Capacity Grants

Programmatic Intent
Capacity grants provide support for a nonprofit’s internal improvements in capability, knowledge, or resources that in turn, strengthen its organizational (not programmatic) effectiveness to advance the organization’s mission.

Applicant Eligibility
To view overall eligibility guidelines for applicant organizations, please click here.

Capacity Grant- specific eligibility guidelines include:

  • Applicants must have 501(c)3 status. Fiscally sponsored organizations are not eligible to apply.
  • Applicants must have been in operation under their current 501(c)3 status long enough to provide at least one year of audited or reviewed financial documents.
  • Applicant’s current (or most recently available) annual operating budget must be less than two million dollars.
  • All applicants must schedule a pre-application phone conversation with the Capacity Grant Program Officer prior to consideration for this funding opportunity.  The calendar to schedule a call will be available starting June 25, 2018. No exceptions will be granted; this includes organizations with a prior grant history or prior programmatic relationship with CFWM.

Applicants should review the Capacity Framework (posted on CFWM website) to understand what are appropriate activities for Capacity grants.

Funding Criteria

  • Grant range: Minimum grants are $1,000. The expected norm for most grants will be $10,000. A maximum grant will be $15,000.
  • Duration of grants: Up to 1 year from grant award date.

Funding Preference

Ineligible Activities
Please click here to view activities that are ineligible for funding from any of CFWM’s grant programs.

Capacity Grant- specific ineligibility include:

  • The hiring of permanent staff (a commitment of employment beyond the grant end date).
  • Use of funds to underwrite salaries for staff without any corresponding increase in hours to reflect additional temporary activities. Full time staff salaries may not be supported by
    these grant funds, even if there is a shift in focus for staff person’s activities.

Click here for description of grants with more specific information on eligible and ineligible purposes.

Available Funding
There is a minimum of $336,450 available for the Capacity Grant Program. The CFWM will fund the Capacity Grant Program using sources of endowed funding (funds) that have legal geographic or use restrictions, which results in an anticipated distribution of :

  • 68% of funding for Hampden County, with significant proportion of funds targeted to Springfield. (estimated 16-23 grants)
  • 20% of funding for Franklin County. (estimated 5-7 grants)
  • 12% of funding for Hampshire County. (estimated 3-5 grants)
  • Geographic determinations are based on the primary office location for the organizations and / or the location of the organization’s activities. Distribution for use is based on the mission and the work of the organization.

Grant Process
All applicants must schedule a pre-application phone call with the Capacity Program Officer to discuss their initial proposal ideas.

  • The calendar to schedule a pre-application phone call will be made available starting mid-June 2018. Pre-application phone conversation slots will be first come, first served. Availability of phone slots is based on the anticipated number of proposals that can be managed by CFWM; phone slots are not guaranteed for interested applicants.
  • Phone appointments will close on August 30, 2018.
  • Applications must be complete, including all correct attachments at time of submission.

Important Dates

  • Pre-application phone call calendar opens: June 25, 2018.
  • Pre-application phone call calendar closes: August 30, 2018.
  • Grant submission deadline: September 7, 2018, at 5:00 p.m. 

Application and Related Materials


  • These will be posted later in June 2018.

Contact Info

Michael DeChiara at