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.

Join the Giving Circle of HOPE

Learn more about the Giving Circle of HOPE.

Nonprofits: Learn More & Apply

2019 Focus Areas

GCH awarded 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.

What is New and Different in the 2019 Collective Grants Program?

GCH is changing one component of its internal review process regarding eliminations of applicant submissions. As usual, there will be a Stage 1 Elimination for those applicants judged incomplete or those who do not pass a review for mission alignment or financial integrity. In addition, beginning in the 2019 Grant Review Process, there will be a Stage 2 elimination of those grants failing to achieve a predetermined minimum score during initial application review. Such grant applicants will be notified that they are not proceeding to on-site interviews. This change will eliminate a burden on GCH grant reviewers and on non-competitive applicants.


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.
  • Provide services 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 January 30, 2020 if you are awarded a 2019 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 January 1, 2020 and achieve completion no later than December 31, 2020.
  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 requires documentation.
  4. Applicants who received a 2018 and a 2017 Collective Grant from the GCH are ineligible to apply in 2019.

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 2019 application package
  • Applications that are late or incomplete

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 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 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 and Donna Whitaker at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 703-665-9334.