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Bright Idea Fund

Information for Grantseekers

The Community Foundation remains committed to the well-being and strength of the community and the many local nonprofits doing critical work.

As we consider our Bright Idea Fund approach to best meet the needs of the community and support our partners, we continue to be guided by personal conversations with local nonprofit leaders, research reports and the Council on Foundations Call to Action for Philanthropy.

Through June 30, 2022, the Bright Idea Fund will continue to be focused on positioning nonprofits to successfully sustain their missions during the ongoing challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic by providing the three types of grants outlined below. Organizations can apply once for each type of grant.

Focus Areas

Arts & Culture, Basic Needs & Self-Sufficiency, Community Development, Environment, and Nonprofit Effectiveness. (Environmental requests also must meet at least one of these priorities of the Environmental Stewardship Fund.)

1. Planning grants for strategic planning; training/strategy work to advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within organizations, and mergers/consolidations. 

2. Bridge grants to help organizations stabilize financially through targeted general operating support.

3. Spark grants to support smaller projects and programs that are using creative problem-solving approaches.

Our grantmaking is guided by the following values:

1. Respect: We treat the people and organizations with whom we work with dignity and respect, and as partners in our shared goal to improve individual and community well-being.

2. Integrity: We steward resources responsibly, make thoughtful and transparent decisions, and we keep our promises and commitments.

3. Teamwork: We serve our community best when we solve problems together, share resources, and listen to one another, especially to those with lived experience.

4. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: We are committed to appreciating and engaging diverse voices, removing barriers to opportunity, and eliminating disparities so that all people may thrive.

5. Creativity: We embrace new ways of thinking, strive to take risks, and we encourage and support visionary ideas.

To Apply

STEP 1: Eligibility

Are you a charitable organization? If not, do you have a fiscal sponsor?

Do you serve people in the Foundation’s geographic service area? Does your proposal meet the Foundation’s grant policies?

Is your organization working in the areas of Arts & Culture, Basic Needs & Self-Sufficiency, Community Development, Environment, and Nonprofit Effectiveness?

If you answered NO to any of these questions, STOP:

Explore other funds at the Community Foundation
or from other community funders.

STEP 2: Which path do you take?

If you answered YES to all of these questions above, consider which Bright Idea Fund option(s) best fit your needs by reviewing the specific guidelines for each grant type:

Click below to see how the Bright Idea Fund is impacting the Fox Valley and strengthening our communities!  Here is an archive of our past grant results:

FY2020-2021 | FY2019-2020 | FY2018-2019 | FY2017-2018

News for Grantseekers! 

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