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Community Impact Grants




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 2019-2020 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:

In addition to the funding areas above, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation seeks projects and programs that assist in the following, more focused, 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)
  • Individuals in need of health care due to heart disease or cancer, and are experiencing and/or are at risk of homelessness (Health & Safety)
  • 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 and Empowerment)
  • Organizations located in and/or primarily serving residents of Bonita Springs.
  • To provide emergency health assistance to 1) active or retired party boat captains 2) who are residents of Southwest Florida 3) who have or who have had a United States Coast Guard Master License as a master of vessels of not less than 100 tons and 4) who are members of and have maintained membership in the National Party Association, while they were party boat captains…Upon my death, the earning and principal of the Fund will be used by the Trustees of the Foundation to support specific needs of the community as set forth above by me, or, in absence of such direction, as the Trustees shall deem appropriate for charitable purposes.


  • 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
  • Eligible organization must be governed by a volunteer Board of Directors with at least five (5) individuals unrelated through familial or business connections
  • 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 (2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019). Organizations are defined by the EIN submitted in their Letter of Idea and/or Application. No EIN can be granted four years in a row.

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 the agency (or agencies) will utilize measurable outcomes to evaluate ideas, programs, and projects
  • Ideas, programs, and projects that are likely to attract additional funds, resources, and community support
  • The agency’s ability to obtain continued funding, beyond a grant from the Foundation
  • The amount of available funds the 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.


The letter of idea (LOI) round is open between June 3rd and July 31st.  Awards will be announced, and funding disseminated in January 2020. This is not intended to be a lengthy request for proposal (RFP). It is important that you thoroughly answer the questions in the applications. Please do not include the traditional elements of an RFP in your response, if it is not specifically requested. It 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: The letter of idea is not a ‘letter’, but a series of questions asked through our online application portal. Supplemental materials beyond the LOI requirements will not be reviewed unless specifically requested by Foundation staff.

LOI questions

  1. PROGRAM ACTIVITES: What is your program/project idea and what are the key strategic activities you plan to implement? We want to know exactly what to plan to do with requested funds.
  2. CHALLENGE: Briefly describe how your program or project will address a challenge or opportunity in the area and use data specific to Southwest Florida where possible.
  3. OUTCOMES: What outcomes will result from your program or project? You already described the activities, now explain how the proposed project or program will impact your target population.
  4. TRANSPORTATION: Please describe how your program or project plans to overcome access and transportation barriers. Be specific about each target group that will access your services.
  5. PROJECT DESIGN: Tell us how you involved, or plan to involve, those who you serve in the development of this program or project.
  6. SUSTAINABILITY: Please explain how you plan to sustain the program or project beyond this one-year funding cycle. (Please include how your organization would successfully manage funding for more than one program if you answered YES to the question about submitting more than one project proposal.)

Please note, awards will not be announced until January 2020.  Please keep this in mind as you plan your application that you will need to plan for implementation 6 months after grant application is submitted.


If your LOI is advanced to the next round, you will be invited to participate in the Compassionate Shark Tank: CIG Pitch Day on Thursday, December 5th, 2019. 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 as well as respond to any additional questions from the panel.


If your idea advances beyond the Compassionate Shark Tank, you may be asked to respond to a request for more information (RFMI).  If we need more information, you will be informed after the Pitch Day is over. The RFMI is a set of 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.


Grant awards will be announced January 2020.

Still Have Questions?

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

The 2019-2020 Community Impact Guidelines were last updated on June 7, 2019.