Giving Sum Grant Applications

Each year, Giving Sum awards one major grant to a not-for-profit organization serving central Indiana. For the 2016 grant award, applications are due by 5:00PM, Friday, December 9, 2016. Please review the 2017 Grant Guidelines and submission instructions carefully. Grant application guidelines are available below.

Request for Support Overview

Giving Sum grants 100% of each year’s membership contributions to a not-for-profit organization in Indianapolis working towards change, innovation, and community good. Members commit to combining personal resources with other members’ resources in order to create greater social impact. The three components of the Giving Sum equation that members offer to the community are:

  • Time: Members can serve as high-impact volunteers.
  • Voice: Members can use their collective voice to advocate for a cause or mission.
  • Money: Each member contributes up to $317 toward a pooled grant fund that is distributed annually.

Eligible not-for-profit organizations may submit one application to request a grant of $20,000 (money), volunteer hours (time), and advocacy efforts (voice) from Giving Sum to support general operations or special projects. Preference will be given to applications that meaningfully and creatively engage Giving Sum members in innovative, high-impact initiatives.

Grant funds will be distributed after June 1, 2017 and Giving Sum may not know the final grant amount until June 2017.  All grant funds from Giving Sum should be spent in 2017.  All applicants are required to follow the same application process. 

Focus Areas

Any not-for-profit that meets our eligibility requirements and whose mission, program or services addresses one of the focus areas listed below is eligible to apply.  Giving Sum encourages creative approaches to addressing these issues and welcomes applications from diverse disciplines.

  • Arts, Culture & Humanities: Organizations dedicated to artistic and cultural excellence and the preservation of our community’s heritage, including libraries, historical societies, landmark preservation organizations, museums, performing arts, and public broadcasting and media.
  • Civic & Community Development: Organizations focusing on building the infrastructure and assets within a community, including job training, access to higher education, workforce and economic development and neighborhood revitalization.
  • Education: Organizations providing formal and informal education services to students and adults, including public and private school corporations, post-secondary schools, liberal arts colleges and universities, technological institutes, and community organizations.
  • Environment: Organizations that aim to preserve the environment, promote environmental research, and support conservation efforts, including organizations focused on environmental protection and education, botanical gardens, parks, and nature centers.  This category also includes causes related to domestic and wild animals including animal rights, animal welfare, and animal services.
  • Health & Human Services: Organizations that provide health care and focus on health-related issues or provide basic needs, including organizations that focus on children and family services, youth development, shelters and crisis services, food banks and other social “safety net” services.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for support from Giving Sum, applicants must meet and adhere to the following criteria:
  • Organizations must be recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a public charity under sections 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(l), (2), or (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and provide a copy of their determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Organizations or the proposed project must serve audiences within the greater Indianapolis area, including the counties of: Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion, Morgan and Shelby.
  • Applicants must request one $20,000 grant (money), Giving Sum members’ volunteer efforts (time) and advocacy (voice). Requests for any amount other than $20,000 will not be considered; requests that do not include Giving Sum members’ time and voice will not be considered.
  • Giving Sum will accept only one application per organization per year.
  • All deadlines described herein are absolute. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be reviewed.
  • Formatting guidelines must be strictly followed. Applications that deviate from the formatting requirements will not be reviewed.

Administrative Requirements

The grant may be used only for the purposes described in the organization’s request for support to Giving Sum. Furthermore, the awardee organization may not use any Giving Sum grant funds to lobby or otherwise attempt to influence legislation, to influence the outcome of any public election, or to carry on any voter registration drive. The organization selected to receive a grant will be required to provide to Giving Sum an Annual Report at the end of the grant term summarizing project progress and how Giving Sum resources were utilized.


All questions regarding Giving Sum and the application process may be sent to Giving Sum at [email protected]. Giving Sum members are not able to discuss your project prior to submission. Please visit the “Grants” section of the web site for a list of FAQs and information about our past grant recipients. Please do not wait until the final week of submission for questions. Giving Sum is an all-volunteer organization and may not be able to answer your questions due to the high volume of applicants.