Professional Development Grants for Nonprofits
Professional Development Grants for Nonprofits in the USA
Looking to find the best professional development grants for nonprofits? This list includes funding opportunities to support PD in the fields of water resource management, library services, sustainable agriculture & agroecology and many other fields of work.
Read more about each grant by clicking into them below, or start your 14-day free trial of Instrumentl to get active grant opportunities that match your specific programs and organization.
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant communities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation.
We focus our resources on partners working in the following three focus areas:
Youth Economic Opportunities
The Citi Foundation supports efforts that help boost the employability of low-income young people around the world. In particular, we seek to increase the number of low-income youth, primarily aged 16-24, who become employed or start an income-generating business through leadership and skills training, experiential learning, and access to professional networks. Further, we believe that consistent and meaningful engagement of young people in the design and execution of programs that are intended to benefit them can help ensure that those programs are addressing their priorities and aspirations and improving their economic prospects.
The Citi Foundation supports efforts to develop a more inclusive financial system that provides greater access to financial products, services and capital to low-income communities and individuals. Access to capital and financial products empowers adults and young people to build financial assets, enables entrepreneurs to grow or launch businesses that create jobs, and helps community-based organizations strengthen and transform communities. However, we believe access to capital and products alone is not enough. Financial capability—the ability to establish financial plans and develop strategies for preserving a strong financial position during times of both economic prosperity and instability—is critical to the financial well-being and upward economic mobility of individuals and communities.
The Citi Foundation supports efforts that break down silos and bring stakeholders together to develop and scale solutions to the most pressing challenges confronting low-income communities. By strengthening nonprofit organizations and building partnerships and networks, we seek to transform communities into sustainable and thriving epicenters of economic opportunity. We support collaborations among stakeholders such as local government, community-based organizations and residents, the private sector, and research institutions and invest in efforts that spur innovation in key areas, including affordable housing, environmental sustainability, job training and small business development.
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Note: While we’re open to new ideas and projects, funding for unsolicited requests is very limited.
Education - Graduating High School College & Career Ready
We strive to increase high school graduation and college and career readiness outcomes for youth, particularly those in low-income communities.
Every high school student should graduate prepared for work, military service or further education.
How it Works
Mott aims to create a culture in which students have both the aspiration and ability to pursue college or career training after high school graduation. We support promising college and career readiness strategies that help students complete high school prepared to succeed in college, careers and life.
To succeed in life, young people need to acquire a well-rounded education that builds both academic knowledge as well as nonacademic skills. High-quality college and career readiness programming can help young people develop these competencies. In addition to college and career awareness, quality programming can help students develop skills and behaviors associated with success in both educational and employment settings.
Building on our longtime support for community schools and afterschool programs, the Mott Foundation is identifying and filling key gaps for students most in need. Many of the strategies and model approaches that have emerged from our grantmaking not only provide important educational opportunities and supports that assist youth, but also strengthen schools and communities.
To this end, our grantmaking focuses on two outcomes: expanding high-quality college and career readiness programming in afterschool settings, and broadening adoption and investment in innovative strategies, particularly children’s savings accounts. Through these efforts, the Foundation seeks to ensure that more youth have opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviors to be successful in the 21st century.
Currently, our grantmaking is carried out within two objectives:
Expanding Quality Programs
Our funding supports efforts to expand quality college and career readiness programming within the afterschool infrastructure.
We make grants to:
- national nonprofit groups that provide technical assistance and/or regrant funds to state and local groups to support best practices and professional development opportunities that build the capacity of afterschool programs to implement effective college and career readiness strategies.
Our funding seeks to advance effective models that help youth develop the behaviors, mindsets and learning strategies needed to succeed in school and life.
We make grants to:
- nonprofit organizations operating model programs that serve as examples for emerging initiatives;
- national and state-level organizations working to incorporate and embed innovative strategies and practices into relevant networks and systems that serve young people; and
- organizations working at the state and local level to advance public policies that enable scaling and sustainability of innovative strategies and practices.
Major League Baseball
NOTE: U.S.-based nonprofit and global non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can apply for localized support throughout the year, with proposals reviewed on a quarterly grant cycle.
Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association are launching the Healthy Relationships Community Grants initiative to address positive relationship health, with self and others. The initiative will focus on three distinct areas: supporting programs that build and improve mental health resiliency among vulnerable populations, improving relationship skills of the next generation, as well as programs designed to strengthen and provide critical services to survivors of domestic violence today.
MLB and MLBPA will jointly award $3 million in funding over 2020 and 2021.
Healthy Relationships Community Grants - Key Areas
Funds may be used to support general operating or programmatic expenses, that aim to:
- Build and improve relationship skills of the next generation as a prevention strategy. Organizational efforts may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Educate the public (with a preference for youth populations) on the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships as it relates to inter-personal violence (e.g., intimate partner, family, or teen dating violence) as part of prevention and awareness efforts (e.g., Create, produce and distribute PSAs with relevant content and call to action, Conference/events with a focus on education)
- Support existing or introduce new programming on how to break the cycle of violence
- Build and improve mental health resiliency for vulnerable populations. Organizational efforts may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Provide greater access to quality mental health services and wellness programs
- Preventative programs designed to reduce suicide, suicidal ideations and self-harm
- Training programs for mental health professionals working with vulnerable populations
- School or community-based interventions for vulnerable populations
- Strengthen and provide critical services to survivors of domestic violence. Organizational efforts may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Capacity building to support organizational mission
- Mental health services for survivors of domestic violence
- Assist survivors in rebuilding their lives (e.g., professional skills and life skills workshops, Additional education and support materials to improve employee readiness/workplace development skills)
- Advocacy efforts to reduce domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking
Nonprofits and NGOs may apply for up to $50,000 in funding. MLB Club charities and Major League players are also encouraged to apply for up to $25,000, as part of a matching gifts program, whereas MLB Clubs and players must provide documentation of direct funding and commitment to the issue.
Criteria and Requirements
Organizations may apply for funding in one or more of the following categories - Mental Health Resiliency, Relationship Skills, Survivors of Domestic Violence. Grant applications will be evaluated based on assessment of the following criteria.
- Population Served
- Organizational/Program Alignment to Key Grantmaking Areas
- Organizational Strength
Hearst Foundations' Mission
The Hearst Foundations identify and fund outstanding nonprofits to ensure that people of all backgrounds in the United States have the opportunity to build healthy, productive and inspiring lives.
Hearst Foundations' Goals
The Foundations seek to achieve their mission by funding approaches that result in:
- Improved health and quality of life
- Access to high quality educational options to promote increased academic achievement
- Arts and sciences serving as a cornerstone of society
- Sustainable employment and productive career paths for adults
- Stabilizing and supporting families
The Hearst Foundations support well-established nonprofit organizations that address significant issues within their major areas of interests – culture, education, health and social service – and that primarily serve large demographic and/or geographic constituencies. In each area of funding, the Foundations seek to identify those organizations achieving truly differentiated results relative to other organizations making similar efforts for similar populations. The Foundations also look for evidence of sustainability beyond their support.
The Hearst Foundations fund cultural institutions that offer meaningful programs in the arts and sciences, prioritizing those which enable engagement by young people and create a lasting and measurable impact. The Foundations also fund select programs nurturing and developing artistic talent.
Types of Support: Program, capital and, on a limited basis, general and endowment support
The Hearst Foundations fund educational institutions demonstrating uncommon success in preparing students to thrive in a global society. The Foundations’ focus is largely on higher education, but they also fund innovative models of early childhood and K-12 education, as well as professional development.
Types of Support: Program, scholarship, capital and, on a limited basis, general and endowment support
The Hearst Foundations assist leading regional hospitals, medical centers and specialized medical institutions providing access to high-quality healthcare for low-income populations. In response to the shortage of healthcare professionals necessary to meet the country’s evolving needs, the Foundations also fund programs designed to enhance skills and increase the number of practitioners and educators across roles in healthcare. Because the Foundations seek to use their funds to create a broad and enduring impact on the nation’s health, support for medical research and the development of young investigators is also considered.
Types of Support: Program, capital and, on a limited basis, endowment support
The Hearst Foundations fund direct-service organizations that tackle the roots of chronic poverty by applying effective solutions to the most challenging social and economic problems. The Foundations prioritize supporting programs that have proven successful in facilitating economic independence and in strengthening families. Preference is also given to programs with the potential to scale productive practices in order to reach more people in need.
