Addressing Needs and Opportunities

The Winona Community Foundation strengthens our community through philanthropy by making grants to projects and causes that address both the needs and the opportunities present in the community.

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. Our grants for nonprofits are broad and inclusive to meet the current community needs in the Winona area. We have granted a wide array of projects and programs throughout the years.

  • Applicants must contact Foundation staff to discuss their grant proposal prior to applying for the grant
  • The maximum grant award will be $10,000
  • 2020 grant deadlines are March 1 & August 1
  • We will accept online applications or hardcopy applications
  • Grants are reviewed the 4th Tuesday of the deadline month

For more information, or to set up an appointment, please contact:


  • Funding will be granted only to private and public nonprofit agencies that are under a 501(c)3 status, have an appropriate fiscal sponsor with 501(c)3 status, or a government entity. Churches and religious organizations may apply for support for activities that benefit the larger community, but not for activities that have a specific religious purpose.
  • Nonprofits or agencies can only apply once each grant cycle year (January-December). If a grant is not funded in one cycle, the committee may ask the nonprofit or agency to resubmit or hold an application over to a later review date.
  • Nonprofits or projects within Winona, or within a 15 mile radius of Winona into Wisconsin and or otherwise serve community needs.
  • Projects that are consistent with Winona Community Foundations goals and priorities, food, shelter, health, and additional benefits to the community at large.

Not Eligible for WCF Grants

  • Organization’s with past due or incomplete grant report forms
  • Applications that have not been previously discussed with Foundation staff to verify eligibility – no cold proposals will be accepted
  • Requests from individuals for support
  • Loans, debt retirement or debt financing
  • Political campaigns
  • Fraternal organizations or orders
  • Projects with a specific religious purpose
  • On-going staff positions not specific to a particular grant project
  • Capital development campaigns – a capital campaign which is organized to collect and accumulate substantial funds to finance major construction or renovation of buildings
  • Endowment campaigns
  • Fund raising or event sponsorships
  • Completed projects

Grant Evaluation Criteria

The following criteria will be used in screening, review and evaluation of WCF applications.

Each criteria will be ranked from 1-5 for each project, with 5 being the highest. All rankings are averaged and these averages are used in the committee discussion as consideration is given for a project to be recommended for funding.

*NOTE: WCF Donor advised, agency, field of interest, designated and scholarship funds are exceptions to any these guidelines.

Focus Area Open to the needs of the community.
Need or Impact Need of the community for the project or service, organizational need for assistance to be able to make the project a reality. How the funding directly and indirectly will impact the community.
Collaboration An assessment of the overall collaborative effort of the project to pool resources with other area organizations or resources to make the program or service a reality.
Sustainability The ability of the organization to maintain such a program after initial establishment if applicable, and/or the stability of organization, financially and organizationally, to manage and complete the project. Project budget will be used.