Community Foundation Grants
The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo begins accepting Letter of Intent (LOI) January 1, 2017
The LOI is the first mandatory step in the Community Foundation’s 2017 competitive grant process. It involves completion of a simple electronic form allowing grant review committees to determine if a project merits further consideration in light of available resources and current priorities. Please note, this is the ONLY Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo competitive grant cycle for 2017.
LOI will be accepted until 4 PM on February 1, 2017. Please review the complete timeline at the bottom of this page.
The Community Foundation is committed to making grants that will have a maximum positive impact on Western New York. As one of the largest grantmakers in Western New York, the Foundation is aware of the importance that many organizations place on grant income and truly wishes it could support every worthy non-profit that applies.
Through its annual process, the Foundation receives up to 150 Letters of Intent. From this pool an average of 20 are ultimately selected for funding. A list of recent past grant awards is available in the right column of this page.
Foundation staff is always available for assistance, but please remember that this is a competitive process and therefore staff must maintain neutrality. Keep in mind that a grant is essentially an investment in your program. And just like with any financial investment, the Foundation will be looking for a solid return when the reporting comes due. It is suggested that you start planning for the end of the grant now in order to create a solid proposal.
Please review the objectives listed under the Foundation’s community goals, available below. It is important that your program(s) address one or more of these objectives in order to be considered for funding.
Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo awards annual grants to nonprofit organizations with programs that address one or more of the following four community goals and the objectives detailed in the pdf below:
- I. Improve Educational Achievement for Students Living in Low-Income Households
- II. Increase Racial/Ethnic Equity
- III. Enhance and Leverage Significant Natural Resources, with priorities determined by the Shared Agenda for the Environment
- IV. Strengthen the Region as a Center for Architecture, Arts and Culture
NOTE: In addition to the four Community Goals and corresponding objectives, special funding is available to support the following:
- Programs that serve the visual, speech or hearing impaired (~$5,000)
Preference will be given to special funding requests that align with one or more of the four Community Goals.
- Grants are awarded only to organizations that have current Section 501(c)(3) status as determined by the Internal Revenue Service.
- Applicants must be located in or serving one of the eight counties of Western New York: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming.
- Any one organization may submit up to two LOI maximum. If an invitation to submit a full Funding request must be for the same amount requested in your Letter of Intent submission unless a change is approved by the Foundation.
- Any one organization may submit up to two LOI maximum. If an invitation to submit a full application is extended, only one of the LOI will be chosen and that choice is at the full discretion of the Foundation.
- At any given time, organizations can only have one open Community Foundation competitive grant. Should you have an open grant from the 2016 or prior cycle, you are ineligible.
- Eligible organizations can receive only one competitive grant per year.
- On a very limited basis, the Foundation will offer the opportunity for two-year support with second year support contingent upon year one outcomes.
- The Foundation requires that all grants be closed out within one year of the receipt of funds, with the exception of two-year awards.
- The Foundation is receptive to requests that address advocacy, research and policy analysis aligned with the four Community Goals.
- The Foundation will consider the applicant’s board, including the diversity of representation, in the evaluation process. Please be aware that for the 2017 grant cycle, the Foundation will give board diversification increased weighting when making final decisions. The ethnic/racial composition of the board of any organization should represent the community it serves.
- The Foundation is a strong supporter of the charitySTRONG initiative which assists public charities in achieving the highest standards of board leadership, governance and oversight. We recommend organizations utilize this service to improve their capacity strengthen their boards by providing access to a pool of talent for board service and governance resources: www.charitystrong.org
- The Foundation will consider allowing up to 10% of the grant amount for indirect costs.
- The Foundation reserves the right to pay grants in a single installment or in “draws” at its sole discretion.
- The Foundation requires that all successful applicants obtain three bids for any equipment purchase.
- The Community Foundation reserves the right to conduct an independent evaluation of grant expenditures for up to four years. The grantee agrees to provide the information necessary to complete such an evaluation. Failure to submit requested information in a timely fashion may obligate the grantee to refund the grant.
- The use of grant funds for purposes not pre-approved by the Foundation or not supported through required documentation will result in a request that those grant funds be returned to the Foundation.
- The failure of an applicant to properly close out a grant in a timely manner will be a factor when considering new grants.
The Foundation will not consider competitive funding for:
- Higher education scholarships (separate application, deadlines, and process)
- Projects outside the eight Western New York counties (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming)
- Religious purposes
- Schools not registered with the New York State Education Department
- Attendance at or sponsorship of fundraising events for organizations
- Annual events or festivals
- Any partisan political activity. Funds from the foundation cannot be used to support or oppose a candidate for political office.
- Projects and activities that have occurred. The Foundation will not, except in extraordinary cases, provide payment or reimbursement for expenses incurred prior to the funding decision being communicated to the applicant.
- The historical average for a competitive grant through this process is in the $18,000 to $20,000 range.
- The maximum grant available through the Community Foundation competitive process is $50,000.
- Grants in the amount of $50,000 are rare and usually are awarded when a unique opportunity, such as a funding match, is presented.
- Should an organization be requesting more than $50,000, they must contact the Foundation in advance to discuss their LOI.
- Letter of Intent RFP posted online: January 1
- Letter of Intent submissions due: February 1 by 4 PM (submissions must be sent electronically utilizing the Foundant Grant Lifecycle Manager which can be accessed through the link above. No pdf or paper copies will be accepted).
- Selected organizations notified to submit full applications: April 10
- Briefing for those invited to submit a full application: April 13 at 10:00 a.m.
- Selected organizations full applications due: May 12 by 4 PM
- Funding decisions announced: ~Late August
For more information about the Foundation's grant process contact Darren Penoyer by email or at (716) 852-2857.