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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.

    Organizations that received an unrestricted multiyear grant through this program in 2018 or 2019 are not eligible to apply for a new community grant this year.

    Organizations that received an Express Grant or any other type of grant from NHCF for COVID-19 pandemic response in 2020 are eligible to apply for an Unrestricted Grant. An interim or final report is not required prior to submitting for an Unrestricted grant, but Foundation staff may reach out to you for an update on that work.

    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

    The concept paper and application together are designed to help us understand the following:

    • 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?

    While this has not changed, we recognize that the environment you are now operating in has shifted dramatically. We know that you are adapting to the realities and consequences of advancing your mission within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to these four areas we are trying to highlight and learn about through the questions in the concept paper and application this year we will also ask you to describe how the pandemic is affecting your programs and services and your internal operations.

  • 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 an audit or financial review, they may apply for up to $30,000 over three years ($10,000/yr). Organizations that do 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 2019 Community Grants.

  • Application deadlines

    Please check back for 2021 application deadline.

  • Frequently asked questions

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.

We’re accepting concept papers starting Wednesday, July 22.

Step 3

Complete and submit the online concept paper by 5:00 pm Eastern time on Thursday, August 13, 2020.

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

Step 4

Concept papers are reviewed and full applications will be invited by Friday, September 11, 2020.

Step 5

If you are invited to submit a full application, complete the online application by 5:00 pm Eastern time on Friday, October 2, 2020.

Step 6

Receive funding.

If your application is awarded, you will be notified by the end of December.

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



37 Pleasant Street
Concord, NH 03301-4005
Contact us