Following the first meeting of its board in 2023, South Cumberland Community Fund announced that it will hold three grant rounds in 2023 and has developed a new small grants program to support organizational development and capacity building throughout the year. The Fund expects to award over $200,000 in grant funds in 2023.
The spring grant round, the largest of the programs, will begin with grant orientation sessions in mid February. Attendance at one grant orientation meeting is required to be eligible for a grant. The dates for the sessions are:
February 16, 5:30-7:15 PM - Morton Memorial Church, 322 W. Main St., Monteagle
February 17, 12:00-1:45 PM - Morton Memorial Church
February 18, 10:00-11:45 AM - Grundy EMS, 90n Phipps Street, Coalmont
“The Fund has instituted a number of changes in its processes for 2023, and the grant orientation sessions will be important,” said Katie Goforth, director of community development. “We hope that any potential grantee will attend, even if an organization does not plan on applying in 2023. Last year, SCCF held a number of listening sessions to help identify the most pressing needs in the community. We look forward to sharing this information with community stakeholders and learning about the projects and initiatives that community organizations are developing to address these needs."
Among the changes are a revised application that allows applicants to save and resume applications and an opportunity for grantees to create a profile that will simplify grant proposals in the future. “We hope that organizations in our service area will go ahead and create organizational profiles even if they do not intend to apply right away,” said Tom Sanders, executive director of the Fund. “It will save them time in the long run and will also help us communicate better with our partners—the folks across the Plateau who are doing such great work.”
Applications for the spring grant round are due on April 1st.
Following the spring grant round, with a public celebration on June 10, the Fund will open its summer grant round, the “Make Lasting Connections” grant, which focuses heavily on collaboration and on working toward addressing clear obstacles for the Plateau, with early childhood literacy, housing, and transportation as examples. Those emphases arise out of strategic planning in 2022, as well as the 2022 Make Lasting Connections grants, which funded a Housing Hub and a new free medical clinic in Tracy City. While the spring grants are capped at $10,000 per award, an applicant group for the Make Lasting Connections grant may apply for up to $60,000.
“We are really hoping to draw on the genius of the community to suggest better ways of building hope and prosperity for all on the Plateau with the collaborative grant round. We want applicants to think about a big issue and how they can solve it rather than how to build the capacity of a single organization,” said Sanders.
The fall Philanthropy Internship Program, conducted in partnership with the University of the South, will round out the competitive grant rounds for 2023. Through the Philanthropy Internship Program, University students learn about philanthropic giving and conduct their own grants making process, awarding $30,000 to area non-profit organizations.
In addition to the three competitive grant cycles, the Fund’s new small grants program for capacity building will allow organizations to apply for grants that allow them to enhance their capacity to do their work.
“Our grant making is really centered around innovation,” said Goforth, “but we know that sometimes our partners need assistance in the short term to build their ability to accomplish their mission.” The application for small grants for capacity building will be available on the SCCF website on February 16, and instructions will be available to organizations attending the grant orientation and on the Fund’s website.