Critical Grants

The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts unfortunately does not have the resources to offset significant losses experienced by nonprofits. However since 2006 we have provided approximately $235,800 in support to organizations experiencing operating issues on a temporary basis.

Critical Grants enable the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts to assist nonprofits with time-limited grants in the following circumstances:

  • Unforeseen emergencies directly impacting nonprofits such as fires, gas explosions, floods or other unpredictable occurrences that require capital expenditures.
  • Temporary increased service need experienced by nonprofits that are the direct result of an unforeseen emergency such as a fire, tornado, flood, etc.
  • Urgent needs that could not be anticipated that directly impact a nonprofit or a program of a nonprofit. This would include the unexpected loss of committed funding.  Mission Critical would provide support to consolidate, downsize or terminate programs in a responsible manner; or to stabilize program for the short-term (up to 3 months).

What We Fund
Critical Grants provides funding for nonprofits experiencing operating issues due to unforeseen emergencies or urgent needs.

Grant Range
Eligible organizations can request $5,000 – $20,000 for a Critical Grant.

Project Duration
Funding can be requested to support up to a 3 month period.

Grant Process
Critical grants are available year round. Organizations seeking Critical funding must contact Sheila Toto at (413) 732-2858 to discuss their need. If appropriate, the organization will be asked to submit a preliminary application.


  • Applying organizations must be recognized as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Organizations that do not have public charity status may apply for grants if fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) public charity. Click here for more information on fiscal sponsors.
  • Grantees will submit a narrative summary of any current project along with a final financial report indicating that all awarded funds have been expended.

Ineligible Requests for Funding
General Operating Support Grants: The Community Foundation Grants Program does not provide grants for general operating support. Exceptions may be made for very small organizations that are limited in scope and only operate one program. The Grants Program does not support requests for:

  • Endowments.
  • The same project less than one year apart.
  • Private education and religious organizations except for programs that serve broad community needs. (Please see Limitations and Restrictions on Grants for Programs Benefiting Schools.)
  • Retroactive funding for projects that have been complete or will be complete prior to the grant decision date.
  • Fundraising events, the purchase of tickets for benefits, or courtesy advertising.
  • Projects that seek to directly or indirectly influence legislation or election campaigns; activities related to influencing government policies, permitting or regulations will not be considered.
  • Higher education scholarships. Information about the Community Foundation scholarship and interest free education loan program can be found here.

Only in rare circumstances and with prior approval would we consider: Requests for academic or medical research; replacement of governmental or other public funding except for grants bridging periods before anticipated funding; or request for multi-year funding.

Fiscally Sponsored Orgs/ Fiscal Sponsors
Fiscally Sponsored Organizations

Organizations must speak with Community Foundation Staff to access application materials.

Contact Info
For more information, please contact Sheila Toto at