Help local nonprofits raise serious cash: A Community Thrives grant program

Cory Myers
Devils Lake Journal

If you’re a nonprofit doing important work for Devils Lake and the surrounding communities, let me point you toward a bucket of money that could potentially help with your endeavors.

If you’re a nonprofit doing important work for Devils Lake and the surrounding communities, check out this opportunity that might get you a bucket of money that could potentially help with your endeavors.

This year, the Gannett Foundation will be giving away more than $2 million to organizations in the areas served by USA Today Network news organizations, including the Devils Lake Journal.

Through this foundation, the Journal will provide funding support for community programs in the area.

It was a great system, although the money was hardly ever enough to have a massive impact in any organization or community.

That’s where the “A Community Thrives” program has come in.

A Community Thrives invests in organizations involved in projects related to education, arts and culture, wellness and other positive local initiatives.

Last year, the Argus Leader was able to award Reach Literacy with $15,000 and Friends of the W. H. Over Museum in Vermillion $5,000 from A Community Thrives.

"Reach has long known that educating women lifts the entire family," Carda said. "The funds from this grant allow Reach to expand and strengthen our outreach. Thank you, Gannett Foundation,” Paige Carda, executive director of Reach Literacy, said after receiving a grant.

Two years ago, the program gave $20,000 to three local nonprofits: Project Car, Breathe Bravely and the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival.

Since the program’s inception in 2017, over $17 million have been donated through crowdfunding efforts which have been dispersed to over 500 organizations across the country.

Starting June 1, A Community Thrives will begin accepting applications for organizations looking to bring awareness to a specific project that focuses on community building with an emphasis on impacting historically underserved individuals and groups.

Apply here: A Community Thrives registration

“The program offers not only grants but opportunities for organizations to extend their networks and deepen their donor base by creating connections with our consumers," said Sue Madden, Director of the Gannett Foundation. "In addition, participation in the A Community Thrives program can result in national and local media exposure. Year after year, we hear fantastic anecdotes from participants on how the program has accelerated development,” she continued.

Devils Lake has numerous smart, caring people and organizations working to address the myriad concerns and needs in the community. If you’re one of them, click here to apply for the A Community Thrives program, and let’s go grab some of these dollars.

How to apply

Typically, organizations apply to raise money for a specific community-building project. Accepted organizations will work to raise funds on their own through a crowdfunding campaign, then may be eligible for 16 major grants to be awarded across the country: three for $100,000, seven for $50,000 and six for $25,000. Those grants will go toward helping the organizations execute their proposed projects. Other grants include Operating Grants for eligible entrants with community operations in Gannett’s markets, Incentive Grants for groups that raise the most funds and Bonus Challenge Grants for those who wish to compete. 

Organizations can apply at the A Community Thrives website beginning June 1, 2022. The fundraising phase of the program will take place from July 18 – August 12 with recipients being announced on October 5. 

In order to qualify for a grant, organizations must be affiliated with a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, be located within the United States and have a U.S.-based project that will improve a local community. Organizations will also have to agree to the official rules.

Approved organizations will move on to a fundraising phase, where they will work to reach goals based on the budget of their organization to become eligible for grants. 

Cory Myers is the Executive Editor for the Dakota Region USA Today News Papers, which includes the Devils Lake Daily Journal.  He is also news director for the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.