Types of Support: Program, capital and general support
Laird Norton Family Foundation
Note: If you have thoroughly reviewed the Foundation’s priorities and grantmaking activity on the website and you believe your organization is a good match for our mission, you can fill out an information form here. Please be aware that the Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals or formal letters of inquiry and rarely makes grants to organizations that we first learn about through the information form—so we urge you to carefully review your fit with our organization’s priorities before investing time in filling out our information form. Full applications may be submitted by invitation only.
Laird Norton Family Foundation
The Laird Norton Family Foundation (LNFF) is a private family foundation in Seattle, Washington, with a mission to 1) honor and reflect the family’s shared values through giving and 2) engage the family in philanthropy as a platform for strengthening family connections.
The Laird Norton Family
The Laird and Norton families, related to each other from their pioneer origins in Pennsylvania, settled in Winona, Minnesota, in the mid-1850s. There, William Harris Laird and his cousins, Matthew G. Norton and James Laird Norton, formed the Laird Norton Company.
The pioneer logging and lumberyard operation was the first of several family-owned companies, first in the Midwest, later in the Pacific Northwest, and finally all over the West, including Alaska. Today, Laird Norton Company, LLC is still a privately owned and operated family business, committed to contributing value to its family and community.
A seventh-generation family, the Laird Norton family now includes approximately 500 living family members. Family members live throughout the world and occupy a wide array of professions. We come together every year to share skills and interests, and strengthen our connection to each other and our shared history.
Arts in Education
Goals and Strategies
The goal of the Arts in Education program is to increase arts education and to improve pre-K through grade 12 student learning through the arts. Funding will be directed toward programs that seek to enhance students’ educational outcomes rather than to simply increase participation in, or appreciation for, the arts.
The Arts in Education program will consider funding programs that:
Why Take This Approach?
There is clear evidence to suggest that arts-integrated curricula and/or arts-rich environments are beneficial to student learning. Although we value the arts as a stand-alone experience, programs are most successful when:
- They have the support of an entire district and in-school leadership
- Teacher professional development is included in the program
- Partnerships with high-quality arts organizations are created and nourished
- Arts lessons are aligned with other student learning goals, and
- Student progress is effectively monitored
With the above lessons in mind, we have established the following guiding principles.
- K-12 public schools (or pre-K programs that receive public funding) must already have traction in arts programs (i.e. some arts education has already been established in the school, policies are in place to support arts in education, principals want a more robust arts program, and schools have support from parent groups (PTAs) to strengthen their arts programs).
- Programs must focus on positively impacting students’ learning.
- Programs must focus on students “doing” art, as opposed to observing art. Programs should enhance comprehensive, sequential delivery of arts instruction and can include all arts: performing, music, visual, theater, literary (poetry & writing), folk, media, and emerging art fields.
- Applicants should be able to demonstrate their program has been designed and is managed with an understanding of cultural competencies appropriate to their student demographic.
Goals and Strategies
Climate change poses a significant global threat, one which we are addressing by striving to ensure an equitable, resilient, habitable, and enjoyable world for current and future generations. While our work is focused on climate change, we believe in the value of ecosystems services and in the stability and resiliency of healthy natural systems. We also believe it is essential that the cost of externalities be incorporated into lifestyle, policy, and business considerations.
As a small funder addressing an enormous issue, we aim to make grants that offer potential for leverage and scalability — as well as “opportunistic” grants where our ability to move quickly may positively impact a project’s outcome. We are particularly interested in policy and research work, demonstration projects, and finding ways to address critical gaps. We are also interested in expanding our own learning (we are not experts, nor do we aspire to be).
Why Take This Approach?
We believe in persistence and prefer to invest in ongoing work with a long-term focus. Although our grants operate on a one-year cycle, we take a partnership approach to our grantmaking and prefer to support organizations and projects that take a long-term view and can demonstrate progress toward goals each year. We are also interested in projects that have the potential to be self-sustaining in the long run.
