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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 consult our frequently asked questions and, if questions remain, 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 award.

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

    • Municipal, County or State Government
    • Public, Charter 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: Does 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 documentation of financial management that can be submitted with the application. Organizations that have a completed audit or financial review are eligible to apply for up to $60,000 over three years ($20,000/yr). 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). See our frequently asked questions for a description of what constitutes an audit or financial review.

  • Recent grants

    See a complete list of 2020 Community Grants.

  • Application deadlines

    Wednesday, August 4, 2021, 5:00 pm Eastern time
    GrantSource will begin accepting concept papers on Monday, June 28, 2021

    Concept paper determinations will be sent via email by Friday, September 3, 2021

    If you are invited to submit a full application, complete the online application by Friday, October 8, 2021

  • 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.

Step 3

Complete and submit the online concept paper by Wednesday, August 4, 5:00 pm Eastern time.

Use this template to prepare answers for the concept paper questions and application.

Step 4

Concept papers are reviewed and full applications will be invited by Friday, September 3, 2021.

If you are invited to submit a full application, complete the online application by Friday, October 8, 5:00 pm Eastern time.

Step 6

Receive funding.

If your application is awarded, you will be notified by late 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. Log in to GrantSource to submit your final report via the online portal. Please note that applicants who do not submit a final grant report will not be considered for future funding. You are always welcome to contact your regional program officer at any time to discuss interim progress throughout a multi-year grant.

We're here to help

  • Wendy Cahill
  • Senior Community Grants Associate