Mission Grants 2019 – FAQs

Q:  Who does the Foundation fund?

A:  Nonprofit, public benefit organizations with evidence of tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.


Q:  What if an group is not a 501(c)(3) organization?

A:  Those group who are not 501(c)(3) organizations who are doing charitable work can seek funding for a project through a fiscal sponsor.  These arrangements must be approved by the Foundation before funds can be requested.  There is a certification form and financial information that is required for this process.  For more information click here.  If a grant request is awarded, the 501(c)(3) organization must agree to the terms of the award and they will receive the funding.

Note:  The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts does not serve as a fiscal sponsor.


Q:  What will not be funded by the Foundation competitive grant programs?

A:  While the breadth of our granting is significant there are several things we do not fund.  For a current list click here.


Q:  What are the available grant programs?

A:  The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts currently offers five grant programs for nonprofits.  Click here to view our Grants Program Overview.  We also have a Scholarship and Loan program for individuals.  Click here to learn more about this program.


Q:  Can an organization request more than one grant in a calendar year?

A:  Generally speaking, organizations are welcome to submit a funding request for a Capacity or Mission grant in 2019.  Since our Innovation, Critical, ValleyCreates and our 2018 Capital Grants for Food and Shelter are unique funding opportunities they are not included under this funding restriction.


Q:  Can an organization submit more than one application to a particular grant program?

A:  Generally no however there are some exceptions when it comes to large organizations with associated entities.  Please contact a Program Officer to discuss the criteria for this exception.


Q:  How do I submit an application?

A:  Please read the eligibility requirements for the grant carefully.  Most grant programs require a phone conversation with the appropriate Program Officer to be eligible for consideration.  Go to www.communityfoundation.org/grants/ to locate the link to the online grant application.


Q:  Can a paper application be submitted instead of those that are online?

A:  The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts has moved to an online application process to reduce process time and assure that our records are up to date and accessible.  We can serve you better with the online process and do require and online application for all but our Critical Grants program.  We do anticipate this program moving online in 2018.  To allow for any technical or computer issues, you may want to get started with the application early.  We also recommend that when you set up your user name and password for the first time that you do it during our regular business hours in case you need assistance.


Q:  I have more than one idea for a grant proposal, can I submit a draft?

A:  No, incomplete applications are not accepted.  Your initial phone conversation with a Program Officer is the perfect opportunity to seek input about your funding request.  If you have questions after the initial phone conversation Program Officers are always willing to answer questions as the proposal is being written.


Q:  What is the grant review process?

A:  Applications will be screened for eligibility and completeness by Foundation staff.  Staff will work with our volunteer committees to determine which applications meet our programmatic intent and will move forward in the review process.  Organizations under consideration will have either a face-to-face meeting with a Foundation volunteer review and/or staff.  Final funding decisions will be determined by our Distribution Committee.  All grants must be approved by our Trustees.  Please review the “Grant Process” of the program for which you are applying.


Q:  Do you provide multi-year funding?

A:  Most of our grant programs provide funding for one year at a time.  The exception to this is our Innovation Grants program which makes multi-year implementation grants.


Q:  How will I be contacted to learn the outcome of my application?

A:  Decision letters will be sent electronically.


Q:  If our proposal does not get funded, can I learn why?

A:  We endeavor to be as responsive to questions from applicants.  If you have questions about your application or would like feedback please contact the appropriate Program Officer.


Q:  Our 501(c)(3)organization is the fiscal sponsor for a group that plans on applying for a grant and our organization would like to apply for the same funding opportunity, will you accept more than one application from our organization? 

A:  Starting in 2018 we are now considering more than one application from a 501(c)(3) organization provided that only one of the requests is for the 501(c)(3) organization and any additional request is in support of a fiscally sponsored project.  Please note the following:

  • Our funding is limited so in essence when submitting more than one funding request from an organization you are competing against yourself, especially if both projects serve the same county.
  • Organizations that are applying under a fiscal sponsor must complete our Fiscal Sponsor Agreement Form and submit required documentation 10 business days prior to the deadline of any grant competition.