Our Grants

The PATH Foundation offers several grant cycles during the year to help nonprofits and government agencies better our communities. Program and Planning Grants and General Operations Grants must align with one of our four areas of focus — access to health, childhood wellness and nutrition, mental health and senior services — to be considered. Make it Happen Grants and Technical Assistance Grants are not required to adhere to those principles, but both enhance vitality and service within our community.

Program and Planning Grants

PATH Foundation’s Program and Planning Grants are 12-month grants for new or existing projects related to one or more of the Foundation’s four priority areas: access to health; childhood wellness; mental health; and senior services. Applicants may request funding for up to $100,000, though most grants will be lower. Unrestricted general operations are not eligible for funding in this grant cycle.

To apply, organizations must have submitted a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) no later than November 4, 2016. The LOI is a preliminary proposal submitted through the Foundation’s online grant portal. Accepted applicants received an invitation in late January 2017 to submit a full application, which were due in late February. Award recipients will be notified in June 2017. Successful grantees must use funding within one year of award.

Eligible grant applicants include 501(c)3 nonprofits, religious institutions (for non-religious purposes) or local government entities in Fauquier, Rappahannock and northern Culpeper Counties. Applicants must also reflect the mission and values of the PATH Foundation.

“We’re very excited to fund community programs and planning efforts, especially those that meet our four priority areas—childhood wellness, mental health, senior services and access to care,” stated Christy Connolly president and CEO of PATH Foundation. “Some of the previous projects funded by these grants have included building handicap-accessible housing, education programming ranging from preschool through college, and offering dental services to low income patients.”

Be certain to take a moment to review the Program and Planning grant criteria below to ensure that your organization’s project aligns with the grant program’s parameters. Download the Sample Outcome Matrix and the Working Outcome Matrix.

Grant Criteria

The PATH Foundation recognizes that funding for programs and planning is very important to nonprofits. Careful strategic planning, board cultivation and the uninterrupted running of core organizational activities are essential to the success of thriving community institutions. Annual planning grants will be offered to nonprofits and public agencies with a track record of community impact and sound fiscal management.

Key Objectives:

  • Provide financial support for effective and essential programs for nonprofits
  • Encourage nonprofit boards and staff to engage in capacity building and leadership cultivation
  • Facilitate critical, long-range strategic planning

The PATH Foundation will consider requests that reflect its mission, values and four areas of focus:

  • Access to Health
  • Childhood Wellness and Nutrition
  • Mental Health
  • Senior Services

Organizations and their proposals must be engaged in addressing one or more of these specific areas. Additionally, funding is given greater consideration when the application demonstrates the intersection of four areas: need, opportunity, potential impact and collaboration.

Grant recipients must:

  • Provide an IRS determination letter confirming that they are exempt from federal income taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and are not private foundations; or
  • Be a religious institution; or
  • Be a local government entity.
  • The recipient can be a ‘fiscal agent’ for others, as long as the purpose is charitable.
  • Government entities may apply for planning grants but are not eligible for general operating (unrestricted) funds.
  • Organizations requesting funds for strategic planning may be established or emerging/new institutions.
  • Organizations (nonprofits and religious organizations) requesting general operating (unrestricted) support may be established or emerging/new institutions; preference will be given to applicants with at least three years of programming.
  • Proposals must benefit people and organizations within the Foundation's service area of Fauquier County, Rappahannock County and northern Culpeper County. Applicants may submit only one application per grant cycle. The maximum amount awarded for Program and Planning Grants is $100,000. Most will be lower. The PATH Foundation strongly encourages applicants to base their requests on demonstrated project design, rather than the allowable maximum. Funding must be used within one year of award.

Types of Requests Not Supported:

  • Grants to individuals, dinners, event sponsorship, or fundraising
  • Grants to private foundations
  • Faith-based institutions for religious purposes
  • For-profit entities or efforts
  • Short-term or temporary projects
  • Multi-year requests or programs that cannot be completed within one year

Process for Successful Grant Requests

The grant process consists of two steps: a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) open to all eligible applicants, and a full application by invitation.

All materials must be submitted on our website.

Timeline and process:

  • Applicant Requests Meeting with PATH Foundation Staff (optional)
  • Submit Letter of Inquiry (September 19 – November 4, 2016)
  • PATH Foundation Issues Invitation to Submit Full Application (January 2017)
  • Applicant Submits Full Application (due by February 27, 2017)
  • Final Determination and Notification (June 2017)

Letter of Inquiry

The LOI a preliminary proposal that asks the applicant to submit basic information about the organization, its history and mission, audience served and core activities. Additionally, applicants will be asked to provide information about finances, volunteers, staff and board. Organizations requesting funding for strategic planning will be asked to provide details about the goals and process proposed. Applicants will be invited to submit a Project Outcomes Matrix provided by the PATH Foundation for benchmarking purposes. The matrix is optional during the application phase but highly recommended.

In all cases, applicants will be asked to consider and address three key questions:

  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • How do you plan to do it?
  • How will you measure your outcomes?

