As a community-informed and engaged foundation, we recognize that our grantmaking must be agile and responsive to our region’s immediate and evolving community health and wellness needs. Outside of our general operating support grantmaking, we make Responsive grants to community partners for time-sensitive crises, special activities promoting health and wellness, and sponsorship for community events that celebrate and/or encourage new ideas and innovation in our region. Additionally, our Responsive grants are opportunities to learn about organizations we may not already have a relationship with, which can create gateways for future partnerships with those organizations.
Led by our mission, vision, and core values, we accept requests on a rolling basis that align with one of five pathways, also known as the “5 Cs”, of our responsive funding: 


Through the “Celebrate” pathway, we sponsor social events, such as galas, anniversary celebrations and fundraisers. We prioritize event sponsorship requests from current HCF grantee partners and events located in and accessible to community residents.


Through the “Collaborate” pathway, we provide funding/sponsorship for events or initiatives that allow community-based organizations, local leaders, and/or community members in our service region to collaborate across issues that create a more connected ecosystem of care, health and wellness. Examples include health summits, health fairs, and in-community meetings or forums.


Through the “Community” pathway, we provide funding to organizations for special projects and activities that support on-the-ground community work to advance health equity in our region. We understand that efforts are constantly evolving, and the goal of this pathway is to maintain an open door to new and emerging organizations and initiatives. Partners funded in this pathway must focus on and work within the Healthy Communities Foundation’s service region.


Through the “Connect” pathway, we provide funding for events or initiatives, such as those from philanthropy–serving organizations or relevant professional groups, that allow people to connect around an issue aligned with the Healthy Communities Foundation’s peer learning or field learning goals.


Through the “Create” pathway, we provide funding for 1) projects that aim to create a new tool, resource, collaboration, or initiative that advances the Foundation’s mission, vision, and values, or 2) organizations responding to emergency community health needs during a crisis.


To ensure an equitable response to Responsive funding requests we receive:
  •  Organizations can only receive one sponsorship through the “Celebrate”, “Collaborate”, or “Connect” pathways per 12-month period.
  • After five years of receiving sponsorship support through the “Celebrate”, “Collaborate”, and/or “Connect” pathways, an organization must take a two-year hiatus from requesting sponsorship support.



  • Must be a 501c3 organization (or have a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a Fiscal Sponsor)
  • Responsive funding requests must benefit residents or staff that reside and/or are based in the Healthy Communities Foundation service region.
  • Responsive funding requests must align with at least one of the Healthy Communities Foundation’s funding priorities, which include: 1) Access to quality health services; 2) Address social determinants of health; 3) Advocate for health-related policies and systems change; and 4) Augment health knowledge. 
  • Philanthropy-Serving Organizations (PSOs) are eligible for Responsive funding if the request aligns with or supports HCF’s learning goals.
  • Your organization must not discriminate by race, ethnicity, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, religion or national origin.
  • Your organization does not have to be a current grantee partner of Healthy Communities Foundation.


  • Requests submitted less than 6 weeks before the start date of the proposed event, project, or initiative.
  • Initiatives already receiving general operating support from Healthy Communities Foundation
  • Businesses
  • Capital campaigns*
  • Government entities
  • Individuals
  • Operating foundations not directly connected to community-based efforts in our service region
  • Partisan political events or individuals
  • Religious activities (i.e., worship services) and/or programs of religious teachings or training (i.e., bible study)
  • Scholarships
  • School districts & individual schools (including parent/teacher associations, charter schools and nonprofits with more than 80% of expenses for school-based operations.
*Only capital expenses for materials will be considered for funding (i.e, medical equipment, dental chairs)

    Q: Who can apply for responsive funding?

    501(c)3 organizations or organizations with a signed Memorandum of Understanding with a Fiscal Sponsor that meet our eligibility criteria are welcome to apply. Please refer to the “Eligibility Criteria” section on this webpage to learn more.

    Please note that your organization does not have to be a current grantee partner to apply for responsive funding. 

    Q: How do I apply for responsive funding? 

    You can access and submit your request application via our grants portal.   

