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Community Organization Capacity Building Grants

The application for this program is currently closed

Structural racism is a growth barrier to many organizations led by Black, Latino, Indigenous, or Asian executive directors and those serving historically marginalized populations; leading to a “starvation cycle” for many critical community-based organizations. Smaller organizations in particular often lack the internal structures necessary to maintain or grow their programs. Capacity challenges around board recruitment and engagement, fundraising, leadership development, and financial management are common to newly-formed or even more mature nonprofits. In recognition of these challenges, we are pleased to announce a new capacity building grant program intended to support, stabilize, and grow critical community organizations in Rhode Island.

The Community Organization Capacity Building program is intended to support Rhode Island-based nonprofits led by Black, Latino, Indigenous, or Asian executive directors or other decision-makers within an organization.

This competitive grant program will combine several elements for growing capacity: funding, shared learning, technical assistance, and peer support. Program elements will be co-designed with cohort participants in order to match shared learning needs with either group trainings and/or individualized technical assistance. In addition to Rhode Island Foundation staff members, external advisors and experienced consultants will be engaged to provide relevant support when needed.

The program is designed as a cohort-based project for ten nonprofits which will take place over two years. Organizations must have an annual budget below $1M. Preference will be given to nonprofits addressing basic human needs. Organizations must have an executive director and at least one full-time staff or board member able to participate in the program (although additional participants are welcome). Board member participation is highly encouraged for some learning topics.

Program elements

  • Initial conversation between RIF capacity building staff and participating nonprofits to learn about organizational strengths and challenges. This is where nonprofit staff and board members identify their specific infrastructure needs and specify how this program may support growth in accordance with unique needs.
  • Shared learning opportunities developed by cohort members and the RIF staff. These may include readings, workshops, or other means of learning and growing.
  • Technical assistance will be offered to each organization based on need.
  • Peer support will be available through regular peer learning meetings for staff and for board members at a frequency determined by the group. Participants will be able to share successes and challenges and use the peer group for accountability.
  • Unrestricted grants of up to $30,000 will be provided each year of the two year program (total investment in each organization = up to $60,000). Full grant award is contingent on continuous and active participation from each nonprofit. Nonprofits may receive one excused absence per year from learnings, workshops, or technical assistance meetings.

Grantees should plan to keep Foundation staff apprised of their progress. All grantees will be expected to submit a final report, describing the success of the project against its stated goals.

Application deadline

Applications must be submitted by midnight (EST) on March 29, 2024. Please note that no technical assistance will be available after 5 p.m. (EST).

To apply

Please click here to complete an online application. Please complete the Capacity Building Programs application to apply for this grant.

If you already have started this online application, please log in to your account page to edit the application that is in progress.