You have this great idea—if only you had funding to make it a reality. Where do you start? What’s the process? Is it hard? How many grant rounds are there?

First things first, are you eligible to receive a grant from the Community Foundation? Your organization will need to have a 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS and serve northwest Ottawa County or the greater West Michigan region. If you’ve got that, the process is as follows:

Submit a Letter of Inquiry. The Letter of Inquiry (LOI) form can be found on our Grant Application Portal—click Apply Now at the top of our website. You’ll be asked to create a profile for your organization (if you don’t already have one established), then you’ll need to answer preliminary questions about your organization and the program or project you are seeking funding for. We ask that this is completed 6 weeks before our grant application deadline.

Letter of Inquiry Reviewed. Within two weeks of submitting your LOI, team members at the Foundation will review your LOI and determine if it is in alignment with our funding priorities. We’ll also complete basic due diligence to verify that your organization is able to receive funding from the Community Foundation.

From here, you will either be invited to submit a full grant application or it will be determined that your idea isn’t in alignment with the funding strategy of the GHACF. Not all programs and/or projects are a fit for Community Foundation funding. This doesn’t mean we don’t want to support you—if we can provide assistance in other ways, we’ll let you know.

Complete a Grant Application. If you’re invited to submit a full application, our team will make the appropriate application available to you online. We’ll likely want to meet with you to discuss your proposal, talk about an appropriate ask amount, and determine which GHACF committees might review your proposal. We have three grant rounds each year—January, April, and October—and we’ll guide you on which round might be best to submit your proposal.

Application Reviewed. Once your application is submitted, our team conducts a more thorough due diligence process and digs deeply into your grant application. We’ll reach out if we have questions or need clarification, or possibly to schedule a site visit.

Decisions made. Applications are reviewed by the appropriate committee and funding recommendations are given to our Board of Trustees. You’ll be notified of our decision shortly after our Board of Trustees meets each quarter.

For questions about grants or our grantmaking process, contact Holly Cole at