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An Overview of Our Flexible Funding Opportunity
In August, we announced the 2023 round of Flexible Funding, which will provide general operating support to nonprofits that benefit our region.
Through Flexible Funding we seek to provide unrestricted funding to support the day-to-day operations and sustainability of organizations, allowing you to focus on achieving your mission and creating a lasting impact. Together, let us work towards a brighter future for people, communities, and the entire valley.
Flexible Funding will provide general operating support to nonprofits that benefit our region. There will be a minimum of $2,000,000 for this grant opportunity with a goal of awarding at least 75% of the funds to organizations aligned with the Foundation’s strategic focus areas. You can learn more about those areas here or take a self-assessment to help determine if your organization is aligned with this opportunity.
Flexible Funding provides grants of up to $30,000. Funds must be spent by December 31, 2024.
Eligible organizations must have IRS designated 501(c)(3) status or an established fiscal sponsorship.
Organizations must substantially benefit residents in Franklin, Hampden and/or Hampshire counties. For organizations who are based outside these counties, we look for key indicators such as local staff, an office in our region, and/or programs solely dedicated to residents of our region.
Funding cannot support the following:
- Endowments or capital campaigns
- Sectarian or religious organizations unless as a fiscal sponsor for a broad community benefit
- Higher education scholarships
- Academic research
The online grant application closed at 11:59PM, EST on September 10, 2023.
Unless there is a question about an application, applicants should not expect to be contacted until a funding decision has been reached.
Funding decisions will be sent via email on or before November 30, 2023.
Funds for awarded organizations will be released no later than January 2, 2024.
Flexible Funding FAQs
Q: How many organizations will you fund?
A: Given the total grant funds of $2,000,000 and a grant size of up to $30,000, we anticipate being able to fund at least 66 organizations. If more funds become available or the average grant size is smaller, we are committed to funding more organizations.
Q: Can I apply for less than the full 30,000?
A: Absolutely. Every organization, regardless of their budget, is invited to apply for the full $30,000, but if your organization needs less, you can share that in the application. Organizations asking for less than $30,000 will not be prioritized over those asking for the maximum grant size.
Q: Can this grant be used as a match for another grant?
A: Absolutely. We will support grantees who might need documentation of our grant for these purposes.
Q: If we are a current grantee, can we be funded again?
A: Yes. Flexible Funding is currently awarded as a one-year grant. As our priority areas do not change year to year, we anticipate that some current grantees will be funded again. Current grantees must have their required grant check-ins and must be up to date on any reports before the grant deadline to be considered. If you have questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
Q: Who decides if a grant is funded or not?
A: CFWM tries to center to voices of community members in our grants process. More than three dozen community reviewers, who have professional and volunteer experience in the nonprofit sector and in our focus areas, join our staff in reviewing grants. They have diverse race, age, gender identities and live across our three-county region.
Q: What grant reporting is required of grantees?
A: To minimize the work associated with our grants, CFWM staff will have two brief check-ins instead of reports throughout the grant period. A short report sharing how you spent the funds and what you learned over the grant period may be requested at the end of 2024.
Q: Our work is outside the focus area. Should we apply?
A: Organizations that are not in the stated strategic funding areas are encouraged to apply with the understanding that the process will be more competitive for them. In 2022, 17% of applicants outside of the funding priority areas received grants. We do anticipate about 25% of funding will go to organizations outside of our priority areas, in large part to organizations with BIPOC leadership and where leadership is reflective of the communities that they serve. To help decide if you should apply, we encourage you to take this self-assessment tool.
Q: How do we determine if our work falls within your priority areas?
A: We’ve shared more on how we think about our priority areas here. If you have any questions or you are unsure, we encourage you to connect with our team at one of these times or to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about our Priority Focus Areas:
The foundation’s strategic vision serves as the cornerstone for establishing the priority support areas for Flexible Funding. Our aim is to fund organizations that work to increase equity and opportunity while demonstrating a strong mission in the following areas:
- Racial Justice: Recognizing the urgent need to address systematic racism, we are seeking applications from organizations whose primary mission and activities are dedicated to this cause. We believe that working toward dismantling systems of racial inequality provides a framework for dismantling all other forms of oppression. We seek organizations actively working to combat racial disparities, promoting equity and justice, and creating pathways for marginalized communities. This grant opportunity is intended to support your efforts in fostering inclusive communities, eliminating systemic barriers, and advancing social change.
- Accessible and more affordable post-secondary education and Training: Education and skills training are critical components for individuals seeking economic mobility. We are seeking applications from organizations and institutions that provide access to learning opportunities for post-secondary learners, including trade and vocational programs, higher education, and skill-based training. This grant opportunity aims to support efforts in equipping individuals with the tools and knowledge necessary to meaningfully access the workforce.
- A strong start for all children: From birth to age five, children develop more rapidly than at any other time in their lives. A strong start for children helps to set the foundation for their future success, health, and wellbeing. We seek to fund nonprofit organizations that that provide early childhood education and care as a core part of their mission, professional development for early childhood education providers, and direct cohort-based support related to parenting knowledge and skills. This grant opportunity is intended to strengthen the bandwidth, skills, and resiliency of those who provide care to children.
- ValleyCreates, a vibrant local arts and creativity ecosystem: Art and creativity bring people together, create community dialogue, and inspire imaginative approaches to community challenges. ValleyCreates aims to support a vibrant arts and creativity sector that is interconnected and collaborative, actively engages the full and diverse community with programs and artistic expression opportunities and is recognized as a force for economic vitality and civic engagement across the region. We encourage organizations whose primary mission and purpose revolve around creating and/or presenting cultural activities in the arts to apply. This grant opportunity is intended to support your efforts in promoting creativity and fostering community engagement.
In addition to these focus areas, preference will be given to organizations with BIPOC leadership and where leadership is reflective of the communities that they serve. Learn more in the Info Session video below:
Please reach out to Community Impact and Partnerships.