For Grant Seekers

We welcome grant applications from any 501(c)3 organization that is doing work to make our community a better place. Our Foundation Team will be very glad to work with you. For more information, please contact Kim Abney at 454-7298 or by email at

The Community Foundation of Howard County no longer requires organizations that have filled out a grant application in the past five years to attend a community grants meeting. First-time applicants must contact the Foundation to discuss grant proposals prior to submission.

Grant Guidelines

The mission of the Community Foundation of Howard County, Inc. is to improve the quality of life in our community through the accumulation and stewardship of enduring charitable gifts.

The Community Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable corporation. It gives donors of varied interests a vehicle for charitable giving to the community and provides responsible stewardship for donated gifts. It encourages philanthropy by attracting and distributing permanent and non-permanent gifts that together can have substantial and constructive community impact. The Foundation is also available as a resource to assess and respond to changing community needs.

Areas of Interest

In Howard County, the Foundation addresses needs that generally fall into the following categories:

  1. Health & Medical -- to include the support of health and medical related programs;
  2. Social Services-- to include the support of human service organizations, programs for children and youth and services to the aged;
  3. Education -- to include support for programs in pre-school, elementary and secondary education, post-secondary education, scholarships and for special education programs;
  4. Cultural Affairs -- to include the support of programs and facilities which are designed to establish a diversified county cultural program that offers widespread participation and appreciation;
  5. Civic Affairs -- to include support of programs related to criminal justice, community development, employment, citizen involvement, leadership training, and other general community activities;
  6. Community Beautification -- to include the support of projects that advocate, stimulate and support community vitality, beautification/environmental preservation and adornment.

Grant Guidelines, Policies & Evaluation Criteria

In order to most effectively fulfill its philanthropic responsibilities in Howard County within the limits of its resources, the Foundation's grants program will emphasize change-oriented and focused types of grants. The grants program will be operated in accordance with the following guidelines and policies:

    1. Grant Guidelines
  1. a. That the Community Foundation of Howard County grants program will strive to anticipate the changing needs of the community and be flexible in responding to them;
  2. b. That it is change-oriented and problem-solving in nature with emphasis on "seed" money or pilot project support rather than for ongoing general operating support;
  3. c. That it supports innovative efforts and projects that offer far-reaching gains and widespread community results;
  4. d. That it coordinates with other funders and donors where possible, including using matching or challenge grant techniques;
  5. e. That, where possible, it closely relates and coordinates with the programs of other sources for funding such as the government, other foundations, and associations;
  6. f. That, where possible, it induces grant recipients to achieve certain objectives such as becoming more efficient, increasing fund-raising capabilities, delivering better products, etc.;
    2. Grant Policies
  1. a. Grants will be made only to organizations whose programs benefit the residents of Howard County and preference will be given to those projects that have high visibility in the community;
  2. b. Grants will be made only to organizations which provide for a responsible fiscal agent and adequate accounting procedures, and preference will be given to those projects that generate revenue and/or that have plans that sustain the project;
  3. c. Grantees are required to submit final evaluation reports to the Foundation. Grant applications from a previous grantee will not be considered if final reports have not been received for previous grants;
  4. d. Grants may be made to previous grantees. In a competitive situation with grants of equal value, preference may be given to organizations that have not received a recent grant;
  5. e. In a competitive situation, quality of the application will be used in the selection between grants that are otherwise The Community Foundation of Howard County typically does not award grants for:
  6. f. Normal operating expenses and/or salaries;
  7. g. Solely to individuals but grants can be made for the benefit of certain individuals for such purposes as scholarships and special programs through educational institutions and other sponsoring recipient organizations;
  8. h. Enabling individuals or groups of individuals to attend seminars or take trips except where there are special circumstances which will benefit the larger community;
  9. i. Sectarian religious purposes but can be made to religious organizations for general community programs;
  10. j. Endowment purposes of recipient organizations;
  11. k. Projects which have been proposed by individuals or organizations responsible to advisory bodies or persons unless letters of recommendation or approval from those advisory bodies or persons accompany the grant proposals;
  12. l. New projects and/or equipment which were purchased prior to the grant application being approved;

These grant guidelines and policies apply only to the unrestricted philanthropic funds of the Community Foundation of Howard County, Inc. and not to those funds for which the beneficiary or beneficiaries have been designated by the donor or for which the donor has restricted the use of a particular fund to a specific charitable purpose or geographic area. Those designated and restricted funds will be administered separately in relation to their respective donor agreements.

    3. Grant Evaluation Criteria

    In reviewing grant proposals, the Foundation uses the following evaluation criteria:

  1. a. Does the purpose of the project fit with the purpose of the organization? Does the organization have the ability to implement this project?
  2. b. Is there an established need for the program or project in the community for which the grant is requested?
  3. c. How well has the purpose of the project been defined and who will be served by the project?
  4. d. Will the Foundation be able to tell whether its grant was used for the agreed-upon purpose? When completed, will the grantee know whether its project was effective?
  5. e. What kind of impact (measurable outcome) did the project have on the organization / clients / community? Is it a visible project?
  6. f. Is it appropriate for the Community Foundation of Howard County to make a grant for the requested purpose, or are there other more compatible sources for potential funding?
  7. g. Does the Community Foundation of Howard County have adequate resources to effectively respond to this need?
Out-of-Cycle Grant Requests:

Grant applications may be considered outside of the annual published grant application cycles in special circumstances wherein the applicant can demonstrate that –

a)  An emergency condition exists whereby delay in consideration of the grant could lead to the endangerment of life, property or continuation of services provided, or
b)  A time sensitive opportunity to leverage Foundation funds which will expire prior to the conclusion of a published grant cycle.

All out-of-cycle grants remain subject to all application submission requirements, including submission of a letter of intent, which should specify the applicant’s desire for out-of-cycle grant consideration and justification for such consideration. Applicants may be asked to document that the circumstances which have led to the submission of an out-of-cycle request materialized after the conclusion of the most recently concluded grant cycle, and do not exist due to the delay of applicant in submitting a timely application for consideration during the previous grant cycle. 

See Grant Cycle

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