Nonprofit Capacity Building

In order to do great work, nonprofits and municipalities need strong leaders, clear plans, efficient systems, and a sustainable revenue stream. This takes investment in staff and time to explore and plan--something for which many nonprofits on limited or restricted budgets have little resources to spare. It's also often hard to make the case to donors to support this kind of work versus direct services or programming. 

In response to this gap in resources to achieve the important backbone strength, the Vermont Community Foundation has created a small fund to help. The application is designed to be easy to complete and notification is within four weeks. We welcome applications that would focus on your planning needs related directly to how you might achieve your mission in this new time, through strategic planning, merger conversations, and similar efforts.

Grants will be no more than $3,000 each and will support the cost of consultants to facilitate discussions related to strategic planning, financial sustainability planning, or facilitating a merger. These grants are meant to supplement other funding, as we understand that this amount is typically not enough to cover the full cost of providing these services. In the application, we expect the budget to reflect revenue indicating the additional funding necessary to complete the project.  We welcome the use of these funds as challenge grants to secure the additional funds.

What We Fund

The program will fund work that increases the effectiveness and sustainability of nonprofits through:

  • Strategic planning initiatives to clarify mission, goals, and performance measures;
  • Financial sustainability planning, including diversification of revenue streams, resulting in embedded fundraising/development skills, plans or techniques;
  • Merger planning and implementation; and
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion policy development and implementation.

What We Don't Fund

  • Repeat funding of the same organization or initiative within a 3 year period
  • Capital campaign preparation including feasibility studies
  • Grantwriting fees

Who May Apply

Grant applications will be accepted from organizations and municipalities that are located in or serve the people of Vermont and address the above purpose. Previous recipients are not prioritized but are encouraged to call to discuss new work.

All applicants to programs at the Vermont Community Foundation must meet these guidelines.

Grant Size

Grants of up to $3,000 are typically awarded from this fund.

Deadline and Notification

Important update for interested applicants as of November 20, 2020: While the Nonprofit Capacity Building program usually accepts applications on a rolling basis throughout the entire year, due to limited funds we are unable to accept new applications at this time. We encourage you to contact us if you have urgent needs related to this program.

The Nonprofit Capacity Building program will resume accepting applications on a rolling basis in January 2021.

Application Process

All applications must be submitted electronically. Visit our Online Grants Center page to learn how and to register for a new account. Or click here to access your existing account.

To help you prepare, click here to preview a sample of the application.