Grants

for

Community Investment

Let’s build a community

Community Investment Grants are made available from our unrestricted pool of resources. Ideas are funded in support of projects or programs which address our three priority areas with the ultimate goal in mind of improving quality of life for Elkhart County.

How it works

Simply review the requirements to receive a grant, submit your idea through our online application process that addresses one of our priorities areas, and you’re off and running. A member of our team will contact you in 7-10 days. If your grant falls below $25,000, it will be decided in less than 6 weeks. If it’s more than that, you’ll know in 2-6 months.

Idea paper
Idea paper
Career pathways
Career pathways
Kids & Families
Kids & Families
Placemaking
Placemaking

Kids & Families

Funding focuses on serving our Elkhart County citizens.

Early childhood services

Mentoring & After-School Programs

Summer Programs

Parental Support

Youth Programming

Social service related issues such as disabilities, senior care, health and wellness & rehab services

Career Pathways

Funding focuses on education, pathways to careers and
life-long learning.

Pipeline of education to career

Internship and apprenticeship programs

Vocation and career development

Transition programs

Post-secondary college access

Skills/trade certificate and college programming

Workforce development

Talent attraction and retention

Placemaking

Funding focuses on enhancing the living experience in Elkhart County.

Entertainment & Arts

Downtowns

Neighborhoods

Cultural Opportunities

Transportation

Environment

Disaster Relief

Care for Animals

Parks, paths and trails, & recreational amenities

THE IDEA APPLICATION

After a robust evaluation period, we are proud to launch our new, streamlined, smarter grant model.

We have decreased the amount of time it will take you to apply, just submit your idea through our brief online application to our grants team.

Our team will sort through the idea, put it in the right category, and get back to you in 7-10 business days.

Your application seamlessly moves through our system and we'll be in touch with you concerning next steps.

10 Tips for Grant Seekers

Carefully read through the Foundation’s three priorities and our guidelines

Our three priorities are comprised of Kids & Families, Placemaking, and Career Pathways.

Be clear about the population you serve.

When you construct your idea be sure to specify the exact population you’re planning to serve with the grant dollars. Knowing your specific audience helps us to understand how your monies will be used and who will benefit.

Be clear about why this idea is important.

We understand your idea is an important one, but it’s imperative that you make a compelling case about it. Tell us why your idea is impactful and unique; how it truly moves the needles here in Elkhart County.

Know what your “like” organizations are in the community and the work they do.

It’s not just important to have a great idea; it’s important that your idea fits in the landscape of Elkhart County and serves a unique niche. Be sure to know other organizations like yours and how they differ from yours.

When appropriate, collaborate with other like nonprofits

Collaboration always makes for the best results and that’s equally true in terms of the non-profit landscape. Finding ways to collaborate with other strong organizations is looked at positively by our team.

Make sure you have a project budget for your idea

It’s very important to understand exactly how you’ll be spending the grant monies. This isn’t a bureaucratic roadblock; it’s the sort of financial responsibility that makes the Community Foundation uniquely good at making an impact.

Be specific on how grant monies will be spent

It’s very important to understand exactly how you’ll be spending the grant monies. This isn’t a bureaucratic roadblock; it’s the sort of financial responsibility that makes the Community Foundation uniquely good at making an impact.

Be clear about your goals

We don’t just want to understand what you need and how you operate… we want to understand what you hope to achieve. If you partner with the Community Foundation of Elkhart County, what can our county expect as a result.

Have a plan on how you will fund this idea ongoing, if applicable to your idea

It’s important that your idea is sustainable, with or without a grant. If your idea requires a consistent investment (beyond this first award), how exactly do you intend to ensure the organization or idea continues to be funded at an appropriate level?

Be concise (we encourage brevity); check your spelling and punctuation (twice!)

Keep it short and sweet.

frequent questions

Our grant response team has put together a list of frequent questions that our grantees have during the process. Take a look through those questions before you contact the support team.

Who may apply?

Organizations classified as non-profit tax-exempt public charities by the Internal Revenue Service. Most will be identified as a 501(c)(3), however, a few other institutions such as public entities, Schools*, Municipalities*, Libraries, and Chambers of Commerce may also qualify.

(*) Due to the number of departments, schools, and clubs within each school corporation and our municipalities; the community foundation requires all applications be approved by the highest ranking official within your governing body (i.e. superintendent’s or mayoral office) before an idea paper may be submitted.

Who reviews and makes decisions on grants?

The Community Foundation would not exist without “community.” We believe it is our responsibility to maintain a process which preserves community volunteers as decision makers in the grant making process with support from foundation staff. Therefore, the Foundation has developed a grant model consisting of three committees, representing our three priority areas, each made up of a broad spectrum of volunteers within our community. After committee recommendations are made a summary is then forward to our Board of Trustees for approval.

What criteria is used to assess the idea papers?

The Foundation has a set of core criteria by which our grant committee members make decisions on funding requests. The three criteria for Community Investment Grants are: goals, partners, and sustainability.

What can I expect in terms of reporting and site visits?

Most recipients will complete a report and (may) complete a site visit on or before the 1 year anniversary of their grant date. Some projects may take longer, therefore due dates are provided to you.  Recipients of a multi-year grant should expect an annual progress report and possibly a site visit before the distribution of their next year’s grant. Also, depending on the nature and size of your grant, an additional comprehensive report may be required 2-3 years following the end of the grant (typically applied to multi-year or long term programs). Site visits, when requested, typically fall in the month after your report is due to allow our Program Staff time to review the information before your visit.  However, site visits are flexible (especially when dealing with Indiana weather). Again, these dates will be provided to you.

I just won a grant. How do I tell the world?

The Foundation loves to share in our partners’ success and in telling your story. We encourage our grant recipients to download our logo and samples of our press related materials. In addition, we also encourage you to reach out to our Advancement Team to discuss additional marketing or promotions you would like to consider in support of your project and how we may be of help.

Our team

Our program officers are available to help answer questions, give feedback, and help shape your grant request to be sure you have the best chance to serve Elkhart County in the most efficient and effective way possible.

WEBSITE Oakes, Shannon_2016_3040-R 4x5x300 Hi Key

Shannon Oakes

Senior Program Officer
Placemaking

Copenhaver, Karla_Website

Karla Copenhaver

Program Associate
Placemaking

Amanda Jamison

Senior Program Officer
Career Pathways

Samantha Lambert

Program Associate
Career Pathways