No. We award grants to eligible nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations, organizations using a nonprofit fiscal agent, and municipal or governmental agencies only.

Yes. Organizations that are based outside of Eastern Connecticut can apply, if the work described in the grant application and the accompanying budget are clearly to be carried out in one or more of the towns in Our Communities

The Foundation does not generally fund projects or support educational initiatives that are more appropriately the subject of public funding. A proposal from a public or charter school would need to be for a special project or initiative not normally covered by the school’s publicly-funded budget. For example, the Foundation would consider an application for an afterschool enrichment program, but not for the development of a new math curriculum for the district.

Regarding private schools, the Foundation does not generally fund projects that serve only a discrete and fixed group of individuals without also having a broader public benefit.

We do not fund religious activities of any kind, but religious organizations are eligible for grants if activities are non-discriminatory, non-sectarian, and benefit the larger community.

Yes, the Foundation will consider a grant request from a municipality for support of a specific and time-limited project.

It depends.

  • Grants that address youth empowerment and/or basic needs and rights of residents in the towns of Southeastern CT (East Lyme, Groton, Ledyard, Lyme, Montville, New London, North Stonington, Old Lyme, Salem, Stonington and Waterford) normally range from $5,000 to $30,000.
  • Grants that provide youth development programs and services for economically and socially disadvantaged Norwich youth generally range from $5,000 to $15,000.
  • Grants that promote the general welfare and self-sufficiency of residents of the Town of Windham range from $5,000 to $10,000. Few grants are made at the very top of the range.
  • Grants that benefit domestic animals and wildlife and/or promote environmental education and conservation in New London County range from $5,000 to $50,000.

Yes, through the Southeast General and Environmental/Animal Welfare grant categories only. You can request up to three years of funding. Be sure to include a rationale for why you are asking for multi-year funding as well as the specific amount you are requesting each year.

Yes. You may apply for more than one grant, as long as they are through separate grant opportunities. For example, you may submit a grant application for an Environmental Grant and another for an Animal Welfare Grant, but you may not submit two Environmental Grants.

We are committed to moving the community impact priorities of our strategic plan forward so our committees will favor those proposals. However, we encourage you to contact program director Jennifer O’Brien at or 860-442-3572 about ideas that fall outside of those priorities.

Yes, we support capacity building through the Southeast General and Environmental grant opportunities. While grants can be up to $20,000, most will be in the $5,000-10,000 range. We define capacity building as strengthening an organization’s board and/or staff, typically by engaging with a consultant around specific needs such as:

  • Strategic planning and organizational assessment
  • Board and staff development & training
  • Infrastructure improvements
  • Improving financial management
  • Fundraising, marketing, and communications planning
  • Feasibility assessment and implementation of mergers and strategic alliances

We recommend you begin by contacting program director Jennifer O’Brien at or 860-442-3572 to discuss your capacity building need before you begin the application process.

The Community Foundation provides limited funding for public policy grants in our four strategic impact areas. The Foundation believes that through support for organizations that provide services and those that work towards improving policies, we can best serve our community. We support advocacy initiatives that seek to influence decision makers at various levels:

  • Public education
  • Network formation
  • Relationship building
  • Lobbying on legislation

Please contact program director Jennifer O’Brien at to discuss your ideas for grant funding in advance of submission.

Advocacy for public charities is a broad concept and incorporates communication about the mission, lobbying for legal or policy change, and even nonpartisan voter education. “Nonprofit advocacy is legal, needed, and easy,” to quote the National Council of Nonprofits.

Advocacy can help nonprofits advance their mission, increase their funding sources, and solve community and societal problems. Advocacy also allows nonprofits to advance the issues they care about and help bring about lasting change for the people and communities they serve.

As an example, the Foundation has made grants to the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) in support of its public policy work at the State Capitol. Specifically, CWEALF worked with the Foundation’s Women & Girls Fund Task Force on Public Policy to support the passage of Paid Family and Medical Leave in 2019.

Systems change addresses the root causes of social problems, which are often intractable and embedded in networks of cause and effect. It is an intentional process designed to fundamentally alter the components and structures that cause the system to behave in a certain way.

An example of a systems change grant: Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness received grants from the Foundation to create and maintain a data-driven program for nonprofits in eastern Connecticut that tracks at-risk individuals for rapid rehousing and homelessness prevention. Implementation of this program resulted in a decrease in homeless individuals in eastern Connecticut.

For each grant opportunity, a committee of staff and community volunteers reviews the applications and makes funding recommendations that are then approved by our Board of Trustees.

The Foundation uses a mix of unrestricted, field of interest and donor advised funds in most of our grantmaking. We do share strong proposals that align with donor interest with our donors. Our donor advisors do not accept direct requests for funding.

Contact program director Jennifer O’Brien at or 860-442-3572 to discuss which opportunity would best fit your project.

You do not need to have submitted a report on a previous grant project in order to apply for a new grant, but you will have to submit an interim or final grant report before the Foundation will release any new grant funding.

We will accept PDF, Word and Excel files. With Excel in particular, please make sure the budget is formatted to be printed on an 8.5" x 11” piece of paper. No general ledgers, please.