There’s a lot of work that happens in between identifying a community problem and implementing a new breakthrough solution, especially if you want to engage your community, make the most of existing assets and work collaboratively with other organizations along the way. The Community Innovation grants support that process – they fund the work that it takes to create a community innovation.
The Foundation provides Community Innovation grants of USD 10,000 to USD 200,000. Community Innovation grants of 500 to USD 10,000 are available from our intermediary partner organizations: Headwaters Foundation for Justice (MN), The Consensus Council (ND) and the South Dakota Community Foundation (SD).
Community Innovation Grant Program Fit
- Does the project use inclusive, collaborative and resourceful processes to pursue an innovative solution to a community challenge?
- Inclusive: meaningfully engaging key stakeholders – thoughtfully identifying those needed to create the intended change and, whenever possible, including those directly affected by the problem.
- Collaborative: a true joint effort, with partners willing to share ownership and decision-making as they pursue an innovation together.
- Resourceful: using existing resources and assets creatively to make the most of what a community already has.
- Is the process likely to lead to a community innovation – a breakthrough in addressing a community need that is more effective, equitable or sustainable than existing approaches?
- Is the project plan thoughtful, realistic and does it address the identified community need?
- Does the applicant have the capacity to execute the work effectively or have a plan to meet the needed capacity?
- Is the project likely to make a significant, sustainable difference, now or in the future?
- Will the project inspire or inform others?
We seek a final portfolio of Community Innovation grantees with balance across:
- Size of community
- Size of applicant organization
- Size of grant request
- Demographics of communities served
- Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography
- Type of issue addressed
- Community Innovation grants may be awarded to 501(c)(3) public charities or government entities (including schools). Coalitions or collaboratives are eligible to apply, but only one organization may receive the grant.
- For organizations that do not have 501(c)(3) status, the Foundation accepts Community Innovation grant applications from fiscal sponsors. The fiscal sponsor organization must submit the grant application and, if the grant is approved, becomes the grantee and receives the funds. Our fiscal sponsorship overview provides additional information.
- Grants must be used for projects located in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota or the 23 Native nations that share the same geography.
- Grants must be used for a charitable purpose.