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Small Capital Grants

The Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation’s Small Capital Grants Program supports one-time capital expenses that directly enhance a nonprofit organization’s ability to serve its clients and achieve its mission. Grants may be used for such purposes as facility improvements, vehicles, equipment purchases, and other non-expendable assets. The Foundation targets this assistance to nonprofits that would otherwise find it difficult, if not impossible, to meet this type of need through their operating budgets. Since the program’s inception in 2004, over $7.1 million has been awarded to almost 200 organizations in Greater Boston.

It is anticipated that in each round of small capital grants, eight to ten organizations may receive grants ranging in size from $10,000-$50,000. Please note: Single, coherent, high-impact projects tend to compete more favorably than requests for a variety of unrelated items. The requested grant must cover the entire cost of the proposed capital project.
 
Due to the high volume of applications received, on average only 10-15% of project requests are selected for funding each round. Please see links below for a list of recent grantees.
 
Eligible Applicants

  • Nonprofit organizations with 501(c)3 tax-exempt status or a fiscal sponsor that is a 501(c)3 public charity.
  • Agencies or programs within agencies that serve people in the Greater Boston area (roughly defined as within Route 128) and/or in the Gateway Cities of Brockton, Chelsea, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, or New Bedford. Preference is given to agencies working in low-income communities.
  • Agencies with annual operating budgets of approximately $5 million or less. Preference is given to agencies with operating budgets under $3 million.
  • Agencies working in any issue area may apply. Typically, organizations whose primary mission falls into one or more of the following areas tend to have a higher likelihood of funding: economic mobility, health, human services, or youth development.

Ineligible applicants include: individuals; endowments or private foundations; religious organizations, where the grant is to be used for sectarian purposes; federal, state, or municipal agencies (with rare exceptions); or political campaigns.

Ineligible projects and expenses include, but are not limited to: undesignated contributions to larger capital campaigns, program support, staff salaries or other administrative costs, website development, annual software licenses, service/support plans, warranties, insurance/fuel/maintenance for vehicles, contingency fees, etc.

Please note: The amount requested for the project must be between $10,000-$50,000. Funding is not retroactive, so projects that have already been started or completed are not eligible for consideration.
 
Selection Criteria
The following criteria will be used in evaluating grant requests:

  • Does the organization and project address a well-defined need that aligns with the Foundation’s mission?
  • Will the project, when completed, have a significant impact on the quality or reach of the program?
  • Is the project innovative, well thought out and ready to implement? Can the project be completed in a reasonable period of time (generally within one year)?
  • Does the organization have strong and creative leadership? Can it point to significant accomplishments?
  • Going forward, will the applicant be in a position to manage, maintain, staff or otherwise well-use the asset(s) acquired with Foundation funds?

Staff and Trustees will do their best to assess the relative need among the proposed projects in making the awards.
 
To Apply
The next deadline to submit a proposal for the Small Capital Grants program is 5pm ET on Thursday, March 8, 2018. The online application will be available by late February 2018. Please review the previous application questions which will be similar, if not exactly the same, for the March deadline. Final grant award decisions for the spring 2018 round of applications are expected to be made by mid-June 2018. Decisions for the fall 2017 deadline are expected by late January 2018.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Foundation staff prior to submitting an application to determine whether their organization and/or proposed project are good candidates for funding under this program. Inquiries may be directed to Amy Hampe at 857-404-0705 or ahampe@smithfamilyfoundation.net.
 
Repeat Applicants
The process for consideration of repeat applicants will be as follows: Organizations that receive a Small Capital Grant from the Foundation will not be eligible to apply for another Small Capital Grant for a period of at least two years from the date of the previous application. They would then be eligible to apply for a subsequent Small Capital Grant if the project for which they previously received funds has been successfully completed and a final report concerning the project has been received by the Foundation. There is no waiting period for organizations whose applications were not selected for funding.
 
Please review the Frequently Asked Questions for further information about the Foundation’s processes.
 
Spring 2017 Small Capital Grantees »
Spring and Fall 2016 Small Capital Grantees »
Spring and Fall 2015 Small Capital Grantees »
Spring and Fall 2014 Small Capital Grantees »

Spring and Fall 2013 Small Capital Grantees »

Summary of Small Capital Grantees 2004-2017 »


Small Capital Grants