Special and Urgent Needs (SUN)

The Special and Urgent Needs (SUN) grant round helps Vermont nonprofits with unexpected expenses that impact their ability to meet their mission. A SUN grant can help an organization manage an unbudgeted, unforeseen, and time-sensitive emergency or take advantage of an unanticipated opportunity that will enhance its work.

Notice to prospective applicants: The Special and Urgent Needs program will close on December 1, 2023. All applications should be submitted by December 1, 2023, at 5PM to be considered for funding. The SUN program will reopen and resume accepting applications in March 2024.

Storms and Flooding Relief Funding

Nonprofit organizations impacted by storms and flooding may continue to seek funding through the Foundation’s Special and Urgent Needs (SUN) grant program. To support urgent nonprofit needs related to this disaster, we have temporarily modified the guidelines for the SUN program. For storms and flooding relief, organizations may request up to $5,000. Grant awards will support: 

  • Physical and/or capital repairs 
  • Loss of revenue because of closure and/or cancelled programs 
  • Tuition, camp, and/or program refunds 
  • Disruption of office functions and/or loss of critical information 
  • Damage to technology 
  • Unexpected expenses related to transportation disruption 
  • Efforts to support staff and/or volunteer health and wellbeing 
  • Or similar, urgent needs to be determined by the applicant 

This funding is intended to support those organizations directly impacted by storms and flooding. Grant funding will not support costs related to increased demand for services; the Community Foundation will be making grants toward these areas of need through the VT Flood Response & Recovery Fund. For the latest news regarding the Fund, visit vtfloodresponse.org.

We will continue to consider SUN requests through the program that are not related to storms and flooding relief. Requests related to storms and flooding relief will receive priority review, and applicants requesting funding for this purpose will be notified of grant decisions within 10 business days. Storms and flooding relief funding is limited, and applications will be reviewed in order of arrival. To view and begin working on the SUN application, log in to the Online Grants Manager (OGM), which can be accessed at vermontcf.org/OGM.  

What We Fund

The Special and Urgent Needs grant program prioritizes funding for organizations serving basic human needs within their communities (social services, food access, housing, and or health-related services). 

We look for proposals that will allow an organization to address these types of short-term needs:

  • Emergency repairs of building structure or mechanical systems (heating/cooling, water service, etc.) whose sudden and unexpected failure interferes with the provision of services. Examples of a grant of this nature would be costs for an unexpected roof repair resulting from a fallen tree at a social service provider or the mitigation of a water supply that has been deemed unusable in a food shelf. SUN, however, cannot fund repair or replacement to a roof that has been leaking for several months and/or years.
  • Replacement of essential equipment and technology whose sudden and unexpected failure interferes with the provision of services. An example would be a crisis hotline phone system that fails without warning, or a stove at a homeless shelter that breaks just outside of the warranty period but well before the end of its expected life.
  • Provision of services or acquisition of a resource that could not have been anticipated or budgeted, and without which the work of the organization would be severely hampered. An example of this type of grant is training on post-traumatic stress disorder for school guidance counselors supporting children in towns severely impacted by disaster. Another example is staffing a temporary replacement while an organization’s executive director is on emergency medical leave.
  • We will also consider an unexpected and timely opportunity that significantly enhances an organization’s ability to meet its mission. For example, an unexpected opportunity to acquire a key resource at an excellent price.


What We Don't Fund

For the SUN grant round, we only fund projects that are unbudgeted, unforeseen, and time-sensitive. We do not make grants for:

  • deferred building maintenance, such as a roof that has been leaking for several months and/or years;
  • deferred technology upgrades, like a computer or other piece of technology that is no longer working or failing to work but is well beyond its projected life span;
  • capital campaigns;
  • religious purposes;
  • individuals;
  • debts; 
  • past due tax return and audit preparation.

We also cannot consider applications for budget deficits or funding shortfalls; this grant round is designed to help nonprofits with unbudgeted and unexpected expenses, not to fill in for unmet revenue projections. We typically do not fund work that has already been completed.

Who May Apply

Organizations must be located in or serve the people of Vermont, and serve basic human needs (social services, food, shelter, health). The program will prioritize applicants with operating budgets of $500,000 or less.

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

How We Evaluate Your Application

The Vermont Community Foundation will consider the following criteria:

  • Grant would preserve or enhance the ability of the organization to meet its mission.
  • Well-documented community need for organization and/or project.
  • Time sensitivity of the project or program; grant would meet an immediate revenue need.
  • Community support for the project and the organization. The Foundation prefers to be the last dollars in for eligible SUN projects and may consider partial funding.
  • Financial information requested is complete and helpful to the committee in understanding your organization's financial situation, budget, and need for this grant. We are specifically evaluating the financial sustainability of the project or program and financial stability of the organization.
  • Project is not part of the annual workplan or budget or, in the case of structural emergencies, the problem could not have been averted with planned improvements over time.
  • Extent to which the grant will help the Foundation reach geographic areas throughout the state.
  • Availability of Foundation funds.

Note: By submitting your application to the Vermont Community Foundation, you give the Foundation permission to share your application with other interested funders (if any), both individuals and foundations.

Grant Size 

Grants of up to $5,000 are typically awarded from this fund. 

Deadline and Notification

Notice to prospective applicants: The Special and Urgent Needs program will close on December 1, 2023. All applications should be submitted by December 1, 2023, at 5PM to be considered for funding. The SUN program will reopen and resume accepting applications in March 2024.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. We encourage organizations to apply as soon as the need and a plan to address the need are identified. Decisions will be made within 20 business days of receiving the application. 

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.

Beginning in 2023, organizations interested in applying to the Nonprofit Capacity Building or Special and Urgent Needs grant programs will complete the Nonprofit Development & Support application. To help you prepare, click here to view or download the application questions. Please note that this is a PDF sample and not the actual application. To view and begin working on the application, login to the Online Grants Manager (OGM), which can be accessed at www.vermontcf.org/OGM.