Community Foundation of Abilene

OVERVIEW: This funder mainly supports community and youth causes in the Abilene, Texas, area. Field of interest funds can be applied for, touching on topics like pro-life education and mental health.

FUNDING AREAS: Community, children and youth, mental health, humane treatment of animals, strengthening neighborhoods, pro-life education and promotion

IP TAKE: With a population of 122,225, there are opportunities at CFA for all types of nonprofits serving Abilene. Funding topics and parameters are broad, so you can be creative with your pitch.

PROFILE: Based in Abilene, Texas, the Community Foundation of Abilene (CFA) is one of many community funders in the state. This foundation was established in 1985 with a $750,000 gift from the Dodge Jones Foundation. This private family funder wished for other people in the community to be able to establish endowments and give locally too.

This foundation has open grant cycles that local nonprofits can apply for. In a past year, for example, there was a field of interest grant cycle deadline in July, a fall discretionary grant cycle deadline in August, a Future Fund grant cycle deadline in January, and a spring discretionary grant cycle deadline later in January. The funder published a video tutorial for applications that is worth watching.

Discretionary grants are usually between $1,000 and $25,000 and go to a wide range of groups that benefit the Abilene community. Only local nonprofits receive these grants, and the application process is completely online. The Future Fund is a grantmaking program to benefit children and youth. A total of $15,000 or more is awarded in this program each year, with most grants between $2,500 and $5,000. Field of interest grants address topics such as mental health, humane treatment of animals, strengthening neighborhoods, and pro-life education and promotion. Each field of interest fund has its own guidelines and award amount ranges.

In addition to these grant cycles, CFA offers a Volunteer Fire Department Fund to assist rural and volunteer fire departments in the Texas counties of Taylor, Brown, Callahan, Coleman, Eastland, Fisher, Jones, Nolan, Runnels, and Shackelford. This fund doesn’t operate on a regular grantmaking schedule but gives funds as donations are received.  CFA awards scholarships as well. Donor-advised and donor-designated funds are not part of CFA’s competitive grant cycles.

Board members and community volunteers evaluate grants to make decisions about new grantees. Impact reports from previous years can be viewed here.

There are seven staff members at CFA—their email addresses and phone numbers are listed on the staff page. The best person to contact about grant cycles and guidelines is Michelle Parish, the grants director at mparrish@cfabilene.org and 325-676-3883, ext. 106.

General questions can be directed to the staff at cfainfo@cfabilene.org or 325-676-3383. The foundation’s mailing address is 500 Chestnut, Suite 1634, P.O. Box 1001, Abilene, Texas 79604. Keep up with foundation news and events on the funder’s website. Free past events cover topics such as how to raise more money with limited time and budget.

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