Community Grant Program

The Community Grant Cycle 2 has ended. The deadline for those applications was on August 1, 2021. Results will be shared at the beginning of September.

The next granting cycle will start in 2022. Please note: the priorities for the next cycle may change. Check back at a later date for more information.

2021 Mission-Critical Grants for Cycle 2

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.

We want to help our local nonprofits carry out their mission-critical programs and projects for 2021. We know nonprofits have been working hard at pivoting and reimagining programs and service delivery in the middle of the pandemic. The 2021 Mission-Critical Grants aim to help nonprofits move their essential work forward at this critical time.

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.

Community Grants Overview from 2021:

  • Cycle 2 is due August 1, 2021
  • Maximum grant award is $10,000
  • Nonprofits that received funding in 2020 are eligible to apply
  • All applicants must discuss their grant proposal with Nancy Brown, President/CEO, prior to submission
  • Who can apply: charitable organizations with a 501c3, government agencies or organizations with a fiscal agent agreement with 501c3 organization, operating within the Winona area for at least one year.
    1. Winona area is defined 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 headquarters elsewhere.
    2. If you received a grant in 2019 or 2020 from the Winona Community Foundation, a grant report is required before applying for this grant cycle. Contact Nancy Brown for more information.

Cycle 2 2021 WCF grants hope to support:

  1. Mission-critical programming, projects and operations (because we know you need people and tools to carry out your mission). Note: COVID-19 does not have to be a direct reason for the need.
  2. Mission-critical programming or projects identified as emerging needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic such as:
    1. Improving mental-health related impacts for clients or staff.
    2. Projects identified as a need to help vulnerable populations.
    3. Support for equipment and tools needed to safely conduct programming or services due to COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions (new purchases only, cannot be requested to reimburse previous purchases).

Grant requests must have a compelling answer to this question: “What are the potential negative outcomes that may occur if you don’t receive funding for your program or project?”

2021 Grant Report Form (PDF)
2021 Cycle 2 Online Grant Application
Grant Application (PDF)

A grant application in a Microsoft Word format can be requested from Zoe Kwitek.
Email: [email protected]

How are Community Grants funded?

Funds to support the Community Grant program are made possible in part through gifts made through wills from; Ramona L. Jezewski English and Wilmer & Beverly Larson. Community grants are also 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.

2020 Cycle 1 Grant Recipients
2020 Cycle 2 Grant Recipients

Frequently Asked Questions

Please review the frequently asked questions below.

Charitable organizations eligible to apply for grants must:

  • Be a 501c3 organization, government agency or have a fiscal agent agreement with 501c3 organization
  • Have no outstanding past grant reports with WCF
  • Submit ideas for charitable projects within Winona or within a 15 mile radius of Winona into Wisconsin
  • Nonprofits or agencies can only apply once each grant cycle year (January-December)

Submission Check List:

1. Review project with Foundation staff prior to submission.

2. Complete application – online submission preferred but minimum requirement of a typed out application. If submitting materials via email, submit one PDF document with everything included.

3. Along with your application, please include: 1) financial statements for prior year, 2) 2021 approved organization budget, and 3) a short letter from a Board member endorsing the request and need.

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

2021 Community grants are called mission-critical. Please refer to the descriptions above for information about this grant focus area.

The most that can be requested from WCF Community Grants is $10,000. 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, [email protected], or visit our office at 111 Riverfront, Suite 2 E.

The Winona Community Foundation will not support grant requests for:

  1. Activities that are non-secular or promote a religious doctrine
  2. Academic or medical research
  3. Annual fundraising campaigns or events
  4. Creation of, or addition to, endowment funds
  5. Payment of debt or legal settlements
  6. Political or partisan purposes
  7. Grants that provide direct support to an individual