The Foundation engages in both proactive and responsive grantmaking activities. The proactive grantmaking is largely implemented through staff led initiatives and the work of select community partners. The Foundation’s mission is to improve local quality of life, and focus on community wide impact shall guide its grantmaking.

The competitive grants process was designed to help ensure the Foundation remains inclusive with regard to the causes, concerns and perspectives of area nonprofits and responsive to the financial challenges they face.

With regard to community investments of both the proactive and responsive kind, the Foundation gives priority consideration to items noted below.

  • Foster more racially equitable experiences and outcomes for area residents
  • Help people leave poverty permanently. As an example, priority will be given to supporting the most focused, cost-effective methods of:
    • Significantly reducing teen pregnancy
    • Significantly increasing graduation rates from high school, technical school, community college and college
  • 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
  • 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
  • Funding organizations which provide support and service to our most vulnerable residents – people in poverty, people with disabilities, the elderly, children and youth.

The Foundation’s Grantmaking Programs

  • Program/operating support grants are intended for agencies whose programs or services give attention to identifying and addressing the root causes of area challenges, including the social drivers or determinants that foster, create or reinforce inequitable outcomes and experiences.
  • Capital support grants help cover costs related to select, small office equipment, building equipment, building renovation and/or construction costs and select vehicle purchases (e.g. forklifts). The Foundation typically does not award grants for the purchase or acquisition of passenger vehicles.
    • With regard to small capital grants, while the Foundation will accept applications from a variety of nonprofits, highest priority consideration will be given to human services, youth serving and arts/cultural organizations needing capital assistance.
    • The Foundation will continue to consider giving large capital grants, which can be used to support building acquisition, construction, renovation or rehabilitation. Applicants for a large capital grants are expected to have secured 60% of its necessary funding before approaching the Foundation with a request.
  • Immediate Impact grants are intended to provide program, operating or capital support to a wide range of area nonprofits. The Foundation offers support in three primary areas:
    • To grassroots and nonprofits working to provide support to traditionally marginalized or under invested in communities (in keeping with recognized CDBG recipient areas) through efforts that help enhance the attractiveness and vitality of targeted neighborhoods and foster community engagement and development among those population groups.
    • To nonprofits that provide support and service to our most vulnerable residents, including people in poverty, people with disabilities, the elderly, children and youth.
    • To nonprofits that work to help foster an inclusive, attractive community for residents and visitors alike.

Statement about Our Grant Applications

Over the last several years, Waco Foundation has been on a journey to expand our understanding of racial inequity; the ways that a person’s race may influence their opportunities, experiences and outcomes and how those same factors affect our ability to help ensure equitable quality of life experiences for all McLennan County residents.

Waco Foundation has prioritized an effort to increase our collective understanding in the area of race equity. Our belief is that a better understanding in this area will improve our ability to accomplish our Vision Statement effectively.

One of the ways we are beginning to apply our learnings is demonstrated in modifications to our grant applications. Asking questions to better understand the diversity of the organizations we support helps us to accomplish our mission more equitably. In this way, we send the message to the grantee that we consider equity an important organizational advantage and that we are available for any support of their efforts.

The questions in our grant applications help us understand if and how area agencies are learning about and engaging around the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. While we have chosen to prioritize making grants to agencies that take a race equity lens to their work, we remain committed to being a community foundation that meets people and organizations where they are in their racial equity journey and, as such, do welcome applications from those whose position on the topic may differ from ours. We encourage applicants to connect with Waco Foundation grantmaking staff to learn more.