Below is a list of commonly asked questions, meant to give general guidance to grant seekers. You can find information specific to our Assets for Thriving Communities and Systems Change Accelerator grant categories, Changemaker FellowshipSeed Grants, or the Learning Fund on their dedicated pages.


Commonly Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply for a grant?

Eligible applicants for funding include 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, Native nations, local units of government and school districts. Private foundations are not eligible. Partnerships and networks are encouraged to apply using an eligible organization as a fiduciary.

  • Grants are not made to individuals. Changemaker Fellowships are awarded to individuals who apply using an eligible organization as a fiduciary; independent individuals are not eligible.

  • Generally, start-up organizations are not eligible for Rotary Charities grants. Prior to applying, the applicant should have 501(c)(3) status and have been providing services for at least one year.

  • Applications from units of government, governmental departments, organizations and schools must be approved by the elected body that is ultimately responsible for the grant funds and implementation.

  • Grant seekers are eligible to apply after participating in a pre-grant meeting with appropriate staff.

Where can I watch your grant training video?

Find it on our Youtube channel, here

Jump ahead to find exactly what you're looking for, slides included:

-- Directions for SurveyMonkey apply at 17:00 

-- Assets for Thriving Communities at 27:24

-- Systems Change Accelerator at 44:15

-- Seed Grants at 1:24:54

-- Changemaker Fellowship at 1:27:05

-- Grant criteria at 1:31:46

What attachments are required for grant applications?

Nonprofit Organizations 

1.  List of Board of Directors with affiliations

2. Organization’s current and annual operating budget, including expenses and revenue

3. Balance sheets (current Fiscal Year to date and previous Fiscal Year)

4. Most recent independent audited statement or review. 

Organizations with operating budgets $750,000 and over: must submit as Audited Statement. 

Organizations with budgets under $750,000: may submit an Independent Review.

5. Copy of the minutes of the meeting or board resolution authorizing the grant application

6.  If Applicable: Memorandums of Understanding, Letters of Intent and other indications of collaboration from all participating entities, Statements of Work from consultants or coaches. (General Letters of Support arenotaccepted)  


Governmental Agencies or School Districts 

1.   List of elected officials.

2.  Summary of the current operating budget, including expenses and revenue for the appropriate department budget

3.  Most recent independent audit

4.  If applicable: Memorandums of Understanding, Letters of Intent and other indications of collaboration from all participating entities. (General Letters of Support are notaccepted). 

5.  Copy of the minutes of the meeting or board resolution from the body that has the ultimate authority to implement the grant.  (Usually this is the board of elected officials versus the appointed board.)             

Where is your service area?

Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties. Organizations located outside the five-county area may be considered if their work impacts area residents, and those services can be clearly measured and/or documented.

What kinds of initiatives do you fund?

Take a look at Grantees from the most recent years to see what has been funded.

Are organizations with an active grant able to apply for another grant?

It is allowable to have active grants in one of the annual categories – Assets for Thriving Communities or Systems Change Accelerator – concurrent with a grant in one of the monthly categories – Seed Grants and Changemaker Fellowship.

What is the responsibility of a fiduciary, or fiscal agent?

We use the terms Fiduciary or Fiscal Agent to describe the organization that manages grant dollars for an initiative. We like to provide grants to partnerships and networks, however these must be managed through a fiduciary. Fiduciaries for our grants must meet all eligibility requirements, and will have reporting responsibilities, including a final report and budget. Fiduciaries are encouraged to create and submit a MOU or other official agreement with project partners.

What makes up a strong application for your grants?

Our two annual grants typically support initiatives that have done significant groundwork prior to applying. See recommendations for preparation for the Assets for Thriving Communities grant and the Systems Change Accelerator grant. We encourage applicants to demonstrate action toward our grant criteria for consideration in all categories.

Can we meet with you to discuss our initiative?

Yes. All applicants have a pre-grant meeting with Rotary Charities staff prior to application. Reach out to to set up a meeting to discuss your initiative.

Pre-Grant Checklist

Review our grant criteria and requirements prior to the meeting. We will discuss your proposal and help you navigate our application process. Come prepared to discuss the following.

By the time of your grant application, will your proposal:

  • Include evidence that shows community need for the project? 

  • Include input from constituents on project design? 

  • Describe how your initiative will be broadly accessible to the community and how you have considered barriers to access? 

  • Have acquired any required governmental approval (zoning, permitting, etc)?  

  • Include detail on how requested funds will be shared among project partners, if applicable (required for Systems Change Accelerator)? 

  • Include an in-kind or cash match (secured or pending) for at least 50% of the total project cost (Assets for Thriving Communities) or 10% of the total (Systems Change Accelerator)? 

Is there anything you don't fund?

• No part of a grant may be used for, or applied to:

  • Debt service
  • Endowment funds
  • Playgrounds
  • Immediate short-term emergency needs of clients (for rent payment, gas money, food, etc.)
  • Educational programs for individual school districts, unless they are intended to eventually serve the five-county Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District

• We accept proposals from faith-based organizations that have clearly demonstrated public benefit. Proposals will not be considered for any religious programs or services that:

• Require a person to hold or accept a particular religious belief, doctrine or creed as a condition to receive services
• Primarily address spiritual needs
• Have evangelism as the primary purpose of the program and do not respect diversity of religious and spiritual beliefs of all individuals

Consider your request in the context of our Grant Criteria, which guide our grantmaking decisions. 


What is the deadline to apply for grants?

The application deadline for our Spring 2021 grant cycle, including Assets for Thriving Communities and Systems Change Accelerator grants, is March 1, 2021. Seed Grant and Changemaker Fellowship applications are due on the 1st of each month.

Where might we find other funding for our initiative?

Check out our list of other regional funding opportunities. Local Rotary Clubs also provide funding for community initiatives. Contact your local club to find out what is available.

How can we connect with others working in our issue area?

Check out our list of local networks.

Where can I find support from local consultants?

Find the right fit for your needs in NorthSky’s consultant directory.