Frequently Asked Questions

  • My organization/program is not from west central Minnesota. Am I eligible to apply for a grant from West Central Initiative?

    WCI only makes grants to organizations or programs that deliver specific services on a regular basis to residents of the following Minnesota counties: Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Traverse and Wilkin. Organizations headquartered outside this area may qualify for grants if they regularly deliver services within this region and the grant is focused on services provided within the region. WCI will not provide grants for buildings or equipment that will be located outside this region. It is very unusual for WCI to approve requests from organizations that want to expand their services into the region, unless local residents initiate the request and there is strong local support.

  • Does WCI make grants to individuals?

    Generally not, however our Leadership Diversity Program does make grants to help individuals cover costs associated with leadership training. Please see the program application materials for details.

  • Does WCI make grants to businesses?

    Legally, WCI cannot make a grant to a for-profit business without jeopardizing its own nonprofit charitable foundation status. We can help businesses meet the cost of retraining their workers, but the grant has to be channeled through a nonprofit or governmental organization. Please see the application for our WORKFORCE 2020 program for details.

  • If my grant is approved, how quickly will I receive the money?

    After a grant is approved, WCI will send a written grant agreement within one to two weeks. Awards up to $5,000 are usually paid in full within two weeks after the applicant signs and returns a copy of the grant agreement to WCI. Larger awards may be paid out in several installments timed to coincide with the project's cash-flow needs.

  • What reports are required after a grant is awarded?

    All grantees are asked to provide a final report that includes a brief narrative describing the outcome of the project and a financial report showing the overall project income and expense. Brief progress reports may also be required for large grants, grants extending over a long period of time, or grants subject to special conditions. If your project includes a study or some kind of publication, you are asked to send a copy with your final report.

  • How competitive is the grantmaking process?

    Some of WCI's grant programs are more competitive than others, and competitiveness changes over time. Please contact WCI staff at 800 735-2239 for more information about the competitiveness of the specific grant program that interests you.

  • Why does my local newspaper sometimes report that WCI funded projects don't seem to be eligible when I read your grant guidelines?

    You were probably reading about a grant from one of WCI's component funds. These are special funds WCI sets up to receive and distribute funds that have special donor restrictions. Each component fund has its own advisory board and its own guidelines for the types of projects it will fund. Most component funds can only be used in a specific community for very specific types of projects. WCI's grant guidelines describe the grant programs available throughout the region.

  • Does WCI fund controversial projects?

    WCI believes that effective solutions to most community problems require cooperation and collaboration among the affected parties. That's why WCI has a grant program to help communities bring people together to forge a common vision and plan for solving their problems. Sometimes it's not possible to obtain everyone's agreement on a course of action. In these cases, WCI may still decide to fund a project if there have been honest efforts to work collaboratively. WCI does not fund projects that take an adversarial approach to addressing community problems.