CDFA will review proposals for L5 Capacity Building funds based upon need, and innovation and effectiveness of the proposed activity. Applications will be reviewed on potential in encouraging the development of strong and successful organizations. CDFA will also consider the applicant’s likelihood of attaining sustainable capital for the activity and the extent to which the grant will encourage the exchange of information among community development organizations and cooperatives.

Available Funding

Applicants are eligible to request from $10,000 to $75,000 in funding.

Funding Priorities

Applications for the following activities are encouraged:

  • Evidence based capacity building activities that strengthen the internal organization’s ability to expand its mission.
  • Advancing collaborative strategies that advance broadly supported community economic development plans.
  • Building the capacity of underserved populations and organizations to participate together in the development and implementation of community economic development solutions.
  • Advancing strategies or pilots that have the potential to change a broader organizational system.
  • Innovative solutions to social, economic or community challenges.
  • Strengthening the organization’s financial sustainability by enabling the study of, or development of a new or enhanced line of business.

CDFA welcomes proposals that will result in revenue that can be used to improve the long-term sustainability of the organization.

Advancing The Priorities

The TCC Group has developed the following core capacities critical to a non-profit organization’s effectiveness and it is provided as guidance to help develop your application. You may choose from the accompanying list of suggested activities to support your application or develop your own.

Leadership and Management capacity: the ability of all organizational leaders to create and sustain the organizations vision. This includes the capacity of leaders to prioritize, make decisions, innovate, and provide appropriate direction to achieve an organization’s mission. Leadership capacity is critical to advance transformative change.

Management capacity is the ability of an organization to ensure the effective and efficient use of its diverse organizational resources. Investments in leadership and management capacity could include:
– Hiring of professional coaches;
– Engagement with external stakeholders;
– Development of an internal decision making structure; or
– Plan for improving the effective relationship between the Board and Staff.

Adaptive capacity: the ability of an organization to monitor, assess and respond to changes in the internal and external environment. Such as:
– Evaluation and assessment of current programs and improvement implementation;
– Create a plan for how programs and or grant making will be most responsive to need;
– Hire innovative or topical expert to test potential new strategies; and
– Develop and implement a pilot program to explore a new line of business or a way to meet an identified need.

Technical capacity: the ability of an organization to use utilize new technologies, tools and staff skills to implement key organizational and programmatic functions that support the advancement of a new strategy. Such as:
– Economic development or community development training certificates;
– Staff and or management training that lead to the advancement of a particular strategy; and
– Accounting or legal services that lead to the advancement of a particular strategy.

Organizational cultural capacity: the values, assumptions, and behavioral norms that guide how an organization carries out its work. Such as:
– Staff and Board recruitment strategy; and
– Plan for improving transparency, collaboration sustainability and learning.

Prior L5 Investment

Launched in 2016, the L5 Capacity Building Program is focused on providing a one-time infusion of capital at a pivotal point in a nonprofit organization’s development. CDFA has awarded tax credit funds to the following organizations which clearly illustrate the funding priorities of the program:

  • G.A.L.A. Community Center (Wolfeboro): Support the development of a green makerspace and incubator in Wolfeboro through business planning and investments in the organization’s capacity.
  • Haverhill Heritage Inc. (Haverhill): Support the development and programming for the historic Wentworth Brown building in downtown Haverhill through comprehensive strategic planning.
  • Northern Forest Center: Expand mission to directly address the challenge of revitalizing communities in the North Country through the development of a pilot program in Lancaster. The goal is to overhaul traditional models used to approach community economic development, catalyze projects that create lasting impact in the Lancaster community, and position the town as an attractive place to live, invest in a business and/or raise a family. This pilot will have significant transferable opportunities for communities across the North Country.
  • Turning Points Network (Sullivan County): Conduct an in-depth community assessment, market analysis and feasibility study to identify a social enterprise/for-profit venture that TPN can undertake to generate substantial funding to continue to provide its services and programs.
  • Nashua Soup Kitchen (Nashua): Explore innovative vehicles for improving access to food in four underserved neighborhoods of Nashua with significant low-income populations. Specifically, the program will explore new ways to distribute food to more challenged populations, including the elderly and children who might be unable to either come to the existing facility or carry enough food due to the distance and transportation issues. Through a strategic planning process involving research of leading models and key stakeholder interviews, Healthy Nashua developed evaluation criteria to prioritize possible projects by likelihood of success, impact on the issue of food insecurity and sustainability to develop an implementation plan.
  • Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative (Plymouth): Further the development of the innovative, non-profit NH Solar Shares program. NH Solar Shares will provide interested donors the opportunity to gift locally generated clean solar energy to low-income New Hampshire families needing assistance with their electric bills. The goal is to develop multiple, mid-size solar arrays using charitable donations where the value of the solar energy generated will be credited to low-income families’ electric bills and to develop an energy use education plan.

While not expressly disallowed, applications for the following activities may not be given priority:

  • Operating expenses, deficit-reduction or expenses already incurred.
  • Activities that support an existing/launched/proceeding/underway organizational strategy.
  • Capacity building activities that lack impact, creativity and/or innovation, or do not support growth, expansion or evolution.
  • Requests that are typically the responsibility of federal, state, or municipal funding sources.
  • Replacement of typical revenue sources (contributions, grants or earned income, etc.).
  • Capital campaign activities not explicitly tied to a specific project or program.
  • Applicants with an active CDFA tax credit project.
  • Requests for a large sum of funds compared to other projects in the same round and/or available tax credit resources.
  • Projects whose primary beneficiaries are not New Hampshire residents/individuals and/or whose primary activities are not located in or benefit New Hampshire communities.
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