This post is a few years old and some of these funders are no longer viable. We're working on an updated last to send out very soon!
The question of what foundations to turn to for funding is one Christian ministries and churches ponder over all the time. There are of course various factors to consider. The degree of compatibility between your mission and the aims of a foundation remains the most important consideration. But at a time when foundation funding is declining, it helps to know which foundations are giving the most - along with knowing a little about their overall purpose, the kinds of Christian organizations they fund, and the kinds of programs that interest them.
The following are the top 20 Christian grant funding sources in terms of funding generosity.
1. Of all the Christian grant foundations accepting applications at this time the Alharetta, Georgia-based National Christian Foundation (NCF) provides the most funds. Seeking to further the gospel of Jesus Christ, its funding territory is national. This is largely a donor advised fund. A donor-advised fund is a charitable giving vehicle administered by a third party and created for the purpose of managing charitable donations on behalf of an organization, family, or individual. A donor-advised fund offers the opportunity to create an easy-to-establish, low cost, flexible vehicle for charitable giving as an alternative to direct giving or creating a private foundation.
NCF helps individuals and families plan their giving through such programs as the Legacy Fund (after death giving). It advises them on asset giving (cash, stocks, real estate, business interests, restricted securities) and shows them how to balance income needs and estate planning goals (through charitable trusts and charitable gift annuities.)
The Single Charity Fund allows supporters to donate all kinds of assets; the Professional Advisors group - comprised of financial planners, CPA's, attorneys, and more - advises supporters in the art of tax-efficient giving. Website: www.nationalchristian.com
2. The Christian Aid Ministries is a foundation based in Berlin, Ohio. Having an international gift giving scope, the Ministries seeks to "provide spiritual and material assistance such as food, clothing, medicine, and Christian literature to needy people in various countries." It also provides emergency funds and in-kind gifts. The Ministries supports Amish, Mennonite, and other conservative Anabaptists as they minister to the physical and religious needs of people worldwide. It aids victims of war, famine, and natural disasters. No website.
3. The Nehemiah Corporation is a foundation out of Sacramento, California. Its mission is to facilitate "home ownership and asset development opportunities for diverse populations in underserved neighborhoods across the U.S., while maintaining a commitment to successful, responsible homeownership." It gives mostly to California foundations and individuals and to Christian organizations that support its mission. Website: www.nehemiah.org
4. The Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana is a foundation from Tustin, California. It supports Christian services and organizations that seek to spread the gospel around the world. It provides care, comfort, and emergency aid to the sick, the disabled, the homeless. It is also known for producing televised religious broadcasts for ministries that spread the gospel worldwide. No website.
5. The Barnabas Foundation is a foundation from Tinley Park, Illinois that supports its nearly 200 member Christian ministries through planned giving and estate planning. Its participating churches include Legacy Churches, Good Steward Ministry Churches, Member Asset Management Churches, Member Churches. It also offers stewardship education as well as development programs that facilitate stewardship "based on God's ownership of all gifts." Website: www.barnabasfoundation.com
6. The J. Bulow Campbell Foundation is an independent foundation from Atlanta, Georgia. The foundation seeks to uplift "intellectual and spiritual life, preferably projects of a permanent nature or for capital funds." It does not fund operating expenses or recurrent programs except in cases where funding might allow a significant new program to succeed without continuing support from the foundation. It gives anonymously to church-related agencies of the Presbyterian Church, but not to congregations. It mostly supports organizations in Georgia, though it does give to organizations in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Website: www.jbcf.org
7. The Rupert H. Johnson Foundation is an independent foundation in San Mateo, California that generally funds only educational programs in California and Virginia. Only Christian organizations seeking grants for education programs in these two geographic regions would be eligible for funding. No website.
8. The Rees-Jones Foundation, a family foundation based in Dallas, Texas, funds "programs that help improve the quality of life for the underserved of north Texas." It provides employee/matching gifts and funds capital campaigns, general operations, management and program development, and scholarship funds. It supports churches that seek to relieve hunger, and it provides medical care for the mentally and physically disabled, educational opportunities for youth, and affordable housing, shelter, and spiritual development for those left behind. Website: www.rees-jonesfoundation.org/
9. The Poplar Foundation is an independent foundation that mostly gives within its base of Memphis and the metropolitan area. It funds mostly youth services and education. Ministries that focus on these two areas are eligible for funding. No website.
10. The Wege Foundation, an independent foundation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, gives mostly within Kent County and above all in Grand Rapids. Christian agencies that provide health, human services, and education are likelier to receive funding from the foundation than those that do not. It funds annual campaigns, building/renovation, capital campaigns, curriculum development, endowments, equipment, matching/challenge campaigns, and program development. No website.
