Community Foundation Holland/Zeeland

Competitive Grant Guidelines

Through our grants, the Community Foundation directly invests in projects and strategies that support, improve and enhance the Holland/Zeeland area in which we live and work. 

The Foundation’s dynamic relationships with local nonprofits, government, businesses and donors uniquely position us to bring together innovative ideas and proactive solutions to challenges and opportunities in our community with the resources needed to build a better future. 

Board members and staff work to continuously assess community needs, seek out diverse community perspectives and monitor best practices to ensure the Foundation serves as a prudent steward of the funds with which it has been entrusted. 

Have questions?

Contact Elizabeth Kidd, Vice President of Community Impact, at 616-994-8851 or via email.


  • Who: Nonprofit organizations that are tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, schools, municipalities and other governmental entities that serve a charitable purpose in the greater Holland/Zeeland area.

  • What: The Foundation is committed to addressing a broad range of issue areas including arts and culture, community and economic development, environment, education, health, human services, housing, seniors, and youth.

  • Requests of up to $40,000 for the following purposes are eligible to apply for funding through CFHZ’s Competitive Grant Program:

  • Capital - Funding for purchases of property, construction of new facilities, remodeling, expansions of existing facilities or major equipment purchases.
  • New programs for one-time and ongoing expenses - Funding for organizations to implement specific programs for the first time including startup costs and costs that will occur repeatedly.
  • Existing programs for one-time expenses - Funding for investments in specific ongoing programs that will not need to be made on a regular basis such as equipment, furnishings and other reusable materials.
  • Research and planning - Funding for organizations to figure out what a new program or collaborative effort will look like including activities such as researching the needs of constituents, analyzing existing services, consulting with experts in the field or conducting other planning activities.
  • Evaluation - Funding to assess the effectiveness and impact of specific programs.
  • Emergency requests for one-time expenses - Funding for organizational or program needs that are unexpected, urgent, and will not occur repeatedly such as those that may result from natural or man-made disasters.

Requests for on-going expenses for new programs and evaluation may be eligible to apply for multi-year funding for a period of up to three years and a maximum total of $75,000.

Requests for the following purposes are not eligible to apply for funding through CFHZ’s Competitive Grant Program:

  • Operating support - Funding for the day-to-day costs of running organizations.
  • Existing programs for ongoing expenses - Funding for the day-to-day operating costs of existing programs.
  • Emergency requests for ongoing expenses - Funding for repeatedly occurring organizational or program costs that have experienced a sudden or unexpected loss of funding from another source.
  • Religious programs that advocate specific religious doctrines or do not serve the broader community

Funding Priorities

In considering eligible requests, CFHZ gives priority to proposals that are:
  • core to the organization’s mission,
  • will have a lasting impact,
  • and represent a turning or pivot point for the organization.

CFHZ also looks for proposals which:

  • bring evidence-based models from other communities to the Holland/Zeeland area or pioneer creative, new ways to address local needs or opportunities
  • are of a collaborative nature leveraging the strengths of different organizations to maximize community impact
  • focus on prevention
  • have a plan to obtain the necessary additional funding to implement and sustain the project (CFHZ should not be the sole funder for a new program)
  • leverage matching funds from sources outside of the Holland/Zeeland area
    have a significant impact relative to the amount of funding requested
  • address an important community need
  • reflect an organizational commitment to evaluate and quantify success and outcomes
  • demonstrate organizational capacity to successfully implement the proposed project or program as measured by:
    • Financial stability
    • Leadership capacity
    • Record of successful project/program delivery

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2016 Grants By the Numbers

  • Total Amount Awarded via 2016 Competitive Grants: $550,000
  • Number of 2016 Grants: 16 grants to local nonprofits
  • 2016 Grant Amounts: Ranging from $10,000 to $75,000 multi-year grants
  • Broad Issue Areas Funded: arts and culture, community and economic development, environment, education, health, human services, housing, seniors, youth

85 East 8th Street, Suite 110, Holland, MI 49423   (616) 396-6590   Email us