Nonprofit Capacity Building Grants

Community Foundation of Greater Memphis

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Grant amount: Approximately US $15,000

Next anticipated deadline: Aug 7, 2020 (Pre proposal)

Later anticipated deadlines: Aug 21, 2020 (Full proposal)

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Training / Capacity Building, Conference

Location of project: Counties in Arkansas: Arkansas County, Chicot County, Clay County, Cleburne County, Cleveland County Show all

Location of residency: Counties in Arkansas: Arkansas County, Chicot County, Clay County, Cleburne County, Cleveland County Show all

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About this funder:



Community Foundation of Greater Memphis

A community foundation is a philanthropic organization that manages charitable funds with a broad base of donors to benefit a specific geographic area—in our case, West Tennessee, eastern Arkansas, and northern Mississippi.

Founded in 1969, the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis brings a half-century of experience and expertise, working with donors, professional advisors, and nonprofits to help strengthen our community through philanthropy. Together, we have built a trusted resource that helps transform the way you give.


The mission of the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis is to strengthen our community through philanthropy. To accomplish this mission, the Community Foundation will:

  • Develop and effectively manage charitable funds and endowments, offering the highest levels of service and expertise to individuals, families, and institutional donors and their successors; 
  • Actively address the needs of the community by examining community issues, securing and distributing resources, advocating for positive change, and convening meetings and conversations which encourage donors and the community to respond;
  • Encourage philanthropy and the growth of charitable resources among individuals, families, businesses, and community institutions.

Nonprofit Capacity Building Grants

The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis seeks to address the organizational strength and overall health of nonprofits in the Mid-South by supporting their capacity building efforts through financial grants. Reviewed by a committee of community volunteers, these grants are awarded to established nonprofits for one-time projects that address a part of the organization’s strategic plan to improve the management, governance, and administration of the organization, not direct programmatic improvements. By strengthening the internal capacity of an organization, the Community Foundation believes the programs and services will also be strengthened. Nonprofit Capacity Building grants require the recipient to raise matching funds ($1 for every $1), thereby encouraging the grantee to use our grant to leverage resources from other donors and funders.

Types of Projects Supported

The average Nonprofit Capacity Building grant is around $15,000, and there is approximately $210,000 available this year. Project examples include but are not limited to:

  • Evaluation of core programs
  • Staff or board training
  • Assessment of technology systems or implementation of technology upgrades
  • Human resources planning, succession planning, or fundraising planning
  • Merger or formal collaboration between organizations

For more specific examples, please see previous Nonprofit Capacity Building grants awarded here.

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


  • To be eligible for a Nonprofit Capacity Building grant, your organization must have a published, reviewed profile on This profile must be maintained for the duration of the grant period. The profile of eligible applicants demonstrates that the organization:
    • Has operated as a 501(c)(3) agency for the last three consecutive years or longer
    • Operates in the Community Foundation’s service area: west Tennessee, northern Mississippi, and/or eastern Arkansas
    • Is permitted by the Tennessee Secretary of State to solicit funds
    • Has the last three years of 990’s and audits, if required
    • Has at least one paid staff member and stable, demonstrated board leadership
    • Operates under sound financial management and is financially stable
    • Has a current strategic plan that is consistent with the vision of the organization with evidence that staff, board, and other stakeholders (if applicable) were involved in the process. The strategic plan, as opposed to a business plan, should have a multi-year focus addressing the whole organization and not simply one program or project.
    • Provides significant community impact in, has solid relationships with, and reflects the makeup of the communities it serves
  • If awarded a capacity building grant, nonprofits are required to raise funds to match the Community Foundation’s grant dollar-for-dollar. This requirement is intended to help the nonprofit leverage funds for the project by reaching out to new donors and funders. Policies for the match include:
    • Nonprofits are required to raise funds equal to the grant amount, and therefore the grant amount requested should not exceed 50% of the total project cost. For example, if the total budget for a project is $30,000, the nonprofit may only request a grant of up to $15,000 and must raise the additional $15,000 to complete the project.
    • The match is expected to be cash, not in-kind, donated in response to the grant and specific to the capacity building project. Other arrangements may be discussed on a case-by-case basis.
    • The entire match does not have to come from one source. The strategy for raising the match should be thought out before an application is submitted and in most cases a nonprofit’s board or development committee should be involved.
    • No grant funds will be released from the Community Foundation until the nonprofit has raised 100% of the matching funds. The full match must be raised no later than nine months into the grant term. When the match has been raised, the nonprofit will complete a request for funds in the online grant portal (see sample form), and the grant check will be processed in 2-4 weeks.
    • Individual donor contributions towards the match should be received before submitting a request for funds. If another foundation is awarding funds towards the match, a grant letter is sufficient, but a verbal commitment is not.
    • Funds should not be drawn from the nonprofit’s reserves or operating budget. Organizations may start raising funds before receiving a grant, but documentation that the funds are being raised specifically for the capacity building project is required.
    • If the grant project is approved by our committee and is already being partially funded by another foundation, Nonprofit Capacity Building grant funds can be used to match the other grant. Additional matching funds would not have to be raised. Please be sure that Community Foundation staff is aware of the situation if this is the case with your grant proposal.


  • The following projects are NOT eligible for grant support:
    • Operating costs, including salaries, other than those related to the capacity building project
    • Project requests from organizations with many branches or departments (YMCA, public libraries, etc.) that do not come through the office of the president/executive director
    • Expansion of existing programs or creation of new ones
    • Brick-and-mortar projects or endowment campaigns
    • Pass-through grants to other nonprofits
    • Nonprofit religious activities
    • Grants to supplant lost funding or eliminate budget deficits
    • Development of a new or updated strategic plan 
  • The following organizations are NOT eligible to apply for funding:
    • Individuals, for-profit entities, private foundations, and religious organizations
    • Organizations that received a Capacity Building grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis in the previous fiscal year