Walker Area Community Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports Walker County, Alabama, and the surrounding area, on the topics of arts and humanities, children and youth, education, elder care, environment, health and medicine, recreation, and social welfare.

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

IP TAKE:  Approach WACF for one-time project support, not for ongoing needs. The funder isn’t afraid of pilot projects either.

PROFILE: The Walker Area Community Foundation (WACF) is based in Jasper, Alabama, and is committed to giving back to Walker County and the surrounding area. The foundation dates back to 1995 when John T. Oliver, Jr., Pat Willingham, and the Community Health Systems Board earmarked $6 million from the sale of the Walker Regional Medical Center.

In a recent year, WACF contributed over $1 million in grant distributions. It has given out over $15 million since inception and has held over $23 million in assets. Broad areas of interest are arts and humanities, children and youth, education, elder care, environment, health and medicine, recreation, and social welfare.

Nonprofits can apply for grants by March 1 or September 1 each year. The competitive grants process includes the Community Fund, Bankhead Fund, Matthew Crump Fund, Reed Family Fund, Rotary Club of Jasper Fund, and the Samuel Lee Smith Advised Fund. It’s only necessary to apply once, not to each individually: all applications are considered by all funds. These are the only funds at the community foundation that accept grant applications.

The application process is conducted online—learn more about that in the FAQ section. WACF typically does not make grants for operating expenses unless they are to launch a pilot project, and it doesn’t fund recurring program expenses, either. View a list of recently funded nonprofits here. Yearly grantmaking usually exceeds $1 million.  

Other services WACF provides nonprofits include a resource directory, nonprofit council, and training sessions for staff and board members. Generation Walker is a foundation plan that involved a listening tour and identified external priorities for the foundation to focus on over the next three to five years. Each summer, the funder also teaches lessons in philanthropy through a partnership with the University of Alabama’s New College Partners for Action and Research in Communities. It’s an eight-week internship that connects students and nonprofits.

General questions can be directed to the staff at 205-302-0001 or contact@wacf.org. Individual staff members’ email addresses are listed on the Contact Us page. Keep up with the funder and its interests on its blog and news sections.

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