Nonprofits seeking a competitive grant from the Community Foundation must match one of our five result areas (see What We Fund).
All competitive grantmaking occurs during our spring and fall grant cycles. In most cases, grant requests may be submitted in either the spring or fall cycle with the following exceptions:
- School year programs that serve the same cohort of children/youth for a school year must apply in the spring cycle
- Proposals focused on the result “All Fairfield County women and girls reach their full potential” must apply in the spring cycle
- Proposals focused on summer learning and summer enrichment programming must apply in the fall cycle with the LOI phase opening September 1st.
In addition to aligning with our identified result areas, prospective grantees must meet the following additional eligibility criteria:
- We will not consider requests from an organization that has an open competitive grant with the Foundation (meaning you have not submitted a final report).
- Fairfield County’s Community Foundation will not consider requests to support religious or political causes, or to organizations organized for religious or political purposes.
- We will consider requests from charitable organizations that are tax exempt under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(c)(3) organization and public charities under IRS Section 509 (a). Organizations operating under a fiscal sponsor with tax exempt status under IRS Section 501(c)(3) may also be considered.
- We will only consider requests from organizations located within Fairfield County or that directly benefit residents of Fairfield County.
- We do not consider requests for capital campaigns or capital projects.
- We will not consider requests for any of the following:
- deficit financing
- annual appeal
- fundraising event
- open space purchase
- for-profit, parochial, charter, private, or individual public schools
- or nonprofit endowment
- We will not consider requests for a specific individual.
Three-step application process
Step 1: Login to or Create an account
Starting July 2015, FCCF is using a new grants management system to receive and process all the documentation related to competitive grants, including Letters of Inquiry (LOIs), applications, grant agreements and reports. First-time users will need to set up an account before being able to access the online LOI form.
To access a tutorial on how to set up an account, click here.
Step 2: Submit a Letter of Inquiry online
Our Letter of Inquiry (LOI) begins with a required quiz to determine your basic eligibility. Once you have determined that you meet the basic eligibility requirements, you can complete the remaining sections of the LOI. In addition to asking you to provide some basic organizational information, the LOI will ask you to describe the grant request and indicate the result area to which your proposed program or project contributes. Nonprofits may only submit one LOI in any given cycle.
If you are interested in being considered for a general operating support grant, you should contact your Program Director during an open LOI period.
An invitation to submit one full application is at the discretion of program directors.
Timeline for grant process
Spring grant cycle:
- LOIs submitted between January 20 – February 15
- Invitations to apply in early March
- Applications due at the end of March
- Decisions reached in early June
- Grant term: July 1st – June 30th
- Reports due: January 15th (interim) and July 15th (final)
Fall grant cycle:
- LOIs submitted between July 15 – August 15
- Invitations to apply in early September
- Applications are due end of September
- Decisions reached in early January
- Grant term: January 1st – December 31st
- Reports due: July 15th (interim) and January 15th (final)
Fall grant cycle – Summer Learning & Summer Enrichment Programs:
- LOIs submitted between September 1st – September 20th*
- Invitations to apply in early October
- Applications due at the end of October
- Decisions reached in early January
- Grant term: January 1st – September 20th
- Reports due: September 20th
Step 3: Invitation to submit a full application
Staff will review your LOI. If the proposed project meets the Community Foundation’s priorities, you will be invited to submit a full grant application online. An invitation does not in any way guarantee a grant award.