Loaves and Fishes Grant


Please note the application deadline for this cycle has passed.


Seeking applicants for the Loaves and Fishes Social Activist Funding Opportunity
 The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) will be accepting Preliminary Applications for the Loaves and Fishes funding opportunity which supports faith-based social activism. This funding opportunity was established by donors interested in supporting programs run by liberal, reformed Protestant churches in Hampshire and Franklin counties in Massachusetts that are implementing creative and novel new modes of religious activity which meets human needs. This funding opportunity is offered every 3-5 years.
Interested applicants should submit a Preliminary Application by October 21, 2016 through our on-line system.  The Preliminary Application includes the following items:

  1. A brief statement telling us about your church. Where is it located?  What is your denomination?
  2. A brief statement telling us the purpose of your grant request and how it will put faith in action.
  3. Specifics about the program, including:
    1. What population and condition will this project address?
    2. How many people will be impacted? How will the funding impact people or activity beyond the church’s congregation?
    3. What is the timeframe for the project?
    4. How will you achieve the desired results of the project?
    5. What type of religious education, worship, or activity meant to bolster spiritual lives will be incorporated into the project?
    6. Are there project partners or collaborators?
    7. How will you measure or determine impact of this funding?
  4. What is the total cost of the program and how much are you asking from the Loaves and Fishes funding opportunity?
  5. How will the project continue once the grant funding is complete?

Grant Application Process:
All applicants interested in the Loaves and Fishes Social Activist Grant opportunity are required to submit an on-line Preliminary Application by end of day on October 21, 2016. The Preliminary Application allows the CFWM review committee to determine if a proposal is aligned with the intent of the Loaves and Fishes Program and merits further consideration given available resources.  To access an existing or in-progress application, login to your CFWM online application portal here. (Internet explorer or Firefox browsers recommended)


  • Preliminary Application Opens: September 2016
  • Preliminary Application Closes: October 21, 2016
  • Notification of Preliminary Application Status: November 4, 2016
  • Full Application Due: December 16, 2016
  • In Person Reviews: January, 2017
  • Final Decisions: February 3, 2017

Other Details:
There is approximately $49,000 available to award through the Loaves and Fishes grant competition and grant awards will be $15,000 or less.
Applicants must be churches carrying out charitable purposes. Applicants must have their own IRS designated 501(c)(3) ruling, be covered by a group exemption ruling, or meet the IRS attributes common of churches.  Churches can submit one application per activity or project.
Organizations that are invited to submit a complete application will also meet with a CFWM volunteer review team to discuss the project.   The review will take place in January 2017. Applicants will be notified by February 3, 2017 regarding the status of the application.
It is expected that projects will be underway within 3 months of award notification and can take up to 18 months to complete. A final report is required when the grant award has been expended and the project time frame is complete.
The following type of requests will not be considered:

  • Requests from churches which are “fundamentalist” or which believe in the strict literal interpretation of the Christian scripture.
  • Projects that influence specific legislation or election campaigns.
  • Endowment support.
  • Academic or medical research.
  • Retroactive funding for projects that have been completed or will be completed prior to January 27, 2017.
  • Fundraising events, the purchase of tickets for benefits, courtesy advertising.
  • Facility capital campaigns, building repairs or maintenance needs.
  • Church operating needs.
  • Social action efforts which are separate from concrete religious activity.  

If you have questions about the Loaves and Fishes Fund please call contact Sheila Toto at (413) 732-2858 or grants@communityfoundation.org.