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Community Foundation Grants

Grants to Western New York Nonprofits for Education,
Racial Equity, Environment, and Arts Programs

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

04/20/18 4:00 PM


Request a Grant Writer

Grants of up to $50,000 to Western New York nonprofits for projects in the areas of education, racial equity, environment, and culture. Applicants must submit a letter of intent by February 2, 2018. Organizations must be located in or serving Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, or Wyoming Counties.

Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo awards annual grants to nonprofit organizations with programs that address one or more of the following four Community Goals and the Solutions detailed in the pdf below:

- Improve Educational Achievement for Students Living in Low-Income Households

Requests must address one of the following Solutions:
1. Improve the academic achievement and postsecondary completion of students living in low-income households, with a preference for systems change.
2. Improve the school readiness of children living in low-income households.

- Increase Racial/Ethnic Equity

Requests must address the following Solution:
1. Increase opportunities for residents to interact across racial/ethnic lines resulting in improved understanding.

- Preserve and Restore Significant Environmental Resources and Promote Equitable Access

Requests must address one of the following Solutions:
1. Preserve and restore the region’s waterways and promote equitable access.
2. Strengthen individual environmental organizations and support a more racially inclusive and collaborative environmental community.

- Strengthen the Region as a Center for Architecture, Arts and Culture

Requests must address one of the following Solutions:
1. Increase access to long term arts instruction for children and youth living in low-income households.
2. Increase opportunities for residents to engage across racial/ethnic lines through the arts.
3. Restore and leverage significant historic buildings and architectural landmarks, with a preference for sites that promote cultural tourism. (Defining historic as official recognition by State/National Register of Historic Places or local preservation ordinance.)

Special consideration will be given to requests which advance racial equity.

Note: In addition to the four Community Goals and corresponding Solutions, special funding is available to support the following:

- Programs that serve the visual, speech or hearing impaired (~$5,000). Preference for this special funding will be given to applications that align with one or more of the four Community Goals.

The Foundation is receptive to requests that address advocacy, research and policy analysis aligned with the four focus areas.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 149943

Number of Grants:


Estimated Size of Grant:

The historical average for a competitive grant through this process is in the $18,000 to $20,000 range.

The maximum grant available through the Community Foundation competitive process is $50,000.

Grants in the amount of $50,000 are rare and usually are awarded when a unique opportunity, such as a funding match, is presented.

Term of Contract:

The Foundation requires that all grants be closed out within one year of the receipt of funds, with the exception of two-year awards. On a very limited basis, the Foundation will offer the opportunity for two-year support with second year support contingent upon year one outcomes.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

- Grants are awarded only to organizations that have current Section 501(c)(3) status as determined by the Internal Revenue Service.
- Applicants must be located in or serving one of the eight counties of Western New York: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming.

The Foundation will consider the applicant’s board, including the diversity of representation, in the evaluation process. Please be aware that the Foundation will give board diversification increased weighting when making final decisions. The ethnic/racial composition of the board of any organization should represent the community it serves.

The Foundation will not consider competitive funding for:
- Higher education scholarships (separate application, deadlines, and process)
- Projects outside the eight Western New York counties (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, -
Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming)
- Religious purposes
- Schools not registered with the New York State Education Department
- Attendance at or sponsorship of fundraising events for organizations
- Annual events or festivals
- Any partisan political activity. Funds from the foundation cannot be used to support or oppose a candidate for political office.
- Projects and activities that have occurred. The Foundation will not, except in extraordinary cases, provide payment or reimbursement for expenses incurred prior to the funding decision being communicated to the applicant.

At any given time, organizations can only have one open Community Foundation competitive grant. Should an organization have an open grant from the 2016 or prior cycle, the organization is ineligible.

Pre-Application Information:

Should an organization be requesting more than $50,000, they must contact the Foundation in advance to discuss their LOI.

- Letter of Intent online: January 1
- Letter of Intent submissions due: February 2 by 4 PM (submissions must be sent electronically. No pdf or paper copies will be accepted).
- Selected organizations notified to submit full applications: March 19
- Briefing for those invited to submit a full application: March 23 at 1 p.m.
- Selected organizations full applications due: April 20 by 4 p.m.
- Funding decisions announced: ~Early June

The LOI is the first step in the Community Foundation’s 2018 competitive grant process. It involves completion of a simple electronic form to determine if a project merits further consideration in light of available resources and current priorities. Please note, this is the only Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo competitive grant cycle for 2018.

Any one organization may submit up to two LOI maximum. If an invitation to submit a full application is extended, only one of the LOI will be chosen and that choice is at the full discretion of the Foundation.

Please be sure to review grant history listed on the Foundation website for more information.

Information on racial equity:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Letter of Intent Submission:

Darren Penoyer
(716) 852-2857 ext. 206

The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
726 Exchange Street, Suite 525
Buffalo, NY 14210

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming counties