How to Apply for a Grant

The Dayton Foundation has designed a streamlined process to help you apply for a discretionary grant. Please review the following grant guidelines and application procedures.

Nonprofit organizations interested in applying for a grant that will come from the Toulmin Fund should follow the Foundation’s existing discretionary grant application process outlined below.

Read how recent discretionary grant awards are making a difference in Greater Dayton.

Want to provide a permanent source of income for your organization? Click here to learn the benefits of establishing an endowed fund through The Dayton Foundation.

Discretionary Grant Guidelines

We award grants to a full spectrum of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organizations – from social service to the arts to health and the environment – based upon worthy community efforts and the greatest community need. Generally grants are awarded to help launch new projects not addressed by existing organizations or to support special efforts of already-established not-for-profit organizations in the Dayton Region.

The Foundation gives priority to projects that meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • provide for more efficient use of community resources, promote coordination, cooperation and sharing among organizations and reduce the duplication of services in our community;
  • test or demonstrate new approaches and techniques for solving important community problems;
  • promote volunteer participation and citizen involvement in community affairs; and
  • strengthen not-for-profit agencies and institutions by reducing operating costs, increasing public financial support and/or improving internal management.

The programs we consider for discretionary support are located primarily in Montgomery, Miami, Greene, Darke, Preble and Warren (north) counties.

To be eligible for a grant, your organization must:

  • be recognized as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization, according to the Internal Revenue Code,
  • benefit the citizens in the Greater Dayton Region,
  • have a diversity/inclusion policy,
  • demonstrate systemic collaboration, and
  • address needs that are not met fully by existing organizational or community resources.

We generally do not award discretionary grants for:

  • general organizational operations
  • ongoing programs
  • individuals
  • scientific, medical or academic research projects
  • operational deficits or reduced or lost funding
  • religious/sectarian causes
  • scholarships or travel
  • fundraising drives
  • special events
  • political activities
  • public or private schools
  • endowment funds
  • hospitals and universities for internal programs
  • matching grants (unless local dollars are needed to fulfill a condition for a state or federal grant)
  • neighborhood or local jurisdiction projects
  • newly organized not-for-profit organizations
  • publications, including books, reports, research papers

Also, multi-year commitments rarely are considered.

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Discretionary Grants Program Orientation

If your organization intends to apply for funding from The Dayton Foundation, we highly recommend that you attend the Foundation’s discretionary grants program orientation. This free, 90-minute session will help explain the Foundation’s new grant application process and funding guidelines. We will have two orientations a year. Advance, online registration is required to attend the orientation.

To register for the next scheduled orientation, click here.

To Apply for a Grant

The first step in the Foundation’s new discretionary grant application process is to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) through our online LOI system. The LOI provides the Foundation with an overview of your funding request. If, after the Grants Committee has reviewed your LOI and determined that your project falls within our funding guidelines, you will be sent a full grant application.

Only one LOI per grant cycle may be submitted for consideration so that we can help as many not-for-profit organizations as possible. If your organization has received a discretionary grant from The Dayton Foundation, you must submit a final report on how the grant was used and have it approved by the Foundation’s Grants Department two weeks prior to the LOI deadline before you are eligible to apply for a new grant.

Click here to access the Letter of Intent system.

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Application Review and Approval

Our volunteer Grants Committee includes a diverse group of community leaders and members of the Foundation’s Governing Board. Along with our Grants and Programs staff, the Committee will review and evaluate your application and make a funding recommendation to the Governing Board, which has final approval.

The size and number of grants awarded varies for each grant cycle. This is directly related to the amount of money available and the restrictions our donors place upon the use of certain funds. Additionally, grant awards typically do not exceed 25 percent of a project’s total budget and/or $75,000.


We have two grant cycles per year. Upcoming grant application deadlines are:

  • June 3, 2015 - Grants Program Orientation
  • July 10, 2015 – Letter of Intent submission deadline

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Grant Notification

We will notify you in writing about the Governing Board’s decision. We cannot, however, provide feedback on individual applications regarding why funding was or was not awarded.

Whom to Contact for More Information

If you have questions about our grantmaking process, please contact Michelle Brown, program officer, at (937) 225-9965.

Endowment Funds That Accept Grant Requests from Nonprofit Organizations

There are a number of endowment funds established at The Dayton Foundation that nonprofit organizations may apply to for grants. Click here for more information.

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File date: 04.10.15


Barbra Stonerock

“We encourage those organizations planning to apply for a discretionary grant to attend our discretionary grants program orientation. There also are a number of endowed funds at The Dayton Foundation that not-for-profit organizations may apply to for grants. Click here for more information.”
Barbra Stonerock, vice president, Community Engagement, (937) 225-9951

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