Learn more about how we can support your efforts to enact positive change in our region through our grantmaking and grant application process. We work with you to help turn your inspiration into reality!

Learn more about how we can support your efforts to enact positive change in our region through our grantmaking and grant application process. We work with you to help turn your inspiration into reality!

Supporting the Future

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan was established in 1984 for the betterment of the residents of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair and Livingston counties.

To us, southeast Michigan is more than a geographic region — it’s the place we call home. Because of that, we have worked hard to build a strong understanding of how it can be improved.

Over the years, we have helped to create and fund numerous projects that improve the lives of those who live here.

We seek to make strategic investments in the community, and look to partner with nonprofit organizations to help create enduring solutions to complex problems. Effecting change requires both passion and measured thought, and we work hard to find proposals that encompass both.

As we do our grantmaking, we are committed to honoring the intentions of our many donors and creating solutions that make an everlasting, positive impact.

Above all else, we are keenly interested in what inspires you. We look forward to hearing your ideas for turning our vision for a healthy and prosperous region into reality.



Grantmaking Priorities

While the Community Foundation has a large footprint in terms of the types of organizations we fund, there are four common priorities that we look for in any application, no matter how large or small, and no matter what topic area.


We view sustainability in two ways. First, we want to support projects and ideas that are tied to a longer-term vision for an organization. We do not want to make grants for projects that end the moment the grant is over. We will look closely at the overall financial health of your organization, as well as your programmatic and fundraising visions. We  want to support you at key moments in time along your path as a growing organization—helping to put new strategies in place, or building out existing strategies in more comprehensive ways.

Second, we look to see that organizations are thinking about sustainability in a more global sense, meaning that programs, policies and practices produce efforts that are sustainable for our environment and residents. By this we mean that efforts should help meet the needs of the present, but that they also keep in mind the needs of the future by being socially equitable and mindful of environmental impacts.

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Regional Impact

We actively serve a seven-county area and think about issues from a regional perspective. While we know that every grant we make will not touch all seven counties, we are particularly interested in projects that serve a large portion of the region, build relationships across communities in the region, and/or serve to test a new model in a specific geography that could later be adopted by other nonprofit organizations in the region.As such, we would encourage you to highlight in your proposal the geographies that you serve and any active partnerships you have with other organizations in southeast Michigan that are related to the project you are applying for.

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We want our funds to help you leverage other dollars into your organization and within the region. That’s why we look closely at proposals to understand what kind of leverage will occur. With some organizations, that might mean utilizing a grant from the Community Foundation to serve as a private match to federal funds. For others, it might mean using a grant to rally individual donors around a project. Whatever your approach, it is important for us to understand your strategic thinking about how you would leverage grant funds to ultimately build your fundraising capacity in other ways.

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Beyond leveraging dollars, we like to see good models, ideas and human resources leveraged. Proposals that include meaningful collaborations between nonprofit and/or government entities (when it makes sense) can take many different forms. We have funded collaborative projects for organizations with similar missions, but located in different geographies. We have also funded projects for organizations with very different missions, but whose collaborative project is of interest to them both.

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The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is always looking for effective program and project ideas that can improve life in southeast Michigan, specifically in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair and Livingston counties.

Our grants support a wide range of projects and organizations. As our potential partner, you simply need to read these guidelines and then, if you think there is a potential fit, please call and discuss your idea with us. We value your time and do not want you to spend unnecessary hours and resources preparing a proposal unless there is a clear possibility of working together.

Step 1: Review the Grantmaking Guidelines

Download our grantmaking guidelines to learn more!

Review the Grantmaking Guidelines

After reviewing these guidelines, potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Community Foundation to discuss a proposed project before submitting a proposal. Organizations can call 313.961.6675 and ask to speak to a program officer.

Step 2: Start an Application

Once you’ve reviewed our grantmaking guidelines and spoken with a program officer it’s time to start your grant application.

Start an Application

Step 3: Finish an Application

You can return to your application at any time via the link below.

Return to Your Draft Application


If you have any questions about our grantmaking, please feel free to call 313.961.6675 and ask to speak to a program officer.