Community Opportunity Fund – Opportunity

Community Opportunity Fund – Opportunity


Closing the Opportunity Gap is a top priority of the Community Foundation. This focus on Opportunity supports efforts for upward mobility leading to economic success and power and autonomy of individuals over their own lives, particularly with historically marginalized populations. Factors for economic success include increasing income and assets through housing affordability and stability, employment opportunities paying living wages and wealth-building opportunities, and access to high quality education and wellbeing supports from prenatal through career. Power and autonomy mean people having dignity in controlling their own lives, being able to make choices and believing in their ability to collectively influence larger policies and actions that affect their futures. Capacity-building efforts that position organizations to better advance these goals will be considered.

Many aspects of this approach are based on expertise from Urban Institute (

Core values that must be centered in this work:

  • Systems change (i.e., fundamental shifts that address root causes of inequities),
  • Deep and meaningful community engagement (i.e., processes that are accessible, redistribute power, uplift local expertise, and earn trust of people with lived experience)
  • Continuous learning and improvement (i.e., delivering better outcomes by gathering and using information to assess and reflect upon success and challenges to adjust practices)
  • Centering human beings (i.e., changing narratives about Black, Indigenous and People of Color, and people with low incomes, and building understanding between people with diverse identities and experiences)
  • Collaboration (i.e., complex challenges cannot be solved by one organization alone, requiring partnerships and alignment of strengths.)

The Community Foundation anticipates using a cohort model to advance these shared goals that is grounded in these values and an abundance approach.

Funding will not support endowments; religious organizations for religious activities; medical research; debt retirement; requests from re-granting organizations for funding to be used for their own grant making activities; individuals (except scholarships initiated or managed by the Community Foundation); political campaigns or lobbying; tickets for benefits; telephone solicitations; fundraising drives or activities.

To be eligible to apply for funding, an organization must:

  • Be classified as a charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or classified as an organization under Section 170(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code or have a fiscal sponsor classified as a charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or an organization under Section 170(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code
  • Be located in or provide service to residents within: Bayfield, Douglas and Ashland Counties in northwest Wisconsin; or Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake and St. Louis Counties in northeast Minnesota; or the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa/Mashkiiziibii, the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa/Atisokanigamig, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa/Nah-Gah-Chi-Wa-Nong, the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa/Gichi Onigaming, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe or the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa/Gaa-Miskwaabikaang 

Grant range

$25,000 – $50,000

Application timeline

Fall Grant Cycle

  • Application available August 1, 2024 – October 1, 2024 @ 5:00 pm
  • Project begin date: January 1, 2025, or later.
  • If awarded, funds would be available in January 2025. Notifications will be emailed at the end of December 2024.