For Such at Time as This Grants

Our Capital Campaign Mission Grants Program 

2017 Grant Cycle

First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, United Church of Christ invites grant applications from organizations and individuals for projects and initiatives relevant to our mission. Grants will be funded through a mission tithe from our recent capital campaign, For Such a Time as This.

Grant applications will be solicited once in 2017 and again in 2018.

Granting Priorities

Grant requests submitted to First Church will be evaluated based on alignment with our congregation’s mission and ongoing areas of concern.

Funding will be distributed to maximize impact relevant to these principles, with an aim to building collaborative relationships with external organizations beyond financial support whenever possible. In partnership, we would be interested in exploring a variety of ways our congregation may be involved through volunteering, joint events, educational opportunities, and more.

Mission

Grounded in God, our hope and our healing

Growing in community, with Jesus our center

Acting in love, made bold by the Spirit

Areas of Concern

First Church has a history of involvement in social justice ministries. Congregational interests include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

  • Homelessness
  • Gun violence
  • Food insecurity
  • Ministerial training and education
  • Interfaith collaboration
  • Racial justice

For more information on First Church and our outreach priorities, please see our Vision and Calling and First Church in the World materials on our website, as well as the inspiration for our campaign, “For Such a Time as This.”

Grant size and funding available

First Church intends to award grants ranging from $500 up to $50,000, based on alignment with First Church’s mission and ministry priorities, the application’s strength, budget justification, and anticipated impact. Though the exact grant mix is not determined in advance, the Grants Committee expects to make several larger high-impact grants, along with a greater number of smaller and mid-size grants.

In the 2017 grant cycle, the Grants Committee anticipates making one award of $15,000 - $25,000 as well as 3 - 6 smaller awards. Individuals or organizations requesting larger amounts should expect to be asked for additional application materials and reporting requirements.

Eligibility

  • Internal or External - Grant requests from organizations and individuals beyond First Church’s own walls as well as from congregational members will be considered, with the hope that projects will extend our ministry into the broader community.
  • First Church Sponsorship - Grant requests must be sponsored by one or more First Church members. Sponsors of an external organization’s request would be responsible for showing their support through a written statement in the Letter of Intent, described below. With the assistance of the Grants Committee, the sponsor may also help to identify partnership opportunities.
  • Organizational Status - Individuals, groups of individuals, or organizations are all invited to apply. Eligible organizational applicants must have 501(c)(3) status.
  • Time-limited Investment - The current mission grant program does not intend to fund ongoing support for projects beyond this grant cycle. Examples of appropriate requests would be time-limited or stand-alone projects, infrastructure and equipment requests, or program support with a convincing plan for ongoing sustainability. For projects developed within the First Church community, the FCC operating budget will not absorb future ongoing program costs, unless an existing committee plans to incorporate the new program within their current budget allocation.

Application process

(see the following section, Important Dates, for submission details)

Letter of Intent - The first step in submitting an application is to draft a short letter of intent containing the following information:

  • The letter should be signed by the First Church members putting forward the proposal, OR, in the case of an external applicant, the First Church members sponsoring the proposal
  • 2 - 3 sentences describing the applicant, whether an organization or an individual
  • 2 - 3 sentences describing the proposed use of the funds
  • 2 - 3 sentences describing the anticipated results of the project or impact of the grant
  • The amount requested
  • Contact information for the First Church sponsors and for the external organization, if applicable

The letter of intent has several aims:

  • To determine if the project aligns closely enough with FCC’s mission and ministry priorities to invite a full application
  • To pair the applicant with a member of the Grants Committee to be a resource for questions surrounding proposal development

Grant Application - Within two weeks after submitting a Letter of Intent, applicants with projects well-aligned with First Church’s mission will be contacted by the Grants Committee. Applicants will be sent blank copies of the following proposal documents, based on the Association of Grant Managers’ Common Proposal Forms, to be received by July 20th.

  • Cover Sheet
  • Full Proposal Narrative
  • Budget Template

Some of the fields in the application are applicable only to organizational applicants. Individuals or groups of individuals are encouraged to fill out only the fields that are relevant to them. Grants Committee members are available for questions and assistance in navigating the application.

Proposals for amounts exceeding $15,000 will be asked to submit additional materials to support the application. A Grants Committee member will work with applicants to identify these necessary supporting documents when the full proposal is requested. Materials may include:

  • Recent audit or financial statement
  • Annual report
  • List of board members with affiliations
  • Diversity data form

IMPORTANT DATES

  • April - May: Grants Committee publicizes the funding opportunity within the congregation.
  • June 15: Deadline for First Church sponsor to send Letter of Intent to submit a proposal to the First Church Parish Office, Attn. Kirsten Manville. Email submission is preferred, to parishadministrator@firstchurchcambridge.org, but paper applications may be mailed to the Parish Office, 11 Garden St, Cambridge, MA, 02138.
  • July 20: Application due to Parish Office by email (preferred) or paper submission, as above.
  • July - September: Grants Committee reviews proposals and makes recommendations for awards. As part of the review process, finalists will meet with representatives of the Grants Committee or host a site visit. The review process will take two to three months.
  • End of September: Executive Council reviews and ratifies Grants Committee recommendations
  • October: Applicants notified of award decisions 

If you have questions about the For Such a Time as This Grants Program, please contact Leslie Pelton-Cairns at lpcairns.firstchurch@gmail.com, or Caitlin Anderson at Caitlin.anderson02138@gmail.com.