Grants

Since 1998, Manatee Community Foundation has awarded more than $56 million in scholarships and grants to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations–all based on the charitable aspirations of donors who care deeply about making a difference.

The generosity of donors who give through MCF makes impactful work possible in the arts, human services, education, animal welfare, environmental, civic engagement, and health-related causes.

During our last fiscal year, ending June 30, 2022, we awarded more than $5.7 million, providing relief and recovery to nonprofits during the pandemic.

Manatee Community Foundation continues to focus on a results-first framework to help us make better decisions based on how organizations can move the needle for their clients or the community. We are especially interested in how your work is addressing diversity, equity, inclusion and access for those who may not otherwise benefit from programs, services, or opportunities.

In order to be more responsive, inclusive and strategic in supporting the needs of nonprofits in our community, we have created a process to receive your funding requests on an ongoing basis.

A volunteer grants committee will review nonprofit requests monthly for alignment with funds available for grantmaking. We may also share your request with donor advisors. This process has replaced an annual competitive grant cycle.

  • Share your request for funding here.
  • Read the Frequently Asked Questions here.
  • Submit your grant report here if you have not applied for a grant using our new grant system, AwardSpring. If you have applied for a grant using AwardSpring, you need to login to your AwardSpring account, go to your dashboard and then submit the report listed in your account.

Want to learn more about MCF’s Grants Process? This video provides a walkthrough on how MCF partners with nonprofits, grantmaking, and donor relations.

Important Time Stamps
05:18 About MCF & the Resources/Services We Provide
14:12 MCF Grantmaking Process
32:40 Connecting Donors to Your Mission

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a deadline to apply?
No. The application deadline is rolling. Applications will be accepted as long as funding remains available

What is the Grants Committee’s focus? What does a successful application look like?
The Grants Committee focuses on three things:

  1. How does your project serve Manatee County residents?
  2. How does your project serve underrepresented or marginalized groups?
  3. What are the results and data showing that your program is effective?

What items are not funded?
Manatee Community Foundation does not fund:

  • Grants to individuals
  • Conduit organizations that fund unrelated charities
  • Political campaigns
  • Lobbying
  • Scholarly research
  • Annual campaigns
  • Event sponsorships
  • Team or sport travel
  • Travel-related expenses
  • Organizations not serving Manatee County residents

Manatee Community Foundation reserves the right to edit this list at any time.

How much can our organization apply for?
Grant amounts vary widely depending on the funding available. On average, most grants are between $1,000 and $10,000.

How many grants can we apply for in a year?
You can have only one open grant project with us at any given time. Once your organization is awarded a grant, we will not normally accept another application from the same organization until the grant report for the prior funded project has been submitted and if the request is within the last 12 months of the last request.

How do I apply for the Bishop Parker grant funding that is administered by MCF?
MCF administers grants for the Bishop Parker Foundation that are $15,000 and less. There is no separate application for these funds. Organizations are not able to apply for a $15,000 grant for the Bishop Parker Foundation funds and then another grant from MCF – it’s all one and the same. If your application is approved by the MCF grants committee, MCF staff makes the determination about which of the Foundation’s eligible Funds is best suited to supply the grant dollars. The Bishop Parker Foundation Fund is of the options they may select, based on a number of factors.

If awarded a grant, do we need to send a press release?
As of May 1, 2023, all grant awardees are required to send out a press release regarding their grant funding. There is a boiler template and resources available in the award notification email that is sent to the organization’s representative who completed the grant application.

Can I save the grant application and come back to it later?
Yes, when you save the application in JotForm, you should receive an email with an access link (please check your spam folder). It’s recommended that you copy the questions over to a Word document and complete the application on Word before copying and pasting it over in JotForm.

We’re a new nonprofit and looking to get started. Do you fund for capital or operating expenses?Because the average award amount is $10,000 or less, we do not make leadership gifts in capital campaigns. However, MCF will consider capital items like vans, computers, etc.

While MCF believes strongly in operating support, because of limited dollars, we’re not able to fund everyone. If you have a strong need or case for operating support, please complete the application.

Do you need our organization’s complete budget?
No, we just need the budget for the proposed project.

We serve both Sarasota & Manatee counties. Can we still apply?
Yes, but to expedite the review of your application, please only submit results, data, and information for those people you will/have served in Manatee County.

I submitted a grant on (insert date here). When should I hear back?
If you submit a grant application by the 1st of the month, it will be reviewed that same month. If you apply after the 1st of the month, it will be reviewed next month.

For example, if you submit an application by April 1 – it will be reviewed and (provided that it’s a complete application) a decision will be made in April. If you apply on April 13, the application will be reviewed and a decision will be made in May.

I’m having a problem with my Giving Partner Profile.
Please contact the Community Foundation of Sarasota County: 941.955.3000 | Nonprofits@CFsarasota.org

Can I submit a grant on behalf of my school?
The Manatee Community Foundation is dedicated to fostering systemic change that benefits all schools equitably rather than providing direct support to individual schools. Our focus lies in initiatives and programs that have a broad impact, aiming to create lasting, positive changes within the educational system that can benefit the entire community. Through our efforts, we strive to enhance opportunities and resources for all students across the board. If your school has a particular need, please work with the Manatee County School District to submit a grant application.

Are religious organizations allowed to apply?
At the Manatee Community Foundation, we recognize the invaluable role that local religious institutions play in our community. We’re committed to supporting projects and initiatives within these institutions when they remain accessible to everyone, regardless of their faith, background, or personal preferences. Our investment criteria prioritize projects that don’t involve active evangelization and focus on initiatives benefiting the broader community. We believe in fostering partnerships that strengthen the fabric of the community, while respecting diverse beliefs and ensuring that the services provided are available to all who seek them.

I have other questions that weren’t answered here.
Please schedule a virtual Zoom appointment.