Community Grant Program

Special Announcement: The 2020 cycle 2 community grants are being evaluted by the Board of Directors on June 23 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and needs. Please contact Nancy Brown before starting an application. More information will be available after the June 23 Board meeting. At this time, the deadline will still be August 1. 

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.  The Foundation accepts community grant inquiries for projects and programs that enhance life in the Winona region in the areas of civic or education issues, health or social services, environment, arts or culture. We have granted a wide array of projects and programs throughout the years.

Community Grants for 2020:

  1. Cycle 1 due March 1, 2020 (online application open February 1-March 1)
  2. Cycle 2 due August 1, 2020 (online application open July 1-August 1)
  3. Maximum grant award will be $10,000
  4. Current funding priorities include civic or education issues, health or social services, environment, arts or culture
  5. Once you read our guidelines, applicants must review their grant request with Foundation staff prior to applying (required to contact staff at least two weeks before grant deadline)

These grants are very 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.

Grant Application (ONLINE)
Grant Application (DOC)
Grant Application (PDF)
2020 Cycle 1 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.
  • Have not yet received funding from the WCF Community Grants program in the past 12 months.

See our guidelines for more details on eligibility.

The Winona Community Foundation Board of Directors establishes funding priorities and has the authority to change those priorities at any time. Current funding priorities include civic or education issues, health or social services, environment, arts or culture.

Please read our guidelines before contacting the Winona Community Foundation to discuss your grant proposal.

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. Read our guidelines for full match grant information details.

For a list of past Community grants awards, please see grants history.

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 quarterly to review applications received and submission of requests for support will be accepted on an on-going basis by Foundation staff throughout the year, until the allocated granting budget has been awarded. 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.

Read the guidelines carefully and then contact us. Every year we receive requests we cannot consider because they fall outside our guidelines.

Write a concise narrative, beginning with a clear statement of the project and addressing the questions asked in the instructions in the order listed. Be sure to consider the criteria noted in our guidelines that the committee will use to rank applications when working on your narrative.

Consider “needs” vs. “wants.”

Prioritize the items within your request. If only a portion of it can be funded, what part(s) are most urgently needed?

Consider the timing of your request. If you are asking for a grant for a project that won’t take place for six months or a year, you may be asked to resubmit your request closer to the time the funding is needed.

These grants are very competitive. Examine other possible sources of funding, especially if you have sources that might not be available to most nonprofit’s and/or would likely fill your request. Do not rely on the community foundation for 100% of the funding.

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.