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Available Funding: Capacity Building Initiative

Minnesota Housing is now offering the Capacity Building Initiative, a resource to help communities across Minnesota where a lack of organizational capacity creates the risk that geographic areas and constituencies will be underserved. We want organizations in every corner of the state to successfully compete for funding for development activities and housing related services.

We are accepting proposals for projects that fill in gaps in our statewide network of developers and service providers. Successful applications must demonstrate a long-term strategy to sustain developed capacity. We have allocated $300,000 for this initiative.

We will provide up to $40,000 in one-time funding for one-year projects that increase efficiencies within organizations, build the knowledge base of organizations to better meet community housing needs, create efficiencies in the cost of development or organizational operation, or that provide the necessary groundwork to add or increase services. Priority will be given to organizations that did not receive Capacity Building Initiative funds in 2015.

Who can apply for funding?

  • Tax exempt nonprofits

  • Local units of government and political subdivisions

  • Tribal governments and tribal corporate entities

What can funds be used for?

The Capacity Building Initiative is intended to build the organizational capacity of organizations in underserved communities or to support geographic expansion of service areas to underserved communities. We want organizations and communities to use their local knowledge and creativity to develop strategies that work for them. Some examples of eligible activities include but are not limited to:

  • Education

  • Partnership development

  • Staff development

  • Consulting

Preference will be given to organizations to engage in activities for which they do not already have a regular source of funding.

What activities are not eligible for funding?

  • General operating support

  • Direct housing services including affordable gap assistance

  • Direct housing development costs

  • Organizations with missions that fall outside the housing and community development arena

  • Lobbying or other direct political activities

  • Activities for which the applicant already receives technical assistance or operating support funding from Minnesota Housing including the CHDO Capacity Building Program

What criteria will proposals be reviewed for?

  • Articulates a compelling need for increased organizational capacity in an underserved community

  • Includes credible plan to address a compelling need

  • Credible plan to complete the proposed work within one year

  • Includes plan to embed and sustain increased capacity

  • Qualified staff and organizational leadership to undertake the proposed work

  • Alignment with other organizational work and community efforts

  • Sound financial capacity

  • Clear and measurable outcomes

  • Grows or strengthens the field of affordable housing in community development in Minnesota

  • Priority will be given to organizations that did not receive Capacity Building Initiative funding in 2015.

What do I do next?

If you are interested in applying for Capacity Building funding, please complete a short Letter of Inquiry form.

What is the review timeline?

If you would like your Letter of Inquiry to be considered for the initial round of funding please submit by February 29, 2016

  • February 29 – Deadline to submit letter of inquiry

  • March 28 – Applicants invited to submit full proposal

  • April 25 – Full proposals due

  • May 23 – Applicants informed of funding approval

If you have questions about the Capacity Building Initiative, please contact Margaret Kaplan, Community Development Director at or 651.296.3617.