CFGA General Operating Support Grant

Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

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Next anticipated deadline: Jul 19, 2020 (Pre proposal)

Later anticipated deadlines: Aug 24, 2020 (Full proposal)

Grant amount: US $10,000 - US $75,000

Fields of work: Art & Culture HIV/AIDS All fields of work

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Training / Capacity Building, General Operating Expense

Location of project: Counties in Georgia: Barrow County, Bartow County, Butts County, Carroll County, Cherokee County Show all

Location of residency: Counties in Georgia: Barrow County, Bartow County, Butts County, Carroll County, Cherokee County Show all

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About this funder:



Note: Nonprofits complete or update their Organizational Profile and Common Grant Application by the 'pre-proposal' deadline above. Selected applicants will be invited to submit a Grant Application Supplement by the 'full proposal' deadline. 

Funding Where It's Needed Most

The Community Foundation is a place-based funder and focuses on a 23- county service area of metro Atlanta. 

The Community Foundation’s General Operating Support cycle provides nonprofits with unrestricted funding to achieve their missions. General operating support grants are flexible and allow funds to be used when and where they’re most needed.

Several of the Community Foundation’s competitive grantmaking programs offer general operating support, including the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund which supports small and midsized arts organizations; the Atlanta AIDS Fund which provides grants to HIV/AIDS-service organizations; and the Common Good Fund, the Foundation’s unrestricted fund that focuses primarily on general operating support for nonprofit organizations.

These grants are highly competitive. Grants range from $10,000 to $75,000 for each 12-month period, and may be awarded for 12 or 24 months. Each grantee will be asked to identify annual goals and to report on progress and challenges every 12 months.

About General Operating Support Grants

General Operating Support cash grants are available to support an organization’s ongoing administrative and infrastructure costs and to maintain existing, effective programs. Characteristics of successful applicants include: a clear vision of the organization’s role in making a difference in the community, a demonstration of effectiveness through the investment of time and personnel in measuring and planning for success and a written strategic plan that covers two or more years, includes goals and methods to measure effectiveness and is used to form an annual work plan. In 2018, support for general operating support grants comes from the Common Good Fund, the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund, the Atlanta AIDS Fund.

These grants are very competitive. Grants will range from $10,000 to $75,000 for each 12-month period and may be awarded for 12 or 24 months; exceptions are noted in the guidelines. Organizations can request no more than 10% of the organization’s last completed fiscal year’s expenses for each year funds are requested. In mid- and end-of-grant reports, each grantee will be asked to reflect on how their organization’s mission-related activities have advanced the Community Foundation’s impact area metrics during the grant period and the results achieved within the grant period as outlined in their strategic plans. Additionally, the report will grantees to report on successes and challenges, both programmatically and in general.

The Foundation’s General Operating Support grants are directly aligned with our goal of strengthening the region’s nonprofits. Grant awards are made based on a number of factors including those outlined in the guidelines. The Foundation seeks to continue to support strong, sustainable organizations. In addition, we are eager to support nonprofits that hold great promise.

Common Good Fund

While some donors set up their own donor-advised funds with us, other donors choose to support critical issues in the community by donating unrestricted dollars to our Common Good Fund. Donors who give to the Common Good Fund help us to meet the needs of our community today and for years to come.

This pool of unrestricted funds allows nonprofit organizations in our 23-county region to apply for grants through a competitive process. After a rigorous review process, and under the guidance of our Board of Directors, grants are made on the basis of community need and strength of the application proposals.

Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund

General Operating Support for the arts is provided by the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund (Arts Fund) of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. The Arts Fund was created to support independent small and medium-sized arts organizations located throughout the 23-county metropolitan Atlanta region. The Arts Fund provides resources to strengthen arts organizations with annual operating budgets under $2 million.

Through its grantmaking, the Arts Fund responds to organizations that demonstrate artistic vibrancy and serious self-assessment, recognize the importance of evolving institutional planning and strong financial management for artistic and operational objectives, and illustrate a long-term commitment. 

Atlanta Aids Fund

The Atlanta AIDS Fund (AIDS Fund) mission is to support metropolitan Atlanta’s HIV/AIDS advocacy, prevention, education and service efforts through funding and leadership. Since 1991, more than $11 million in grants have been awarded to organizations in the metro area. The AIDS Fund is a collaborative funding partnership between the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, United Way of Greater Atlanta, The Allen Thornell HIV Care and Service Fund and Fashion Cares. The AIDS Fund is committed to funding throughout the 23-county region.

