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Capacity Building Grants: Strong Nonprofits, Strong Communities (April 2023)

As a professional advisor, you are in a unique position to help guide your clients toward decisions that are in their best interests. For clients who wish to incorporate impactful charitable giving into their personal plans, the Capacity-Building Grant (CBG) initiative of the Washington County Community Foundation is a giving strategy you could recommend confidently to your clients. The initiative seeks to strengthen nonprofits, as strong nonprofits are best positioned to provide meaningful programs in our community. Strong nonprofits create strong communities.


The WCCF defines “capacity-building” as any activity that increases the nonprofit’s operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity.

“We are seeing transformational results from the more than $4,400,000 awarded in capacity-building grants since we began this initiative in late 2017,” remarked WCCF President & CEO Betsie Trew. “By concentrating on capacity-building projects, our goal is to help strengthen our local nonprofits. From experience we know that capacity-building requires different strategies depending upon where a particular nonprofit is in its evolution. For a smaller nonprofit, a grant to purchase accounting software or to purchase an audit is needed, but for a larger nonprofit a grant to expand its programming may be needed. We work diligently and individually with our nonprofits to identify the project that will take each nonprofit to its level.”

Capacity-Building Grants Recent Success Stories

Data Management Improvement

Data Management: 

Main Street Farmers Market’s CBG to purchase data management software has resulted in better communication with the board members. With small grass-roots nonprofits such as this, board members are very hands-on, and they often perform day-to-day functions. Thanks to the new web-based system, necessary data is easily accessible to all board members.

Equipment or Material Purchase

Equipment or Material Purchase: 

Meadowcroft’s CBG to purchase a generator has enabled the organization to focus on programming without fear of losing power during visitor hours. A recent school group was on site for an educational program when a lightning strike created a power outage but, within three seconds, power had been restored by the generator. During the 2021 season, Meadowcroft had three days of emergency closures because of power outages, but in 2022 there were zero emergency closures because of the generator.

Facility Improvements

Facility Improvement: 

Mon Valley Youth & Teen’s CBG enabled the organization to again use space within its facility that wasn’t being used because of safety concerns. With the facility improvements completed, the organization has resumed youth programming in this area and is also distributing seasonal clothing and household items to needy community members. Future plans for the renovated space include storytime, guest speakers, and workshops.

Financial Processes

Financial Process Improvement: 

Resurrection Power’s CBG to purchase an audit not only helped the organization better manage its finances, it opened a door to new funding opportunities. Already, the organization has secured a $35,000 grant from another funding organization which only accepts grant requests from nonprofit applicants who are audited

Strategic Plan Development Plan Marketing Plan


The Washington County Historical Society’s CBG for a strategic plan helped prepare the organization to begin construction of its new Historical Society Research Center. Additionally, the strategic plan helped to focus development efforts which has resulted in increased annual contributions.

Program Expansion

Program Expansion: 

Blueprints’ CBG enabled the organization to expand its foster care program in the Monongahela Valley and secure foster families for minority and LGBTQ+ youth. Securing foster families is an ongoing challenge, but finding families who are willing to foster this very vulnerable population presents additional challenges. The grant proved to be very successful, and Blueprints is optimistic that it will exceed its goal of 25 new foster families.



TRPIL’s CBG to purchase computers enabled employees to work more efficiently and devote more time to assisting consumers with disabilities who wish to transition out of a nursing facility. The grant also enabled a staff member who has a disability to secure voice-to-text software, which improved her efficiency.

These CBG examples are just a snippet of the impact of recent grants. 

Annually, we conduct two competitive CBG cycles to which any qualified nonprofit may apply, but routinely we receive more requests than we are able to support with existing financial resources.

By partnering with the WCCF, your clients can both help to provide the additional financial resources to enable more nonprofits to be strengthened in a strategic way and benefit from our more than 25 years of grant-making experience, which includes specific expertise regarding successful nonprofit capacity-building strategies.
Clients may make contributions to an existing fund or may create a new fund targeted to their specific charitable interests. In addition to the good your clients can do for our community they can also do good for themselves and their personal plans.

Strong Nonprofits create Strong Communities.

The information contained in this publication is not intended as legal advice.

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The WCCF can work with you to help your clients achieve their personal, financial, and charitable goals. 

We are a trusted, community‐based vehicle your clients can use to address the issues they care about most, while gaining maximum tax benefit under state and federal law. 

Contact the office to learn more.