Grants

Grants

About Our Grantmaking

As the community foundation for McLennan County, Waco Foundation awards grants to a full spectrum of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, McLennan County based  nonprofit organizations – from social service and the arts, to health and youth services – based upon worthy community efforts and the greatest community need.

Consideration is given to a number of issues, including:

  • The capability of the agency and its personnel to achieve expected results
  • The adequacy and professionalism of the budget 
  • The financial sustainability of the project and organization
  • Demonstrated collaboration with and/or support of agencies involved in similar projects.

The award sizes differ according to the type of support being requested, dollars available and the perceived appropriateness of the project.

The Foundation does not award more than one competitive grant to an organization within a twelvemonth period and grant awards usually provide partial funding (as opposed to full funding) for projects and programs.

All grants are awarded on a reimbursement basis only, upfront dollars are not provided.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to read the grant guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions listed below, complete the  Organizational Readiness Checklist and contact the Director of Grants & Capacity Building (nwynter@wacofoundation.org) to discuss their project before proceeding.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply?

Organizations applying for funding must:

  • Be classified as a 501(c)(3) public charity under the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Be located in and provide services directly to Waco and McLennan County.

To learn more about what the Foundation considers to be general standards for nonprofit management, take a look at our Organizational Readiness Checklist.

Please note that all grants are awarded on a reimbursement basis only, upfront dollars are not provided.

Waco Foundation typically will not make grants for:

  • Tax supported entities (i.e. cities, schools)*;
  • Maintenance expenses or maintenance issues created due to deferred maintenance;
  • Medical or scholarly research;
  • Membership fees;
  • Local, state or national fundraising activities (e.g., annual fund drives, benefit tickets, event sponsoring and telephone solicitations);
  • Religious activities or programs that serve, or appear to serve specific religious groups or denominations. (However, projects that will serve a broad segment of the population will be considered on the same basis as proposals from other agencies);
  • Deficit budget expenses or retroactive funding for current projects, programs or equipment;
  • Debt reduction;
  • Individuals, except through our educational scholarships;
  • Political lobbying or legislative activities; and,
  • The use of and payment for services of a fiscal agent.

*Grants awarded will usually fall under the Immediate Impact Grants for Taxing Entities designation or be projects the Foundation funds based on the applicant’s ability to demonstrate that it is a community priority with broad based community support.

What are your funding priorities?

As a community foundation, we seek to be responsive to the needs of our nonprofit community while remaining committed to our mission of promoting solutions to community challenges.

The Foundation aspires to facilitate efforts that do the following:


1.) Help people leave poverty permanently. Priority will be given supporting to the most focused, cost-effective methods of:

  • Significantly reducing teen pregnancy
  • Significantly increasing graduation rates from high school, technical school, community college and college

2.) Supporting valuable projects that are:

  • Interesting, unique and energizing;  and which seek to make Waco a vibrant, inclusive and attractive community
  • Considered to be critical components and high priorities of the entire community

3.) Increasing the capacity of McLennan County’s nonprofit sector and the ability of the community-at-large, to address challenges:

  • Strengthening nonprofit sustainability
  • Helping local organizations collaborate
  • Increasing leadership capacity and pathways

4.) Funding organizations which provide support and service to our most vulnerable residents – people in poverty, people with disabilities, the elderly, children and youth (through Immediate Impact Grants)

We also may engage in activities that create general awareness about problems that pose significant challenges to the community but are not receiving the community's focus or attention.

The Foundation considers the following to be low giving priorities:

  • Annual operating expenses of established agencies including debt retirement, deficit financing, reducing operating deficits or replenishing resources used to pay for such purposes;
  • Start-up funding for new organizations;
  • Publications, videos, etc.;
  • Historic preservation; and
  • Organizations located outside the Waco/McLennan County area even though their project may benefit local residents and communities.

We hope to avoid the following through our grantmaking:

  • Helping to create an organization or program that will fail without our continued support;
  • Providing funding for a project that is primarily dependent on the work of one individual;
  • Being a regular funder for taxing entities. We will work in taxing entities in rare cases and exclusively at the initiative of the Board, in those instances where a taxing entity is the best option to implement a charitable program or service.   Taxing entities may be eligible for support under our Immediate Impact Grants program.

Want to Improve Your Chances?

The chances of your agency's proposal receiving a competitive grant award are substantially increased if the project:

  • Proposes a practical solution to a community problem;
  • Is responsive to changing or emerging community needs;
  • Is based on evidence informed practices that have a track record of success;
  • Can demonstrate clear, positive outputs and outcomes;
  • Leverages or generates other funding or resources;
  • Promotes cooperation among nonprofit agencies without duplicating efforts;
  • Addresses prevention as well as provides assistance for a problem; and/or,
  • Promotes efforts that enhance and encourage sustainability.

