Grants & Scholarships

Giving Circle of HOPE

Collective Grants Program

Giving Circle of HOPE
The Giving Circle of HOPE creates positive change in Northern Virginia through engaged and collective philanthropy by directly benefiting people in need, where “need” refers to those who have low-income, are disadvantaged or are under-served. Organizations with an operating budget equal to or less than $1 million are eligible to apply.

Joining the Giving Circle of HOPE

The Giving Circle of Hope welcomes you to our community of Givers!  We are currently planning some exciting changes for 2021, with the challenges of the ongoing pandemic in mind.  These changes will make it easier to join, attend meetings, and use our collective giving power to support Northern Virginia non-profits.

Stay tuned for more information on how to join us!

Learn more about the Giving Circle of HOPE.

Nonprofits: Learn More & Apply

2021 Grant Cycle Notice

Due to the pandemic, GCH will be delaying the grant application process. Grant applications will NOT open on 1 November 2020 as previously indicated. More information to come in the months ahead. Thank you.

2021 Focus Areas

GCH awards grants of up to $7,000 to local nonprofits in two focus areas defined as follows:
  • Health, Mental Health and Aging including: Crisis Services related to Abuse (e.g., Substance and Domestic Violence); Disabilities and Special Needs; Help the older population age in place and support older adults who are low income or vulnerable; Mental Health; and Dental, Medical and Pharmaceutical Services.
  • Poverty Relief including English Language Proficiency and Literacy for Adults and Children; Ex-Offender Re-Entry; Eviction and Foreclosure Assistance; Housing and Shelter; and Job Training and Workforce Development.

Types of Grants

Applicants may submit a single application for either a Capacity Building Effort (CBE) Grant or a Project Grant:

  1. CBE Grant. An activity that improves and enhances a nonprofit’s ability to achieve its mission and sustain itself into the future. Examples include, but are not limited to, developing a strategic plan, communications plan, IT strategy or plan; investments in technology; leadership succession planning; and a social media or marketing strategy. A request for a CBE must be for a deliverable in the GCH’s designated service area (i.e. Alexandria City, Arlington County, Falls Church City, Fairfax County; Loudoun County, Manassas Park/Manassas Park City, Prince William County, All Northern Virginia.)
  2. Project Grant. A stand-alone activity that is not linked to a program or if linked to a program, demonstrates how the goals objectives and outcomes support those of the program.

Be One of the Helpers 2020 Grant Campaign

Inspired by Fred Rogers’ words we launched Be One of the Helpers to provide funds to nonprofits in crisis while still giving together to achieve more. This is similar to our collective giving event Together We Give and replaces our 2020 July –November grants cycle.

In order to maximize our impact, we are focusing on areas of immediate need: Food, housing, and emerging needs. Be One of the Helpers grants will help three nonprofits provide much-needed services and programs to those most affected by this crisis. We will announce the winners in July 2020.


GCH will consider grant applications that meet the following criteria:

Applicants must:
  • Meet the mission of the Giving Circle of HOPE to create positive change in Northern Virginia by directly benefiting people in need, where “need” refers to people who have low income, are disadvantaged, or are under-served.
  • Be a 501(c) (3) organizations providing charitable or educational services. Local, state, and federal government entities are not eligible to apply. Must hold own 501c3, not under a parent organization.
  • Provide services to residents in all of Northern Virginia or in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties, or in the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church and Manassas/Manassas Park.
  • Have a Total Organization Financial Budget excluding in-kind services equal to or less than $1 million.
  • Commit to submission of a Project Post Grant Evaluation or a CBE Post Grant Evaluation no later than July 1, 2022, if you are awarded a 2021 grant. Guidelines for this report will be included with your grant award.

In addition, applicants should be aware that:
  1. Only grant requests for Project or CBE efforts will be considered. Such projects or CBEs should be implemented in the time period between July 2021 and achieve completion no later than June 30, 2022. The majority of funds must be spent during this time.
  2. Funding may be used to support, expand, or enhance existing programs or to start new programs.
  3. Grant requests may be up to $7,000 and the Project or CBE budget may not exceed $70,000, all of which require documentation.
  4. Applicants who received a 2019 and a 2020 Collective Grant from the GCH are ineligible to apply in 2021.

Not Eligible for Funding

GCH does not fund:
  • Grant requests that exceed $7,000
  • Organizations, projects or programs that promote a particular religious or political ideology
  • Capital improvements, endowments, or scholarship awards
  • Dinner galas, advertising, and other special fundraising event
  • General operating expenses of an organization
  • Intermediary funding agencies
  • Funding for direct payment for housing or food
  • Organizations that have received a GCH grant for the previous two consecutive years
  • Previous GCH Grantees who have an outstanding interim or final grant evaluation due which is not submitted with their 2021 application package
  • Applications that are late or incomplete will not be considered

Giving Circle of HOPE Gives Preference to ...

Organizations that:
  • Utilize volunteers and leverage resources
  • Work with and through multiple sectors (nonprofit, government, corporations and individuals) to create more impact than they could on their own
  • Demonstrate a willingness to raise funds independently and in a variety of ways
  • Have engaged & diverse boards (including members from the community, government, corporations & clients)

Projects that:
  • Do more than give resources to their clients; they provide them with new tools, techniques or skills
  • Have a long-term impact on the population served
  • Are based on proven models of effectiveness and then innovate to create better applications of those models
  • Are creative, innovative and collaborative

Capacity Building Efforts that:
  • Improve and enhance their ability to achieve their mission and sustain themselves into the future
  • Strengthen their performance and impact on the community
  • Provide more or better services to their clients
  • Increase their visibility and outreach possibilities in the community

How to Apply

To apply, update, or submit a grant application, access the grants portal here:
Grants Portal

You will be instructed to set up an organizational profile before applying. If your organization has applied in the past, please contact the Community Foundation staff to gain access to the organization profile that was already established. Please do not set up a new profile unless you are sure your organization has not applied previously.


If you have any questions, please contact GCH Grant Co-Chairs Karen Baer, Laura Eckhardt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 703-665-9334.