Community Development Grants Program

The Community Development Grants Program is open exclusively to WMI Scholars. All graduate scholars AND student scholars who will complete their final exams by June 30, 2024 and December 31, 2024 are eligible to submit grant proposals.

The Community Development Grants Program is an opportunity for scholars to design initiatives to address community needs related to healthcare, education, the environment, women’s rights, economic development and more.  

We believe that local solutions are the best solutions. As a local leader within your community, you have a better understanding of the area’s needs and your initiative will be rooted in community partnerships, engagement and trust.

The Community Development Grant Program has this funding opportunity.

Growth Grant: A one-time grant of up to $5,000 USD. The growth grant is designed to provide funding and strategic advisory support for the growth or expansion of a seed grant initiative. If approved, the grant funds will generally support one-time capital investments, the procurement of new systems, resources to increase staffing to allow for the growth of the initiative, and matching fund opportunities. To apply for a growth grant, you must be a graduate scholar and meet specific eligibility criteria (see below).

Successful Community Development Grant proposals are:

  • Related to graduate scholar’s academic area of study/professional background.
  • Will be implemented and managed by the graduate scholar.
  • Will be implemented in the local community in which the graduate scholar lives or works.
  • Has received the support of local partners (institutions, organizations, groups, individuals who are knowledgeable about the subject area, other WMI Scholars, etc.) .

Important Eligibility Considerations for Growth Grant: 

  • The applicant must be in their nation or have concrete plans to return to their nation for the full implementation of their proposal.
  • At this time, only graduate scholars who have studied a field of animal science or veterinary science are eligible to apply for animal-related projects.

Application Process

Growth Grant: Applications will be accepted once a year in September.

The Growth Grant application process is designed to challenge applicants in creating an expansion strategy that details internal and external opportunities and threats and includes solutions for working through these situations. Applicants will work extensively to deepen their working knowledge of financial forecasting and M&E. 

  • Applicants will submit an initial round one application. 
  • An in-depth review of the application will be conducted.
  • All applicants will receive personalized feedback and attend online coaching sessions. During these coaching sessions, WMI Staff will ask questions and also provide suggestions to further strengthen the final application.
  • With this feedback, applicants will continue developing their proposals. 
  • A revised final application should be submitted by the deadline to remain eligible for funding.

In total, the initial application to award decision spans 12 weeks.

Application Timeline

Growth Grants: Applications are accepted once a year.

  • Potentially eligible applicants will receive an invitation to apply in early August 2024
  • Info webinar (mandatory): Saturday, September 7, 2024 at 9am EST
*If applying for the Growth Grant in 2024, the proposal idea should be scheduled to begin on or after February 1, 2025 for all expense-related activities.
  • Application submission form opens: Monday, September 11
  • Application submission deadline: Sunday, October 6
  • Feedback provided to all applicants via email: Monday, November 4
  • Applicants revise their applications: Through mid-November
  • Online coaching sessions to discuss feedback and strategies to improve proposals: Second week of November
  • Round 2 application deadline: Sunday, November 17
  • Award announcement: Monday, December 16
  • Pre-funding calls with all awardees: Start of January
  • Award funds sent: Mid-January 2025
  • Monthly reporting will be completed by updating the M&E tracker and expense and revenue excel sheet by the first Friday of the following month.
  • Three-month reports will be due in early May 2025
  • Six-month reports will be due in early August 2025
  • Nine-month reports will be due in early November 2025
  • A one-year report will be due in early February 2026
  • Follow-up as needed

Growth Grant

***Eligible Graduate Scholars will receive an email in August 2024. If you are unsure if you qualify to apply for this grant opportunity, please email before starting the application. 


The following criteria must be met to apply for a Growth Grant:

  • Open to WMI Graduate Scholars in good standing. Graduate scholars must have completed the most recent WMI Graduate Scholar Annual Survey and cannot have a case under review with the Scholar Review Board.
  • Applicants must have successfully implemented a Seed Grant for the same on-going project, community program, CBO, NGO, or business in which the Growth Grant will support. The successful implementation of a Seed Grant will be measured by reviewing the initial goals, objectives, submission of monthly financial and M&E documentation and reports.
  • Graduate Scholars must be directly involved in the implementation, operations and management of the grant supported activities.
  • Eligible applicants are required to be in their nation to implement the full grant.
  • An individual cannot receive a Seed Grant and a Growth Grant within a 12-month period.
If you do not meet all of the eligibility criteria, we suggest that you consider applying for a Seed Grant during the next application cycle. WMI Scholars can apply for multiple Seed Grants. WMI Scholars must wait a period of two years since their first proposal was funded in order to apply again.

Application Guidelines and Templates

If you are ready to begin your Growth Grant application, follow these four steps. Note: Links related to the 2024 application cycle will be live at the start of August 2024.

Step 1: Download the Written Proposal GuidelinesSMART Goals and Objectives, and SWOT Analysis handout. Begin drafting your proposal following the instructions provided. You should use Word to type your proposal and then save your document as a PDF.

Step 2: Download the Planning Timeline Template and Budget Templates. Use the two templates to create an implementation plan and also detail projected expenses and revenue sources. On both templates, an example project has been provided to assist you. Note: There are multiple tabs on the budget template. If your proposal is for an initiative that will run for more than 1 month, you will also need to complete a monthly expense and revenue budget for one year.

Step 3: Complete the Community Development Growth Grant: Round 1 Application and upload all required documents.

Note: All applications and supporting documents must be completed in English.

Program Benefits

The Community Development Grant program provides graduate scholars who are eager to positively impact their local communities and/or start their own entrepreneurial activities with funding and professional skill building experiences. 

Throughout the application, award and reporting process graduate scholars have access to and receive support from WMI staff who are trained in proposal development, grant writing, finance, and measurement & evaluation.

As an applicant and an awardee, graduate scholars benefit from:

  • Developing professional grant writing skills
  • Creating detailed budgets
  • Learning about financial forecasting
  • Using Excel templates and formulas to track project finances
  • Co-creating detailed strategic measurement and evaluation plans
  • Gaining experience with grant management and professional reporting standards

Previously funded initiatives have successfully grown into full-time businesses that create local job opportunities for others, vocational skills training programs that continue to work with new cohorts, registered private schools with 100s of students, and recurring local annual events.


Questions or Concerns

To seek application assistance or to learn more about this program, please contact:

Bonny Mark Alinga
Community Development Grants Coordinator

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