    Q: How often do you accept responsive funding requests? 

    We accept requests for our three types of responsive funding (urgent response, PULSE and community event sponsorships) on a rolling basis. 

    Q: When should I expect to hear back with a funding decision? 

    We will respond to your funding request within four (4) weeks of receiving it. If your organization is not a current grantee partner, please note that it may take longer than four (4) weeks to review and notify you of our funding decision. 

    For community event sponsorship requests: We encourage you to submit your request application at least 90 days before your scheduled event to account for this 4-week turnaround. 

    Q: What do you consider when deciding on responsive funding? 

    Our Program team uses the eligibility criteria described above as a guide to review and recommend applications for funding. Responsive funding requests must benefit residents or an organization’s staff that reside or are based in our service region and satisfy these criteria.  

    Q: My organization currently receives general operating support from Healthy Communities Foundation. Are we eligible to apply for responsive funding? 

    Our general operating support grants work in tandem with our responsive funding opportunities. However, initiatives already receiving general operating support are not eligible for responsive funding.  

    Please note that organizations receiving general operating support from us can request community event sponsorships. Read more about “Community Event Sponsorships” in the FAQs section below. 

    Q: If my organization received responsive funding in the past, would it be eligible to apply for general operating support? 

    Yes. Our responsive grantmaking intends to address immediate and evolving community health and wellness needs, which can likely occur outside our general operating support grant cycle. Because of this, we consider our responsive grants an opportunity to learn about organizations we may not already have a relationship with, which can create pathways for future partnerships with those organizations. 

    Q: What types of organizations do you typically not provide responsive funding for? 

    Please look at the “Eligibility Criteria” section on this webpage under “What We Do Not Fund” for more information.  

    About faith-based 501(c)3 organizations  

    We understand that faith-based institutions can play a central role within communities. A faith-based organization with 501(c)3 status may apply for responsive funding so long as the organization does not require the attendance of (or participation in) religious teaching or faith-specific services and does not discriminate based on religious or spiritual beliefs.   

    About schools and school districts 

    We recognize schools’ value and unique role as trusted entities within communities and as sites for health programs and service delivery. However, schools and/or districts are not eligible to apply for funding given school funding considerations.  

    A nonprofit organization may list schools and/or districts as a community partner(s) who can receive services or programs made possible by our funding. Further, applicants must demonstrate a nuanced understanding of and commitment to the school community.  

    If a nonprofit applies with a school and/or district in mind, we will review whether the applicant shares board and staff leadership with the school, precluding the applicant from our funding.   

    Q: How much can I request for responsive funding? 

    Generally, responsive funding requests may be made up to $10,000 for consideration within our funding decision timeline. Requests above $10,000 may require additional time and due diligence.   

    Q: If my organization receives responsive funding, are we required to submit any reporting? 

    Generally, applicants that submit responsive funding requests are not required to provide a report. However, exceptions may be made based on the nature and scope of the request. If so, our Program staff will work directly with the applicant to ensure reporting requirements are feasible and mutually beneficial to the work. 

    Q: Can I receive feedback if my responsive funding request was declined? 

    Please reach out to your point of contact from the Foundation regarding a feedback request. 

    Q: What types of events and convenings do you typically not sponsor? 
    Please refer to the “Eligibility Criteria” section on this webpage under “What We Do Not Fund” for more information.   

    Q: Do you make exceptions to the types of events and convenings you sponsor? 
    If you believe your request may be an exception, please contact us at with an event description and reasoning for why we should make an exception. If the exception is approved, you must submit a request application and abide by the standard application process and deadlines. 

      Q: Will Healthy Communities Foundation attend the event or convenings you sponsor? 
    You may invite our staff and Board to attend your sponsored event if you wish, but it is not a requirement. Please let us know how best to support you beyond the sponsorship, such as providing our logo, creating a program ad, and/or providing a quote from our staff. You can contact our Communications team at with your request. 

    If you have technical questions about the grants portal, please email or call us at (708)443-5674.

    If you send an email, please allow 1-2 business days for a response.