Triangle Capacity-Building Network Grant


Up to $25,000

Application Deadline

May 28, 2019

Since 2014, funders from across the Triangle region of North Carolina have been meeting regularly to talk about the nonprofit sector and the desire to see agencies succeed and build their internal capacity. Since that time the Triangle Capacity-Building Network 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 collaboratives 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

In addition, the partners within the collaborative acknowledge the growing body of data showing that the percentage of leaders in the nonprofit sector who are People of Color has not changed in the last 15 years. The data indicate People of Color represented under 10% of the leadership and that this was despite People of Color having the education, experience and willingness to lead. Data from a North Carolina State University study commissioned by the collaborative funders indicate that 85% of the respondents are led by white individuals. Board chairs were a bit more diverse with 79% being led by white individual, while 13% were Black or African/American. In addition 62% of the CEO’s were between the ages of 40 -60. Additional local data compiled by United Way of the Greater Triangle that focused on Orange County demonstrated that organizations led by white people had a significantly higher number of organizational assets and higher revenue when compared to organizations led by People of Color. Systemic racism in the nonprofit sector has led to leadership being exclusively white.

The Triangle Capacity-Building Network will address these issues by investing up to $25,000 in the capacity building of nonprofit organizations led by and supporting communities of color. To read more about the background and research of this collaborative, click here.

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


  • Applications will be accepted from any incorporated nonprofit organization in the Triangle region, defined as Wake, Durham, Orange, Chatham, and Johnston counties.
  • The organization must have their own 501(c)(3) or have an organization serving as the fiscal agent while they are awaiting tax-exempt status.
  • The organization must have been incorporated with the State of NC for at least 1 year prior to applying for funding
  • Grants will be made based on a plan by the organization to improve its capacity either by completing an organizational assessment, or by implementing specific activities building the organization’s capacity
  • Applicants will be asked to describe:
    • The impact they are creating in the community
    • The strategies being used to build racially equitable organizations and communities
    • The specific capacity building needs and the proposed capacity building activities
  • Grants will not fund:
    • Ongoing program activities
    • Contributions to endowment or capital campaigns
    • Deficit or debt financing
    • Grants solely for the purpose of re-granting


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 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.
  • Is program funding from the individual funders participating in this collaborative going to be reduced or jeopardized if our organization receives funding?
    No. All of the partners in this collaborative have separate funding processes that are distinct from this process and you will not be penalized for receiving funding from this process.
  • Can collaborative projects apply?
    Yes. However, an organization applying under a collaborative application, will not be eligible for funding outside of the collaborative.
  • Are large organizations excluded from this funding?
    The partners did not cap the organizational size to be eligible for the funding. However, the intent is for this funding to go to organizations that have difficulty finding traditional sources of funding that can increase an organization’s unrestricted revenue that allows for an investment in capacity building.
  • Is there a maximum request for smaller organizations?
    The maximum request is $25,000 regardless of organization size. However, there was a discussion amongst the partners that, depending on the capacity building activities, anything that represents more than 10% of the organization’s budget may signal a request more suited for general operating support; which is not the intent for this funding.
  • Can an organization apply for multiple projects?
    Yes. An organization can do two or three projects. However, do not feel as if you have to get all the capacity building you need in one pass. The partners want to see some depth in the work so that it can be sustained after the funding.
  • Does a consultant have to be identified prior to submitting a proposal?
    It is not a requirement to specify a consultant in this process. However, it may improve the application if estimates have been received from consultants to help identify the true costs of the activities to be undertaken with this project funding.
  • Does TCF need the assessment before awarding the funding?
    While an organizational assessment is not a requirement of funding that is available from the Triangle Capacity Building Network, it may be useful to refer to that if that has been done without submitting it.
  • Is this recurring funding?
    At this time if an organization receives funding, the organization will not be eligible to reapply in any upcoming cycles. The partners hope this will change in the future. However, the intent is to distribute this initial funding and deliberately capture some lessons before making long-term commitments.
  • What if general operating support has been indicated as the next step in building our
    Unfortunately, general operating support will not be covered at this time. Because the pooled funding is limited, the partners do not want to support something that can not be sustained. The intent is to make one time investments for specific projects that move organizations forward without the need for future funding to continue the work. However, the funding partners are open to creative ideas and approaches. For example, expanding your program by adding three staff in and of itself is not capacity building as is intended for this pool of funding. However, if you need to upgrade your financial tracking and billing systems in order to bill a third party payer so that those staff can be brought on, that would be considered capacity building. Would a feasibility study for a capital campaign be appropriate? This might actually be appropriate capacity building, but it might not be appropriate with regard to your ability to access resources from diverse sources. If you are thinking about a capital campaign, you have a level of organizational capacity that may be superior to other applications that would be reviewed more favorably in the process.
  • Why do you ask an additional question about racial equity?
    The partners who have committed to this pooled funding value building racially equitable organizations and communities. They want to know how you are thinking about making change in the world using a lens of racial equity. While your organization may promote the arts, build affordable housing, or improve kindergarten success, the partners want to know how you think about doing those things in relationship to communities of color that you may be serving and how you are thinking about racial equity. This is also what we mean with the phrase “supporting communities of color.”
  • 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 will 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 Sessions

For specific questions, and to register for these question and answer sessions, please send an email to

  • April 23, 2019 2:30 – 4:00 PM at ReCity in Durham, NC
  • May 2, 2019 3:30 – 5:00 PM at Triangle Community Foundation, RTP


  • Applications are available April 9, 2019
  • Applications are due on May 28, 2019
    • Applications will be reviewed and scored online by a group of volunteers
    • Follow-up phone discussions/questions may be required
  • Applicants will be notified by June 28, 2019


  • Recipients must use all funds within 18 months of receipt. A six month extension can be requested.
  • At the conclusion of the grant period, recipients will be asked to submit a report outlining the accomplishments of the funding.
  • Recipients will be required to participate on the advisory board that awards the next cycle of capacity building grants as the collaborative moves toward a more participatory grantmaking process.

Invested Funders

Triangle Community Foundation | Oak Foundation | Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation | John Rex Endowment | Mary Duke Biddle Foundation

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