Community Investment Grants are made from the unrestricted pool of resources at the Community Foundation of Elkhart County. Grant decisions are intended to support the mission of the Community Foundation — to improve the quality of life by inspiring generosity.
Grant committees review requests over $25,000 twice a year. Grant application deadlines for committee review are February 12, 2021 and August 14, 2021. Applications for requests under $25,000 are received and reviewed on a weekly basis.
Effective July 2020, the following areas of emphasis are selected for investments to improve the quality of life in Elkhart County.
• Early Childhood Development & Education
• K-12 Career Awareness & Exploration
• K-12 Internship & Apprenticeships
• Vibrant Downtowns
• Trails & Parks
Additionally, the Community Foundation will consider requests for initiatives to support youth and families, parents, vulnerable populations, talent attraction and retention, post-secondary education access, public art, and arts/culture events.
Community Investment Grants
Kids & Families
To improve the living experience for Elkhart County citizens through safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments, with a focus on impacting children birth to age 8.
Area of Emphasis:
- Early Childhood Development & Education
- Vulnerable population
- Youth & Mentoring
To improve the quality of life for Elkhart County residents by generating, developing and supporting career advancement and educational opportunities.
Areas of Emphasis:
- K-12 Career Awareness & Exploration
- K-12 Internships & Apprenticeships
- Post-Secondary Access
- Talent Development, Attraction & Retention
To create open communities in Elkhart County which inspire, attract, engage, and connect people, to enrich their living experience.
Areas of Emphasis:
- Vibrant Downtowns
- Trails & Parks
- Events (arts, culture, entertainment)
- Public Art
- Following a conversation with a Program Officer, submit an online application 24/7.
- A single application makes you eligible for a grant of any size.
- Decisions on grants of less than $25,000 can be made quickly by staff.
- Requests of more than $25,000 are revewed by volunteers on grant committees, which meet two times a year.
- Download the documents below for all you need to know on applying for a grant.
- To apply for a Community Investment Grant from the Fund for Elkhart County, use this portal to apply or check on your grant application.
- A clear understanding of who you serve, why this project is needed and how it will improve the quality of life in Elkhart County will help your application.
- We encourage collaboration and creativity in meeting needs in our community.
- If you have applied before or have an account, click the "Login" button. If this is your first time applying, click "Create Account."
Bontrager Family Foundation
Family's generosity supporting others
The Bontrager Family Foundation allows the family to continue its tradition of giving. Family members will advise where to give gifts from the foundation and use the fund as an instrument to accomplish their charitable goals.
Along with Community Foundation staff, Bontrager family advisors will focus on making a measurable impact on organizations that share the same value system instilled deep into their family heritage. The family is particularly interested in giving to Christian faith-based organizations, youth and family efforts, and the Middlebury community.Learn More
Emergency grants are intended for sudden, unanticipated and unavoidable challenges that, if not addressed immediately, could threaten an organization’s stability and/or ability to achieve its mission. Please contact Karla Copenhaver, Program Associate, at (574) 295-8761, with eligibility questions. Organizations classified as nonprofit entities by the Internal Revenue Service are eligible to apply. Public entities such as schools, municipalities, libraries and Chambers of Commerce may also qualify.
You can download a full guide to applying for an emergency grant in the Downloads section below.Apply for Emergency Grant
Well Foundation Grants
Supporting health and wellness
Well Foundation grants support community activities, small projects, or programs with a focus on health and wellness serving the people of Goshen and the greater population of Elkhart County.
For 47 years, Well Foundation worked to assist and support the health and wellness needs of families in the greater Goshen communities. In May 2016, Well Foundation’s Board of Directors suspended operations and closed their doors.
All funds are now held with the Community Foundation of Elkhart County. Requests for funding will be accepted annually through the newly named Well Foundation field of interest fund.
