Triangle Capacity-Building Network Grant


Up to $15,000

Application Deadline

February 19, 2021

Since 2014, funders from across the Triangle region of North Carolina have been meeting regularly to discuss the nonprofit sector and the desire to see agencies succeed and build their internal capacity. Since that time, the Triangle Capacity-Building Network (TCBN) has commissioned research, engaged nonprofits in conversations about capacity building and built a strategic direction with a desired outcome of creating strong nonprofits in the Triangle region of North Carolina. One of the most important lessons from the data compiled by NC State University’s Institute for Nonprofits that guides the collaborative’s overall direction is that nonprofits report having lower levels of adaptive capacity, those which primarily focus on challenges for which there is no single answer. The collaborative has identified the following key outcomes for this capacity building effort:

  • Nonprofits have skills, knowledge, and commitment to adapt, innovate, and improve
  • Nonprofit leaders and potential leaders with skills, knowledge, and commitment to adapt, innovate, and improve
  • Nonprofits have access to skilled, diverse, and high-quality capacity building providers and opportunities

The collaborative has made a commitment to using what we’ve learned to change how we act as funders in the future to ensure stronger nonprofits in our region including: Changing our philanthropic behavior by prioritizing funding to nonprofits for capacity building and organizational strengthening, embracing participatory grantmaking, trust-based philanthropy, and full cost funding; pushing for more transparency and honesty in our relationships;  championing organizations that are ready to work on their internal processes, procedures, plans, and people, in order to thrive; and focusing on organizations led by and serving people of color that have traditionally been excluded or overlooked by power structures and funding cycles.

The spring funding cycle will focus on providing 1-year capacity building grants in the amounts of $10,000 to $15,000 with the possibility of extending into a second year. To read about additional examples of adaptive capacity and innovation areas of support, click here.

Eligibility | ApplicationsFAQs |Information Sessions |Timeline | Evaluation Criteria |Reporting |Invested Funders |


  • Applications will be accepted from any incorporated nonprofit organization in the Triangle region, defined as Wake, Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties.
  • Must be a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, religious congregation, or working under fiscal sponsorship.
  • Must be a person of color led and serving organization as defined as:
    • Executive Director identifies as a person of color
    • Over 50% of your Senior Staff identify as a person of color(even if your ED is not)
    • Over 50% of your Board of Directors identify as people of color

In addition to one or more of the three criteria above, over 50% of your service recipients must identify as people or color.

  • Must abide by the Foundation’s non-discrimination policy (see page 6)
  • Priority will be given to organizations that include the perspectives of those with lived experience in the work
  • Note: Regarding organizational budget size, a maximum of 15% of available funding will go to organizations that have a budget of over $1 million.  85% will go to organizations with budgets up to $1 million


All application materials can be accessed by clicking the “Apply” button below, creating a profile (or logging in to your organization’s existing profile), and selecting the “Triangle Capacity-Building Network Grant” process on the application dashboard.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is meant by “led by people of color? The collaborative partners have made a commitment to improving racial equity in the nonprofit sector and have committed to supporting the capacity building efforts of organization whose Executive Director is a person of color or whose senior staff or board is made up of a majority of people of color.
  • What types of organizations are eligible? Any organization as long as it has a 501(c)(3) is eligible for funding from this process, including religious organizations and educational organizations. Organizations who are incorporated in the State of North Carolina as a nonprofit organization can apply with a fiscal agent. Government agencies and universities are ineligible.
  • Are large organizations excluded from this funding? The partners did not cap the organization size to be eligible for the funding. However, the intent is for this funding to go to organizations that have difficulty accessing traditional sources of funding
  • Is there a maximum request for smaller organizations? The maximum request is $15,000 regardless of organization size.
  • Can an organization apply for multiple projects? We encourage organizations to choose one project to focus on. We understand that capacity building is a continuous process and Contingent upon funding being available, as grantees, additional funding opportunities will be made available to you in the future.
  • Is this recurring funding? We understand that capacity building is a continuous process and Contingent upon funding being available, as grantees, additional funding opportunities will be made available to you in the future.
  • What are the anticipated reporting requirements? While not specifically defined, the partners want to keep the reporting simple. Organizations receiving funding will have to share a story of what they have accomplished and how the money has been spent. In addition, organizations receiving funding may be asked to participate as proposal reviewers in a future round of funding, because the group intends to move toward a participatory funding model.

Information Session

We provided an information session on February 4, 2021 from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM. You can view the recording here.


  • Applications Accepted: January 19, 2021 – February 19, 2021
  • Grant Selection: March 19, 2021
  • Notification & Grants Disbursed: March 31, 2021
  • Start Capacity-Building Projects: April 1, 2021
  • Grantee cohort convenings: TBD. Will be held quarterly or bimonthly determined by feedback from grantees

Evaluation Criteria

  • Meets eligibility requirements
  • Sufficient information provided in application to make informed decision
  • Organization includes the perspectives of those with lived experience in the work
  • Strength of proposal in addressing an adaptive capacity need
    Level of impact this funding will have on community


Grantees will participate in a mid-year site visit and/or check in call with TCBN. Grantees will also be required to submit a final report at the end of the grant cycle.

Invested Funders

Triangle Community Foundation | Oak Foundation | Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation | John Rex Endowment | Mary Duke Biddle Foundation | The Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative

Apply Now!
Please reach out to us if you have questions PRIOR to the deadline!