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Capacity Building Grant Guidelines and Instructions

The Community Foundation makes Capacity Building Grants to strengthen an organization in an area related to governance or management and provide capacity support for a collaborative initiative/effort to enhance systemic support around a community issue or priority. 


Grant Amount

Grant requests of up to $5,000 will be considered.


Eligibility requirements

Grants are made only to charitable organizations or causes with 501(c)(3) status, or to governmental agencies serving a charitable purpose. Geographically, funding is limited to projects that will significantly improve the Greater Des Moines community. It is not the Community Foundation's practice to fund completed projects or proposals or projects that have begun implementation. It is strongly recommended that organizations speak with Anna Nalean prior to submitting a Capacity Building Grant. Review the Application Narrative Questions and Required Documents.


Grant application and timeline

Capacity Building Grants are given throughout the year and can be requested at any time.  When you apply for a Capacity Building Grant, be prepared to provide the following information:

  • A budget detailing other sources of funding, including your organization's and/or board's financial commitment and the amount requested from the Community Foundation.
  • An organizational budget.
  • A list of the organization's board of directors with contact information, including email addresses.
  • A copy of the Iowa Nonprofit Principles and Practices of Excellence Board Resolution (if the Board has adopted one).
  • A consultant work plan that includes the hourly rate for the consultant and estimated number of hours for the project.

The Community Foundation WILL CONSIDER grant applications for projects that

  • Strengthen the Board of Directors and governance of the organization, through training or assistance from an expert in the field with application outlining the project deliverables.  
  • Assist in strategic thinking and planning for the future of the organization.
  • Enable organizations to merge operations and/or programming to ensure sustainability.
  • Build a plan for long-term sustainability and reliable funding streams.
  • Develop the skills of the Board and staff in a specific area impacting governance or management of the organization.
  • Support collaborative initiatives or efforts to enhance systemic support around a community issue.

The Community Foundation WILL NOT CONSIDER

  • Capital infrastructure projects (bricks and mortar).
  • Ongoing annual operating expenses.
  • Feasibility studies
  • Organizational re-branding
  • Grants to individuals.
  • Sectarian religious programs promoting a particular faith. 
  • Projects not serving residents of Greater Des Moines.
  • Individual conference registrations without a wide dissemination plan. 
  • Costs associated with the creation of starting a new nonprofit organization.
  • Requests to fund computer or other technology hardware/equipment, donor management software or website development.
  • Completed projects or proposals that have begun implementation. 

For more information

Anna Nalean

Director of Nonprofit Relations


Phone (515) 883-2629