We support nonprofits serving Elkhart County with competitive funding made possible through the Fund for Elkhart County. The Fund for Elkhart County is an unrestricted fund made up of hundreds of donations from the people who support a thriving community in which to work, live and play. As this fund grows, so does our ability to make transformative changes in our community.

Our Priorities

Our unrestricted granting dollars from the Fund for Elkhart County are prioritized to support nonprofit organizations that produce progressive, collaborative ideas to foster dynamic kids, encourage thriving families and build a flourishing community.


Youth Development.

Funding focuses on serving the next generation of Elkhart County citizens. Consideration areas are early childhood services, educational quality, mentoring, after-school programs/summer school programs, parental support, youth programming, and accessibility to post-secondary education and skills training.


Quality of Life.

Funding focuses on enhancing the living experience in Elkhart County. Consideration areas are entertainment and the arts, vibrant downtowns, parks and other recreational assets, blighted neighborhoods, cultural opportunities.


Vibrant Community.

Funding focuses on social service related issues in Elkhart County. Consideration areas are hunger, homelessness, care for senior citizens and persons with disabilities, health and wellness, adult education, transportation, care for animals and the environment, rehabilitation, recidivism and pathways to success for ex-offenders.

Types of Grants

There are five types of granting processes offered through the Fund for Elkhart County. Each grant type allows us an avenue to respond to the varying programs and needs requested by nonprofit organizations serving Elkhart County.

Available on as-needed basis

Addressing emergency/urgent needs

Email Application Process

$ 1,000 – $ 5,000

Not to exceed $10,000


Available monthly

Addressing Youth Development, Vibrant Community or Quality of Life Issues

General Online Application Form Process

Not to exceed

$ 10,000


Available bi-annually

Addressing Youth Development, Vibrant Community or Quality of Life Issues

Letter of Intent and Full Application Process

$ 10,000

or greater


Available on a case-by-case basis

Addressing Education, Development and Capacity Building needs

Phone call/Email Application Process

$ 1,000 – $ 5,000

Generally not to exceed $10,000


Available on a case-by-case basis

Various events at different levels

Mail/Email Sponsorship Material

$ 1,000 – $ 5,000

Generally not to exceed $10,000


Current Status & Timeline

Grant submission and review periods vary by the type of grant for which you are applying:
  • Requests for Rapid Response Grants, Organizational Effectiveness Grants, and Sponsorships can be submitted anytime throughout the year.
  • Good Neighbor Grants are awarded monthly (excluding May). Requests can be submitted at the 1st of every month with the deadline at the end of every month.
  • Community Investment Grants are awarded biannually and have the following timeline:

Spring Cycle
April 1st Online Letter of Intent Available
May 1st Online Letter of Intent Closed
June 1st Grant Application Available for Approved Letter of Intents
July 1st Grant Application Due
Month of October -Review process complete and communication is provided about grant decisions
-Grants approved for more than $250,000 will move on to Phase II
Month of December -Phase II review complete and communication is provided about grant decisions
Fall Cycle
October 1st Online Letter of Intent Available
November 1st Online Letter of Intent Closed
December 1st Grant Application Available for Approved Letter of Intents
January 1st Grant Application Due
Month of April -Review process complete and communication is provided about grant decisions
-Grants approved for more than $250,000 will move on to Phase II
Month of June -Phase II review complete and communication is provided about grant decisions
What makes a grant request successful?

Core Criteria *

  • Transformative
  • Sustainability
  • Accountability
  • Stakeholder Support

*Addressing core criteria is required for Community Investment and Good Neighbor Grant requests.

Supplemental Criteria

  • Collaborative
  • Leveraged
  • Breadth of Reach
  • Innovation
  • Organizational Capacity and Track Record to steward the grant effectively
  • Community Pride and Vibrancy
  • Permanence
  • Evidence Based
  • Savings and Efficiency
  • Inclusive and Equitable for all in Elkhart County
Frequently Asked Questions

How do you calculate the Fund’s total amount available to spend each year?

The amount available to spend each year is a standard calculation that many community foundations and private foundations use. The amount available to spend is 5% of the balance of the Fund looking back over 16 quarters (4 years).

Which communities are included in the Elkhart County area?

Bristol, Elkhart, Goshen, Middlebury, Millersburg, Nappanee, New Paris, and Wakarusa.

What types of programs are not considered for support?

