Capacity Building

A Waco Foundation Capacity Building Training
A Waco Foundation Capacity Building Training

A portion of Waco Foundation's work is focused on strengthening the organizations and groups that will implement our community’s innovative ideas and major services.

This is done because we…

  • Believe that organizations that have taken certain steps in planning their work and projects have the best chance of ultimately improving our community’s quality of life; and
  • Recognize that people enter nonprofit work at different points of readiness and preparation and sometimes need help learning and implementing best practices.

Through our Capacity Building Mini-Grants and other services, we help the staff and boards of McLennan County nonprofits gain access to planning, quality trainings and other resources which can help strengthen their organization’s ability to conduct mission work.

As the community Foundation for McLennan County, Texas, our grantmaking and capacity building support services are made available to 501(c)(3) organizations that are physically located in and serve the Waco-McLennan County, Texas area. To learn more about Capacity Building and the types of support available to McLennan County  nonprofits, check out the tabs below.

What is Capacity Building

Capacity building is a term used in the charitable sector which describes activities that are designed to help improve a nonprofit’s ability to meet its mission and maximize the resources given to them by the community. Capacity building services are distinguishable from direct program services, general operating support or capital expenses in that they typically seek to increase the knowledge, skill level and/or efficiency of a nonprofit board and staff. Capacity building services are typically provided by an individual outside of the organization that has the expertise and ability to focus on only one aspect of an organization’s management. Usual capacity building services include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Board and/or staff training
  • Strategic planning
  • Analysis of programs, cost centers, technology and fundraising potential
  • Program evaluation

As a result of the work of the Capacity Building Program, Waco Foundation hopes to encourage the following within the nonprofit sector: 

  • Excellent board governance
  • Sound management (financial & other)
  • Cross-sector collaboration
  • Best practice/evidence informed practices
  • Leadership development

The Foundation has recently established a Capacity Building Advisory Council. The goal of the council is to champion the value of capacity building to area nonprofits, the boards that govern them, the individuals who staff them and the donors and volunteers that support them. The advisory council helps advise policies, procedures and programs of the Foundation’s Capacity Building Program in order to facilitate our efforts to strengthen and support the local nonprofit sector.

Capacity Building Mini-Grants

We provide assistance to nonprofit coalitions and individual nonprofit organizations implementing high impact projects. Our Capacity Building Program awards mini-grants up to $2,500 to nonprofits seeking guidance or expertise in areas such as organizational assessments, board governance and strategic planning. There are a wide range of activities that can be supported with a capacity building grant. Grants may support up to 90% of total costs, which are usually paid to consultants or as fees for participation in training or events. 

To learn more, check out the frequently asked questions link here.

To learn if your organization is a candidate for assistance, contact the Director of Grants & Capacity Building.

To learn more about recently awarded mini-grants here.

Continuing Education and Training

Periodically, Waco Foundation offers inexpensive, subsidized training on topics that benefit the nonprofit sector as a whole. Topics covered in recent training opportunities include: board governance, board member recruitment and orientation, a board's role in fundraising and donor centered fundraising and financial literacy and budgeting.

Additionally, collaborating with the Waco-McLennan County Library's Grant Resource Center enables Waco Foundation to help present free workshops to nonprofits. The workshops, which are offered on a periodic basis, include introductory topics, such as grantseeking basics, proposal writing basics and introduction to fundraising planning. The Grant Resource Center also houses a nonprofit resources collection and the online grants databases of the Foundation Center.

Board Self-Assessment

Waco Foundation offers a low cost/free assessment tool for eligible area nonprofits through our Capacity Building Program. The self-assessment is a critical component of Waco Foundation’s Building Better Boards Initiative, which was designed to promote an understanding of good board governance and provide the resources necessary for continuing board development amongst nonprofit organizations.

The assessment provides information for nonprofit organizations to use in building their board and organization. A board self-assessment is a great tool to effect change towards improving board performance.The assessment is conducted by nonprofit groups with each member answering  questions anonymously through an online survey. Once completed, a summary report is compiled that shows summary board responses and identifies potential areas for improvement. 

  • For an overview of the Board Online Self-Assessment (BOSA) click here [PDF].
  • To view the BOSA instrument/questions, click here [PDF].

For additional information, please contact the Director of Grants & Capacity Building at Waco Foundation.

Grants Review and Grantwriting

Since 2001, Waco Foundation has provided direction to nonprofit agencies that require specific, high intensity grantwriting assistance.  Priority is given to large-scale projects that provide joint funding for coalitions or collaborations of nonprofit organizations.  Most individual organizations seeking a grant will be referred to the grant resources at the Central Library and to training opportunities. Every two-three years, the Library, in partnership with Waco Foundation, hosts the most reputable grantwriting training in the nation, the week-long training for The Grantsmanship Center. In addition, free workshops in grantwriting and fundraising are offered periodically at the library. Occasionally, Waco Foundation will support a grantwriting consultant when an agency/coalition has a developed, competitive project and is seeking a significant grant from a government agency or another foundation with a complex application. The Foundation supports the cost of a grantwriting consultant with experience in the particular area of funding (such as education, HUD, etc.) and only for consultants which have a proven record of acquiring grant funding.

Additionally, Waco Foundation will provide review and feedback for any nonprofit organization that has developed a project or grant proposal. Nonprofits seeking feedback on such documents should contact Nicole Wynter, Director of Grants & Capacity Building, to schedule a review of their proposal.

Waco Foundation is maintaining a centralized website specifically for nonprofit use. The website identifies upcoming training events, nonprofit fundraisers, job openings and other nonprofit management related resources. It also provides updated event information for the Nonprofit Network and Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Leader’s Circles

Leaders’ Circle is a year-long program that serves as a resource sharing opportunity for nonprofit executive directors in the community. Specifically, Waco Foundation facilitates Leaders’ Circle for advanced executives. Leader’s Circles are assembled when a sufficient number of directors express interest in forming one. A trained facilitator convenes the group and supports meetings.

Collaborative Efforts

Waco Foundation recognizes effective capacity building is best accomplished when a range of partners interested in effective nonprofit management work together to provide a wide variety of services and support. The Foundation provides a specific set of services (as described in these pages), but there are other community partners working to help offer a full range of needed services and support. Area partners include but are not limited to the Cooper and Rapoport Foundations, the Nonprofit Network, the Central Texas Association of Fundraising Professionals, McLennan Community College and the Waco-McLennan County Library Grants Resource Center (a Funding Information Center of The Foundation Center). The Foundation also seeks to build relationships with other area stakeholders to facilitate outreach and the creation of partnerships from which the community at large may benefit.

To learn more about our capacity building services or the mini-grant application process, contact Nicole Wynter, Director of Grants & Capacity Building, at


Phone: 254-754-3404
Fax: 254-753-2887


1227 N. Valley Mills Drive
Suite 235
Waco, TX 76710

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