The Greater Cincinnati Foundation's grant programs are designed to build a a more prosperous Greater Cincinnati region.
As an exemplary steward of the community’s charitable resources since 1963, GCF awards grants to qualified nonprofit organizations in eight counties:
- How do I know if my organization is eligible to apply for a Capital Request or Program Request grant from GCF?
- Can my organization receive more than one grant in the same year?
- Are grants funded over multiple years?
- Can I apply for a grant from The Greater Cincinnati Foundation if I have a personal need?
- Can my school apply for a grant?
- How do I apply for a grant?
- If my organization receives a grant, how will we report results to you?
- Is there a specific application form that must be used?
- Can anyone at GCF help me write a proposal?
- What are the deadlines for submitting proposals?
- Are there any limits to what type of activities you will fund?
- What do you look for in an organization submitting a grant proposal?
- What do you look for in a grant proposal?
- How long does it take once a proposal is submitted to go through the approval process and to receive funding?
- Can I get a grant from a donor advised fund?
- Can you refer me to anyone else for funding?
How do I know if my organization is eligible to apply for a Capital Request or Program Request grant from GCF?
We make grants to tax-exempt agencies classified as 501(c)(3) organizations, which are public charities as defined by the Internal Revenue Service. The projects we consider for support are located in or serve the eight counties listed above.
Can my organization receive more than one grant in the same year?
Nonprofit organizations may receive only one Community Grant within any 12-month period. Exceptions may be made in cases where one nonprofit organization serves as a fiscal agent for another. There is no limit on the number of grants nonprofits can receive from our donor advised funds, which are not part of this application process. Please refer to the guidelines for our other grant programs, including our Private Foundation clients, Women’s Fund, and The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio about any limitations to their funding.
Are grants funded over multiple years?
GCF typically awards grants for one year. In selected instances, GCF will accept requests for multiyear grants. An applicant seeking multiyear support must demonstrate that such support is essential to the success of the project.
Can I apply for a grant from The Greater Cincinnati Foundation if I have a personal need?
Can my school apply for a grant?
The Greater Cincinnati Foundation does not make grants or loans to individuals. As a community trust, it is designed to serve the charitable needs of nonprofit organizations in the Greater Cincinnati area.
Find out more about our available scholarships here
Schools may apply through our Grants for Kids program. GCF does not make grants to individual schools for regular operating costs or capital projects.
How do I apply for a grant?
Be sure to review the information about GCF's Community Grant process for Capital Requests, Program Requests, or Grantwriting Assistance grants.
Get information on our other types of grants here
If my organization receives a grant, how will we to report results to you?
GCF considers tracking and reporting grant performance and community impact to be an important element of every grant. All organizations receiving Community Grants are required to identify the Community Investment area that their program is addressing. Grantees are required to submit an end-of-grant evaluation report, and some grantees may also be asked to submit an interim progress report. The majority of grantees will submit evaluation reports using GCF’s online grant management system. A GCF Community Investment Program Officer will notify you about specific evaluation requirements. Current grantees can log into their organization's Foundant account to manage their GCF grant here.
Is there a specific application form that must be used?
For most of our Community Grants and Private Foundation Grants, GCF uses an online grant website. Organizations will need to submit the Letter of Intent (LOI) through this online system. Check with the specific grant program you are applying through for more details.
Can anyone at GCF help me write a proposal?
GCF does not provide help in writing grant proposals. However, there are several groups that offer in-depth grant writing workshops and training for nonprofits, including the The Grants Resource Center at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, The Cincinnati Area Foundation Directory, The Foundation Center, and Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations (OANO).
What are the deadlines for submitting proposals?
See the specific program you applying to for the application deadline -- each program has its own deadlines. Unsolicited proposals are not accepted and will not be reviewed. If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline will be the next business day.
Grant award amounts vary widely, with an average size of $30,000 for a Community Grant. The awards are influenced by the type of project for which funding is being requested, the need for the project in the community, amount of the project budget, and the amount of funding requested from other funders. Applicants should request the amount needed to successfully complete the proposed project.
See a list of our recent grants
Are there any limits to what type of activities you will fund?
GCF does not typically make grants from its discretionary community funds for the following purposes or activities:
Units of government or government agencies
Religious organizations for religious purposes
Annual fundraising drives; event/conference sponsorship or underwriting
Stand-alone books, films or videos
Stand-alone travel expenses for conferences or educational purposes
Regular operating costs or capital projects for individual public, private or parochial schools, universities, hospitals, nursing or retirement homes
Scholarly or medical research
Partisan political advocacy
Debt retirement or funding of an activity after it is completed
Recurring/routine computer software/hardware updates
Playgrounds, sports teams, or sports activities
What do you look for in an organization submitting a grant proposal?
Here are four main items GCF looks for in an organization submitting a grant proposal:
Established and fiscally sound organization. To a limited extent, GCF may consider requests for start-up funding. Groups requesting funding for a new organization must clearly define the need for a new organization and must present a sound business plan that explains how the organization will sustain itself
Demonstrated organizational capacity and track record
Sound short-term and long-range plans
What do you look for in a grant proposal?
Here are eight main items GCF looks for in a successful Community Grant proposal:
Clear fit with GCF’s Community Investment Framework
Collaboration, coordination, and alignment within and across nonprofit sectors
Leverage of other financial and in-kind resources
Supporting best practices and innovation
Commitment to inclusion, and reducing racial and ethnic disparities
Building the capacity of our nonprofit community
Continuous improvement, measuring and demonstrating results
Realistic sustainability plan
How long does it take once a proposal is submitted to go through the approval process and to receive funding?
The time from submission to approval for grants up to $25,000 is 8-12 weeks; for grants of more than $25,000, it can be up to 5 months. Once the grant is approved, it takes approximately 10 days after returning the appropriate forms to receive a check. Release of the check is triggered by returning the signed grant agreement and payment release request form.
Can I get a grant from a donor advised fund?
Donors that have set up donor advised funds at GCF make grants to nonprofit organizations based on their own areas of interest. Typically, donor advised funds do not accept requests from nonprofit organizations.
See also our Donor Advised Funds page
Can you refer me to anyone else for funding?
A good resource for both individuals and nonprofit organizations in the Greater Cincinnati area is the Grant Resource Center of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. The Grants Resource Center does not provide funding, but has directories, guides and other resources to help grantseekers identify appropriate funders and develop targeted proposals.