What You Should Know

What You Should Know

As a community foundation, we depend on funds set up by donors. Some can be used at our discretion, while others were created for particular purposes. Because of this, criteria and eligibility for competitive grant programs vary.

Our staff are here to help you navigate grant opportunities and position your organization for the greatest chance to receive a grant award to support the important work you do. We encourage nonprofits to call to bounce ideas off of us, strategize on what initiatives to seek funding for, brainstorm possible program outcomes, or talk through challenges that are keeping your organization from operating at its peak. That’s not to say that we have all the solutions, but we might be able to point you to somebody who’s uniquely positioned to help get you where you’re trying to go. For more inspiration, check out some grant success stories.


Tax-exempt organizations including charitable, scientific, social service, educational and religious organizations described in § 501(c)(3) of the IRS tax code, as well as government agencies, are eligible to apply for grants. Organizations that are not public charities may apply through a fiscal sponsor. Organizations must serve residents of Winnebago County, Waushara County, Green Lake County, and/or the City of Ripon. We are unable to award grants to individuals, except in the case of scholarships, which typically are awarded directly to the educational institution on behalf of the student.


The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation seeks to do its part to foster a welcoming and inclusive community. The Foundation will not knowingly support organizations whose programs or services are not open to all without discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, color, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, citizenship status, genetic information, military service/veteran status, or any other category protected under state or local law. We recognize that organizations may identify special needs in the community and target programs or services to a specific population based on those needs, however the programs must be open to all people in those targeted populations to be eligible for grant consideration.

How do we know if our organization has 501(c)(3) status?

Organizations must apply to the IRS and receive written notification confirming that this status has been granted. This process can take several months and usually requires the help of an attorney. Having a tax-exempt letter from a State or a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) does NOT automatically mean that a group has been granted 501(c)(3) status by the IRS.

What is a fiscal sponsor?

A fiscal sponsor is a 501(c)3 public charity that agrees to act as the sponsoring organization for a grantseeking nonprofit organization that does not have the 501(c)3 designation. The sponsor facilitates both the grant application and any expenditures of grant money received.

A fiscal sponsor maintains full discretion and control over the funds received for a project and has the right to withdraw financial support from the project if its original goals are not being accomplished or the grant agreement is not followed. This means that the non-exempt group and the fiscal sponsor should maintain a good working relationship, and the fiscal sponsor should monitor the project in some way to ensure the funds are properly spent. Grant funds awarded through such an arrangement should appear on the fiscal sponsor’s IRS Form 990 tax return. If grant funds are used to pay individuals for their services, the fiscal sponsor will need to determine whether they are acting as partners, employees, or independent contractors, and comply with tax reporting requirements accordingly.

I’m an individual in need of assistance. Can you help me?

Unfortunately, the Foundation can only award grants to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. Individuals in need of assistance should dial 2-1-1 or visit 211now.org for information and referral through the United Way.

Application + Review Process

Each grant program has its own eligibility requirements, priorities, and grant application form. Please review the individual grant program guidelines to determine if your organization and/or need is a fit for consideration.

Grant applications are typically available online 1-2 months prior to the application deadline.

How do you apply to donor advised funds?

In most cases, there is no application process for donor advised funds. While the owners of these funds may ask for research or counsel, donors manage their own funds. Grant applications are accepted by invitation only.

How are grant decisions made?

The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation relies on community volunteers to make competitive funding recommendations. Independent advisory committees review all applications received and recommend awards to the organizations that best meet the granting criteria.

The advisory committees’ recommendations are reviewed and voted upon by the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation board of directors. Following board approval, all applying organizations will be notified of the granting decision. Generally, nonprofit organizations are notified within 90 days of the application deadline.

How are grants awarded?

Funding is awarded year-round from the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation to charitable community organizations, educational institutions, and government agencies. Some grants are awarded through a competitive application process whereas others are recommended by donors with charitable funds at the Community Foundation.

While competitive grant opportunities are often the most visible awards, they comprise a small percentage of all grants awarded by the Community Foundation annually.


Click HERE to apply for a grant. For questions regarding grant applications, please contact:



Director of Programs

[email protected]

(920) 426-3993