The AIDS Fund is overseen by an advisory committee that makes recommendations regarding policies, programs and grants of the AIDS Fund. The Board of Directors for both the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta review these recommendations and make the final approval of grants. HIV/AIDS service organizations may request grants ranging from $10,000 to$75,000 for a 12-month period.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Nonprofit organizations that meet the following requirements are eligible to apply for a General Operating Support (GOS) grant:
    • Must be located and providing services within the Foundation’s 23 -county service area; all GOS grant funds must be spent within the 23-county service area;
    • Must be classified by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service under Section 501(c)(3) of the I.R.S. code as a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, donations to which are deductible as charitable contributions under Section 170 (c)(2) and the I.R.S. determination must be current;
    • Must be registered with the Georgia Secretary of State as a nonprofit; 
    • Must have a minimum two-year operating history after the date of receipt of its 501(c)(3) classification;
    • Must have annual operating expenses greater than $100,000 as reflected in the most recently filed I.R.S. Form 990;
    • Must have at least one full-time paid employee (paid minimum wage or more, working at least 35 hours per week, classified as a W-2 employee) for the 12 months prior to submitting an application
      • (please note that contractors or consultants do not count to-ward this requirement);
    • Must have a current written strategic or business plan for the whole organization that covers at least 24 months which includes the organization’s entire current fiscal year and includes the following:
      • Mission and vision statements
      • Stakeholder participation (staff, board, consumers/clients, volunteers, etc.
      • Strategic goals and measureable objectives
      • Implementation plan showing action steps, a timeline and assigned staff and board responsibilities
      • Quarterly, semi-annual or annual written assessment by staff and board to measure organizational progress towards goals
      • Preference will be given to strategic plans that include reference to resources (expenses and staff/board capacity) necessary to achieve goals and objectives 
    • Must have audited or reviewed financial statements that follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or Government Auditing Standards (GAS) for the past two completed fiscal years as required by budget size.
      • Organizations with annual budgets over $250,000 must have audited financial statements;
      • organizations with annual budgets between $100,000 and $249,999 must have reviewed financial statements.
      • Please note: applications to the Atlanta Aids Fund must include audited financials.
    • Must have filed the end of grant report for any previous General Operating Support grant (Common Good Fund, Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund, Spark Clayton! and Spark Morgan!);
    • Must have a Board of Directors where 100% of members made personal cash donations or made financially measureable in-kind contributions during the last completed fiscal year
      • (please note there is no required cash donation amount);
    • Must have a Board of Directors representing the diversity and demographics of the community served, including individuals with varied skill sets and the committee structure necessary to succeed.
    • National organizations with local chapters/affiliates or programs:
      • local chapters/affiliates or programs must demonstrate local control over their finances and operations, and have a local governing board.
      • Written documentation delineating local control over the local chapter/affiliate must be available upon request. 
  • Additional eligibility criteria for Arts Organizations:
    • Must have an annual operating budget less than $2 million as reflected in the expense line on the most recently filed I.R.S. Form 990;
    • Must have a primary focus on presenting, producing, or providing arts programming for the public;
    • Must pay artists and performers associated with cultural programming; and
    • Must have an artistic emphasis which falls into one or more of the following art forms: dance, design, folk arts, literature, media arts, music, opera, performance arts, theatre or visual arts.
  • Additional eligibility criteria for AIDS organizations: 
    • The Atlanta AIDS Fund offers restricted operating support to fund the ongoing program, administrative and infrastructure costs for organizations that have a clear HIV/AIDS (intervention, prevention and advocacy) component to their work, but not necessarily stated in their missions. Funding will be restricted to up to $75,000 for a 12-month period or no more than 25% of the HIV/AIDS program budget.
    • Applicants must meet all of the following criteria: 
      • HIV/AIDS program budget greater than $60,000 
      • Program budget must be able to be delineated within the organization’s budget
      • At least one dedicated salaried program staff (no contractor/consultant)
      • Programs/activities must be detailed in the organization’s strategic plan and be able to demonstrate that the program is an integral component to the organization and HIV/AIDS advocacy, prevention education and service community;
      • Programs/activities must be based on Evidence Based Interventions (EBIs)/Diffusion of Effective Behavioral Interventions (DEBIs) or be innovative in nature and provide a research based hypothesis on why they are effective; and
      • 2017 grantees must have submitted mid-grant reports to be eligible; prior year grantees must have submitted the end-of-grant reports to be eligible.


  • Priority will be given to organizations that:
    • Submit applications reflecting organization-wide planning and decision-making;
    • Have a clear and articulated vision for implementation and success;
    • Demonstrate a high value for diversity in all forms;
    • Exhibit strong financial management;
    • Demonstrate active use of a current strategic or business plan;
    • Are continually updating plans and programs to reflect the current economy and community needs;
    • Have engaged boards that contribute financially;
    • Budget, evaluate and have stated goals for each program;
    • Partner with others for organizational efficiency; and
    • Align with the Foundation’s Impact Areas and associated metrics.


  • Foundation funds may not be used to support the following:
    • Religious services and/or religious education;
    • Fundraising and marketing events;
    • Endowment funds;
    • Capital campaign contributions (for building construction or renovation) or use of funds to cover capital campaign feasibility studies or campaign implementation expenses.
      • This does not include regular maintenance and capital improvements. 
  • The following organizations are not eligible to apply for funding:
    • Private and publicly funded schools (K-12) and institutions of higher learning.
      • This does not include nonprofit charter schools;
    • Organizations that exclusively raise funds for publicly funded schools (K-12), institutions of higher learning and government agencies;
    • Organizations that require participation in religious services and/or education as a condition of receiving services; and/or
    • Organizations that have discriminatory policies and/or practices on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex/gender, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information or political beliefs.
  • Notes on Eligibility for Arts Organizations:
    • It is unlikely that the following arts organizations or programs will receive a grant:
      • Programs organizationally or financially connected to colleges, universities or religious organizations, even though the program may be operated separately;
      • Community or civic centers, unless the organization's mission is solely arts-oriented or it can be demonstrated that the grant funding will directly support a major arts division with its own administration; and
      • Arts service organizations which do not directly present, produce or provide arts programming.
    • In most cases, organizations must have received at least one grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, South Arts, Georgia Council for the Arts or a local arts agency in the two years prior to submission of an application.