Currently, our grantmaking is focused on efforts to hasten the demise of coal, and on work that increases the abilities of the forests, agricultural lands, and estuaries of the Pacific Northwest to sequester carbon. We are looking to support leverageable, measurable work focused on:
- Regenerative biological systems that influence the carbon cycle (“biocarbon”)
- Reducing dependency on fossil fuels, and promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Goals and Strategies
The goal of the Human Services program is to support, empower, uplift, and create opportunities for long-term success and a brighter future for unaccompanied youth and young adults (age 12-24) who are in crisis, have experienced trauma, or are aging out of the foster care system. We want to support these youth and young adults in their journey from surviving to thriving.
We will consider funding organizations or programs that provide support for youth/young adults suffering from trauma, mental illness, or addiction, with priority given to homeless youth and those impacted by the foster care system. While the full spectrum of services for youth in crisis is essential, we expect to do the bulk of our grantmaking in two areas:
Why Take This Approach?
We believe treatment and support for mental health issues and trauma can help prevent homelessness and addiction later in life. We also believe supporting youth/young adults as they transition out of foster care and into independent living increases their odds for a positive future.
Organizations must meet at least one of the following criteria in order to be considered:
- Have leaders and/or staff that are representative of the community they serve. We believe that the best programs will have mentors and leaders that truly understand and can identify with those they serve (e.g., staff that have been homeless or in foster care or are open about their own mental health, trauma, or addiction struggles). We value organizations or programs that emphasize connection to and even emanate from the communities they seek to serve; those that embrace the mantra "nothing about us without us” in all aspects of their work.
- Organizations or programs that include or connect to wrap-around services for youth/young adults. For example: organizations that identify and connect youth to community resources, offer job/skills training and/or provide case management. We value organizations that partner with others in the community to ensure all of a young person’s needs are met.
Goals and Strategies
The Laird Norton family continually promotes the advancement of intellectual growth, business experience, and philanthropic focus in order to ensure the excellence of its youngest generations. Through the Sapling Fund, young Laird Norton family members (ages 14–21) come together to learn about grantmaking, the nonprofit sector, and family philanthropy. The Sapling Fund provides young family members a chance to identify and support causes that resonate with them, and endows future family leaders with a sense of fiscal and social responsibility.
Sapling Fund grants are guided by a “for kids, from kids” philosophy. Grants support programs and organizations that cater specifically to youth and specific priorities change each year as new cohorts of Sapling members collectively identify shared priorities for the year’s grantmaking.
Why Take This Approach?
Sapling Fund committee members gain valuable experience by organizing an annual campaign to raise money for their grantmaking activities through contributions from Laird Norton family members. The annual budget supports three to five grant awards each year and an all-family service project organized by members of the committee.
Goals and Strategies
Watersheds have social, ecological, and economic significance. The goal of the Watershed Stewardship program is to create enabling conditions for long-term social and ecological health and resilience in places of importance to the Laird Norton Family.
We take a long-term view on healthy watersheds and invest in organizational capacity with an eye to future resilience. We encourage our partners to focus not on single-species recovery or restoration to historical conditions as a primary end-goal, but to also consider the potential value of significantly altered — but functioning — ecosystems as we continue to face the impacts of climate change and other natural and human-caused changes into the future.
We seek to add value not just by making financial investments in organizations advancing place-based ecological and social outcomes, but also by building relationships in watershed communities, spending time listening and gaining experience in the watersheds in which we invest, and fostering partnerships, convenings, and additional investment from other funders.
Why Take This Approach?
We believe the wellbeing of the people who live in a place must be considered alongside ecological goals; understanding the diverse interests and values of a watershed’s human inhabitants is an important component of long-term success.
Organizations or programs we partner with should:
- Possess the organizational capacity and skills to be well-positioned to secure much more significant funding for projects than we would ever be able to provide.
- Be open to the Foundation removing barriers to entry for public funding and get projects to a shovel ready position.
- Provide us with opportunities to invest in their abilities to develop strong governance structures, collaborate, mediate, facilitate, tackle sticky challenges, get paperwork in order, maintain momentum on big projects, and otherwise lay the groundwork for success.
