VCF: Nonprofit Capacity Building Grant

Vermont Community Foundation

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Deadline: Rolling

Grant amount: Up to US $3,000

Fields of work: Habitat & Ecosystem Restoration Renewable/Sustainable Energy Pedestrian & Bike-Friendly Infrastructure Environmental Stewardship Sanitation & Clean Drinking Water Freshwater Conservation Water Resource Management Air Quality Youth Development & Leadership Urban Planning Economic Services & Development Supportive Housing & Shelters After School /Summer Educational Programs Workforce Preparation & Job Readiness Arts / Culture Access & Participation Wildlife Management Health Care Access & Delivery Child Care Services Public Infrastructure Community/Public Safety Diversity & Inclusion Parks & Public Spaces Outdoor Recreation Entrepreneurship Job Creation Civic Engagement & Education Employment Services Tutoring & Mentoring Financial Literacy Basic Human Needs Affordable Housing Mental Health & Psychiatric Diseases Addiction & Substance Abuse College Success / Persistence Vocational & Trade Education Career/College Preparation Education - Preschool / Early Learning Show all

Applicant type: Government Entity, Nonprofit

Funding uses: Training / Capacity Building

Location of project: Vermont

Location of residency: Vermont

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About this funder:



Covid19 Update: At this time, during the Covid19 crisis, when normal operations are suspended and in-person programming is disrupted, we know that many non profits are struggling to determine what their new model for operations will look like. 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.


In order to do great work, nonprofits 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. Through this grant round we hope to strengthen the sector itself while fostering greater understanding for funders and donors about the value of this type of support by showcasing best practices in mergers, strategic planning, and fundraising. The application is designed to be easy to complete and notification is within four weeks.

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.

How We Evaluate Your Application

The Vermont Community Foundation will consider the following criteria:

  • We will prioritize requests from organizations whose work falls within the four opportunity gap focus areas
  • Grant would preserve or enhance the ability of the organization to meet its mission.
  • Documented demonstration that staff and board of all interested organizations support this effort.
  • Award would be made to support development of strategies for organizational focus and success, fundraising, or orchestrating a merger. 
  • Project is timely in the evolution of the organization(s).
  • Request demonstrates interest in improved effectiveness of organizations, quality and effectiveness of programming, and better support of the constituencies served by the organization(s).
  • Compatibility with the grant round guidelines.
  • Availability of Foundation funds.

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


  • 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.
  • Organizations must be tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
    • Nonprofit organizations or community groups who do not have 501(c)(3) status may apply for grant awards if another tax-exempt organization acts as a fiscal sponsor.
  • Grant applicants must employ staff and provide services without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity (as defined in paragraph 249(c)(4) of title 18, United States Code), sexual orientation, marital or parental status, political affiliation, military service, physical or mental ability.


  • We will prioritize funding requests that are tied to organizations and strategies focused on closing the opportunity gap.
  • We prefer applications that identify a consultant.


  • What We Don't Fund
    • Anything other than professional consultant costs to facilitate any of the work listed above.
    • Repeat funding of the same organization or initiative within a 3 year period
    • Board recruitment efforts.;
    • Capital campaign preparation including feasibility studies.;
    • Organizational assessment work prior to strategic planning.;
    • Grantwriting fees
    • Programs with religious instruction.
  • No person in the United States shall, on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity (as defined in paragraph 249(c)(4) of title 18, United States Code), sexual orientation, marital or parental status, political affiliation, military service, physical or mental ability be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity funded in whole or in part with funds made available (meaning any funds having a competitive application process) by the Vermont Community Foundation, and any other program or activity funded in whole or in part with funds appropriated for grants, cooperative agreements, and other assistance administered by the Foundation.