Guidelines for Grant Applicants

General Information

To be considered for support: (a) an organization must be tax-exempt under IRC 501(c)(3); (b) your proposal must fit within our Foundation's Mission Statement; and (c) your proposed expenditure must address one or more of our Foundation's Areas of Interest.

Our Board will give preference to proposals that show collaboration between and among nonprofit organizations and/or governmental and/or educational agencies or institutions, and where the funding requested will be used for matching or challenge grants.

Our Foundation is conditionally prohibited from recommending that grants be made directly to governmental agencies or educational institutions.

Except as indicated below, our Foundation generally does not support an organization's ongoing operating expenses, retirement of debt, capital projects (building and remodeling, equipment purchases, etc.), endowments and general appeals for funds, or projects for which third-party reimbursement is available.

Our Foundation should not be perceived as a permanent or long-lasting source of funding for an ongoing project or program. Where appropriate applications should describe a plan for funding ongoing projects after the expenditure of our Foundation grant funds.

Grant application deadlines set forth below are mandatory. You are urged to consider the timing of your projects to coincide as closely as possible with those deadlines.

Awards of less than $3,000 will no longer be considered. Awards of $45,000 or more will only be made as Community Initiatives, as set forth below. Funds will be awarded, if at all, depending upon the significance of the project and our available funds.

Types of Awards and Guidelines

In 2015, our Foundation's Board revised our general philosophy for recommending grants beginning in 2016. The primary emphasis for our Foundation grants will be the degree to which the proposals set forth significant and positive impacts on certain critical issues in the La Crosse County area. These issues include food insecurity, neighborhood deterioration, homelessness, early childhood literacy and the enhancement of educational opportunities to those for whom financial barriers prevent the registration, attendance and completion of their degree or certification goals.

In order to better address these issues, our Foundation will be recommending grants annually to organizational and collaborative grant applicants as follows:

Standard Foundation Grants:
$60,000 in grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations submitting grant requests of between $5,000 - $10,000.

Each year, approximately $20,000 in grant funds will be made available based upon applications received by April 1st for funds to be distributed in May, with similar amounts being made available based upon applications received by July 1st for funds to be distributed in August, and by October 1st for funds to be distributed in November. We recommend that interested applicants meet with Foundation Staff in advance of submitting a grant application so they can be assured that their proposal meets Foundation criteria and/or to obtain advice concerning the proposal. Grant applications will need to be based upon Foundation's Areas of Interest which are described on our Foundation's web-site.

Learn more about our Standard Grant Awards

Coulee Collaboration Award:
Each year, our Foundation will consider applications for our Coulee Collaboration Award. This $100,000 grant is designed to provide funding to a La Crosse County nonprofit organization acting as the coordinator for a collaborative group of non-profit and/or governmental and/or profit-based organizations, which devise a project, program or strategy seeking to address the issue or topic announced by the Franke Foundation in March of the preceding year. Whereas Franke Foundation funding is generally not available for operating expenses, financing costs, equipment and supplies, etc., there are no such limits with respect to our Coulee Collaboration Award. Each application will be judged based upon the overall impact of the project or program upon the issue being addressed. The application process and submission procedures will be available on the Franke Foundation website. The successful applicant will be presented with their award at a public event to be held in March of the year following the announcement of the topic of the award.

Learn more about our Coulee Collaboration Awards

Community Initiative Awards:
The Foundation will be offering "Community Initiative Awards" each year. These Awards will be up to $45,000 and are in the nature of venture grants. The Award (or Awards) given in May, will be given to a nonprofit organization whose application describes a proposed project or program dealing with one or more issues affecting youth, including, without limitation, early childhood literacy and/or the enhancement of educational opportunities to those for whom financial barriers prevent the registration, attendance and completion of their degree or certification goals, food insecurity, neighborhood revitalization efforts, violence prevention and alternatives, addiction-related problems, homelessness, job and/or job-skills opportunities, youth mentoring, recognizing, educating about and eliminating racism and prejudice in schools and neighborhoods and fostering healthy living lifestyles. The Award (or Awards) given in November, will be in recognition of the success of the applicant during the preceding year in dealing with issues referenced above, but not necessarily focusing on youth in our La Crosse area community. While not required, additional weight will be given to applications indicating collaboration with other agencies and/or organizations and those which add value to the project, program or organization in excess of the dollar amount of the award.

Learn more about our Community Initiative Awards

Franke Foundation Matching Funds:
The Foundation will make $100,000 available each year to enhance fundraising efforts by area nonprofit organizations. Whether it is in relation to a fundraising event or drive, the Franke Foundation will agree to match prize awards, donation goals, etc. up to certain predetermined amounts. For example, if CMN is holding a fundraising event, Franke Foundation funds may be advertised as being available to match a specified amount during a particular time-period of the event. Similarly, if there is a charity auction, Franke Foundation funds may be available to match the value of bids for one or more items. The options are limited only by one's imagination. All proposals for such matching funds must be submitted to Foundation Staff in a specific application format (which will be available on the Franke Foundation Website by April, 2016. Awards will be made available based upon applications received by April 1st for funds to be distributed in May, July 1st for funds to be distributed in August, and October 1st for funds to be distributed in November. For events or drives scheduled between November 20th and May 20th, applications will have to be submitted by either October 1st of the preceding year or April 1st of the current year since no matching funds will be available after the November awards date until the following May's award date. You must submit your applications with these parameters in mind.

Learn more about our Matching Grant Awards

Robert and Eleanor Franke Charitable Foundation