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Grant Application Guidelines

How to Apply for a Grant

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation seeks to be a responsive and proactive community partner that works strategically to address existing and emerging community needs through our competitive grants program. Nonprofits and government agencies meeting the following eligibility criteria are eligible to apply for a grant from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.


  • Nonprofit organizations exempt from Federal income taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and units of government are eligible [(c)(4) and (c)(6) agencies are not eligible].
  • Applicants must be located in and primarily serve residents of Lee, Charlotte, Hendry, Glades, and Collier counties.
  • Eligible organizations must be governed by a volunteer board of directors with at least 5 unrelated members.
  • Organizations must conduct business without discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, national origin, or religious affiliation.


The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, as a rule, does NOT make grants for:

  • Annual funds
  • Debt retirement
  • Fraternal organizations, societies or orders
  • Religious organizations for sectarian purposes, except where designated by a fund donor
  • Sports team travel, class trips, and similar expenses
  • Individuals, except for selected scholarships
  • Normal operating expenses or existing obligations
  • Political organizations or campaigns
  • Fundraising events or feasibility studies
  • Research
  • Scholarships and financial aid to assist nonprofit clients


Consideration is given to the following in determining the merits and priority of an application for funding from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation:

  • Degree of potential benefit to the community to be derived from the program/project
  • Programs for new ventures, one-time projects, and innovative responses to community needs that do not duplicate other efforts
  • Programs that involve community collaboration
  • The capacity of the organization to achieve the program’s/project’s expected results
  • The degree to which the organization uses measurable outcomes to evaluate its program/project
  • Programs that are likely to attract additional funds, resources, and community support
  • The organization’s ability to obtain continued funding
  • The amount of available funds that the Community Foundation has to award

How to apply

The Community Foundation will only accept applications online, and the automation of our system includes full applications and the uploading of attachments, as well as grant reports. We will no longer process paper copies of these documents.


Applying for a grant from the Community Foundation online is easy:

It is important for you to read and understand the grant program’s guidelines before starting an application. We also recommend that you familiarize yourself with the online application before you begin. You may also find it helpful to prepare some of the longer answers in a word processing document and then cut and paste that text into the application.

You will be asked to attach documents. If these documents exist in electronic format you may attach them using the Browse button inside the application. If they are not in electronic format, you may use the Fax to File feature on the upper left side of the application page.

Capacity Grants

SWFLCF awards Capacity Grants to support the hiring of Capacity Coaches to assist with nonprofit capacity needs, such as strategic planning, board development/governance, financial management, outcome evaluation, resource development/fundraising, marketing, and organizational restructuring/mergers. We are currently not accepting Capacity Grant applications.

Community Impact Grant

In the Community Impact Grant Cycle, SWFLCF provides grants to organizations in six different program areas: Animal Welfare, Community Development, Education, Healthcare, Human Services and Arts and Culture. Click here to learn more.

Arts and Attractions Grant

Application Process to open May 21st.  Deadline for submission is June 24th.
pdfClick here for the Arts & Attractions Grant Guidelines.358.87 KB

The Arts and Attractions grant cycle was established in 2004 as a partnership of the Lee County Tourist Development Council, City of Fort Myers, Lee County Alliance for the Arts, and the Southwest Florida Community Foundation to promote and strengthen the Arts, Cultural, and Attractions industry in Lee County. The Arts and Attractions grant cycle provides marketing grants to Lee County arts and cultural organizations to:

  • Use existing resources to strengthen the tourist destination of Lee County, especially to encourage repeat visits.
  • Provide the financial foundation that will encourage additional and create greater resources for growth in the Lee County Arts, Cultural, and Attractions industry.
  • Partner with motivated professionals to maximize the expenditure and ensure a quality return on the community’s investment.

Need help?

If you have read the instructions and taken the tutorial and still need help with this online application, or if you just need to ask a few questions or want to give us feedback, please feel free to contact us at 239-274-5900.

Women's Legacy Fund

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Bonita Springs Community Fund

Established in 1997, this special fund supports the communities of the greater Bonita Springs area by providing grants to local nonprofits.


FutureMakers: 3D Initiative

As leaders of community agencies, we know you face incredible challenges. WE WANT TO HELP YOU & YOUR ORGANIZATION SUCCEED.