The Fort Dodge Community Foundation is committed to building strong and vibrant communities in our region and making the greater Fort Dodge community a great place to live, work, play and raise our families. We are also committed to the nonprofits that greatly contribute to quality of life in our communities.

The Fort Dodge Community Foundation makes grant awards to charitable organizations that are able to demonstrate projects planned with respect to the community’s opportunities and needs. Our grants are dedicated to providing funding and support for projects, programs and organizations that will help achieve our mission and are responsive to the needs of the organizations and the communities we serve.

Grant Recipients: The Fort Dodge Community Foundation awarded grants to over 100 nonprofit organizations and charitable causes in 2022. Click here for the listing of grantees.

Click here to view or download our current grant and scholarship applications.


Qualified charities generally include organizations described in section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code which are identified as 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organizations. To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes, and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. Charitable organizations include 501(c)(3) nonprofits, churches, hospitals, schools, governmental agencies. These organizations serve a public purpose for the benefit of the community.

The Foundation is committed to the principles of good grant-making and due diligence that includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Grants are only made for charitable purposes.
  • Grants are only made to organizations that are in good financial health and well managed, and grants are only made for projects that are well conceived and likely to be successful.
  • No benefits shall acrue from any grant to any staff member or staff member's family. Further, no benefit from any grant shall acrue any advisor, volunteer or donor who is involved in the grant review or recommendation of a grant.
  • Grants are used by each grantee for the appropriate purposes as approved by the Foundation's Board of Directors.


Building and sustaining a strong and vibrant community requires a holistic approach by engaged citizens willing to give back to their community by philanthropically investing in its future. As a vehicle for community-based philanthropy, the Foundation is dedicated to using its chartable resources in the most efficient and effective ways by making grants back to our community and county that address four key principles:

  1. Enriching the quality of life of all citizens, family and youth;
  2. Supporting the common good;
  3. Enhancing economic vitality;
  4. Advancing community betterment.

To address these four principles, the Foundation's grantmaking priorities include:

  • Economic growth and development
  • Recreation and leisure
  • Human services
  • Well-being of families
  • Education and life-long learning
  • Youth reading and literacy
  • Early childhood development
  • Positive youth development
  • Health and healthy lifestyles
  • Public safety
  • Social and cultural advancement
  • Historical preservation
  • Fine arts
  • Community/special events
  • Parks, trails and green spaces
  • Environment and beautification
  • Emergency needs
  • Women/children emergency support
  • Supporting the underprivileged
  • Community capacity building


Applying for Grants

The Foundation desires to administer its grantmaking process in an open, fair and transparent manner, and make the grant application process as easy and efficient as possible. Nonprofit organizations and other potential grantees wishing to apply for discretionary or other competitively awarded grants can access a grant application on the Foundation’s website, have a grant application sent to them, or they can stop into the Foundation office and pick up a grant application. Foundation staff will provide the necessary help in completing a grant application for organizations that request assistance.

Required Grant Criteria

1. Grants only for charitable purposes.

Grants will be distributed to grantees that have public charity 501(c) (3) status and will only use the funds for charitable purposes and the proposed project falls within the scope of the Foundation’s charitable mission. Grants to nonprofits that are not 501(C)(3) organizations may be made, in rare instances, if the nature and purpose of the project being funded is considered charitable. In such cases, the Foundation must demonstrate expenditure responsibility to ensure that the funds were used solely for charitable purposes.

2. Grants are only made to organizations in sound financial health and well managed, and grants are only made for projects that are well conceived and likely to be successful.

Each grant application received by the Fort Dodge Community Foundation will be thoroughly reviewed by the Foundation and its board of directors.

Specific Procedures for Each Kind of Grant

1. Donor-Advised Grants

Upon written recommendation from the appropriate donor advisor(s), staff will verify that the organization(s) selected to receive grant funds is a charitable organization and the use of the grant is confirmed to be of a charitable nature.

2. Discretionary Grants from Unrestricted,Field of Interest Funds and Special Project Funds (competitive proposal review process)

Organizations may submit a grant application at any time for a discretionary grant. Foundation staff will determine the purpose and appropriateness of the application by reviewing the grantee’s intent as outlined in the application. After review by staff and the appropriate committee(s), the grant application may be recommended for board consideration for approval.

3. Special Project Grants

Special project grants support projects and programs that are charitable in nature and serve a public purpose. These grants may be generated through “pass-through” funds that are designed to support charitable, community projects. Organizations may submit grant requests at any time. After review by Foundation staff and the appropriate committee(s), the grant application may be recommended for board consideration for approval.

4. County Endowment Grants

These grants are provided to charitable organizations to support projects that are considered charitable and are focused on improving quality of life in Iowa communities.

The County Endowment Fund is a state-funded program that provides financial assistance to a large number of Community Foundations or Community Affiliate Organizations around the state to support projects that are considered charitable and are focused on improving quality of life in Iowa communities. The dollars distributed in this program come from state's gaming tax revenues and are available on a yearly basis. Qualified community foundations that meet national standards for community foundations or a community affiliate organization that has affiliated with such a foundation administer these funds for their counties.

The Fort Dodge Community Foundation administers two grant cycles for these funds in the fall and spring of every year. Applications for County Endowment grants are due by November 1 or by May 1 of each year.

5. Scholarship Grants

Scholarship grants are provided in the spring of every year and are administered through a well- defined process facilitated by the Foundation’s Scholarship Committee. Scholarship applications are available on the Foundation’s website and can also be picked up at the school counseling office of the two Fort Dodge high schools.

Scholarship awards are not paid directly to awardees. Students are sent a notification of their award, along with a letter informing them of their responsibilities in accepting the scholarship award. All scholarship awards are sent directly to the student’s school. The student is responsible for informing their school about their scholarship award. Payments are released only when the Foundation gets confirmation from the school that the student is enrolled as a student.

Applicant Confidentiality

All information requested in the Foundation grant application is public information and may be shared with interested parties.

Applications and Deadlines

The Foundation is unable to review incomplete applications. Grant applicants should only send materials requested in the grant guidelines. If additional information is necessary, the Fort Dodge Community Foundation will contact the grant applicant and request the information. Grant applications may be submitted in hard copy form or electronically and must be received by the Foundation no later than 11:59 p.m. on the grant application deadline date. Late applications will not be accepted unless a special exemption is requested and approved.

Fiscal Responsibility and Sponsorship

If the funded project is a collaborative effort, one member of the collaboration must take fiscal responsibility for receiving and expending the grant. This organization should complete the grant application. Letters from the collaborating organizations should be included with the application and should explain the approach and shared responsibilities.

Grants to Non-Exempt Organizations

The Foundation will consider awarding grants for charitable activities of non-exempt groups (those that are not exempt from tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code) if the purpose of the project being funded is considered charitable by serving a public purpose. These grants require expenditure responsibility.


All grantees are required to submit a grant progress report to the Foundation office within a year of receiving funding. Organizations that fail to file a progress report will not be eligible for future funding from the Foundation until the missing report is filed.

Ineligible Grantees

The Foundation will not consider grants to entities that are not qualified as charitable organizations or projects.

The Foundation will not consider grants to individuals.

The Foundation will not consider grants to organizations if any of the funds are used for a political campaign, or to support attempts to influence legislation of any governmental body other than through making available the results of non-partisan analysis, study and research.