11. The Hope Christian Community Foundation is a Christian public charity community foundation in Memphis, Tennessee that "helps Christians share their wealth with others in the most thoughtful and efficient ways." It serves ministries by administering and managing agency funds, offering a cash management pool, investing endowments, and making grants through the Hope of Memphis Fund. It partners with churches to serve the community, administer church and donor-advised funds for church members, and offer a cash management pool. Website: www.hopeccf.org
12. The Maclellan Foundation is a Chattanooga, Tennessee-based independent foundation. It gives internationally and nationally, stressing Chattanooga. It is the largest of a group of four family foundations that are committed to "fulfilling the Great Commission of Jesus Christ through strategic giving." The foundation provides financial and leadership training to local organizations that enhance the spiritual wellbeing of the Commission by working "to extend the Kingdom of God to every tribe, nation, person, and tongue." Toward that end, the foundation offers consulting services, equipment, general/operating support, program development and evaluation, and seed money to Christian organizations. Website: www.maclellan.net
13. The New York City-based American Bible Society is a foundation that translates, publishes, and distributes the Bible in every language it can. The Society wants every person "to experience the Bible's life changing message." It collaborates with other Christian organizations including Faith Comes by Hearing, the creator of an audio version of the Bible. Other partners are Feed the Children, the Military Ministry, Mission Year, Samaritan Purse/Operation Christmas Child, United Bible Societies, and the National Association of State and Regional Bible Societies. Website: www.americanbible.org
14. The National Endowment Association is a public charity in Princeton, Indiana that helps small to mid-sized charities in the United States, mostly religious ministries, endow funds. The objective is to free ministries from the constant demands of fundraising so they can devote more time to their missions. The association helps them solicit long-term planned gifts, something the larger charities already have the means to do. It helps them tap into larger funding sources through tax-exempt planning. It also helps them promote their charity by offering website templates, educational classes, marketing material templates, marketing/fundraising consultation, and donor/consumer seminars. Website: www.nationalendowment.org/home.htm
15. The Harold Simmons Foundation of Dallas, Texas is a company-sponsored foundation. It provides grants that support zoos, arts and culture, education, energy, health, substance abuse treatment, HIV/AIDS treatment, disaster relief, athletics, human services, human rights, community development, programs that address women's issues, and Christian organizations. It gives mostly in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. No website.
16. The Norcliffe Foundation is an independent foundation in Seattle, Washington. It gives to organizations that benefit the arts and cultural organizations, hospitals, early childhood development, higher and secondary education, and historic preservation. It also supports medical research and health associations, hospices, the environment and conservation, and social services that include programs for the disabled, the homeless, child welfare, youth agencies, and the aged. The foundation's Christian grantees are the Roman Catholic Church and religious associations. It gives mostly in the Puget Sound area of Washington, especially in Seattle. Website: www.thenorcliffefoundation.com
17. The Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation of Wilmington, Delaware is an independent foundation that gives throughout the United States. It supports nonprofit institutions, communities, and organizations that support research, medical, health, educational, sports, social services, and artistic programs in communities across the nation. Christian organizations that work in any of these areas are eligible for funding. No website.
18. The Harry J. Lloyd Charitable Trust in Overland Park, Kansas "supports God's work as described in the Great Commission by spreading evangelism throughout the world." It primarily supports organizations and programs that further this mission. The Trust provides grants that help start new ministries or new programs or expand current programs. It funds organizations that are creative, accountable, stable, and effective. It also funds Christian programs that provide housing, food, medical assistance, and education for the poor. It may also support medical research in different areas. No website.
19. The Lynn and Foster Freiss Family Foundation is an independent foundation out of Jackson, Wyoming. It mostly funds faith-based entrepreneurial programs, especially one-one-one mentoring. The foundation provides general/operating support, matching/challenge support, and program-related investment/loans. No website.
20. IBS-STL is a foundation from Colorado Springs, Colorado. It came about in 2007 from a merger of the National Bible Society and Send the Light. It gives nationally and internationally to Christian organizations that further its mission of translating, interpreting, and publishing the Bible. Its goal is to give more and more people throughout the world the opportunity to experience the Bible. Website: www.ibsstl.org
Some foundations exist solely to benefit Christian ministries and churches. Others lack a direct connection to Christianity but work to solve problems that are at the core of Christian concern. Some have a limited geographic focus; others have a national focus; still others have an international focus. But wherever your organization operates, and whatever programs it has, many (if not most) of these foundations are viable funding possibilities for your organization. And there are countless other possibilities. The Christian Funding Directory (CFD), Foundation Directory Online, and Foundation Search are the most valuable sources of information about foundations.
• Christian Funding Directory (CFD) (www.npfunds.com)
• The Foundation Directory Online
• Foundation Search
• BIG Online