Community Grants

Community Grants

Each year the Madison Rotary Foundation awards grants to Madison community tax-exempt organizations.  Application availability is announced in October and are then due in early December.  The Foundation’s Community Grants Committee reviews the applications and notifies agencies of their decisions in March of the following year.  To receive a Community Grants Application, you may download it from the “Forms” section of this web site or contact the Rotary Club of Madison.  (Please review the grant criteria below before requesting an application.)

The Board receives many more requests than the Foundation has the money to fund.  Also, some of the requests are judged to be inappropriate for the use of Foundation Funds.  It is also important to ensure that the Foundation funding is really making a difference in the community and that it is strengthening the recipient, rather than propping it up, only to become more dependent upon future grants from the Foundation.

The Board has developed a set of analysis sheets that are filled out by the Rotarians selected to visit the requestor to review the need for the funds, the proposed use of the funds, the appropriateness of the request to the mission of the Foundation, etc.  Copies of these reports are then provided to the full Board for their review at their subsequent Board Meeting.  During the Board reviews, recommendations are made regarding the need for follow-up visits to the recipient and the nature of the information that will be sought  during those visits.

The Board attaches a great deal of significance to the need for the proposed services, the level of coordination that the requesting organization exhibits with others in the community in the same or allied fields of endeavor, the organization’s plans for developing sources of long-term funding support other than that from the Foundation, the reasonableness of the budget and schedules submitted, the manner in which the results of the project will be measured, etc.

All Rotary Club of Madison members are invited to volunteer for grant review and follow-up assignments in their areas of expertise and interest.  You need only to notify the Rotary Club office or one of the Board Members of the Foundation of your willingness to serve in this assignment.  As you might expect, the Board is careful to ensure that there is no conflict-of-interest in any such review assignment.

In 2008, $200,000 was awarded to community agencies including $26,000 designated as Lona Ehlers Community Grants.*

Background on funding of this program: Contributions from our membership’s annual fund drive plus 5% of the 3-year average market value of our general endowment fund and the Lona Ehlers Endowment Fund as of December 31, will be distributed in grants for the next funding cycle.  Our Foundation expects to award over $200,000 in community grants and Lona Ehlers grants in the coming year.

*Lona Ehlers, born in 1907, in New Glarus, Wisconsin, was a Registered Nurse. Upon her death in 2000, she provided a generous estate gift in honor of her husband, Spike Ehlers, who has maintained 100% attendance at Rotary meetings since 1946. This gift established the Lona M. Ehlers Fund of the Madison Rotary Foundation which expands the Foundation’s community grants program of providing funding to needy community organizations.
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