The Community Foundation does not fund: individuals, budget deficits / debt reduction, expenses incurred prior to grant proposal period, church buildings and grounds (exceptions may be given for daycare ministries), requests to support proselytizing (*), political party activities, scholarships for post-secondary education, policy/lobbying, food requests. (**)

(*) Organizations with religious affiliation are not excluded from making grant applications but the project or program must be nonsectarian.

(**) There are more than 35 food pantries and hot meal sites in Elkhart County. As such, the Community Foundation responds to food requests by a voluntary means to our local food bank and food pantries as critical needs arise. If a food pantry or a hot meal site has a request that is a non-food related request, it is welcome to contact the Community Foundation about the submission.

Can an organization reapply if its grant request has been denied?

The Community Foundation does not typically reconsider an application for a project that has been denied funding. We do encourage organizations to re-apply for funding for a different project or program that better aligns with the mission of the foundation. Organizations are encouraged to contact our office if their request is denied and they have questions.

Does the Community Foundation award full, partial and/or multi-year grants?

Yes. We will entertain requests for full, partial and/or multi-year requests. Most requests are typically funded for one year projects; however multi-year requests are supported where the need is evident. We may also edit a request and make an offer of partial or matching funding at our discretion.

Is it possible to speak to someone before submitting an application?

Yes, after reviewing all supplemental materials such as the guidelines, timelines and FAQ’s, if you still have questions, please contact the Community Foundation’s program office, 574-295-8761.

Can organizations personally present proposals to the decision makers?

Organizations may speak to a member of our program staff regarding their project or program. However proposals must be submitted online for review and consideration.

May we request funding for a capital campaign?

Organizations interested in funding for capital campaign projects should apply for funding through our Community Investment Grants.

If we request funding for a construction project, do you require vendor quotes?

Yes, if you are submitting a request for funding for projects such as… roofing, computers, carpeting, furnace, A/C, etc., you must submit no less than two vendor quotes. Applications missing these quotes will not be considered for funding.

Our organization is too small for an audit; can we still apply for funding?

Yes, however we still require financial information from you which includes a current operating budget for your organization and a project budget.

What common problems have you noticed in grant applications submitted to the Community Foundation?

  • Requests that do not correspond with the Community Foundation’s mission, guidelines, priorities and restrictions.
  • Project requests do not include a minimum of two vendor quotes.
  • Overly ambitious monetary requests that far exceed our availability.
  • Failure to complete a progress report after completion of the project or 1 year, whichever comes first.
  • For organizations that have a home office outside the county, but provide services to Elkhart County residents the Board of Director’s listing does not include a representative from the community of Elkhart County.

Can I apply for funding from the Community Foundation for personal needs? To start up my own business?

The Community Foundation is prohibited from making grants or loans to individuals, unless the applicant is a student applying for scholarship funding for post-secondary education. Learn more about our scholarship opportunities.

How do I apply?

Visit Types of Grants and click learn more about the grant for which you are applying.

Does the Foundation offer grant-writing assistance?

The Community Foundation does not currently provide grant-writing assistance.

Will we be able to save the application before submitting?

Yes. The online application process allows organizations to safely log out and return to the application as needed.

Does the Foundation provide feedback once the funding decisions are made?

Yes. The Community Foundation will send an email to inform the organization of the status of their grant application.

How will we know if the Community Foundation received our application?

You will receive an email shortly after you have submitted your online application.

Why do you need an applicant’s Financial Summary in order to consider a grant?

The board and staff of the Community Foundation serve as stewards of our generous donors’ funds and, therefore, must have confidence that the investments we make in an organization are sound. The Financial Statements (Budgets) are reviewed to determine the financial stability of each organization.

Organizational Effectiveness Resource Center

The Community Foundation desires to play an active role in providing our nonprofit community with leadership development and continuous improvement programs through our innovative Organizational Effectiveness Resource Center (OERC). Our goal is to elevate a whole community of nonprofit organizations into well-managed, collaborative agencies by providing resources and development opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations, thus helping them realize – and sustain – their missions.

Upcoming Opportunities

  • The Community Foundation will be partnering with the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business to offer a Nonprofit Executive Leadership Certificate in January 2016.
  • Organization Effectiveness Grants (link to this page) are available year-round through the funding of the OERC.

For more information on the OERC, please contact Justine Lightfoot, Director of Marketing and Communications, at 574.295.8761 or via email at

Contact Us

Shannon Oakes

Senior Program Officer

Amanda Jamison

Program Officer

Samantha Crooks

Program Associate