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Community Impact Grant Guidelines


The Community Impact Grant is a program of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. The funding for this program comes from Field of Interest funds. Donors and philanthropists establish Field of Interest funds to address their desires and intentions for Southwest Florida, including Hendry, Glades, Charlotte, Collier, and Lee Counties. This grant program reflects the intent of donors who have entrusted their money to the Foundation. Foundation leaders recognize there are other important issues not funded by this program.

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation 2017-18 Community Impact Grant season opens with a call for idea, projects, and programs–both established and new—that are designed to increase the quality of life in sustainable and equitable ways for Southwest Floridians.

Based on the available Field of Interest funds, Community Impact Grants provide funding in the following areas:

For more information about these cause areas, please click the links above.

In addition to the funding areas above, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation seeks projects and programs that assist in the following areas:

  • Veterans experiencing behavioral health issues, and are experiencing and/or are at risk of homelessness. (Equity & Empowerment)
  • Health and medical needs of Southwest Florida Island residents (Health, Safety & Animals)
  • Organizations that are located in and/or primarily serving residents of Bonita Springs.
  • Individuals in need of health care due to heart disease or cancer, and have significant financial difficulties and/or experiencing or are at risk of homelessness. (Health, Safety, & Animals; Equity & Empowerment)
  • Legal services relating to immigration status for individuals not born in this country, or their family members, so that they may remain and prosper in the country (Equity & Empowerment)


  • Nonprofit organizations exempt from Federal income taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
  • Units of government are eligible [(c)(4) and (c)(6) agencies are not eligible]
  • Applicants must be located in and/or primarily serve residents of Lee, Charlotte, Hendry, Glades, or Collier counties. Some funding is county-specific based on donor intent of Field of Interest funds.
  • Eligible organizations must be governed by a volunteer board of directors
  • Organizations must conduct business without discrimination on the basis of race, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, national origin, or religious affiliation


  • Capital Building Campaigns and Building Renovation Projects
  • Political Campaigns
  • Lobbying or similar activities
  • Advancement of a particular religion or faith
  • Organizations that have received Community Impact Fund Grants in all three of the last grant cycles (2014-2015, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017).

Funding Limit

You may request up to, but not more than, $50,000 for your proposed project/program.  The Field of Interest funds vary in amount and may be less than $50,000.


Projects/programs will be considered based on the following priorities:

  • Degree of potential benefit to the community derived from the project or program
  • New or established ideas, programs, and projects that target community challenges/opportunities and do not unnecessarily duplicate efforts
  • The capacity of the organization to achieve the programs/project’s expected results
  • The degree to which agency (or agencies) will utilize measurable outcomes to evaluate ideas, programs, and projects
  • Ideas, programs, and project that are likely to attract additional funds, resources, and community support
  • The agency’s ability to obtain continued funding, beyond the Foundation
  • The amount of available funds the Community Foundation has to award

Note: The Field of Interest funds vary in amount may be less than $50,000
The Process: Below is a description of this year’s Community Impact Grant process.

Here’s how this process will work:

The LOI Round – September 1-November 3rd

The letter of idea (LOI) round is open between September 1st and November 3rd. This is not a full traditional RFP. Please do not include the traditional elements of an RFP in your letter. The letter is a snapshot of your program/project idea. The criteria for a well-written LOI are,

  • Clarity of ideas
  • Precision of explanations
  • Thoughtfulness of design

Please note: Supplemental materials beyond the LOI requirements will not be reviewed unless specifically requested by Foundation staff.

Note: If you not have registered on our new grants portal, please click here for Registration Instructions

The Compassionate Shark Tank: CIG Pitch Day – December 7th

If your LOI is advanced to the next round, you will be invited to participate in the Compassionate Shark Tank: CIG Pitch Day on Wednesday, December 7th. Shark Tank participants have 3 minutes to share their idea with the shark tank panel, which includes community stakeholders from across the region. The panel has 10 minutes to ask questions of you about your idea.

Your effectiveness will be measured by your ability to address each of the LOI elements in your presentation and Q&A session.

The RFMI Round

If your idea advances beyond the Compassionate Shark Tank, you may be invited to submit a request for more information (RFMI).  If we need more information, you will be informed after Pitch Day is over. The RFMI is a set a questions in which you elaborate more on specific aspects of the proposed project or program. The questions are often generated from the conversations that occur during CIG Pitch Day.

Community Impact Grant Tribe – Technical Assistance

If you are awarded a grant from the Community Impact Grant cycle, you become a member of the tribe.   A tribe is a group of nonprofit agencies and their leaders who have been granted dollars from the Foundation to advance their mission in Southwest Florida.  As an addition to your grant, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation provides a year-long capacity building experience at no cost to you.  This year for the Tribe, we will be partnering with Network for Good (NFG) to provide technical assistance around fundraising.  To qualify for this tribe experience, organizations must:

  • Possess at minimum one full-time staff member;
  • Have a minimum of three board members meeting regularly;
  • Have a current 501(c)(3) determination from the IRS;
  • Currently operate programs with an annual budget of $50,000 or higher;
  • Indicate a willingness to allocate a minimum 5 hours per week to fundraising activities;
  • Express a willingness to leverage online technology and donor data to inform fundraising efforts;
  • Be willing to submit donor information for confidential analysis.

Please note: you may still be eligible for a grant through the Foundation without meeting all of these requirements. This is a fantastic opportunity for technical assistance around fundraising, so if you meet the above NFG requirements, your participation will be a requirement of the grant and will be confirmed in a Letter of Understanding.

Awards will be announced December 2017.

Still Have Questions?

Please email [email protected] or call 239-274-5900