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2019 Capacity Building Grants

Grants to Louisville Area, Kentucky Nonprofits
to Improve Organizational Capacity

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Community Foundation of Louisville - Fund For Louisville Grants

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

09/21/18 5:00 PM


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Grants of up to $20,000 to Louisville Area, Kentucky nonprofit organizations to support capacity building projects. LOIs are due July 30. The purpose of this program is to strengthen the nonprofit sector, leading to greater community impact and effective programs.

Capacity building projects strengthen the effectiveness and future sustainability of nonprofits and can include but are not limited to:
-Leadership development
-Staff training
-Improvements to governance structure
-Creation of organization-wide approach to evaluation
-Improvements to financial- or data-management systems
-Creation of strategic, communication, or fundraising plans
-Technology upgrades and training
-Planning required for merger or collaboration
-Succession planning
-Creating or strengthening volunteer and/or alumni programs

The most successful capacity building projects:

-Address issues that affect the organization as a whole, not a single program. For example: creation of a new strategic plan or purchase of new accounting software is considered capacity building. A request to pay a consultant to revamp or enhance a single program is not.

-Come at a strategic moment for the organization, such as a leadership transition, a period of rapid growth or expansion, or significant change in a program or income stream. For example: An organization has several leaders who are planning to retire in 1-2 years. A capacity building grant can pay for leadership training for staff members who will assume leadership positions.

-Are not intended to be a short term fix.

Strategic Focus for the 2019 Capacity Building Grants:

As an innovator in philanthropy, the Foundation continually evaluates Louisville’s greatest challenges and opportunities, using data, research, and on-the-ground knowledge and experience to inform the grant making approaches.

Our focus for the 2019 grants is informed by the 2015 Greater Louisville Project Report, “A Focus on Poverty.” Compelling and actionable, the report highlighted 11 zip codes, shaded in red and orange on this map of Louisville, as most impacted by longstanding disinvestment.

Poverty is commonly thought of simply as lack of income. Multi-dimensional poverty acknowledges that lack of education, poor health, and few job opportunities also impact an individual’s ability to thrive.

Building on the rich history and assets of the neighborhoods in these 11 zip codes, CFL and its partners are investing to strengthen the capacity of nonprofits working in these areas.

Allowable Expenses:

Capacity building grants may pay for the costs associated with professional development and staff training (conference/training fees, travel, lodging, food, etc.), costs of consulting services, hardware, software, website upgrades, and reasonable costs for staff time directly in support of the capacity building project’s objectives.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 135712

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Funding is available for approximately 26 grants.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grants may be requested for any amount, up to $20,000.

Term of Contract:

Grants may be expended from Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2019.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants are organizations that:
-Are nonprofit, 501(c)(3) public charities in good standing, or charitable projects that are fiscally sponsored by 501(c)(3) public charities in good standing.
-Can demonstrate how their work transforms lives for residents in one or more of the 11 target ZIP codes, located primarily in the western and south central parts of the local community (specifically: 40202, 40203, 40208, 40210, 40211, 40212, 40213, 40214, 40215, 40219, 40118).
-Requests a capacity building investment that will strengthen the organization’s efficiency, effectiveness, or sustainability.

Please note: Organizations that received a 2018 Fund for Louisville capacity building grant are not eligible for a 2019 grant. However, prior recipients of Fund for Louisville capacity building grants may apply.

Organizations serving beyond the target zip codes (statewide, nationwide, etc.):

To qualify, the organization does not have to be located in one of the target ZIP codes. But the most competitive applicants will be those that can clearly describe how the organization is transforming lives in one or more of the 11 target ZIP codes.

Be prepared to share the name(s) of neighborhoods served, number of people served, the type of program delivered, and frequency of service in those ZIP codes. The review committee will evaluate the breadth/depth of service in the target zip codes among all applicants, in addition to the strength of the capacity building project.

Not Considered Capacity Building (for purposes of the Fund for Louisville Grant Program):
-Creating a new staff position
-Pay an existing staff person to do work described in her/his job description unrelated to the capacity building project
-A computer lab for clients’ use
-Creating a new program
-Operating or program funds
-A media campaign (for example, printing fliers, buying advertisements on radio/television, social media, etc.)
-Expanding programming from one site to additional sites
-A contract/temporary/permanent position to raise funds for one year

Grants may not be used to pay debt or expenses incurred prior to the grant award date. Grants may not fund a staff person solely to complete duties described in her/his job description. For example, the grant may not be used to pay an individual to fundraise for the organization (however, the grant may be used to create a fundraising strategy).

2018 capacity building grant recipients may not apply for a 2019 grant; past grantees and all other nonprofits that qualify may apply.

Pre-Application Information:

Grant request must make up 50%+ of the total capacity building project budget.

The online application process begins with a Letter of Intent, which will be posted on the grant application website on June 25, 2018 and remain open until July 30, 2018 at 5:00 PM.

After review, selected organizations will be asked to submit a full application.

A full application will be requested from selected submissions in mid-August, and grant recipients will be announced in mid-December 2018.

Grantees will be selected and announced in December 2018 for capacity building projects to begin in January 2019.

-June 25, 2018: Letter of Intent form becomes available on the CFL grant website (the first step in the application process)
-July 30, 2018: Letter of Intent forms are due at 5:00 PM
-August 13, 2018: All organizations that received a letter of intent will receive an update on their status. Selected organizations will be asked to submit a full application
-September 21, 2018: Applications due at 5:00 PM
-December 12, 2018: CFL’s Board of Directors meets to review and approve 2019 Fund for Louisville grantees
-January 1, 2019 - December 31, 2019: Grantees complete their capacity building projects, submitting a six month progress report in July 2019 and a final project and budget report in January 2020.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

Liz Alkire, Senior Program Officer, Mission & Impact

Community Foundation of Louisville
325 W. Main Street, Suite 1110
Waterfront Plaza, West Tower
Louisville, KY 40202

Phone: 502.585.4649
Fax: 502.855.6173

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Kentucky: The following zip codes in the Louisville Area: 40202, 40203, 40208, 40210, 40211, 40212, 40213, 40214, 40215, 40219, and 40118