Cycle 1 is closed. Applicants will be notified of the Grant Committee’s decision by April 1.

Community Grants

  • All applicants must discuss their grant proposal with Nancy Brown, President/CEO, prior to submission
  • Please review ALL eligibility and application guidelines prior to submission
  • Recommended: Record your application answers on a separate document as a back-up.
  • Maximum grant award per application: $7,500.00
  • Opens: January 22, 2024
  • Closes: March 1, 2024


An important part of the Winona Community Foundation’s mission is realized though awarding community grants to meet the ever-changing needs of the community through a competitive process. By doing so, a variety of interests are supported with the goal of helping local charities make a difference in the Winona area. Our community grants for nonprofits are broad and inclusive to meet the current community needs in the Winona area.

These grants are competitive, so be sure to read information thoroughly prior to calling staff to review your project idea. After reviewing this information, if you don’t find the information needed or questions remain, Foundation staff will be pleased to assist you further as well as provide technical assistance with the application process.


We are looking for proposals that focus on addressing critical needs within in the greater Winona area.

Please note: Grant recipients from cycle 2 of 2023 are not eligible to apply for cycle 1 2024.

For additional eligibility questions or concerns, please see FAQs below.

Connect People to Nature Fund

Through the Community Grant program, applicants seeking funding that supports environmental land, plant, animal/bird conservation issues may receive funding through the Connect People to Nature Fund. The purpose of this fund is to provide grants for sustainable agriculture; establishing, maintaining and improving pedestrian access to public land; related education; and acquiring property of permanent easements for public benefit.


In order for your organization’s grant application to be considered by the Foundation’s Grant Committee and Board of Directors, you must:

  • Discuss your grant proposal with Nancy Brown, President/CEO, prior to submission. Click HERE to schedule a time now.
  • Complete online application. Click HERE to see application now.
  • Include a project or program budget along with your application.
  • Follow the required word count.
  • Include a list of additional funders for project (if applicable).

The recipients for Cycle 1 will be announced by early April. The time allotted allows our Grant Committee to carefully review each application, meet to discuss the applications and evaluate the current needs of the community, and have the selected organizations approved by the Foundation’s Board of Directors. All applicants will receive notification of their individual grant prior to the announcement.


Who can apply:

  • Charitable organizations with a 501(c)(3), government agencies, or organizations with a fiscal agent agreement with a 501(c)(3) organization, operating within the Winona area.
  • What is the “Winona area”? We define this area as within the City of Winona and a fifteen-mile radius from Winona. This includes Wisconsin and programs that have operations in Winona but may have their headquarters elsewhere.
  • Nonprofits that received funding prior to Cycle 2 2023. However, a grant project and report needs to be completed and submitted with the Foundation before applying for this grant cycle. Your eligibility will be removed if your grant project and report have not been submitted. Contact us with questions.

Who cannot apply:

  • Nonprofits that received funding from the Foundation’s Community Grant Program in Cycle 2 2023 are not eligible to apply.
  • Nonprofits that have received funding from the Foundation’s Community Grant Program but have not submitted their final grant report.

Grant exclusions:

  • Activities that are non-secular or promote a religious doctrine
  • Academic or medical research
  • Annual fundraising campaigns or events
  • Creation of, or addition to, endowment funds
  • Payment of debt or legal settlements
  • Political or partisan purposes
  • Capital improvements or additions to public or private educational institutions
  • Grants that provide direct support to an individual
  • Projects that have already been completed


  • NEED: The organization’s application verifies an important need or opportunity and aligns with current funding priorities.
  • IMPACT: The organization clearly identifies the program or project outcomes and has the capacity and ability to complete the stated objectives.
  • COLLABORATION: The organization’s request is inclusive of the community.
  • SUSTAINIBILITY: The organization clearly presents a viable plan for financial support.
  • PLAN: The organization adhered to all grant application policies, procedures and timelines including attachment requirements.


Please complete a final report according to your grant agreement. Reports must be submitted before applying for a new cycle. It’s strongly recommended that you record your report answers on a separate document as a back-up.


Funds to support the Community Grant program are made possible through funds held at the Winona Community Foundation including the Community Impact Endowment Fund. Funds are also made possible in part through gifts made through wills from; Carol A. Orlowske, Ramona L. Jezewski English and Wilmer & Beverly Larson. Finally, community grants are supported by individual donors and a percentage of Board designated funds including: the Thomas H. Laken Fund, the Sue & Jack Cornwell Fund, and the General Trust fund of the Winona Community Foundation.


Frequently Asked Questions

Please review the frequently asked questions below.

The Winona Community Foundation Board of Directors establishes funding priorities and has the authority to change those priorities at any time.

Please refer to the descriptions above for information about this grant focus area.

The most that can be requested from WCF Community Grants is $7,500. You do not need to apply for this full amount and project budgets should reasonably reflect what is needed. These grants are very competitive. When deciding on a request amount, consider what other funding sources are available and the amount your organization is able to fund. Grant seekers are encouraged to submit proposals that include diverse financial support.

For a list of past Community grants awards, please contact Foundation staff.

The Winona Community Foundation does not fund completed projects. If there are special circumstances surrounding your need, contact program staff to discuss your project to see if an exception may be made.

The Grant Committee will only accept one application a year from a nonprofit, but the committee may ask the nonprofit to resubmit or hold an application over to a later review date. The Committee meets bi-annually to review applications received by stated deadlines.  The week prior to a Committee meeting however, applicants will not be able to schedule staff time for review of application ideas and will be asked to wait until after that meeting to continue with the process.

Every year we receive requests totaling far more money than we have to disburse. Decisions about grant awards are always difficult; increased need and reduced funding everywhere have made the process even more competitive. We are always happy to discuss your request with you and comments that the Committee may have made related to why the project ranked lower, but in many cases a request is denied simply because we don’t have enough money to fund all worthwhile projects.

For more information, please contact Nancy Brown at 507-454-6511,, or visit our office at 111 Riverfront, Suite 2 E.