The Mini-Grant Program helps Mid-Hudson Valley nonprofits improve their internal operations, program development, administration, and management to better achieve their missions. Mini-grants enable nonprofit board, staff, and volunteer leaders to develop new skills by providing organizations with financial support to hire consultants to lead specific capacity building activities. Mini-grants may also be used to defray the cost of conferences, seminars, and other training opportunities for staff and board.
To be eligible for funding, an organization must be a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization or library based in the Mid-Hudson Valley (Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, and Ulster counties). Funding from the Mini-Grant Program is not available for individuals, government entities, private/independent schools, or public school systems. Please note that the Dyson Foundation does not generally provide management assistance funding to faith-based organizations. However, faith-based organizations and religious institutions interested in submitting requests for mini-grants should see our Funding Restrictions for Faith-based Organizations or Programs.
Applications are reviewed on an on-going basis. Funded activities must take place within one year of funding, and organizations are limited to one mini-grant in a calendar year. Grants will be awarded based on a competitive review of the applications.
The Dyson Foundation particularly encourages applications from organizations that:
- have an annual operating budget of less than $1 million;
- were founded less than 10 years ago;
- are in transition (e.g., significant growth, changes in staff or board leadership, reorganization, or other similar circumstances);
- have not received prior mini-grant funding from the Dyson Foundation.
Examples of how funds might be used include:
- facilitation of a strategic planning process;
- resource development planning;
- training for board members;
- developing a marketing and communication plan;
- establishing or improving fiscal systems;
- developing personnel policies or personnel management training;
- attending a relevant conference or seminar;
- technology planning.
Organizations considering the use of any consultant may want to review How to Hire a Consultant (PDF, Word).
In reviewing requests for funding, proposals will be evaluated based on clarity, the need and reasoning for the proposed consultancy or training, the quality of the proposed event or the potential for the consultant's work to advance the organization, and the commitment of the organization to implement recommendations and adopt new skills.
The Dyson Foundation Mini-Grant Program will generally NOT fund:
- the purchase or installation of hardware and/or software;
- training as required for organizational licensing or individual professional certification;
- staff time;
- grant proposal writing;
- consultancies or training opportunities already in progress or completed;
- the same type of project more than once (i.e. the same organization cannot receive more than one grant for marketing/communications, or to attend the same conference/training again).
First, review our How to Apply page for general guidance. Then follow the instructions on our Grants Portal to submit a letter of inquiry for Mini-Grant Program funding. Please be sure to submit your application at least a full month before the beginning of your proposed capacity-building activity.