Full Application

Applicants who are invited to submit a full proposal following successful review of the LOI will have approximately one month to complete the application. Building on the LOI, the application requests more detailed and expansive information about the organization, board participation, use of resources, budget and sustainability. Additionally, the Project Outcomes Matrix must be submitted with the full application.

Funding and Reporting

Funding to successful grantees must be used within one year of award. Grantees will be required to submit two reports during the grant cycle: an interim progress report and a final analysis detailing process, outcomes and lessons. Additionally, the Project Outcomes Matrix must be submitted or updated before the end of the grant cycle.

Apply Now   Find Past Recipients


General Operations Grants

General Operations grants are the PATH Foundation’s most competitive awards, providing unrestricted funding for the smooth running of strong nonprofits. The purpose of these grants is twofold: to empower exceptional nonprofits to expand, improve or pursue their best ideas; and to establish a shared standard of best practices to which any nonprofit, regardless of size, can aim. The deadline to apply was September 23, 2016. 

The PATH Foundation recognizes that support for general operations is some of the hardest funding to raise. Yet the uninterrupted running of core organizational activities is essential to the success of thriving community institutions. General Operations grants are the PATH Foundation’s most competitive awards. A small number of grants will be made to local nonprofits demonstrating the highest standards and principles in our community.

Eligible Activities

Funds may be used for any direct or indirect costs related to the nonprofit’s activities, including but not limited to payroll, rent, utilities, supplies and equipment, project costs, capital improvements, and planning. If you have a General Operations need that is not reflected here, please contact program staff. Activities for this grant period must be completed between January 1 – December 31, 2017.

Size of Grant Awards

  • Grants shall be calculated on a sliding scale based on the applicant’s operating budget. 
  • For organizations with annual budgets less than $100,000, General Operations Grants are limited to 20% or less of the previous year’s income.
  • For organizations with annual budgets of $100,000 or more, General Operations Grants are limited to 15% or less.

Submission Process and Deadlines

Nonprofits interested in applying for a General Operations grant should begin by reviewing the below grant guidelines and principles of best practice. If your organization currently meets or is working toward a majority of the grant’s rigorous criteria, you may enter our grant portal now, create or update your account profile, and view the application.

All applications must be submitted through our online grant portal. Paper submissions will not be considered.

General Operations Grant Guidelines 

To be eligible to apply for this grant opportunity, an organization must:

  • Be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in good standing with the IRS. Government entities and religious institutions are not eligible for General Operations grants;
  • Subscribe to Principles of Best Practice relative to nonprofit governance, finance, public disclosure and programming (see below);
  • Be a current or past PATH Foundation grantee in good standing; “grantee” means recipient of a competitive or capacity grant. Awards honoring retiring board members, Give Local matches, and participation incentives are not proof of eligibility;
  • Pursue a mission and activities consistent with the core funding priorities of the PATH Foundation:
    • Access to Health
    • Childhood Wellness
    • Mental Health
    • Senior Services
  • Have at least three years of stable leadership or have undergone a merger or other strategic restructuring within the past three years;
  • Demonstrate commitment to strategic direction-setting, such as an externally-guided strategic plan, feasibility study, participation in PATH Resource Center programming, enrollment in Nonprofit Academy or other comparable capacity development within the past three years; and
  • Be located within, or directly benefit the people and organizations of, the PATH Foundation’s service area of Fauquier County, Rappahannock County and/or northern Culpeper County, in Virginia.

Priority will be given to organizations with a proven culture of collaboration, strategic direction, and diverse funding resources. Previous support for an organization does not imply future funding or that general operating grants will be available in any given year.

Principles of Best Practice

The following principles represent a standard to strive for, not hard eligibility prerequisites. Even if your organization does not currently practice all of these standards, it may still be eligible for grant consideration. 


  1. The board acts for the good of the organization and adheres to fiduciary duties of loyalty, care, and obedience.
  2. The organization acts in accordance with its bylaws. Proper board meetings are conducted, and term limits are set for the service of the board members and officers.
  3. The nonprofit strives to have a governing board with a diversity of skills and experiences useful to understanding the needs of the communities served by the organization.
  4. The board has a minimum of two officers, president/chairperson and treasurer.
  5. The organization has adopted and implemented the following internal governance policies: conflict of interest, whistleblower, document retention and destruction, compensation of key personnel, gift acceptance and transparency.
  6. The board monitors and ensures compliance with all applicable federal and state laws, grant/funding requirements, quality of programs and services, and stewardship of resources (philanthropic giving, board composition, knowledge, skills and abilities of Executive Director). 


  1. The governing board approves an operating budget prior to the beginning of each fiscal year and receives financial reports at least quarterly.
  2. The budget is prepared in tandem with planning for programs and operating needs.
  3. Nonprofits with annual revenue in excess of $500,000 have the accuracy of their financial reports audited by a Certified Public Accountant. Nonprofits with annual gross revenue below $500,000 have their financial reports reviewed by a Certified Public Accountant.
  4. The organization does not have persistent or increasing operating deficits.
  5. The organization has sufficient liquidity to weather financial risk inherent in the business.
  6. The board has a ‘give or get’ expectation that 100% of board members will make or raise a financial contribution to the organization.
  7. The organization prepares timely financial statements including a statement of financial position and statement of financial activities that are clearly stated and useful for the board and staff.

