Waco Foundation: Critical Needs Small & Medium Grants

Waco Foundation

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Deadline: Rolling

Grant amount: Up to US $25,000

Fields of work: Disaster Relief / Humanitarian Aid Human & Social Services

Applicant type: Nonprofit, Government Entity

Funding uses: General Operating Expense, Project / Program

Location of project: McLennan County, Texas

Location of residency: McLennan County, Texas

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About this funder:



NOTE: All prospective applicants must schedule a discussion with the Foundation to assess eligibility for funding. If the project is deemed to meet eligibility requirements, the nonprofit will be invited to submit an application. 

Critical Needs Grant Funding Guidelines

As a Foundation, we recognize that COVID-19 is taking a significant toll on our community’s residents and nonprofits. We anticipate that by far the largest amount of assistance will be provided by public sources through a wide variety of vehicles. Waco Foundation is working with the nonprofit community to understand need and trying to fast track nonprofits’ ability to access federal resources. We are also evaluating the need for charitable assistance but encourage nonprofits to seek access to the large set of federal aid available.

Nonprofits that have not already done so are encouraged to look at current and upcoming stimulus packages being offered through the SBA, Workforce Development, and other federal and state authorities, for support.


The Critical Needs Grant Program is designed to provide short-term, situation specific funding for nonprofits experiencing operating challenges due to unforeseen emergencies or urgent needs. With a relatively small amount of funding, these loans or grants help an organization manage an unbudgeted, unforeseen, and time-sensitive opportunity or emergency that will enhance or preserve the ability of the organization to meet its mission. 

Grant awards will all into two categories:

  • Small – grants of up to $5,000
  • Medium sized – grants of up to $25,000

Fund Uses/Priorities

The Critical Needs Grant Program enables Waco Foundation to support urgent, unanticipated needs that directly impact a nonprofit’s operations or a major aspect of its work. Funds may be used to help address one or more of the following circumstances:

  • A temporary increase in the need for services resulting from an emergency.
  • The need for general operating expenses resulting from a significant and unexpected loss of regular or committed funding (budget shortfall/deficit).
  • The need for interim funding/bridging capital (while an organization awaits government funding/repayment).
  • The consolidation, downsizing or termination of programs in a responsible manner; and/or the stabilization of a program or aspects of the operation that if left unaddressed, would have a severe negative effect on the population served by the organization.
  • The acquisition of essential equipment, technology, or resources, for which there is no other source of funding, and without which the work of the organization would be severely compromised. (e.g. equipment necessary due to new regulations/requirements, technology & supplies needed for remote work).
  • Emergencies (e.g. fire, gas explosion, flood or disease outbreak, natural disaster or other unpredictable occurrences) that directly impact an agency and whose relief or recovery response requires capital expenditures.
  • An accidental or unexpected occurrence that causes an organization’s facilities to be inaccessible or programs inoperable until resolved. This may include emergency repairs to a building’s structure or its mechanical systems (heating/cooling, water service, etc.) which are not covered by insurance.
  • Replacing an item or piece of equipment lost due to theft , operational failure or damage, that is required to operate core programs/could threaten an organization’s ability to provide programming or services. 
  • Deficit funding or debt retirement (under special circumstances).
  • Other needs not herein defined that could not have been anticipated, and for which there is no other source of funding. 

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


  • 501(c)(3) organization physically located in and serving the Waco-McLennan County area are eligible for consideration.
  • Under certain circumstances, the Foundation may consider loans or grants to public sector agencies. It should be noted, however, that these funds only support un-budgeted, unforeseen events that will, or has, significantly interrupted essential services.
  • Critical Needs Grant requests will only be considered by the Foundation if it is determined the request is time-sensitive in nature (funding is needed in 45 days or less) and could not have been predicted or reasonably planned for. 


  • Priority consideration will be given to organizations filling key community support roles including youth serving organizations, cultural/arts organizations, and other organizations that may traditionally be under supported during times of crisis. All agencies will need to demonstrate need. 


  • What These Dollars Will Not Fund:
    • We will not fund proposals for projects that should have been anticipated and budgeted for and that are not time-sensitive. Generally, critical need funding will not be awarded for:
      • Structural or technology failures due to deferred building maintenance or technology upgrades.
      • Expenses incurred long before the grant application was submitted.
      • Problems resulting from an organization’s failure to adequately plan. This includes but is not limited to:
        • Waiting until a lease expires before trying to locate alternate space.
        • Relying on a small number of donors for support without a developed plan to sustain programming.
        • Failing to pay taxes.
        • Running operating deficits over multiple years.
        • Not anticipating construction contingency costs.
        • Failing to plan for maintenance costs and or replacement costs of existing equipment.
      • Failure to meet regular obligations (general operating expenses, ongoing program costs, or payroll expenses) due to situations other than an emergency.
      • Replacing a gradual loss of funding/declining donation income.
      • Endowment funds, capital campaigns, or annual giving campaigns.
      • Festivals or one-time events such as fundraisers.
      • Support for travel, field trip, competition, or award ceremony expenses for schools or organizations.
      • Scholarships or individuals.
      • Sectarian, religious or partisan political purposes.
      • Church buildings and grounds (exceptions may be given for daycare ministries). 
      • Expenses that fall under the purview of standard agency/government responsibility are not eligible for consideration.