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Bright Idea Fund

Information for Grantseekers

The COVID-19 health and economic crisis has greatly impacted people in the Fox Valley region and its effects will remain for some time. The Community Foundation remains committed to the well-being and strength of both the community and the many local nonprofits doing critical work.

Our nonprofit partners continue to provide  essential services, addressing emerging needs and connecting us to the things that make us feel human. At the same time, many nonprofits are recovering from significant revenue loss and operational interruption, and re-imagining services moving forward. We’re here to help.

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 December 31, 2021, the Bright Idea Fund will continue to be focused on positioning nonprofits to successfully sustain their missions by providing the three types of grants outlined below. Organizations that received a grant prior to July 1, 2021, may apply again through December 31, 2021. Organizations can apply once for each type of grant.

1. Planning grants for scenario planning, business continuity 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 the creative problem-solving approaches and innovative thinking coming out of Covid-19.

Focus Areas And Priorities

We will continue to support organizations working within focus areas of: Arts & Culture, Basic Needs & Self-Sufficiency, Community Development, Environment, and Nonprofit Effectiveness.

Our grantmaking will be 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.

A strong grant request is one that is well-prepared, thoughtfully planned and concisely packaged. We are looking forward to when we can safely offer workshops focused on grant-seeking skills that will be useful when applying for grants. In the meantime, please check out this video discussing both Bright Idea Fund and Basic Needs Giving Fund grant application processes:

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:

Want to see what the Bright Idea Fund has funded in past years? Check out our past grant results:

FY2019-2020 | FY2018-2019 | FY2017-2018

News for Grantseekers! 

If you’re seeking a grant, stay informed by subscribing our new monthly e-blast, and be sure to share with a friend!