Learn about
our grants

The Trust for Civic Life supports the people and organizations transforming their communities through the work of everyday democracy.

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Our grant process

Through a community-led nomination process, local leaders help us identify and direct resources where they are needed most. This process leads to faster, more effective investments that can drive meaningful progress in our local communities.

1

NOMINATE

Applications begin with a nomination or self-nomination process. Nominees are screened by the Trust for eligibility.

2

INVITE

Eligible nominees receive an invitation to submit an application.

3

APPLY

Applications are reviewed by the Trust team, a panel of community experts, and the Trust’s Council of Directors, which includes both funders and community advisors.

Types of grants

Our grants are designed for both emerging and established organizations and programs based in our priority regions. We award two types of grants through a scheduled nomination process. Sign up to get updates about when our next grant cycle opens.

CIVIC HUB

Civic Hub grants are for organizations that play an important role in bringing people together across different communities and sectors to create shared vision, solutions and distribute resources.

Grants Available: 20-25
Grant Amount: $250,000-$500,000
Grant Period: 3 Years
Nominations Open: Q1 of 2025
Grants Awarded: Summer 2025

CIVIC ENTREPRENEUR

Civic Entrepreneur grants are for individuals and small organizations leading experimental new programs that get their community actively participating in shaping a community vision, identifying challenges, and working together to solve them.

Grants Available: ~100
Grant Amount: Up to $25,000
Grant Period: 1 Year
Nominations Open: More info August 2024
Grants Awarded: Winter 2024

What we look for

The Trust for Civic Life funds a wide range of non-partisan entrepreneurs, programs, organizations and innovative digital leaders who play a key role in their local and regional civic ecosystems. Selection is informed by these key characteristics:

Embedded in Community

Lives within the communities they serve.

RURAL FOCUS

Focuses on rural communities specifically in the Black Belt, Central Appalachia, Tribal Lands, Southwest Border, and communities in transition in the rural U.S.

COMMUNITY-LED ACTION

Leads or supports community members to identify problems and work toward solutions.

INCLUSIVE

Brings together the voices, views, experiences, and participation of the entire community.

COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS

Identifies and celebrates the solutions, innovations, and programs doing great work.

Bridge-Builders

Builds and strengthens community networks by regranting, connecting people to resources,  supporting new ideas, leveraging digital tools, and working across sectors.

LONG-LASTING FOUNDATIONS

Focuses on programs that create long-lasting civic infrastructure and a thriving community that all residents feel welcome to participate in.

How nominations work

Our grant application process starts with nominations. If you are self nominating or want to nominate an organization or individual for a Trust grant, here are the steps to take. The Trust will follow up with you if your nominee moves forward in the process. For more information, read our grant FAQs below.

Learn when our nomination cycle opens.

Make sure you or the organization you want to nominate is eligible.

Nomination forms are available at the start of each grant cycle.

FAQs

Our grantmaking approach involves a unique community-led nomination process. We continuously refine our grantmaking process by learning from our grantees, local leaders, and their communities. If you have additional questions, please email join@trustforciviclife.org.