Leading Change. Transforming Communities.

Fund for Excellence in Essex County Grant Guidelines

Consultant Jay Vogt giving a presentation on strategic plans.
Fund for Excellence in Essex County Grant Guidelines

Funding Priorities

The Fund for Excellence in Essex County (FEEC) grants support specific projects that strengthen the capacity of a nonprofit organization to perform its work more effectively through improving their infrastructure.  For the 2017 funding cycle ECCF will award FEEC grants to assist nonprofits to strengthen an organization’s Board of Directors.  Grants will be given for the following kinds of projects:
• Recruitment of new Board members
• Orientation of Board members
• Training and education of Board members
• Board coaching
• Board/CEO relations
• Board diversity
• Board succession planning
• Scholarships for attendance at the Institute for Trustees

ECCF awards one-year grants of up to $7,500. Funding is limited and the grant program is highly competitive.

Staff salaries are not eligible for funding, however, consultant fees directly tied to developing the capacity of the organization to successfully transition may be considered. Funding for equipment is limited to purchases those that are part of the overall capacity building project.

In addition, Grants will not be awarded:

  • To individuals
  • To organizations located outside of Essex County
  • For sectarian or religious purposes
  • For political purposes
  • For debt or deficit reduction
  • For capital campaigns for buildings, land acquisition or endowment
  • To support academic research
  • To address funding gaps due to mismanagement or poor planning
  • To support work that has already taken place
  • For purposes which are generally a public sector responsibility
  • For feasibility studies
  • For website development
  • To state and local government agencies

Organization Eligibility

Massachusetts 501(c)3 agencies located in and serving Essex County citizens working in the broad areas of arts and culture, education, environment, healthy, social and community services and youth development.   Please note that there is no longer a limit on the size of the organization's operating budget to be eligible to apply.  Due to some additional funding opportunities, ECCF is encouraging proposals from organizations with missions relating to the environment.

ECCF is committed to non-discrimination. We support organizations that use all reasonable efforts to recruit, hire, train, promote and serve persons without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law, except where such status is a bona fide qualification for the service being provided and is related to the organization's mission.

Stand alone programs within umbrella organizations may be eligible for capacity building support if they meet the following criteria:

  • The umbrella organization provides the 501(c)3 status but not much more
  • The program has a separate budget and must raise its own funds to cover this budget (The umbrella organization may cover a small amount of the administrative costs)
  • There is a letter of agreement/understanding between the program and the umbrella organization.
  • The program is core to the mission of the umbrella organization and serves a substantial number of the core client population.

Selection Criteria

Projects will be judged on their ability to help the organization manage positive change, improve services, meet their mission and programs, strengthen financial stability and develop potential for other funding sources. ECCF seeks grant making opportunities where the investment of up to $7,500 can make a difference. When reviewing Fund grant proposals we will look for:

  • Nonprofit organizations that have a sound plan for use of the funds to strengthen their capacity as a nonprofit organization serving Essex County
  • Evidence that the project will help the organization improve its ability to meet its mission.
  • Evidence that the grant will help the organization secure future funding, affiliation, stability or other benefit
  • Evidence that the organization and its programs that meet a documented need of Essex County residents
  • Proposal completeness, clarity and conciseness

Application Deadline

 January 15, 2017. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Application Procedure

Proposals must be submitted through ECCF's


If you do not yet have a login for our application Portal, please read our Grant Application Process page which will give you access to the Portal.


Review Process

ECCF's Grants Management Committee reviews all proposals, completes site visits and makes funding recommendations to the ECCF Board of Trustees for approval.

Our review process takes up to three months to complete. Proposals that do not meet the submission deadline or grant guidelines will be screened out and applicants will receive early notification of their denial. Otherwise email responses to grant applicants are sent after the Board vote.

Fund for Excellence in Essex County Grant Awards

All grant awardees will be invited to receive their grant award at ECCF’s Community Leadership Breakfast in the Spring.

Reporting Requirements

Agencies receiving grants from the Fund for Excellence in Essex County must submit a final report on their project by January 1st of the year following the grant award. Final reports are required in order to be eligible for future grant funding. If projects are not complete by the January 1st deadline, agencies should submit an Interim Report on their progress and request an extension.


For more information or to discuss a program idea, please contact:

Carol Lavoie Schuster
Associate Vice President for Philanthropy
Essex County Community Foundation
175 Andover Street, Suite 101 Danvers, MA 01923
Tel: 978-777-8876 x 33
Email: c.lavoieschuster@eccf.org