Grant Guidelines

grant writing checklist

The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties awards grants to nonprofit organizations whose projects and programs have the potential to make a long-lasting impact on the community and a significant difference to residents of our two-county region.

The Foundation gives preference to applications for grants that address one or more of these priority areas and example outcomes:

Economic Development

  • Increase number of residents with the workplace skills required for placement and career advancement in Herkimer and Oneida counties
  • Increase number of new job availability through entrepreneurs and start-ups
  • Increase number of “SHIPS” (internships, apprenticeships, mentorships) offered in Herkimer and Oneida counties
  • Increase opportunities to involve people 65+ in strengthening our community


  • Increase number of adults in Herkimer and Oneida counties with bachelor’s degrees to 25 percent by 2025
  • Increase number of “Kindergarten-ready” pre-school children
  • Increase number of students engaged in “STEAM” education
  • Increase availability of education opportunities for adult populations


  • Reduce number of children and adults with high blood lead levels
  • Decrease rates of obesity
  • Increase opportunities for healthy living
  • Increase opportunities for people to live in the safest, least restrictive environment

Arts and Culture

  • Increase number of attendees at arts and cultural programs
  • Increase collaborative efforts of arts and cultural institutions
  • Increase quality and diversity of arts and cultural offerings
  • Increase opportunities for people to participate in interactive arts and cultural experiences

The Foundation will also consider grant applications outside of its priority areas, especially for programs and projects that:

  • Offer the greatest opportunity for positive and significant change in the community
  • Identify and enhance local strengths to address and provide creative solutions for important existing or emerging community issues
  • Develop organizational and/or individual self-sufficiency

The Foundation will give significant consideration to those applications that:

  • Focus on identifiable outcomes that will make a difference
  • Leverage investment of other community resources
  • Improve the quality or scope of charitable works in the community
  • Involve collaborative partners

The Foundation will consider providing initial funding for new projects or programs, if sustainable funding is demonstrated.

Consideration of Projects & Ideas

The first step in requesting a grant is to contact The Community Foundation. This will enable staff to provide applicants with a quick assessment of potential Foundation interest and support. Organizations may receive one competitive grant per calendar year, with the following exceptions: (1) an emergency grant or (2) the organization is a fiscal sponsor for another applicant.

The Foundation generally does not make grants for:

  • Religious purposes*
  • Financial assistance, scholarships or loans to individuals
  • Non-emergency expenses that have already been incurred
  • Ongoing operating support
  • Maintenance and/or reconstruction for municipal infrastructure (except for dedicated community space)
  • Uniforms for sports teams
  • Equipment for fire, police or ambulance services
  • Camperships
  • Monuments

*The Foundation will consider proposals from faith-based organizations for programs, projects or community spaces that address non-religious needs or issues, and that serve diverse constituencies unrestricted by religious affiliation.

When Are Grants Made?

The Community Investment Committee, comprising board members and community representatives from both counties, meets quarterly with Community Investment staff to make funding decisions. Applicants are informed of funding decisions in writing.

Community Foundation staff may recommend certain requests, e.g., emergency funding and projects with modest budgets, for immediate action. Emergency requests include events and situations requiring immediate action to aid organizations providing services to a significant number of people.

Grants are disbursed when the project begins. Funds are expected to be disbursed within 12 months of being awarded.

Capital Campaigns

Requests for limited support of capital campaigns must be submitted in draft form by August 30 with final applications due September 30. Grant applications will be reviewed in the fourth quarter. Applicants should meet with Community Foundation staff to discuss any possible capital campaign requests.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Community Foundation staff at any time to discuss possible grant applications.