Community Development Grants Program and Eligibility

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, 2020 and December 31, 2020 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 two funding opportunities.

Seed Grant: A one-time grant of $100 to $1,000 USD. The seed grant is designed to help start, or significantly expand, a business, community-based organization, non-governmental organization, community service project or community event. If approved, the grant funds will generally be unrestricted and can be used for program expenses, operating expenses, materials and supplies, etc.

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 both Seed and Growth Grants: 

  • 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

Seed Grant: Applications are accepted twice a year at the start of April and October.

The Seed Grant application process is designed to empower applicants to strengthen their proposal writing skills and benefit from one-on-one coaching assistance to ensure sustainability.

  • Applicants will submit an initial round one application (written proposal, implementation timeline, and budget).
  • 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 have one month to continue developing their proposals by creating more detailed processes, conducting community outreach, building partnerships, revising budgets and timelines, etc.
  • A revised final application should be submitted by the deadline to remain eligible for funding.

In total, the initial application to award decision spans 10 weeks.

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

Seed Grants: Applications are accepted twice a year. Please review the detailed timelines below to plan accordingly.

Application Cycle 1:
  • Application submission form opens: April 1, 2020
  • Submission deadline: April 15, 2020

*If applying for the April 15, 2020 deadline, the proposal idea should be scheduled to begin after July 15 for all expense-related activities. 

  • Round 1 application deadline: April 15
  • Feedback provided to all applicants via email: May 1
  • Applicants revise their applications: Throughout the month of May
  • Online coaching session to discuss feedback and strategies to improve proposals: May 4-15
  • Round 2 application deadline: June 1
  • Award announcement: June 20
  • Pre-funding calls with all awardees: June 22-July 3
  • Award funds sent: Mid-July
Application Cycle 2:
  • Application submission form opens: October 1, 2020
  • Submission deadline: October 15, 2020

*If applying for the October 15, 2020 deadline, the proposal idea should be scheduled to begin after January 15 for all expense-related activities. 

  • Application open October 1-15
  • Round 1 application deadline: October 15
  • Feedback provided to all applicants via email: November 1
  • Applicants revise their applications: Throughout the month of November
  • Online coaching sessions to discuss feedback and strategies to improve proposals: November 4-13
  • Round 2 application deadline: December 1
  • Award announcement: December 18
  • Pre-funding calls with all awardees: December 21-January 8
  • Award funds sent: Mid-January  

Growth Grants: Applications are accepted once a year. Please review the detailed timeline below to plan accordingly.

  • Application submission form opens: September 1, 2020
  • Submission deadline: September 20, 2020
  • Round 1 application deadline: September 20
  • Feedback provided to all applicants via email: October 9
  • Applicants revise their applications:  October through mid-November
  • Online coaching sessions to discuss feedback and strategies to improve proposals: October 13-23
  • Round 2 application deadline: November 20
  • Award announcement: December 14
  • Pre-funding calls with all awardees: December 16-January 8
  • Award funds sent: Start of January

Seed Grant

If you are ready to begin your Seed Grant application, follow these five steps. If you have any questions, please write to nicole@wellsmountain.com.

Step 1: Review and prepare answers to the Round 1 Seed Grant Application Questions.

Step 2: Download the Written Proposal Guidelines and begin drafting your proposal following the instructions provided. You should use Word to type your proposal and then save your document as a PDF.

To set your goals and objectives you will need to use the SMART Goal Setting handout

Step 3: Download the Planning Timeline Template and Budget Templates

Step 4: 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 5: Complete the Round 1 Community Development Grant: Seed Grant Application and upload your written project proposal, planning timeline, and budget template(s).

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

Growth Grant

***Eligible Graduate Scholars will receive an email in early August 2020. If you are unsure if you qualify to apply for this grant opportunity, please email nicole@wellsmountain.com before starting the application. 

Eligibility 

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. Successful implementation will be measured by reviewing the initial goals, objectives, and M&E metrics.
  • Growth Grant proposals must be directly related to the Graduate Scholars area of study as supported through a WMI scholarship, secondary area of study if self-funded, and/or the on-going project, community program, CBO, NGO, or business .
  • 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. If you have any questions, please write to nicole@wellsmountain.com.

Step 1: Review and prepare answers to the Community Development Growth Grant Application: Round 1 Questions.

Step 2: Download the Proposal Guidelines, SMART 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 3: 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 4: 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.

Work with a Grant Mentor!

Did you know that there are Community Development Grant Mentors ready to help you prepare your application? Community Development Grant Mentors are a select group of graduate scholars who have successfully applied for and implemented a community event, program, or business proposal.

The mentor program was created to increase peer-to-peer interactions by supporting advanced awareness about the grant funding opportunity and to aid in the development of strong project proposals.

The role of the mentor is to share strategic advice and provide encouragement. Mentors are not responsible for reviewing or editing full proposals. Applicants are encouraged to connect with mentors to seek assistance with a specific issue or proposal area.

The initial group of mentors began serving as valuable resources to interested applicants for the October 2019 application cycle.

If you are interested in connecting with a current mentor or if you would like to becoming a mentor, please write to nicole@wellsmountain.com.

Strategies for Successful Applications

DETAILED PLANNING: Successful initiatives are often well planned in advance, thus, we will not be funding programs without evidence of careful planning. Detailed planning must be applied to all stages of the application. This includes ensuring that you are providing a detailed needs assessment, a detailed implementation plan, developing a support team to help you implement your idea (if applicable), considering all budgetary needs, carefully considering financial projections, creating a list of partnership or potential partners, etc. 

LOCAL COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: The most successful projects are those that are also supported by the local community. Within your proposal you should be able to confirm that you have partnerships to support the implementation of your initiative or provide a list of possible individuals / organizations to approach. 

Application Tip: Brainstorm ways in which you could build a support network to help you achieve your goals. Share your proposal idea with other WMI Scholars in your nation and ask for their suggestions!

LOCAL COMMUNITY INVESTMENT: The WMI Community Development Seed Grant cannot be the only funding source supporting your initiative. 

Application Tip: Share your proposal idea with individuals, groups, organizations, businesses and local governments. As you are creating a list of people to approach, be sure to plan how and what you will ask of them. Local community investment could be shown in the form of financial donations or in-kind donations (free use of a space, pro bono services of a trainer, discounted supplies at a local store, etc.).

ENCOURAGING SUSTAINABILITY: Except for “one-off” or one-time community events, applicants should be looking for ways to sustain the initiative so that more individuals benefit from the proposal.

Application Tip: Consider training beneficiaries to educate others, creating and providing handout resources in the local language, developing local savings groups (if applicable), etc.

MEASURING OUTCOMES: We believe that monitoring and evaluation are extremely important aspects for all projects (even our own!).

Application Tip: All projects will need to have a method for showcasing or measuring impact. For some projects this may be a pre-and post-knowledge survey. For other projects it might relate to financial reports, activities to raise sales, etc. Share your plan within your proposal. Together with WMI staff you will be assisted in developing a final plan.

GRADUATE SCHOLAR’S DIRECT INVOLVEMENT: Although we are enthusiastic about the many amazing organizations and programs that you may know of, Community Development Grants are not a vehicle for simply passing a donation along to a favorite charity or group of individuals in need of funding. There must be substantial direct involvement by the graduate scholar in all aspects of the project.

Application Tip: Your role in implementing the initiative must be clearly defined with responsibilities and tasks.

Questions or Concerns

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

Nicole Schmitz
Graduate Scholar Coordinator
nicole@wellsmountian.com