The Community Foundation of West Alabama

OVERVIEW: This funder supports a wide variety of issues in nine counties of Western Alabama. Unsolicited applications are accepted, and grants are awarded twice per year.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, arts and humanities, children and youth, health and medicine, environment, recreation, elder care, social welfare

IP TAKE: This funder's grants aren’t huge, but there are a lot of them, and they're very locally focused. Grantmaking has been increasing in recent years, and nearly any type of nonprofit should keep CFWA in mind for supplemental funding.

PROFILE: The Community Foundation of West Alabama (CFWA) was established in 1999 as an initiative of the Tuscaloosa Estate Planning Council. CFWA is headquartered in Northport, Alabama but has a P.O. Box in Tuscaloosa for its mailing address. CFWA has been giving over $1 million per year lately in charitable contributions. Recent financial information can be viewed here.

CFWA provides educational grants up to $500, with a November 1 deadline. The education grant application can be accessed online.

The other areas of interest for this funder are arts and humanities, children and youth, health and medicine, environment, recreation, elder care, and social welfare. There’s a separate grant application for these issues. Only organizations in the following counties are eligible for these grants: Bibb, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Pickens, Lamar, Marengo, Sumter, and Tuscaloosa. For all of these issues, grants are up to $1,500 and are due October 1 and April 1.

The foundation does not typically fund general operating expenses or ongoing program expenses. However, it’s not afraid to support the early stages of local pilot projects. Grant applications should be mailed or hand-delivered to the foundation. Past grants can be viewed by year on the website.

The foundation's Pillars of West Alabama program recognizes individuals who have given back to their community. It also manages the Elois Zeanah Endowed Scholarship, which is open to college sophomores at four-year colleges in Alabama.

The foundation is administered by a board of local citizens, and there are typically about 18 directors at any given time. There are also three staff members at CFWA. General questions can be directed to the staff at 205-366-0698 or glenn@thecfwa.org. That email will go to Glenn Taylor, who is the president and CEO of CFWA. He is the best point of contact for questions about the grant application process and also to whom you should address your grant application. Blog articles and Facebook posts can be viewed on the funder’s homepage.

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