People who through their wills or during their lifetimes create charitable funds usually determine the scope of charitable causes that may be supported by the fund. Sometimes they give the Foundation board discretion to award grants to other charities in or serving Shelby County, Ohio. These ‘community granting’ funds may have few or no granting restrictions and their awards are determined through a competitive process based upon proposals submitted by local organizations.

Please review the Grant Guidelines each of the following grant programs for specific dates and steps in the process.

The Preliminary Proposal/Letter of Inquiry (LOI) for Fall 2023 is an online form. Organizations interested in completing a Preliminary Proposal need to first gain permission to apply by contacting Juli Smith, Scholarships and Grants Manager, at or calling during business hours at (937) 497-7800. When you are approved to apply, you will receive a code that will open the proposal within the online site.

Community Grants are available during two cycles a year. The Spring 2023 Grant Cycle is closed. Final awards for Spring grants were announced in late April. The Fall 2023 Preliminary Proposal is now open, deadline is Aug. 3, 2023. Final awards for Fall grants will be announced in late October.

Preliminary Grant Proposal/LOI Form – Deadline for the Fall Preliminary Proposal is August 3, 2023.
Grant Guidelines 2023

Community Grants are awarded to not-for-profit organizations who complete an online proposal that is the gateway to several of our unrestricted and field-of-interest granting funds, including the Community Impact Fund (general/unrestricted), the Roscoe Beanblossom Fund (youth), the F.I.S.H. Fund (food, clothing, housing, utilities, life-sustaining medications), Kermit T. & Ella M. Kuck Fund, John Douglas Long Blind Fund (blindness or serious vision impairment), The Memory Fund (children, seniors or veterans), Prime the Pump Fund in loving memory of Alma Wilson Allinger and Robert Lochard Allinger (community service organizations and Foundation initiatives), and the Shelby County Medical Services Fund (medical). If an organization’s proposal is awarded a grant, our Grants Committee will determine which of the above funds will support the grant award.

The Keep Art in Your HeART grants are available for arts educational programs benefiting children from Shelby County, Ohio in grades K-12. The programs may be visual, literary, musical or performing. The application will open August 1 and close on September 30, 2023.   A total of $1,500 is available and may be awarded in smaller amounts to support several requests.

Art Grant Guidelines 2023
Arts Grant Online Proposal Form

Grants will be awarded during two cycles a year. The Spring Grant cycle has been completed. The Fall 2023 is now open with a deadline of September 7. Final awards for the Spring grant cycle were announced in late April and Fall will be announced in late October. This granting program is restricted to organizations in or serving residents within the boundaries of the Botkins Local School District.

Louise Sheets Online Proposal Form – Fall 2023 online proposal will open on June 22, 2023
Louise Sheets Grantmaking Guidelines 2023
Application Tips
Questions & Answers about Applying

The Kermit T. & Ella M. Kuck grants are open to organizations in or serving residents within the boundaries of the New Knoxville Local School District. The application opened June 1 and will close on August 3, 2023. Awards will be announced in late October.

Kermit T. & Ella M. Kuck Online Proposal Form
Kuck Fund Grantmaking Guidelines 2023

Follow-up Grant Evaluation Report – For all Community Grants, K-12 Art Grants, Louise Sheets Grants, and Kermit T. & Ella M. Kuck Fund Grants.


Each grant program has its own application, which is available as an online form approximately 2 months before the stated deadline.
Please review each program’s grant guidelines for eligibility requirements, deadline dates and funding preferences. Grant proposals are reviewed by volunteer committees who recommend grant awards to the Foundation’s board of trustees for final approval. Generally, funding awards are announced within 6 weeks of the proposal deadline. In the case of the Community Grants, the announcement is usually within 6 weeks of the Full Proposal deadline.
Grant awards are typically paid in installments with 80% of the grant award paid upon the return of a signed letter of acceptance and 20% paid after the submission of a Grant Evaluation Report that verifies you fulfilled the proposed grant and any conditions.

Tax-exempt organizations as described in § 501(c)(3) of the IRS tax code, as well as government agencies, are eligible to apply for grants. Organizations that are not public charities may apply through a fiscal sponsor or, if incorporated as an Ohio nonprofit entity, by satisfying steps in our expenditure responsibility process. Organizations must serve residents of Shelby County, Ohio and surrounding areas. We are unable to award grants to individuals, except in the case of scholarships, which are awarded directly to the educational institution on behalf of the student, or if you qualify for vision assistance through the John Douglas Long Blind Fund (see application here).

The IRS Letter of Determination should be kept on file as proof of the type of status granted by the IRS. You can search the website to find if your organization has a current 501(c)(3) status. Go to the Charities and Nonprofits section and complete a Tax Exempt Organization Search. There are several types of 501(c) statuses and most are not eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. For instance, many service clubs have a 501(c)(4) status and a chamber of commerce often has a 501(c)(6) status.

Go to the Ohio Secretary of State website at and complete a Business Search using the name of your organization. If your organization type is shown as: Corporation for Non-Profit, this means only that your organization is recorded that way by the State. It does not give you the ability to receive tax-deductible gifts nor send out tax deduction receipts to your supporters. Filing for an Ohio Non-Profit Corporation recognition is one of the first steps to complete before applying to the IRS for a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. The Ohio certification must be renewed every five years to remain active.

A fiscal sponsor is a 501(c)(3) public charity or governmental entity that agrees to act as the sponsoring organization for a grantseeking organization that does not have a 501(c)(3) status.
A fiscal sponsor maintains full discretion and control over the funds received for a project and has the right to withdraw financial support from the project if its original goals are not being accomplished or the grant agreement is not followed. This means that the non-exempt group and the fiscal sponsor should maintain a good working relationship, and the fiscal sponsor should monitor the project in some way to ensure the funds are properly spent.

Unfortunately, with the exception of scholarships or limited vision funds, our granting funds cannot give to individuals. Please dial 211 to receive information and referrals for help through the Shelby County United Way’s 211 system.

Donor Advised Funds are unique charitable funds that allow the establishing donor, their family or a representative committee to have ongoing involvement to recommend grants to favored charities. There is typically not an application process for these funds, but you can request support in two ways:
1. Approach the donor personally. Treat them as you would any individual, couple, family or business you might approach for support. If they want to send support, they might give from their personal resources or contact the Community Foundation to recommend a grant from the fund they advise.
2. Submit a proposal through the Community Grants process. We send to our donor advisors a summary of all requests we receive in the Community Grants process. One of these charitable funds may select your grant proposal for full or partial funding.

We always appreciate recognition about funding awards! Please recognize the name of the awarding charitable fund, unless you have been notified of a naming preference. Some donor advisors prefer their personal name, fund name or anonymity on certain grants from the fund they established. If you are unsure, you can contact us for verification or state: The ______ Fund of the Community Foundation of Shelby County.