How Stuff Works: CFNLA Grants

by | Oct 2, 2019 | News

Each fall, the CFNLA grants team works hard to intake, process, and review more than one hundred competitive grant applications during our two-stage application process (in 2019, we received 120 grant applications). As grantmaking is one of the key roles of the Community Foundation, we often receive questions about how our grant review process works. Take a look at the timeline for our Competitive Grants Process and a list of frequently asked questions below. If you would like to know more, check out or contact our office at [email protected] or 318-221-0582.

Competitive Grants Timeline
  • July – Our Chief Grants Officer, Liz LaBorde, hosts multiple training sessions to help organizations prepare for the application process.
  • August 1 – Stage One applications open.
  • August 21 – Stage One applications close.
  • September – CFNLA forms committees of area experts, community leaders, and engaged citizens to review all Stage One applications by service sector. These committees meet once a week for a month to review applications, ask questions, and make recommendations for Stage Two invitations.
  • October – Organizations are notified if they are invited to submit at the Stage Two application phase.
  • October 15 – Stage Two applications open.
  • November 15 – Stage Two applications close.
  • January-March – CFNLA staff reviews Stage Two applications, follows up with applicants regarding questions about programming, and conducts site visits with applicant organizations. The applications and any follow-up materials are compiled for the CFNLA Board of Directors’ review.
  • March-April – The CFNLA Board of Directors reviews the Stage Two applications and makes final grant award decisions.
  • April – All applicants are notified of funding decisions. Grant recipients are announced publicly at the Community Foundation Annual Meeting, held annually on the last Tuesday of April.


Frequently Asked Questions

What types of programs does the Community Foundation fund?

The Community Foundation funds programs in a variety of service sectors, including Arts & Culture, Economic Development, Education, Environment, Health, and Human Services. We also have an application category for small and emerging organizations. To see a list of last year’s competitive grant recipients, click here.

How much funding is awarded through the Competitive Grant Process?

In 2018, $3,063,952 was granted through our Competitive Grants Process. These grants ranged in size from $5,000 to $300,000, with an average grant size of $45,000. The total amount of grants awarded varies each year and is calculated annually based on a percentage of the Foundation’s endowment and investments. Learn more about our financials here.

How are the final grant recipients decided?

All grant applications are reviewed thoroughly and are evaluated based on a number of factors. Among these are the program’s expected outcomes, whether or not the program is addressing a community need, and, for existing programs, the success of past outcomes. The Community Foundation annually publishes a data report, Community Counts, that serves as a report card on the quality of life indicators in Shreveport-Bossier. The Foundation uses this report to recognize areas of need and guide us in grantmaking decisions.

During Stage One, grants are reviewed by committees of area experts and leaders. The committees recommend which applications should be advanced to Stage Two. Stage Two applications are reviewed by the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors and staff members. The CFNLA Board of Directors ultimately determines which programs receive grant funding.

Who is eligible to receive a competitive grant?

While some eligibility requirements vary by grant type, all applicants must have tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code and must serve Caddo and/or Bossier Parishes. Additionally, all applicants must be in good standing with the IRS regarding their Form 990 filing requirements. For a full list of eligibility requirements, visit to explore all grant opportunities.

Are there other grant opportunities available outside of the Competitive Grant Process?

Funding that is issued from the Community Foundation to a nonprofit organization is considered a “grant.” The Community Foundation makes a variety of grants year-round, including donor advised grants, grants from agency endowments, and designated grants. Many of these grants are made from restricted funds, which are funds that are reserved for a particular purpose. The grants made through the Competitive Grants Process are from unrestricted funds.

The Community Foundation only solicits grant applications once annually through the Competitive Grants Process. Regardless of whether or not an organization has received funding through the Competitive Grants Process, all North Louisiana 501(c)(3) nonprofits are invited to participate in Give For Good, an online fundraising challenge held by the Community Foundation each May.


Have a question that we didn’t answer here? Contact the Community Foundation staff at [email protected] or (318) 221-0582.