Innovations and Collaborations

Some of the best work being done by nonprofits across Vermont happens through collaboration and in a culture of learning, reflection, and striving for excellence. The best organizations can always find innovative ways of working to develop common solutions to community needs. In our work throughout the state, we have time and again seen that collaborative nonprofits are among the most powerful agents of community change. Part of our Community Fund grants program, Innovations and Collaborations grants support the best projects working across issues, sectors, and/or regions.

Through their work grantees should be:

  • Addressing root causes of issues or problems in Vermont
  • Collaborating with other organizations across issues, sectors, or regions 
  • Working in ways that are new and original for participating organization(s) 
  • Engaging constituents in leadership and decision-making
  • Holding themselves accountable to their stakeholders  
  • Embracing risk while stretching for higher impact
  • Learning together in a self-reflective and flexible style

Further explanation of the Innovations and Criteria guidelines and example projects are available in a pdf by clicking here. We encourage all potential applicants to review this document.

You may also click here to read about the Fall 2016 Innovations and Collaborations grants.

This program will not fund:

  • coalitions or networks that do not meet the above criteria for collaboration and learning
  • capital campaigns or building renovations
  • debt reduction
  • expenses that have already been incurred
  • programs with religious purposes
  • indirect expenses beyond 10% of the cost of the project

Who May Apply

Applications will be considered from nonprofit organizations, schools, or municipal entities for projects that address the above purposes.

Grant applications will be accepted from organizations that are located in or serve the people of Vermont. Organizations must be tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or be a public agency or municipality in the state of Vermont. Nonprofit organizations or community groups who do not have 501(c)(3) status may apply for grant awards if another tax-exempt organization acts as a fiscal sponsor. 

Typically, applications will be accepted from one lead organization in association with one or more additional partner organizations. Under exceptional circumstances, organizations may apply without partner organizations; their proposal will be considered if it otherwise meets the criteria above.

Note: Given the focus of our resources on Food and Farm issues in our Big Impact program, we are providing limited funding through our other grant programs towards local food sourcing to low income Vermonters.  If you have a project related to local food, food insecure populations, or Farm to School, please contact one of our grant staff to discuss its eligibility before applying.

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity (as defined in paragraph 249(c)(4) of title 18, United States Code), sexual orientation, marital or parental status, political affiliation, military service, physical or mental ability be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity funded in whole or in part with funds made available (meaning any funds having a competitive application process) by the Vermont Community Foundation, and any other program or activity funded in whole or in part with funds appropriated for grants, cooperative agreements, and other assistance administered by the Foundation. 

Grant applicants must employ staff and provide services without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity (as defined in paragraph 249(c)(4) of title 18, United States Code), sexual orientation, marital or parental status, political affiliation, military service, physical or mental ability.

Grant Size

Grants are usually made in the range of $10,000-$20,000. Multi-year funding is available but not guaranteed. Continuation funding after the first year of the project is made through a competitive process. We will contact grantees about continuation at the end of the grant period.

Resources

Watch our Grantseeker Webinar that gives an overview of this grant program and others. You may watch the recorded webinar on our YouTube channel.

Application Process and Deadlines

Because this grant program is highly competitive, we developed a two-stage application process using our Online Grants Manager. Applicants submit a short Letter of Interest (LOI) online that requires a 2,500 character (@400 word) summary. These are evaluated by our staff, and a limited number of organizations are invited to submit a full application (funding is not guaranteed to those invited to submit a full application).

Organizations may be part of applications as a partner organization for more than one project during a single grant round, or multiple projects within a calendar year, but may only receive funding as lead applicant once in a year.

All LOIs and applications must be submitted electronically via the Online Grants Manager. Visit our Online Grants Center to learn more about how to use the Grants Manager, including accessing your existing account or registering for the first time. 

First Round Deadlines for 2017

Letter of Interest due 5:00 p.m. February 1, 2017. Full application due 5:00 p.m. March 16, 2017 if invited. Notification will be by mid-June. 

UPDATE: This is the final round of Innovations and Collaborations. The second round of 2017 has been cancelled and we will not be continuing this specific program in future years. Feel free to reach out with any questions.

Apply for a Grant