Public Disclosure

  1. The organization produces an annual report and makes available to the public, in hard copy or electronic form, information about the organization's mission, program activities, and basic financial data as well as the names of the organization's board members and management staff.
  2. The organization must timely file IRS Form 990 annually. The board should approve IRS Form 990 before it is submitted.
  3. The organization must make the following available to the public: IRS Form 990 for the previous three years, including clear statements of program service accomplishments in Part III; and IRS Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption. 


  1. The organization responsibly uses its resources toward its mission and to benefit the community.
  2. The organization periodically reviews its mission. The organization evaluates whether the mission needs to be modified to reflect societal or community changes, whether its current programs should be revised or discontinued, and whether new programs need to be developed.
  3. The organization has a written job description for each employee that clearly identifies roles and responsibilities, and adheres to a stated non-discrimination policy.

Suggested Resources

Organizations that do not currently meet a majority of eligibility guidelines are encouraged to consult the PATH Resource Center and other regional/national organizations dedicated to nonprofit capacity to learn more about fostering strong nonprofit principles and practices.

PATH Resource Center (operated by Center for Nonprofit Excellence)

Independent Sector

Foundation Center

Apply Now   Find Past Recipients


Make It Happen! Grants

Make It Happen! was created to foster the can-do attitude of our region and promote creativity. We hope and expect to hear fresh ideas from new voices in the community. It shows how we can all share in a brighter future. There is no set grant cycle or application deadline. Applications are processed year-round on a first-come, first-served basis until funding for the fiscal year is exhausted. $250,000 will be available for this round of Make it Happen! Grants.

Basic Guidelines:

  • Grant recipients must be a recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit, a religious institution or a local government entity. The recipient can be a “fiscal agent” for others, as long as the purpose is charitable.
  • Projects must address community challenges or create new opportunities – no past or ongoing programs will be considered.
  • The project should have the potential to inspire and motivate the community.
  • Proposals must benefit people and organizations within the Foundation's service area of Fauquier County, Rappahannock County and northern Culpeper County.
  • Benefits must be concrete and tangible.
  • The project must impact a significant number of people.
  • Funds are to be used for charitable purposes and community benefit.

Grant requests can be made in two categories:

  • $10,000 and under (90 day projects)
  • $25,000 and under (Six month projects)

Funds granted to projects for $10,000 and under must be used within 90 days or less. Funds granted to projects for $25,000 and under must be used within six months or less. The recipient must report the use of funding and the results of the effort to the PATH Foundation within 30 days of project completion.

Apply Now   Find Past Recipients


Technical Assistance Grants

Technical Assistance grants may be used to offset the cost of a consultant, tool or skill that a nonprofit wants to strengthen or add, allowing it to operate more effectively. These grants strengthen organizations serving Fauquier, Rappahannock, and northern Culpeper Counties.

Basic Guidelines:

Grant recipients must be a recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit, a religious institution doing non-religious work, or local government entity. Proposals must benefit organizations within the PATH Foundation's service area of Fauquier County, Rappahannock County and northern Culpeper County. Grants will be awarded up to $10,000. Applicants are required to match 20 percent of the amount of funding requested.

What do we fund?

Leadership Expertise: Allows community teams (e.g., boards, working groups, staff) to either attend a leadership training activity or to bring a leadership trainer to the group. Leadership expertise can also provide funding for management assistance programs or workshops. Funds may be used for travel, attendance, or registration fees.

Planning Efforts for Effective Organizations: Engages a consultant to assist an organization with board development, staff development, organizational assessment, vision setting/strategic planning, developing goals/outcomes, budget management, marketing/communications, fundraising, grantwriting, software obtainment, and/or volunteer corps development. Funding builds the capacity of an organization to be more effective; not for a consultant to do the organization’s work.

Advancement of Collaboration: Supports collaborative learning and knowledge exchange. Funding is often used for a facilitator or consultant to bring together two or more organizations that will benefit from one another.

Timeline & Process

Applications must detail the work to be completed with anticipated results; specifically, addressing how technical assistance will most likely produce lasting and significant outcomes. Outcomes should focus on organizational changes; not solely grant outputs.

It is suggested that applicants discuss their proposals with the PATH Resource Center prior to starting the application process. While organizations may elect to contract with personnel from the PATH Resource Center, it is not a requirement. Organizations may select their own consultant.

There is no set grant cycle or application deadline for Technical Assistance Grants. Applications are processed year-round on a first come, first-served basis until funding for the fiscal year is exhausted. This year, $60,000 has been allocated for Technical Assistance. Applicants can expect to hear from the PATH Foundation within 30 days on the outcome of their proposal.




If you’re uncertain about how best to move forward, please contact our programs staff. Kirsten Dueck, Andy Johnston, or Margy Eastham would be happy to discuss any concerns or questions you may have. Call 540.680.4100 to speak with us today.