Apply for Grants

The SouthCoast Community Foundation strives to ensure that our grant-making effectively meets donors’ charitable interests and addresses the community’s changing needs. We view our grants as investments in the community that should be made wisely and fairly.

Grants: How to Apply

The SouthCoast Community Foundation awards grants through funds, and Scholarship Funds. Please take a look at our Current Requests for specific grant opportunities.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we are able to make grants that support a variety of programs across sectors and in response to pressing community needs. Each of our granting programs has its own set of guidelines. We encourage all local non-profits to sign-up for our grants portal to explore our current grant opportunities and apply to day!

Grant FAQ

Grants & Eligibility

How do you make grants to nonprofits?
Nonprofits from the Southeastern Massachusetts region may apply to our competitive grantmaking programs. Use our Online Grants Portal to find the programs, criteria, deadlines, and additional information on how to apply.

The majority of the SouthCoast Community Foundation’s grantmaking is recommended by advisors of our donor advised funds. There is typically no application process for these grants. Rather, the fund advisor selects eligible IRS-approved nonprofit recipients and the SouthCoast Community Foundation facilitates the grants.

I’m not a nonprofit. Can I apply for a grant?
Qualified 501(c)3 nonprofit, governmental, educational and religious organizations are eligible to apply for grants.

The SouthCoast Community Foundation does not make grants to individuals.

The SouthCoast Community Foundation is also prohibited from making grants or loans to small businesses. All grants must be used for charitable purposes.

What is a 501(c)3? How can I get one?
501(c)3 refers to the specific section of the Internal Revenue Code that defines a nonprofit organization. For more information, contact the The Legal Center for Nonprofits Inc. or

Can I apply for a grant from any of your Donor Advised Funds?
No, the SouthCoast Community Foundation will not provide contact information or grant distribution histories of our donor advised funds. That said, we are in frequent conversations with donors; so we encourage you to contact our programs staff to share updates, and we will consider opportunities to match your needs to donors’ interests.

Communities We Serve

What is your Service Area?
The SouthCoast Community Foundation’s service area spans 41 cities and towns in the region, with its primary funding focused on the SouthCoast communities of Greater New Bedford, Greater Fall River, and Southern Plymouth County.

Cities and towns served by the SouthCoast Community Foundation: Abington, Acushnet, Attleboro, Avon, Berkley, Bourne, Bridgewater, Brockton, Carver, Dartmouth, Dighton, East Bridgewater, Easton, Fairhaven, Fall River, Freetown, Gosnold, Halifax, Hanson, Kingston, Lakeville, Mansfield, Marion, Mattapoisett, Middleborough, New Bedford, North Attleboro, Norton, Plymouth, Raynham, Rehoboth, Rochester, Seekonk, Somerset, Stoughton, Swansea, Taunton, Wareham, West Bridgewater, Westport, and Whitman.

My organization isn’t located in your service area. Can I still apply for a grant?
Generally, the SouthCoast Community Foundation open grant process is restricted to communities within our service area. Search our Online Grants Portal to determine eligibility, or visit the Council on Foundations to find the community foundation serving your area.

Guidelines and Application Process

What Guidelines do you follow when awarding grants?
To decide how to invest the limited dollars for a grant program, our grants committees aim to support effective initiatives and strategies that closely align with funding opportunities.

What does the SouthCoast Community Foundation NOT fund?
For competitive grants: Each opportunity generally has specific exclusions for funding. These may include geographic restrictions, operating expenses, focus area, among others. Visit our Online Grants Portal to view our various grant opportunities.

For donor-recommended grants (non-competitive): Must be distributed to an eligible nonprofit organization.

What are my chances of receiving a grant, and how will I be notified if I receive a grant?
Competition is strong and limited funding is available. Based on your organization’s match with the program’s funding priorities, service area, and the general volume of requests, your chances may vary. Final decisions are typically announced within two months after the application deadline. You will receive an electronic notification of the grant award decision.

If my application is declined, can you tell me why?
Due to the volume of grant programs and applications, we are unable to provide feedback on individual applications beyond what is already provided within the grant notification communications.

Grantee Spotlights

A Region to Save: Buzzards Bay Coalition

Through our Henry H. Crapo Fund a $50,000 grant was made to the Buzzards Bay Coalition in order to protect the last unprotected parcel of land on Dike Creek. Dike Creek is a critical component of the largest saltmarsh ecosystem on Buzzards Bay. The threat of development of this 127-acre parcel would have created significant new sources of pollution to the saltmarsh, creek and our Bay.

A Region to Learn: SER – Jobs for Progress

The BankFive Foundation Fund of the Community Foundation made a grant of $5,000 to SER-Jobs for Progress in Fall River to support their Evening Family Learning Center which seeks to create a holistic, multigenerational educational environment that addresses the needs of both the adult learners who see our Adult Basic Education services as a means toward bettering their socioeconomic prospects and those of their school-aged children.

A Region to Care: NorthStar Learning Center

The Acushnet Foundation Fund made a grant of $50,000 in support of the construction of a 14,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art, Early Childhood Program Center to house NorthStar’s primary childcare center and administrative offices in the heart of New Bedford’s underserved and low-income South End neighborhood.

A Region to Belong: Coastline Elderly Center

A $5,000 grant from the Lipsky Whittaker Fund to Coastline Elderly in support of the LGBT Supper Club in Fairhaven. This Supper Club provides much needed community for our LGBT elders and provides a safe, fun, and comfortable atmosphere to share a meal, tell stories and celebrate.