What are your deadlines?

The following application deadlines are firm. Submissions are due by 5 pm central time on the date listed below. Late applications will not be reviewed until the next review cycle!

It should be noted than an applicant’s submission date will determine the time-frame in which they can expect to receive a response. Response times are largely are determined by Board meeting dates (our board meets 6 times per year) and the type of funding being requested. The dates listed below reflect response times for Immediate Impact Grants and Small Capital Grants. Applicants submitting a Letter of Inquiry should add a minimum of 2 months wait time to their schedule.

Requests received by:
Will be reviewed by the Foundation's Board by:
April 1
June 1
June 1
August 1
September 1
November 30
December 1
January 31
January 9
April 1

All requests must be submitted electronically; paper applications will not be accepted.

How do I apply?

Please note that all grants are awarded on a reimbursement basis only, upfront dollars are not provided.

The Foundation awards competitive grants in three categories:

Organizations may not apply for more than one type of grant award at the same time (Capacity Building Mini Grants are excluded). They may however, apply for more than one grant in the same year if their first request for funding is not successful.

The Foundation also awards noncompetitive grants for Capacity Building activities. These awards do not affect a nonprofit’s ability to apply for and receive a competitive grant award.

Each program category has its own application process as defined within these webpages (see right margin). Agencies are encouraged to review the grant guidelines (including the accordions below) and application process for each category and apply for the grant (capital, program/operating or impact) that best suits their needs and capacity.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Foundation about their project before beginning a submission. All grant requests must be submitted electronically to the Director of Grantmaking & Capacity Building (nwynter@wacofoundation.org). Paper applications will not be accepted.

Applications are due by 5 pm central time on the date listed.

How often can we request support?

Organizations may not apply for more than one type of grant award at the same time (Capacity Building Mini Grants are excluded). They may however, apply for more than one grant in the same year if their first request for funding is not successful.

The Foundation does not award more than one competitive grant to an organization within a twelvemonth period.

I received a Capital or Program/Operating grant in the past. When can I reapply for more support? 

  • The Foundation does not consider itself an annual funder and as such, typically* does not provide multiyear or repeat funding for a single project/initiative. Any nonprofit awarded a  capital or program/operating competitive grant must wait a period of 12 months following the completion of that award before applying for another grant award (capital, program/operating or immediate impact).

*Some projects may be invited to return with an additional/subsequent request for funds if the Board deems it appropriate.

I received an Immediate Impact Grant in the past. When can I reapply for more support?

  • Due to the number of community organizations providing services to this target population and our desire to support as many of them as possible, organizations receiving support via our Immediate Impact Grant program must wait 24 months following the completion of that award before reapplying.

What if I want to alternate between Capital or Program/Operating support and an Immediate Impact Grant?

  • If an organization that was previously awarded an Immediate Impact Grant happens to meet all the requirements for a capital or program/operating support grant (including a satisfactory score on the Organizational Readiness Checklist), they may be eligible to apply for a capital or program/operating grant 12 months following the completion of their Immediate Impact grant.  All such applicants are advised to review their situation with Foundation staff before beginning an application however.

I've submitted, so what happens next?

The Foundation’s Board of Trustees reviews all letters of inquiry, applications and proposals received from eligible nonprofits and makes final grant award decisions. The size and number of grant awards vary each year. This is directly related to the amount of money available, the scope of the project and its perceived fit with the Foundation’s priorities and goals for improving quality of life.

The chances of your agency's proposal receiving a competitive grant award are substantially increased if the project:

  • Proposes a practical solution to a community problem;
  • Is responsive to changing or emerging community needs;
  • Uses evidence based practices that have a track record of success;
  • Can demonstrate positive outputs and outcomes;
  • Leverages or generates other funding or resources;
  • Promotes cooperation among nonprofit agencies without duplicating efforts;
  • Addresses prevention as well as provides assistance for a problem; and/or,
  • Promotes efforts that enhance and encourage sustainability.

Letter of Inquiry Process

The Board will review Letters of Inquiry for large capital and program grants and determine which organizations will be invited to submit a grant proposal. Submitting organizations will be notified by email of the Board’s decision and will receive a copy of their proposal questions after they are invited to continue on with the grantmaking process.

Small Capital Projects & Immediate Impact Grant Process

Similarly, the Board will review all applications for small capital projects and Immediate Impact Grants and determine which projects should receive funds. Submitting organizations will be notified via email of the Board’s decision.


Contact

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

Location

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

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