Nonprofit Capacity Building

Nonprofit Capacity Building grants transform the ability of nonprofit organizations to carry out their missions. 

Many activities can build the capacity of nonprofit organizations.  The Community Foundation's Nonprofit Capacity Building Grant program focuses on capacity-building projects that improve an identified area of organizational capacity, including (but not limited to) leadership, governance, mission & strategy, evaluation, financial management, program delivery, fund development, communications, collaboration or equity.

Wondering what we look for in grant applications? Here are some answers from our committee members, in their own words:
"When I'm reviewing applications, I look for clarity and specificity regarding the project, who it will impact, and what the impact will be. One of the more memorable examples was the Bettendorf Public Library's application, which described their "Genius Bar," and how people - including children coming from school - lined up to use their computers. Not only did the library provide a well-written application that clearly described how it would use the funding, it also effectively illustrated the need for funding."
"It is particularly helpful to have itemized budgets, covering both project expenses and funding sources, in applications. We also appreciate it when applicants include background information about their organization so we can get a sense of how the capacity-building project will affect their work."

"We make decisions based on the community impact and reach of the project, as well as the feasibility of executing the project. There are so many strong applications that we must prioritize based on these factors. The panel values a clear and concise description of the project, a detailed budget based on actual quotes, a clear project plan, and data on the number of people impacted - directly or indirectly."

Nonprofit Capacity Building Grants may be awarded to nonprofit organizations located in or serving residents of Rock Island County, Illinois and Scott County, Iowa.

If your organization has already received a Q2030 Grant this year, you are not eligible for a Nonprofit Capacity Building Grant until the following calendar year.

If your organization is awarded a Nonprofit Capacity Building Grant, you may apply again after three years have passed. For example, if awarded in 2017, you may apply again in calendar year 2020.

Eligible capacity-building activities include:

  • Strategic planning
  • Board training and education
  • Staff training
  • Succession planning
  • Critical equipment or technology/software needs
  • Other assessment, consulting, or facilitation that improves an identified area of organizational capacity.

This grant program does not support capital projects, organizational staff salaries, or ongoing operational or programming costs.  The first year only of technology costs that will become "ongoing', such as software licensing costs, may be considered.  Reasonable travel costs may be considered as part of one of these activities.

Evaluation Criteria
All Nonprofit Capacity Building grant applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Capacity Building:  The organization clearly identifies the area of capacity that the project will improve.
  • Readiness:  The organization demonstrates that this is a good time to undertake the project.
  • Project plan:  The project plan is clear and achievable.
  • Clear Measures:  The project goals and outcomes are clear and measurable.
  • Reach:  The project supports the organization to either benefit a large number of people or bring about significant change for a smaller population.
  • Inclusion:  The project supports the organization to reach vulnerable and diverse populations.
  • Leverage:  The organization, and if applicable, the project engages and utilizes other resources such as funding sources, volunteers, and community partnerships.
  • Overall Impact Potential:  The project supports the organization to do important work in the community.

Grants are available for up to $15,000. The grantee may request that the amount awarded be paid in a single year, or structured as a multi-year grant over two or three years. 

A total grant pool of $210,000 is available in 2017.

The Nonprofit Capacity Building process opens February 1. There are two Nonprofit Capacity Building grant cycles each year, in the Spring and Fall.

  Spring Cycle  Fall Cycle
Letters of Interest Due      March 15 September 1 
Organizations Invited to Apply        April 1 September 15
Full Applications Due May 15 November 1
Grant Decisions Announced June 15 November 30





Application Process
All Letters of Interest and grant applications are submitted through our online grant system.  

Organizations go through a two-step process in order to apply for a Nonprofit Capacity Building Grant.

First, they complete a Letter of Interest form with basic information about their organization and proposed project.  The LOIs are assessed first for eligibility and, depending on the number of LOIs submitted, for strength and fit with the program, so that the strongest 15-20 LOIs are invited to submit a full application.

Second, invited organizations submit full applications.  Applications are reviewed by a committee of CFGRB community volunteers and their recommendations are approved by the CFGRB Board.

Apply for this Grant

Final Reports
Please complete a final report when you have finished your project, or by the following year's application due date, whichever is sooner. Organizations who elect to receive their grants over two or three years will be asked to provide interim reports each year. Reports are completed in the same online system you submitted your application. Click here to log in and complete an interim or final report for a Nonprofit Capacity Building grant. 

 Nonprofit Capacity Building Grants - 2016
Arrowhead Youth and Family Services, Upgraded Communications System $15,000
Children's Therapy Center of the Quad Cities, Upgraded Technology  $13,476
Community Action of Eastern Iowa, Website and Social Media Upgrades to Better Serve the Community    $8,920
Community Health Care, Inc., Davenport Clinic Vaccine Refrigerator     $3,425
German American Heritage CenterStrategic Planning for Community Engagement  $8,200
Gilda's Club Quad Cities, Technology Replacement/Hardware and Software Upgrade    $9,711
Hope at the BRICK House, Inc., Technology Improvement
ILLOWA Sheet Metal Workers Local 91 Joint Apprentice Training Center, Welding Equipment Update  $6,200
Iowa Legal Aid, Upgraded Technology  $7,860
Junior Achievement of the Heartland, Upgraded Technology $15,000
Lydia Home, Upgraded Technology   $4,483
National Alliance on Mental Illness Greater Mississippi Valley, Mental Health Education Training Program $15,000
Palomares Social Justice Center, Upgraded Technology    $3,276
Putnam Museum and Science Center, Strategic Planning  $15,000
Safer Foundation, Aggression Replacement Training (ART) Collaborative $13,050 
Scott County Family Y, Mobile Website Enhancements
The 180 Zone, Strategic Planning $15,000 
Trinity Health Foundation, Training for Providers of Chemical Dependency Services $14,000 
Unity House of Davenport, Inc., Upgraded Technology
YMCA of the Quad Cities, Upgraded Technology and Board Development
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