Seed Grant FAQs
Community Heart & Soul Seed Grants are available to cities and towns with populations between 2,500 and 30,000 that have not already begun Community Heart & Soul. Federally-recognized Tribal governments and small cities and towns from U.S. territories may apply. Communities outside of the population range will be considered on a case-by-case basis following a conversation with Community Heart & Soul staff (email us at [email protected] to schedule a call).
There are three main types of eligible applicant organizations: 1) local government; 2) 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations considered a “public charity” by the IRS; 3) informal resident-led groups. Local governments can include town, city or county government agencies, or Tribes that are Federally recognized as provided under the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe Act of 1994. 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations must be in good standing with the IRS and will be asked to provide a copy of their IRS determination letter. Informal resident groups may apply though they must have a fiscal sponsor who does have 501(c)(3) status and is willing to accept the grant. The fiscal sponsor must accept full responsibility for the Seed Grant and use the services of the local group to carry out the Community Heart & Soul program.
All applicants must demonstrate municipal support and must be able to receive grant funds or designate a fiscal sponsor to receive funds on their behalf.
There is no charge to use the Community Heart & Soul model. Most communities budget around $15,000 for engagement and programmatic costs. Additional funds are needed to pay for project coordination and services provided by a Heart & Soul Coach. On average, it costs $57,500 annually for two years to implement Community Heart & Soul. The Community Heart & Soul Seed Grant Guidelines provide additional detail on anticipated expenses (page 9).
It is important for community leaders to be engaged in Community Heart & Soul. Applicants are expected to secure commitment from the local governing body via an official resolution. For Community Heart & Soul to be the most effective, it needs bottom-up and top-down engagement.
Applicants must submit a letter of intent outlining the potential sources of matching funds. Eligible sources of matching funds include: municipal funding, other grants, donations, etc. In-kind support is not an eligible source for the match requirement. The match can come from a combination of these sources. A suggested format for the Letter of Intent for the Matching Funds Commitment is available for applicants (see template).
About 18 months to two years.
See page 31 of Getting Started with Community Heart & Soul: A Community Workbook for more information on project coordination, including examples of project coordination strategies.
Heart & Soul Coaches are trained by Community Heart & Soul staff to provide training, skill building and guidance to Heart & Soul teams. Successful grantees are required to contract with a Heart & Soul Coach. While fees vary between Coaches, on average, Coaching services cost $20,000 over two years. You can find a listing of all Coaches at: https://www.communityheartandsoul.org/coaches/.
It dovetails well. Community Heart & Soul can serve as the outreach arm of the comprehensive planning process to gather deeper, more meaningful information from the community, including from residents not previously involved. Many Comprehensive Planning Committees and Heart & Soul Teams will overlap so they can work together.
A list of benefits from Community Heart & Soul is provided in the Seed Grant Guidelines (page 3). Explore the Town Profiles on our website to read stories of positive community transformation through Community Heart & Soul.
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