How to Apply for a Grant

We award grants to a full spectrum of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organizations – from social service to the arts to health and the environment – based upon worthy community efforts and the greatest community need. Generally grants are awarded to help launch new projects not addressed by existing organizations or to support special efforts of already-established not-for-profit organizations in the Dayton Region. The programs we consider for discretionary support are located primarily in Montgomery, Miami, Greene, Darke, Preble and Warren (north) counties.

The Dayton Foundation has designed a streamlined process to help you apply for a discretionary grant. Please review the following grant guidelines and application procedures. The size and number of grants awarded varies for each grant cycle. This is directly related to the amount of money available and the restrictions our donors place upon the use of certain funds. Additionally, grant awards typically do not exceed 25 percent of a project’s total budget and/or $75,000.

See a listing of recent discretionary grantees and how they are making a difference in Greater Dayton.


1. Ensure that your organization is eligible to apply for a Dayton Foundation discretionary grant.

2. Attend the Foundation’s Discretionary Grant Orientation to learn more about our grant process. Grant orientations are offered twice a year and recommended for all organizations that are planning to apply for a grant. 

3. Review the Foundation’s guidelines for discretionary grants.

4. Submit a Letter of Intent (LOI). The LOI provides the Foundation with an overview of your funding request. (Only one LOI per grant cycle is permitted per organization) If, after the Grants Committee has reviewed your LOI and determined that your project falls within our funding guidelines, you will be sent a full grant application.

Please Note: If your organization has received a discretionary grant from The Dayton Foundation, you must submit a final report on how the grant was used and have it approved by the Foundation’s Grants Department two weeks prior to the LOI deadline before you are eligible to apply for a new grant.

Nonprofit organizations interested in applying for a grant that will come from the Harry A. Toulmin, Jr. and Virginia B. Toulmin Fund should follow the Foundation’s existing discretionary grant application process outlined below.


Capacity-Building Grants

To strengthen not-for-profit agencies and institutions and provide for more efficient use of community resources, promote coordination, cooperation and sharing among organizations while reducing the duplication of services in our community.


  • Technical support to explore significant collaborations or mergers with other not-for-profit organizations
  • Community needs assessments
  • Impact studies
  • Marketing studies and surveys

Capital Campaign or Capital Improvement Grants

To help organizations expand services and capacity.


  • Capital campaign projects, including the purchase of real estate, construction, renovation and furnishings
  • Software for development/fundraising programs
  • Hard goods, such as special equipment, a bus, or a walk-in cooler (Download the policy here)
  • Office relocation expenses
  • Technology upgrades (Discretionary grants do not fund computer hardware, such as desktop computers or printers.)

Special Projects or Program Expansion Grants

For new projects or initiatives, to seed funding for strategic growth, or for an expansion of an existing project or initiative. Additionally these grants help an organization test or demonstrate new approaches and techniques for solving important community problems.


  • Educational efforts
  • Computer literacy programs
  • Artistic residencies
  • Urban redevelopment projects
  • Youth mentoring expansion
  • Diversity projects

Whom to Contact for More Information

If you have questions about our grantmaking process, please contact Michelle Brown, program officer, at (937) 225-9965.


The Dayton Foundation offers two discretionary grant cycles per year. All applicants are encouraged to attend a discretionary grants orientation.

    • What:

    • When?

    • Discretionary Grants Orientation
    • June 3, 8:30 a.m. - PASSED
    • Letter of Intent Due (selected nonprofits will be invited to submit full applications.)
    • July 10, 4:00 p.m. - PASSED
    • Full Grant Applications Due (for selected nonprofits only)
    • October 2, 2015 - PASSED
    • Grant Awards Announced
    • December
    • Discretionary Grants Orientation
    • November 4, 8:30 a.m.
    • Letter of Intent Due (selected nonprofits will be invited to submit full applications.)
    • January 8, 4:00 p.m.
    • Full Grant Applications Due (for selected nonprofits only)
    • TBD
    • Grant Awards Announced
    • June

Want to know more about our discretionary grants process? Attend an upcoming Grants Program Orientation.

See a listing of Foundation funds that accept grant applications.

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File date: 11.23.15


Barbra Stonerock

“We encourage those organizations planning to apply for a discretionary grant to attend our discretionary grants program orientation. There also are a number of endowed funds at The Dayton Foundation that not-for-profit organizations may apply to for grants. Click here for more information.”
Barbra Stonerock, vice president, Community Engagement, (937) 225-9951

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