Community Grants Program – Unrestricted Grants

This competitive grants program awards unrestricted grants to support an organization’s general operations (rather than a particular project or capacity-building effort). This program was formerly called ‘Operating Grants.’

  • Geographic focus

    Organizations serving New Hampshire and selected communities in Maine and Vermont within the Foundation’s eight regions: Capital, Lakes, Manchester, Monadnock, Nashua, North Country, Piscataqua and Upper Valley.

    Organizations that serve multiple states should contact Wendy Cahill before applying.

  • Eligibility

    Applicants must be recognized as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. In general, organizations are eligible for one grant per calendar year from the Foundation’s Community Grants Program (including Unrestricted and Express grants.)

    Organizations with an active unrestricted multiyear grant are not eligible to apply for a new community grant.

    If an organization has received funding in the previous year or has an active grant, an interim, progress or final grant report must be submitted to be considered for funding.

    Through the Community Grants program, we do not make unrestricted grants to:

    • Municipal, County or State Government
    • Public and Private schools
    • Religious organizations, unless all services being funded are non-discriminatory, non-sectarian and benefit the larger community
    • Hospitals
    • Colleges and Universities

    The Foundation does not accept proposals through our community grants program that are focused on substance use disorders prevention, treatment and/or recovery services. Such proposals are by invitation-only, and administered outside of the Community Grants program. For information on our Substance Use Disorders Portfolio and to discuss grant opportunities with appropriate staff, please visit our Substance Use Disorders Portfolio.

  • What we look for
    • Programs: Does the organization operate quality programs that improve the community?
    • Strategies: Has the organization developed specific and realistic short- and long-term strategies for addressing identified organizational needs?
    • Impact: Did the organization demonstrate how an unrestricted grant could have a measurable impact on organizational and programmatic capacity and effectiveness?
    • Capacity: Does the organization have the capacity to manage this grant?
  • Grant amount

    How much an organization can apply for depends on the types of documentation related to governance and financial management that can be submitted with the application. If an organization does not have a board-approved strategic plan or an audit or financial review, they may apply for up to $30,000 over three years ($10,000/yr). Organizations that do have board-approved strategic plans and a completed audit or financial review are eligible to apply for up to $60,000 over three years ($20,000/yr).

  • Recent grants

    See a complete list of 2018 community grants.

  • Application deadlines

    Please check back for 2020 application deadline.

  • Frequently asked questions

    Read our frequently asked questions to our Community Grants Program.

Application and grant process

Step 1

Determine eligibility.

Carefully read the information provided above to determine if you are eligible.

Step 2

Log in or create a new profile in GrantSource.

Log in to GrantSource, update your profile and access open applications. If you have never applied, please create a new profile using the “Register here” button.

Step 3

Please check back for the 2020 application deadline, and an updated template.

Prepare answers for the concept paper questions and application, if invited.

Step 4

Concept papers are reviewed and full applications will be invited. 

Step 5

If you are invited to submit a full application, complete the online application. 

Step 6

Receive funding.

If your application is awarded, you will be notified.

Step 7

Publicize your grant.

If you are awarded funding and you’d like to share the good news, please refer to our grantee press kit.

Step 8


At the end of your grant period, you will be required to complete a final report. Please note, that multiyear grants require an interim report at the end of each year of the grant period. Applicants who do not submit a final grant report will not be considered for future funding.

If a new grant application is being submitted before the conclusion of any prior grant (and the submission of a final report), applicants must submit a progress report to be considered for new funding. Organizations with an active unrestricted multiyear grant are not eligible to apply for a new community grant.

Log in to GrantSource and submit your progress or final report via the online portal.

We're here to help

  • Wendy Cahill
  • Senior Community Grants Associate