Helping Today

The Foundation’s Helping Today grants improve the quality of life for all in our region by ensuring a vital nonprofit sector. Thanks to unprecedented donor support, the Foundation doubled its budget for this program from $500,000 to $1,000,000 a year. We have also created an endowment to sustain this level of grantmaking in perpetuity. Helping Today grants are generally capped at $30,000 or less and limited to one year in duration. For the foreseeable future, Helping Today grant applications offering a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic will receive priority. Within this priority, grants may be awarded for:

  • Program Expansion/Enhancement: Improve capacity through specific programs/projects delivering measured outcomes benefiting the community.
  • Planning, Public Policy Advocacy: Advance a nonprofit’s mission through increased collaboration and organized attentiveness to civic priorities.
  • Communications/Marketing: Expand outreach, develop a brand and directly connect with donors and volunteers as an organizational strategy.
  • Technology: Upgrade technology that increases the nonprofit’s capacity to serve the community and meet its mission. Examples include: replacing hardware, software and network resources. Requires 50% match.
  • Capital, Facilities or System’s Needs: Improve, repair or maintain a nonprofit’s facilities. Examples include: construction projects, equipment or systems for improved access or safety.
  • Vehicle Purchase: Assist with purchasing a mission-critical vehicle. Requires 50% match.

Please click here for more information about the Foundation's mission-aligned vision and strategy for priority grantmaking.

Helping Today Deadlines

Helping Today grants will be awarded on a quarterly basis with the following application deadlines and notification dates in 2021:

Application DeadlineNotification Date
January 21March 19
April 29July 2
August 13October 8
October 22December 16

Please Note: The online grant application form must be completed by 5:00 p.m. on the quarterly deadline date.

For questions or guidance, please call 814-454-0843. All applications are reviewed by Foundation staff and a volunteer advisory committee, and are ultimately approved by The Erie Community Foundation Board of Trustees.

Sample Application Form

Below is a is a link-to a read-only version of the Helping Today grant application form. To submit an online application for consideration, please contact the Community Impact team to schedule a pre-application meeting during which a code will be provided for use in accessing the online forms for grant proposal submission.

Grant Guidelines


Apply for a Grant Complete a Grant Report