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Greater Twin Cities COVID-19 Response & Recovery Fund Capacity Building Grants


The impact of COVID-19 over the last 9 months has strained the capacity of the non-profit sector in unprecedented ways. Our non-profit community is rising to the challenge, finding new ways to meet the increased needs of those they serve and raise up the inequities that are at the root of these needs.  


To date, Greater Twin Cities COVID-19 Response & Recovery Fund has invested $2.3 million in local non-profits to maintain and adjust their services and rapidly meet the emergent needs of our community during the pandemic.  This sixth and final wave of funding focuses specifically on supporting organizations’ capacity-building needs.  GTCUW defines the strategy of capacity-building as an investment to help non-profit organizations increase specific organizational capacities to achieve their missions, deliver stronger programs, take risks, build connections, innovate and iterate all in service of increasing their strength, capacity and sustainability. 


As GTCUW listened to its grantees over the past year, it is clear all organizations are currently or anticipate experiencing some form of challenge to their stability. At the same time, smaller organizations are more likely to be under-resourced.  This is especially true for those with BIPOC leadership representation, as a result of chronic systemic disparities. Furthermore, these organizations are often overlooked for capacity building funding in part because conventional funding often requires a prescribed standard of “readiness” and definition for what capacity building activities should be.       


This funding seeks to further organizational stability for GTCUW funded non-profits with FY 20201 organizational budgets of $4M or less through investments in organizational capacity building and employee wellness. Budget sizes are determined based on self-reported data submitted in your GTCUW annual report. 


Funding Focus 

Grants will be for organizational capacity—specifically, investments in an organization’s stability, knowledge and/or skill.  We will look to the expertise of grantees to articulate how they plan to spend grant dollars within the categories below. 


  • Business Operations: Investment in business functions essential to running a stable organization. 

  • Financial Practices 

  • Organizational Planning (e.g.; strategic planning, merger planning) 

  • Fundraising Strategies 

  • Governance 

  • IT/Technology 

  • Human Resources/Employee Retention & Wellbeing 

  • Programmatic Capacity: Changes in existing programs or creation of new programs to meet new, changed or increased organizational needs. 

  • Direct Service 

  • Partnerships 

  • Evaluation 

  • Communications/Advocacy 



In addition, organizations will have the opportunity to receive a small amount of funding restricted for employee wellbeing activities.  Examples of these activities might include (but are not limited to): staff stipend towards the cost of setting up/maintaining a home office or staff stiped for personal wellness activities; group activities such as attending fitness, meditation, or art therapy classes  


GTCUW has heard consistently and emphatically from its grantees that non-profit employees have put themselves and their families at-risk, both mentally and physically, to serve their community during this time of crisis. To that end, we acknowledge the centrality of non-profit employees to organizational stability, health and delivery of services.  Organizations are welcome to invest more of their capacity grant into Employee Wellbeing (under the Business Operations category) if they so choose. 



  • Organizations that are current grantees within the GTCUW Holistic Grantmaking portfolio AND have FY 20202 organizational budget of $4M or less. 


  • Organizations in the Culturally Specific Communities Cohort 3 grant program AND have FY 2020 organizational budget of $4M or less. 


Level of Funding & Grant Term 

  • We anticipate average grant amounts of $10,000 

  • Organizations will have the opportunity to opt-in to a pool of additional funding restricted to employee well-being activities. We anticipate these funds ranging from $1,000-$2,000. 

  • Organizations where more than 50% of executive leadership staff identifies as BIPOC will receive larger grant awards.3 

  • One year grant term. Approximately February 2021-January 2022. 


Evaluation & Reporting 

Questions on how funds were used as well as learnings to help inform future capacity building efforts will be part of 2022 site visits for the Holistic Grantmaking portfolio.  Culturally Powered Communities Cohort 3 grantees (not in the Holistic Grantmaking portfolio) will participate in a wrap-up conversation at the end of the grant term. 



January 11: Capacity-building questionnaire opens 

January 22: Capacity-building questionnaire closes, 5pm 

February 19: GTCUW finalizes grantees and funding amounts 

February 22: GTCUW communicates funding decisions to grantees, sends out grant agreements 


How To Apply 

This is a non-competitive grant opportunity; we plan to fund all invited organizations that submit a questionnaire in alignment with eligibility requirements and the funding focus.


Click on this link to fill out the short questionnaire. 

1 Or FY 2021 for organizations with July-June fiscal years 

2 Or FY 2021 for organizations with a July-June calendar 

3 Based on organization's self-reported data from GTCUW's 2019-2020 annual reports.