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Grant Criteria

There are countless promising projects happening throughout South Dakota. As we make funding decisions, we will use the following criteria to see what proposals best fit our strategy:

Community Innovation Program Fit

  • Does the project use inclusive, collaborative and resourceful processes to pursue an innovative solution to a community challenge?
    • Inclusive. Does the project meaningfully engage key stakeholders? Does it thoughtfully identify those needed to create the intended change and, whenever possible, include those directly affected by the problem?
    • Collaborative. Is the project a true joint effort, with partners willing to share ownership and decision-making as they pursue an innovation together?
    • Resourceful. Does the project use existing resources and assets creatively to make the most of what a community already has?
  • Is the process likely to lead to a community innovation? Will it serve as a breakthrough in addressing a community need? Will it be more effective, equitable, or sustainable than existing approaches?

Implementation Plans

  • Is the project plan thoughtful and realistic? Does it address the identified community need?
  • Does the applicant have the capacity to execute the work effectively or have a plan to meet the needed capacity?

Potential Impact of the Project

  • Will the project likely make a significant, sustainable difference, now or in the future?
  • Will the project inspire or inform others?

Eligibility Requirements

An organization must meet the following minimum requirements for a Community Innovation Grant:

  • Grants must be used for a charitable purpose.
  • Applicants should be a public, nonprofit organization as defined by IRS Publication 78. Individuals are not eligible.
  • We accept applications from fiscal sponsors. The fiscal sponsor organization must be the applicant organization and submit the grant application. Upon approval, the fiscal sponsor would become the grantee and receive the requested grant funds. 
  • Grants must be used for projects located in South Dakota.
  • We will favor/prioritize proposals with project budget sizes that are of appropriate scale to this $500 - $20,000 grant opportunity.

Potential Projects

The following are hypothetical examples meant to get your creative juices flowing. They might help you consider ways that you could use a Community Innovation Grant to address a community need or opportunity. 

  • Community A cares about hunger. One of their organizations is applying to bring together all community stakeholders working to combat hunger. They want to use a series of facilitated meetings to develop a common understanding of the problem. They want to examine the food system for primary weaknesses and opportunities. They want to begin to lay the foundation for a more collaborative environment. They hope that through this project they will create a system that is better poised to combat the growing issue of hunger in their community.
  • Community B is concerned about racism in their schools. The school district, the city and community organizations are jointly sponsoring an effort to build cultural competence and seek new policies and practices to address racism in its schools. They are asking for funding to train a team of students, staff, parents and other community members in cultural competence and racial justice. Their hope is that this team can help transform Community B from the inside out and generate a breakthrough in how Community B addresses racism.
  • Community C has an old storefront available downtown for development. The local Community Development Corporation recently attended a community engagement training and would like to employ some of what they learned to engage their community in creating an innovative use for this space. The Community Development Corporation is seeking funding to hire a community engagement coach to support them in executing their project.

Next Steps

If your project fits these requirements, visit our grant application page to learn more or apply now.

Have Questions?

We have answers! Contact us online or at 800.888.1842 with any questions. For assistance along the way, you can also contact Ginger Niemann, SDCF Program Officer.

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