Amplify under-heard voices 
  • Improve civic engagement and dialogue
  • Protect our region’s natural resources and make them accessible to all

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 populations facing barriers to economic security
  • Effectively seek systemic changes that increase opportunity

Healthy Communities

We support the Greater Worcester Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). Accordingly, we are committed to health equity, which means that all people have equitable and sufficient access to the resources needed to lead a healthy life. We also want to insure that all people, particularly those most vulnerable, have access to the health care they need, when and where they need it. 

We are especially interested in projects and programs that:

  • Effectively enable and encourage healthy living 
  • Address the social determinants of physical and behavioral health 
  • Provides access to quality comprehensive care for all
  • Contribute to 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:

  • Productively leverage out-of-school time to keep young people safe and support healthy development
  • 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.

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