ZSR Now Accepting Applications for Community Progress Fund Grant opportunity to support local communities by providing short-term funding to help move an existing issue, idea or organization forward


The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (ZSR) is now accepting applications for its Community Progress Fund.

Sometimes, a local organization, idea, issue or project needs that extra boost at just the right time to continue to make progress toward an end goal. ZSR’s Community Progress Fund seeks to support local communities by making time-limited investments at key moments and is intended to build on existing momentum to help move an issue, idea or organization forward.

The Progress Fund allows communities to test ideas, expand promising efforts or achieve greater impact. ZSR hopes that engaging with community members through the Progress Fund grant cycle will allow the Foundation to support communities and better understand how different communities experience change, opportunity and challenges in unique ways. Thus, the parameters for this approach are intentionally broad. In addition, ZSR desires to be accessible to areas of the state that have relatively higher needs and fewer resources, and to support and learn from those communities as described above. Consequently, preference will be given to those areas of the state. Grant amounts range from $20,000-$30,000 per year for one or two years.

The Foundation’s goal is to award a significant portion of grants to organizations that are run by and primarily serve people of color; therefore, ZSR strongly encourages applications from these organizations.

“ZSR believes that meaningful change is generated at the local level, where community members use their experiences and connections to people and places to improve the world around them,” said Darryl Childers, ZSR Program Officer who oversees the Foundation’s Community-Based Strategy. “Our hope is to partner with organizations across the state to better understand each community’s unique assets and opportunities and ways in which ZSR can support community visions, plans and ideas to contribute to improving the lives of its residents.”

ZSR will begin accepting applications on October 4, 2021. (Please note: The application, which is relatively short, replaces the former Letter of Intent for ZSR's Community Progress Fund.) ZSR will review applications and contact selected applicants who will move to the next phase of the process, which includes ZSR staff scheduling in-person or virtual visits in these communities in Spring 2022 to learn more about their proposals. Grant decisions will be made in May 2022.

For more information about ZSR’s Community Progress Fund, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, visit: https://www.zsr.org/community-progress. The deadline to apply for a Progress Fund grant is December 6, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. (noon).

Please note that submitting an application is the preliminary step in introducing a proposal to ZSR. Therefore, it is not necessary to contact a ZSR staff member. Questions about ZSR’s Community Progress Fund should be directed to info@zsr.org.

ZSR’s Community Progress Fund is part of the Foundation’s Community-Based Strategy, which is one of three major strategies that comprise All For NC: Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation’s Framework for Grantmaking and Learning.