What are Capacity Building Grants?

capacity buildingCapacity Building grants are designed to strengthen an agency’s long-term sustainability by developing or refining skills, strategies and systems. Enhancing “organizational effectiveness” may be a better way of describing the intent of the grants.

We’ve found that organizations often focus more on programming and less on management systems. But, clearly, great programs are jeopardized when management can’t sustain them.

For the Sudbury Foundation’s Children, Youth & Families Capacity Building Grant Program, we support projects that enhance operations, management and/or governance in a way that will help good agencies (or an appropriate program within the agency) become stronger and more (financially) secure.

Capacity building projects might include:

  • Strategic and/or business plan development, organizational assessment
  • Board and/or staff professional development
  • Fund development planning
  • Program evaluation
  • Communications strategies

What isn’t considered capacity building? Program development or expansion; capital projects (such as a new facility), to name a few.

The Foundation tends to offer Capacity Building grants to organizations that we’ve worked with previously, large or small. These grants are often an acknowledgement that strong programming is in place. Our goal is to help keep it going.

We ask that capacity building projects link back to the agency’s strategic plan. That guiding document provides the roadmap the agency needs to prioritize its needs and activities. If the project we’re funding is part of the strategic plan, we know it’s an important, well thought-out effort that will enhance the agency’s overall capacity.

If an agency doesn’t have an up-to-date strategic plan, a capacity building grant to fund a planning consultation or process might be just the way for us to get to know you — and vice versa.

For some great tips on capacity building proposal writing, we highly recommend Susan Chandler’s article: Writing Proposals for Capacity Building.

Posted February 28, 2013 

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