Requests for funding are accepted annually. The application window for 2020 has closed.Apply for Grant
Frequently Asked Questions
Organizations classified as nonprofit tax-exempt public charities by the Internal Revenue Service serving residents of Elkhart County. Most will be identified as a 501(c)(3) under the IRS Tax Code, however, a few other institutions such as public entities, Schools*, Municipalities*, Libraries, and Chambers of Commerce may also qualify. Religious organizations are eligible to apply for programs that are non-proselytizing and to do not promote religious doctrine or instruction.
(*) 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 application may be submitted.
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 Community Foundation has developed a structure consisting of three committees, each made up of a broad spectrum of volunteers within our community. After committee recommendations are made a summary is then forwarded to our Board of Trustees for approval.
While the dollars invested in the community through this process is significant, because of the many requests received, the Community Foundation is usually only able to fund 25 percent of the requested dollars. The Community Foundation is not typically the first funder, nor the largest funder of a project. Grant decisions are intended to support the mission of the Community Foundation – to improve the quality of life by inspiring generosity. Donations from the community to a project are one factor we consider in support of this mission.
The Community Foundation has a set of criteria by which staff and grant committee members review and evaluate grant applications. These criteria include Impact, Project Goals, Organizational Capacity, Stakeholder Support, and Partners. An Evaluation Rubric (download in section above) establishes criteria and standards for different levels of performance and describes what performance looks like at each level.
The Evaluation Rubric provides a guide for organizations to prepare applications, and for reviews to be done with consistency and thoroughness. An organization or project is not required to be strong in all areas to receive funding, and funding decisions are not made strictly on a numeric basis. Responding to needs and opportunities in the community in ways to achieve the greatest impact over time is the guiding purpose of the grants process.
Most recipients will complete a report and (may) complete a site visit on or before the one-year anniversary of their grant date. Some projects may take longer, so progress reports are scheduled. Due dates are provided to the organization, with reminders sent in advance. Recipients of a multi-year grant should expect an annual progress report and possibly a site visit before the payment of their next year’s grant. Also, depending on the nature and size of the grant, an additional comprehensive report may be required 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 the report is due to allow Program Staff time to review the information before the visit. However, site visits are flexible and are arranged at a mutually agreeable time.
A Program Officer is assigned to manage each application; and the team of Program Officers makes funding decisions for grants under $25,000. Larger requests include a committee review process. The Program Officer reviews the application, using the Evaluation Rubric as a guide. The Program Officer’s role is to partner with the grant writer to prepare a strong application and to anticipate questions from the grant committee, so additional information can be provided by the organization. If the organization is new to the Community Foundation, additional information about the governing board, the history of programs, and financial performance may be explored. If the organization is newly formed, additional questions about the plan for ongoing operating support, and plans for measuring impact may be explored.
For requests over $25,000 the committee members may submit questions which will be shared by the Program Officer so the organization can prepare responses. In most cases a time will be arranged for the organization to present (in person or via video) their project to the committee. This presentation is typically 10 to 15 minutes long, and includes an overview of the project, followed by questions and answers. The final decision about funding is usually given within 14 business days of the committee meeting.
The Community 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 (located in the press kit link which you can find via a link at the bottom of this page). 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.
• Direct assistance to individuals or scholarships for tuition
• For-profit organization
• Nonprofit without a 501(3) status with the IRS
• Projects aimed at promoting a religion or construction projects for religious institutions without community access
• Political campaigns or direct lobbying efforts
• Projects that do not serve residents of Elkhart County
• Reduction of debt, including payment for expenses incurred prior to grant approval
• Travel for bands, sports teams, classes, and similar groups
• Food requests from food pantries
• Medical, scientific, or academic research
• Deficits resulting from an organization’s failure to adequately plan. Such as relying on a small number of donors for support without developing a plan to sustain programming, running operating deficits over multiple years, not anticipating construction contingency costs, and not planning for maintenance costs and/or replacement costs of existing equipment.
The programs team at the Community Foundation is ready to offer a hand. Reach out today.