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


Many specific questions related to eligibility, requirements, and the application process are answered in our Grant Guidance Document.

General Grant Questions

Are organizations able to submit more than one application in a cycle?

Direct applicants may not submit more than one application in one category during the same grant cycle. Organizations serving as a fiscal sponsor may be able to submit more than one application for different initiatives with approval.

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

It is allowable to have active grants in one of the biannual categories – Assets for Thriving Communities or Systems Change Accelerator – concurrent with a grant in one of the monthly categories – Seed Grants and Learning Fund. Current grants must be closed in order to apply for a new grant in the same category.

Is there anything Rotary Charities will not fund?

Please refer to "General Funding Requirements" in our Grant Guidance Document.

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 responsibility of a fiscal sponsor?

We use the term Fiscal Sponsor 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 fiscal sponsor. Fiscal sponsors must meet all eligibility requirements and will have reporting responsibilities, including a final report and budget. Fiscal sponsors are encouraged to create and submit an MOU or other official agreements with project partners. More information about fiscal sponsorships is available here

What kinds of initiatives do you fund?

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

Where can I find support from local consultants?

The Capacity Advisory Pool is comprised of a talented group of specialists who are available to help you address your organization's challenges and growth. 

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.

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.

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. 

  • 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.

Please refer to "General Funding Requirements" in our Grant Guidance Document.

Preparing to Apply

Can we meet with you to discuss our initiative?

Yes. All applicants must meet with Rotary Charities staff prior to application. Reach out to to set up a meeting to discuss your initiative.

How do we apply for a grant?

Apply online through SurveyMonkey Apply 

Preview the questions for each grant category:

Systems Change Accelerator

Assets for Thriving Communities

Changemaker Fellowship

Seed Grant


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)? 

What attachments are required for grant applications?

Please refer to "Required Attachments for All Grant Applications" in our Grant Guidance Document.


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 of $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 are not accepted)  


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 not accepted). 

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.)             

What makes up a strong application for your grants?

Our two competitive grant categories 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.

Please refer to "Apendix 1: ATC & SCA Scoring Criteria" in our Grant Guidance Document for our scoring rubric. 

Where can I watch your grant training video?

Find it on our Youtube channel, here.