The door is noticeably wider this spring for community organizations interested in applying for a grant from Greenbelt Community Foundation (GCF) to fund their activities.

Groups with existing programs and services are now eligible to apply, provided they meet the foundation’s criteria. Previously, GCF grants were limited to organizations starting new projects, but the foundation board recently decided to expand eligibility to ensure it serves all organizations, particularly small organizations that may not have the capacity to start a new program.

The Foundation now allows organizations to apply for funding to enhance their current programs or services or to secure funding as a bridge from one funding source to another. GCF will continue to provide one-year grant awards because its role is to support organizations as one of their funding sources, not to become the main and/or ongoing funder.

The GCF grants can range from $500 to $5,000 and the upcoming application deadline is midnight April 15. A week before that, on Sunday, April 8, there will be a free application tutoring session at 3:00 pm at the Greenbelt Police Station.

The foundation is interested in funding programs and services that enhance the cultural, artistic, recreational, social, or environmental vitality of Greenbelt, and that impact residents in all parts of the city.

To be eligible for funding, organizations should have IRS tax exempt [501(c)(3)] or find a qualifying organization to act as its fiscal agent. This agent should have its 501(c)(3), willing to act as a financial sponsor and whose mission is similar. Organizations eligible include nonprofits, cooperatives, religious groups, schools and associations.

Often a good community program is not funded due to a poorly written grant application. All areas of the application require proficiency and clarity. Here are the criteria GCF uses to determine whether to support a program: value to greenbelt, clarity of plan, feasibility of approach, qualifications of service providers and administrators, likelihood of success, appropriateness for GCF support, and sustainability.

To help organizations improve their grant applications, GCF is providing volunteers to review applications prior to submission on Sunday, April 8 at 3:00 pm at the Greenbelt Police Station. Organizations should bring a completed application for review. These volunteers can give recommendations, but this in no way ensures funding.

Please register for this workshop by Friday, March 30 by emailing the name of the person attending, his or her contact info and the name of the organization to info@greenbeltfoundation.org.

Click here for more information about the application process and to get an application