CCF Grantmaking Overview

Grants distributed by the Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota (CCF) take two forms: Donor-Directed and CCF-Directed.

Recipients of Donor-Directed grants are either identified by the founding donor of an endowment and restricted to those charities in perpetuity; or are recommended in real time by the advisor of a donor advised fund. CCF does not present applications or inquiries to founding donors, or to donor advised fund holders.

Recipients of CCF-Directed grants (also referred to as ‘discretionary grants’) are identified by CCF and recommended to the CCF Grants Committee of the Board of Directors for approval. Through CCF-Directed grantmaking, we strive to be a catalyst for strength and vitality in the Catholic community.

CCF-Directed Grants

$2.1M in FY21

Below are CCF’s current grant programs. Click the program name to learn more about program goals, grant eligibility, cycle dates, and amount awarded annually. 

Tuition Assistance Grant Program ($670,000)

CCF’s Tuition Assistance program provides grants to area Catholic elementary schools sourced from many different permanent endowments, all established to provide tuition assistance. The goal is to maximize access to a Catholic education for those who would not otherwise be able to afford it, and to support schools that can’t survive on the tuition revenue from their families. In accordance with the Catholic Social Teaching principle of subsidiarity, school leadership allocates the assistance among enrolled or interested families as they see fit. A school is eligible if more than 5% of its enrollment is comprised of students who qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch program as reported by the school to the archdiocese. Grants are allocated based on the relative financial need of the student body and the school. This is not a scholarship program; therefore, no grants are made to individuals.

Cycle: Funds are committed in February for payment in September. No applications are accepted.

Impact Grant Program ($317,000)

The goal of Impact Grants is to support the greatest spiritual, educational, or social needs in the community each year. After a year of facilitated discussions in 2019 and a community needs assessment, the Board of Directors has established the following impact goals for these grants:

Educational Impact
Build capacity of schools; in particular, to better serve low-income populations

Approximately a dozen grants are made each year for projects that strengthen local elementary schools in one of four categories: fundraising enhancements; marketing and enrollment initiatives; technology improvements; and small capital projects.  About half of the grants will be exclusively awarded to schools participating in the Drexel Mission School Initiative. Grants usually range from $8,000 – $10,000.

Cycle: Letters of inquiry are solicited in March.  Selected organizations will be invited to apply for a grant in April, grants are paid in June.

Spiritual Impact
Revitalize parishes through engagement and evangelization.

Spiritual Impact grants will be recommended in consultation with the Parish Vitality Advisory Committee now being formed at CCF.   Grants will support lay ministers and vital projects and ministries.  Recommendations will also be informed by the results of the local synod process.

Cycle: Grant cycle(s) will be announced at a later date.

Social Impact
Serve vulnerable populations through parish ministries, which provide volunteers opportunities for encounter and accompaniment.

CCF’s strategy for disbursing Social Impact grants is in development.

Cycle: Grants for this program are on hold.

Community Priorities Grant Program ($59,000)

In 1999, an endowment was established to benefit the most vulnerable in our community. The grants from this endowment, combined with current-year gifts, allow us to make annual grants which are awarded through a by-invitation-only competitive grants process. Charities are invited based on our understanding of their ability to meet the program’s goals, outcomes from previous CCF grants, and our own research which includes intelligence from our community partners.

Through the Community Priorities Program, CCF addresses a specific set of social needs in our community focusing on three distinct populations. About 8 grants are made annually, with grants ranging from about $8,000 – $12,000. CCF currently rotates the funding to address one the following populations each year:

  • Young Mothers in Crisis (FY23)
  • At-Risk School-Aged Youth (FY24)
  • The Elderly (FY25)

Cycle:  The proposal deadline is in August, for October grant checks. No unsolicited applications are accepted.

Field-of-Interest Endowment Grant Programs ($103,900)

These grants are made from endowment funds which were permanently restricted by the founding donor to support initiatives of his or her choosing. CCF identifies the recipients each year that best match the donor’s intention. We identify charities based on our own research and outcomes from previous CCF grants, as well as intelligence gained from our institutional relationships and philanthropic partners.

Grants of between $2,000 and $30,000 (depending on the size of the endowment) are made at the direction of the Grants Committee.

The following are descriptions of each Field-of-Interest endowment. If your organization benefits populations in the greater Twin Cities area, and it carries out the objectives of any of these funds, please contact CCF Vice President of Impact Meg Payne Nelson.

  • A comprehensive, intensive, residential program to prepare troubled youth (ages 16-20) to become self-sufficient, self-supporting, productive members of society. Provides independent living skills, education, vocational skills, social skills, and productive use of free time. Ideally includes job placement and mentoring, with spiritual development regularly available. ($48,000)
  • Building healthy communities in relation to mental health, health care, women and children in need, veterans and military personnel, and/or support for immigrant needs. ($13,400)
  • Capital improvements and other bricks and mortar needs for Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis. ($1,875)
  • Improvement and support of libraries in Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. ($5,625)
  • Program providing support for single parents to choose life for their unborn children including prenatal care, after-support, and education groups as well as adoption services. ($15,000)

Cycle: Distributions are made in April. No unsolicited applications are accepted.

Professional Development Grants for Catholic School Teachers ($7,800) and Lay Ministers ($23,000)

CCF awards grants of up to $750 for teachers or $1,000 for lay ministers for the following priorities.  Individual ministers and educators apply, and the parish or school acts as the fiscal agent for your costs.

  • Programs providing religious formation and instruction in catechesis for lay elementary and secondary Catholic school teachers.
  • Training and formation at the master’s level in pastoral studies or theology; or continuing ministerial education programs for lay and religious non-ordained ministers and permanent deacons; to provide them with strong theology and management skills.

Cycle: Applications for both programs are available online and deadlines are November 1, March 15, and July 1 for programs happening in the following semester.

Learn More

Preschool, Youth, and Young Adult Ministry Grant Programs ($54,300)

Quality preschool education and faith formation as well as parenting skills with topics such as faith formation of the child, discipline, Christian values, and importance of family ceremony and celebration. ($14,300)

Faith formation and spiritual development for children, youth, and young adults; professional development for volunteer catechists; youth ministries; faith formation in rural parishes; or youth service projects. ($40,000)

Cycle: Letters of inquiry are solicited in June. Selected organizations will be invited to apply for a grant in July, grants are paid in August.

Learn More and Submit an LOI

Public Library Grant Program ($15,000)

Grants to public libraries in the state of Minnesota for capital improvements and other brick and mortar needs, including infrastructure needs associated with technology improvements.

Cycle: Letters of inquiry solicited in December, for applications due in February, and grants paid in March.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to receive a CCF-Directed Grant?
We do not make grants to individuals. We do not award scholarships. CCF-Directed grants are restricted to organizations that directly benefit the 12-county metropolitan area. Grant recipients must be a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization or religious organization, with no programs or activities that are antithetical to Catholic Social Teaching.

Is CCF limited to funding Catholic organizations?
No. Grant recipients do not have to be Catholic organizations.

How do I apply for a CCF-Directed grant from CCF?
Please identify which of the grant programs described above is designed to fund your organization’s purpose.  Instructions for programs accepting letters of intent or applications are within each description.

How do you identify the organizations to invite?
If your organization benefits populations in the Twin Cities metro and might match the goals or purpose of a fund described above, and you’d like more information, please contact Vice President of Impact Meg Payne Nelson (651.389.0882 / nelsonm@ccf-mn.org ).

Have Questions?

Get in Touch

For more information about CCF-Directed grantmaking, please contact:

Meg Payne Nelson

Meg Payne Nelson
Vice President of Impact
651-389-0882
Email Meg