Nonprofit Effectiveness Grant Program

Applications Accepted:
July 15 - November 15, 2021

This grant program operates on a rolling basis. Review and notification of application outcomes will happen within 6 weeks of submission.

The Nonprofit Effectiveness Grant Program is designed to support fresh perspectives on routine operations that demonstrate your organization's learning agenda and values. We believe that investing in the systems of nonprofit organizations is critical because it increases an organization's ability to be a strong and inclusive employer and it also leads to improved, or continued, high-quality service to others.

The Nonprofit Effectiveness Grant Program is replacing GWCF's Mini-Grant Program.

Focus Areas

We are interested in supporting nonprofit organizations to approach internal work from a place of strength, supporting activities that increase their capacity, enhance their organizational culture and create intentional space for critical planning work.  Grants up to $10,000 will be awarded for projects in the following categories:

  • Planning Activities
    • Strategic planning
    • Organizational assessments
    • Fund development
    • Marketing & Communications planning
    • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging planning
  • Internal Operations
    • Financial management improvements
    • HR and operations updates and streamlining
    • Systems updates as a result of growth and expansion
  • Strategic Relationships & Partnerships
    • Exploration of alliances, collaborations or mergers
    • Pilot projects with new coalitions or partners
  • Board Governance
    • Training & planning activities to strengthen the Board
    • Executive & Succession planning
  • Leadership & Professional Development
    • Tuition costs for leadership programming
    • Internal staff training/education

Key Criteria

  • Proposals should speak to how this specific engagement/purchase/experience will help the organization reach a new level of organizational growth  or take a strategic pause to re-evaluate
  • Demonstrated reasoning for why this work is critical now
  • We are especially interested in funding requests that are dynamic and reflective, and also engage a new approach to the work. Examples include a strategic planning process that centers equity or a facilitated process to re-examine a mix of services due to continued COVID impact
  • We want to ensure we are investing our resources in organizations that are on a journey to examine, learn and pivot in the areas of racial equity, community voice and changing policies and systems. We encourage you to learn more about GWCF's evaluative lenses before you apply.

Tips for Applicants

What We Will Not Fund

  • Capital Projects/Campaigns
  • Building renovations
  • Equipment
  • Event Sponsorships
  • Individuals
  • Public organizations or municipalities (Not typically, discuss with program team member before submitting an application)
  • Houses of Worship, or programs/organizations that proselytize (Not typically, discuss with program team member before submitting an application)

Profile of Successful Grantee Partners

  • 501c3 tax exempt nonprofit or an entity operating under the fiscal sponsorship of a tax-exempt nonprofit. 
  • Collaboratives or loosely organized coalitions are welcome to apply and should be submitted by the designated lead partner
  • Your organization’s work is within GWCF’s geographic area served. Priority is given in the following order:
    • Nonprofits providing an unduplicated service in Worcester County without a physical (staff or location) presence will be expected to demonstrate their authentic relationships with local stakeholders (Local board members, formalized partnerships, local committee/coalition service etc..)
    • Nonprofits not based in Worcester County but have a physical presence (staff or location) should focus their application entirely on their work within Worcester County.
    • Nonprofit organizations based in and serving Worcester County. 
  • Sound Organizational Practices: A legitimate and effective governing or advisory board is in place and strong planning and fiscal stewardship is happening

Expectations of Grantee Partners  

GWCF has a responsibility as stewards of community resources to report on and tell stories of collective impact. To achieve this goal, we ask that all grantee partners are able to:

  • Expend their grant within 18 months of award
  • Submit a progress report detailing their successes, challenges and lessons learned at the completion of their project or within one year of the grant award.
  • Promote our granting partnership on marketing materials, and any project related press
  • Be in touch with your program officer over the course of your grant award. Things come up and projects shift course- we want to be a resource and partner in any way we can.

To Apply

The online application can be accessed here. 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. 

Questions?

If you have questions about the Community Grant Program, please contact Senior Program Officer Sarah Shugrue. Send an inquiry here.

Share this page

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

Give Now   Donor Central