Foundation for the Carolinas Grants

OVERVIEW: This is a regional funder that serves a 13-county region in North Carolina and South Carolina. It distributes donor-advised funds and has a competitive grant program. Funding areas include arts, education, health, housing and animals.

FUNDING AREAS: Animal welfare, arts & culture, education, environment, health, housing, human services, social capital, nonprofit capacity building

IP TAKE: Grant seekers first step in getting involved with FFTC is to create an account on its online portal. This is the only way to search for grant opportunities that align with service areas.

PROFILE: The Foundation for the Carolinas (FFTC) was created in 1958 and is one of the largest community foundations in the U.S. The foundation claims $2.4 billion in total assets owned and represented, $192 million in contributions to funds, and $242 million in total grants to nonprofits. It seeks to inspire “philanthropy and [empower] individuals to create a better community.”

The foundation makes distributions from charitable funds that are held here and advised by families, volunteer boards, corporations, and nonprofits. In addition to the distributions that support designated organizations that these funds were established for, the foundation also has competitive grant cycles for its board and committees to make award decisions. Competitive grant programs vary quite a bit in terms of grant size, funding priorities, and application processes.

Aside from scholarships, corporate disaster relief, and financial hardship programs, FFTC does not make grants to individuals. The foundation’s online grant portal allows grant seekers to search for funds by geographic area, investment area and program name. Areas of funding include animal welfare, arts and culture, education, environment, health, housing, human services, social capital and nonprofit capacity building. The foundation’s online portal lists sixteen counties in North Carolina and five counties in South Carolina for consideration.

There are several competitive application processes held each year, and these processes are all conducted online. Grant seekers can check out the Grant Application Process page and the FFTC Online Grants Center Webinar to learn more about how this all works.

In a past year, the foundation awarded $242 million in grants to nonprofits, not only in the Carolinas, but throughout the entire U.S., as well. However, this is mostly due to specific donors’ requests. FFTC is still a regional community foundation that typically serves a 13-county region. In North Carolina, this includes Cabarrus County, Cleveland County, Iredell County, Lincoln County, Lexington Area, Mecklenburg County, Richmond County, Salisbury, Stanly County and Union County. In South Carolina, this includes Cherokee County, Lancaster County and York County.

Only about 10 percent of the foundation’s grants are made through the competitive grantmaking programs. The foundation also offers scholarship funds.

To get in touch with the staff, grant seekers can call the main line at 704-973-4500 or connect with specific staff members based on your questions. Grant seekers can also email with questions. Grant decisions are typically announced about two months after the application deadlines. Grant seekers can keep up with recent grants and foundation happenings in the funder’s Newsroom.


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