Community Grants – General Information
Introduction to WCF’s Community Grant Funding Program
An important part of the Winona Community Foundation’s mission is realized though awarding grants to meet the ever-changing needs of the community. One way WCF achieves this is by using funds from our William & Beverly Larson Fund to award grants addressing community needs, through a competitive review process. By doing so, a variety of interested are supported with the goal of helping local charities help make a difference in the area supported by their group’s mission. This has included support for arts and humanities, social services, education, health, youth activities and civic projects – helping you help your community.
General information about grant procedures and guidelines can be found in this section, with links to more specific details tagged throughout. These grants are very competitive, so be sure to read information thoroughly prior to calling staff to review your project idea. After reviewing this information, if you don’t find the information needed or questions remain, Foundation staff will be pleased to assist you further as well as provide technical assistance with the application process.
Who is Eligible?
Charitable organizations eligible to apply for grants must:
- Be a 501c3 organization, government agency or have a fiscal agent agreement with 501c3 organization
- Have no outstanding past grant reports with WCF
- Submit ideas for charitable project within Winona or within a 15 mile radius of Winona into Wisconsin.
- Have not yet received funding from the WCF Community Grants program in the past 12 months
See our guidelines for more details on eligibility.
How to Apply and Timing of Application Submissions:
Even if you have applied in the past, please review all information. We will not be accepting any cold applications. Read our guidelines carefully to avoid submitting a request that cannot be considered. Once you have read our guidelines, you must call the WCF office to review your project idea with grant staff.
Review of applications will take place on a quarterly basis, but applications can be accepted anytime throughout the year. Please check with staff for more specifics on timing of application requests.
Facts, Answers and Questions
1. What are the general funding priorities of The Winona Community Foundation?
The Winona Community Foundation Board of Directors has given the following areas of granting a priority. These areas include civic or education issues, health or social services, environment, arts or culture. Technical assistance will be included in all the above areas for the general improvement of community non-profit accountability and organizational effectiveness.
There are additional considerations when preparing a grant proposal. Read our guidelines carefully to avoid submitting a request that does not fit funding priorities.
2. How much can we request?
The most that can be requested from WCF Community Grants is $2,500 at this time. You do not need to apply for this full amount and project budgets should reasonably reflect what is needed. These grants are very competitive. When deciding on a request amount, consider what other funding sources are available and the amount your organization is able to fund. Grant seekers are encouraged to submit proposals that include diverse financial support. These grant awards require matching funds from sources other than an organization’s operational budget. Read our guidelines for full match grant information details.
For a list of past Community grants awards, please see grants history.
3. We’ve already purchased the equipment and are now looking for funding sources to pay for that equipment. Can you help?
Unfortunately, usually not. Our guidelines state that we generally do not fund projects already completed. If there are special circumstances surrounding your need, contact program staff to discuss your project to see if an exception may be made.
4. How often can we apply and when are applications due?
The Grant Committee will only accept one application a year from a non-profit, but the committee may ask the non-profit to resubmit or hold an application over to a later review date. The Committee will meet quarterly to review applications received and submission of requests for support will be accepted on an on-going basis by Foundation staff throughout the year, until the allocated granting budget has been awarded. The week prior to a Committee meeting however, applicants will not be able to schedule staff time for review of application ideas and will be asked to wait until after that meeting to continue with the process.
5. How can we strengthen our request?
Read the guidelines carefully and then contact us. Every year we receive requests we cannot consider because they fall outside our guidelines.
Write a concise narrative, beginning with a clear statement of the project and addressing the questions asked in the instructions in the order listed. Be sure to consider the criteria noted in our guidelines that the committee will use to rank applications when working on your narrative.
Consider “needs” vs. “wants.”
Prioritize the items within your request. If only a portion of it can be funded, what part(s) are most urgently needed?
Consider the timing of your request. If you are asking for a grant for a project that won’t take place for six months or a year, you may be asked to resubmit your request closer to the time the funding is needed.
These grants are very competitive. Examine other possible sources of funding, especially if you have sources that might not be available to most nonprofit’s and/or would likely fill your request. Do not rely on the community foundation for 100% of the funding.
6. We did everything you asked and still didn’t get funded. Why not?
Every year we receive requests totaling far more money than we have to disburse. Decisions about grant awards are always difficult; increased need and reduced funding everywhere have made the process even more competitive. We are always happy to discuss your request with you and comments that the Committee may have made related to why the project ranked lower, but in many cases a request is denied simply because we don’t have enough money to fund all worthwhile projects.
For more information, please contact Jeni Arnold at 507-454-6511, [email protected], or 51 East 4th Street, Winona, MN 55987.