Mini-Grant Program

The Mini-Grant Program funds Mid-Hudson Valley nonprofit organizations to improve their internal operations, programs, administration, and management. Mini-grants enable nonprofit board, staff, and volunteer leaders to develop new skills by providing organizations with funds to hire consultants to lead specific capacity building activities. Organizations can also apply for mini-grants to defray the cost of conferences, seminars, and other training opportunities for staff and board.

The Dyson Foundation Mini-Grant Program will fund no more than 80% of a project's cost, with a maximum award of $12,000. Applicants may include overhead costs (generally up to 15% of the total budget) but not staff time on a proposed mini-grant budget. Organizations are generally limited to one mini-grant in a calendar year. Funding priority will be given to organizations who have a mission and programs consistent with core funding interests of the Dyson Foundation.

Organizations with operating budgets less than $250,000, particularly in fields including arts, environment, and historic preservation are encouraged to contact Jennifer Killian, Program Officer to discuss your capacity building project prior to submitting a letter of inquiry.

Following the completion of a consultancy or training project, an organization can apply for a follow-up mini-grant of up to $3,000 to cover the costs of enacting the results or recommendations of the project. Examples of implementation costs include: the purchase of new software or equipment; design or production of new marketing materials, including websites; or providing training to board and/or staff members. Applicants interested in applying for implementation funds should first contact Jennifer Killian, Program Officer, to discuss the process.

The Dyson Foundation particularly encourages applications from 501 (c) 3 organizations and libraries that:

  • have an annual operating budget of less than $1 million
  • were founded less than 10 years ago
  • are in transition (e.g., significant growth, changes in staff or board leadership, reorganization, or other similar circumstances)
  • have not received prior mini-grant funding from the Dyson Foundation

Funding from the Mini-Grant Program is not available to the following:

  • government entities
  • private/independent schools, or public school systems
  • faith-based organizations 
  • colleges, universities, hospitals, and other organizations with an annual operating budget of over $10 million
  • organizations with primarily state-wide or national programming, even if physically located in the Mid-Hudson Valley

Examples of how funds might be used:

  • facilitation of a strategic planning process
  • succession planning
  • executive coaching
  • developing an advocacy and/or community organizing plan
  • developing a marketing and communication plan, including social media planning
  • resource development planning
  • training for board members
  • establishing or improving fiscal systems
  • developing personnel policies or personnel management training
  • attending a relevant conference or seminar
  • technology planning
  • diversity, equity, and inclusion activities
  • program planning

The Dyson Foundation Mini-Grant Program will NOT fund the following:

  • professional services outside of those designed to build the capacity of staff and board (such as architectural design, web development, marketing services, fundraising, etc.)
  • training as required for organizational licensing or individual professional certification
  • grant proposal writing
  • consultancies or training opportunities already in progress or completed
  • the same type of project more than once (i.e. the same organization cannot receive more than one grant for marketing/communications, or attend the same conference/training again)

New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON) offers many of these services and workshops. While not required for Mini-Grant Program funding, organizations may want to discuss their training and consulting needs with the New York Council of Nonprofits. 

Organizations considering the use of any consultant may want to review How to Hire a Consultant (PDF).

How to Apply to the Dyson Foundation for funding.