While we don’t specifically commit to a set term of investment in any watershed, we believe that investing in a place long enough to really understand the work is important, and we believe that sustained and flexible funding enables greater long-term success for our partners. Although we make grants on a one-year cycle, we take a partnership approach to our grantmaking and hold a long-term view on the work being done in the watersheds we prioritize, but we do move on when we no longer have a necessary role to play.
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
OUR TOWN: Grant Program Description
- Bring new attention to or elevate key community assets and issues, voices of residents, local history, or cultural infrastructure.
- Inject new or additional energy, resources, activity, people, or enthusiasm into a place, community issue, or local economy.
- Envision new possibilities for a community or place - a new future, a new way of overcoming a challenge, or approaching problem-solving.
- Connect communities, people, places, and economic opportunity via physical spaces or new relationships.
The National Endowment for the Arts plans to support a variety of projects across the country in urban, rural, and tribal communities of all sizes.
Our Town projects must integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. Projects may include activities such as:
Artist residency: A program designed to strategically connect artists with the opportunity to bring their creative skill sets to non-arts institutions, including residencies in government offices, businesses, or other institutions.
Arts festivals: Public events that gather people, often in public space or otherwise unexpected places, to showcase talent and exchange culture.
Community co-creation of art: The process of engaging stakeholders to participate or collaborate alongside artists/designers in conceiving, designing, or fabricating a work or works of art.
Performances: Presentations of a live art work (e.g., music, theater, dance, media).
Public art: A work of art that is conceived for a particular place or community, with the intention of being broadly accessible, and often involving community members in the process of developing, selecting, or executing the work.
Temporary public art: A work of art that is conceived for a particular place or community and meant for display over a finite period of time, with the intention of being broadly accessible and often involving community members in developing, selecting, or executing the work.
Cultural planning: The process of identifying and leveraging a community's cultural resources and decision-making (e.g., creating a cultural plan, or integrating plans and policies around arts and culture as part of a city master planning process).
Cultural district planning: The process of convening stakeholders to identify a specific geography with unique potential for community and/or economic development based on cultural assets (e.g., through designation, branding, policy, plans, or other means).
Creative asset mapping: The process of identifying the people, places, physical infrastructure, institutions, and customs that hold meaningful aesthetics, historical, and/or economic value that make a place unique.
Public art planning: The process of developing community-wide strategies and/or policies that guide and support commissioning, installing, and maintaining works of public art and/or temporary public art.
Artist/designer-facilitated community planning: Artists/designers leading or partnering in the creative processes of visioning, and for solutions to community issues.
Design of artist space: Design processes to support the creation of dedicated spaces for artists to live and/or to produce, exhibit, or sell their work.
Design of cultural facilities: Design processes to support the creation of a dedicated building or space for creating and/or showcasing arts and culture.
Public space design: The process of designing elements of public infrastructure, or spaces where people congregate (e.g., parks, plazas, landscapes, neighborhoods, districts, infrastructure, and artist-produced elements of streetscapes).
Artist and Creative Industry Support
Creative business development: Programs or services that support entrepreneurs and businesses in the creative industries, or help cultivate strong infrastructure for establishing and developing creative businesses.
Professional artist development: Programs or services that support artists professionally, such as through skill development or accessing markets and capital.
Through Our Town projects, the National Endowment for the Arts Endowment intends to achieve the following objective: Strengthening Communities: Provide opportunities for the arts to be integrated into the fabric of community life.
Our Town project outcomes may include:
Economic Change: Economic improvements of individuals, institutions, or the community including local business growth, job creation/labor force participation, professional development/training, prevention of displacement, in-migration, and tourism.
Physical Change: Physical improvements that occur to the built and natural environment including beautification and/or enhancement of physical environment, new construction, and redevelopment (including arts, culture, and public space).
Social Change: Improvements to social relationships, civic engagement and community empowerment, and/or amplifying community identity including civic engagement, collective efficacy, social capital, social cohesion, and community attachment.
Systems Change: Improvements to community capacity to sustain the integration of arts, culture, and design into strategies for advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes including, for example: establishment of new and lasting cross-sector partnerships; shifts in institutional structure, practices or policies; replication or scaling of innovative project models; establishment of training programs; or dissemination of informational resources to support the creative placemaking field.