creative community solutions

North Dakota’s Community-Based Grant Making Program


In early 2022, the Bush Foundation announced Strengthen ND as one of its four partners to develop, implement, and evaluate a new funding initiative: Community-Based Grantmaking Programs. Strengthen ND’s approach is to deconstruct current inequitable and ineffective systems involved in philanthropy by increasing the accessibility and flexibility of available charitable dollars, leaning into the spirit of “community innovation” as demonstrated in North Dakota’s many diverse communities, and elevating fellow North Dakotans to design the criteria and make decisions about how the funds will be invested.

application process


Pre Application/Inquiry

Any organization or collaborative is invited to express their interest in submitting a grant application by reaching out to a member of the Strengthen ND team.  

Initial application

Organizations and collaboratives will be invited to either submit 1) a two-page general project summary proposal OR 2) a short three- to five-minute video (not produced; voice recording will suffice) explaining their project.  The two-page project summary or video will need to be submitted by the June 30, 2022 deadline to be considered for funding.

Due Diligence

A member of the Strengthen ND team will meet with each applicant to gather additional information. A standardized interview and notes form will be utilized to ensure consistency.  The interview/due diligence notes will be combined with the initial application (written or video) and then sent to the Creative Community Solutions Grantmaking Committee for review.  

Grantmaking Decision

Once all members of the Committee have had a chance to review and ask follow up questions, Strengthen ND will convene the entirety of the committee to discuss each project and make an investment decision.




grant making schedule

2022 Schedule

June 30th, 2022

September 30th, 2022

2022 decisions

By July 31st, 2022

By October 31st, 2022


Religious institutions for non-religious purposes

501 (c)(3)  organizations

Government agencies

*Because of our 501(c)3 status and IRS regulations, Strengthen ND will not make grants to individuals or organizations that are not tax-exempt. HoweverStrengthen ND will support any interested individuals and/or organizations without tax-exempt status to build collaborative partnerships with tax-exempt entities in order to apply.*


The Creative Community Solutions Grantmaking Committee will entertain financial requests of up to $300,000 for up to a six-year timeframe. Grant requests for less than $300,000 and on a timeframe shorter than six-years will also be considered.

What we won’t fund

  • Requests for projects that support beneficiaries outside of North Dakota and the Native Nations that share our geography
  • K-12 core curriculum and related in-school resources
  • Religious programs for the purpose of religious education or proselytization
  • Municipal infrastructure projects, for example:

Fire trucks

Ambulances and related emergency-response equipment

  • Sporting teams and events
  • Sponsorships for events
  • Servicing or paying off previously incurred debt or expenses
  • One-time experiences, including conferences, convenings, trips, etc
  • To bring a building or program into government compliance
  • Any program or project that discriminates on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, or national origin

Inquiry and Initial Application

Strengthen ND’s team will provide technical assistance reflective of the organization’s stage of innovation. It is during this time that a potential customized Kitchen Cabinet will be outlined for the organization’s project and stakeholders.

Developing: Inclusive, Collaborative, and Resourceful

Grant Received - Project Underway

Each grant recipient will be provided with a customized Kitchen Cabinet, which will consist of 3-5 subject-matter-experts who may help connect and facilitate additional resource generation for the organization. Kitchen Cabinets will gather with the grantee virtually no more than two times per year. Further, grant recipients will be connected through an annual peer learning and networking gathering.

Testing & Spreading

Grant Received - Project Underway and Completed

To further amplify the results of the grantmaking program, grantees will gather annually for an evaluation and storytelling convening, where the lessons learned from each project will be highlighted. Further, press placements and project testimonials will ensure that the results of the projects are widely disseminated.

Testing & Spreading


Contact us to discuss your program or project!

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