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Grant Application Tips

​We understand that applying for grants can be a nerve-wracking process. Each funding source may look for something different, so it’s hard to know what’s most important to share.

Akron Community Foundation offers a variety of competitive grants and they all look for something a little different. But we don’t want this to be a stressful process for you, so we’ve compiled tips on the type of information the deciding committees need to see. 

Our two main types of competitive grant cycles are our Community Fund grants and our issue-specific grants. While our issue-specific grants are generally awarded to grassroots programs devoted to meeting the needs of a specific demographic, our Community Fund grants provide broad-based funding that not only benefit residents today, but focus on creating systemic change in our community for the future. You can review more information about our issue-specific grant requirements and questions, as well as preview the questions and see what we fund through our Community Fund grants. 

If you focus on these key elements when applying for our Community Fund grants, you’ll be in good shape for funding consideration.  

  1. Demonstrate significant community support. As a community foundation, we want to ensure that the programs we fund have the backing of both the citizens and the key institutions within Summit County. This can be shown in numerous ways, including in-kind support, volunteer hours, and funding diversity.
  2. Discuss how your program fits into collective efforts. We want to see that you have developed strong collaborative relationships with other agencies and are working toward a jointly identified goal. One organization does not have the capability to solve a problem alone; it takes many interested parties with regular, collaborative activities built into their culture. 
  3. Communicate how the proposal fits into the overall vision of your organization. We need to understand how our funding will advance, not only the individual program we’re funding, but your vision for your organization’s future, too. 
  4. Be clear on your challenges and shortcomings. We do not expect perfection but we do expect transparency. This helps us understand the risk involved in the grant, while developing a trusting, honest relationship with you. It also lets us identify areas in which we may be able to lend non-monetary assistance, such as connecting you with other funders, volunteers and potential collaborators. 
  5. Describe your measurement systems. We prefer evaluation plans that capture lasting change and incorporate both quantitative and qualitative measures. We do, however, understand that is not always feasible. It’s okay if you are unable to evaluate everything on your list – just show us what you are doing to ensure you are getting the desired outcomes. 
  6. Include plans for sustainability. Whether this is a one-time or ongoing request for funding, we want to know how you will maintain the program when/if Akron Community Foundation funding is no longer available. Many nonprofits in the area have developed creative solutions to leverage sustainable resources. If you’re not sure about your sustainability plans, reach out to those organizations you’ve collaborated with to help you brainstorm possibilities.