Community Development

Changemakers Grant Program

Changemakers Program Suspended

We suspended our Changemakers Program as we respond to the COVID-19 needs of our region. 

About our Changemakers Grant Program

This program connects our region’s action to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While the SDGs are global goals, it takes local leadership and action to achieve them. These grants support west central Minnesota leaders in taking the new, bold action needed to bring our communities and the world closer to achieving the SDGs.

Grant Priorities

We'll select projects for funding based on the criteria below: 

  • SDG Connection: Projects must be tied to at least one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Grant decisions may be influenced by a desire to spread awards across all 17 SDGs.
  • Reimagine Regional: Proposals should showcase applicant capacity to achieve their project’s expected results and a commitment to working with others to create a region that leaves no one behind. Priority will be given to projects that reflect meaningful participation of under-represented populations in planning, decision-making and implementation.
  • Invest in Local: Ideas and projects that have or are likely to attract additional local investment of funds, resources and community support will receive priority consideration. WCI strives to honor the unique assets of each community by awarding grants to as many localities in our 9-county region as possible. The geographical spread of awards will be a factor in our decision making.
  • Educate, Activate, Celebrate: WCI aims to fund projects that nurture a culture of possibility in west central Minnesota. We’re looking for projects that build community and leverage our regional capacity to problem solve, take risks, try new things and succeed together.
  • Evaluation: Applicants should be able to articulate the potential benefit of their project to the community and describe the measures they will use to evaluate their project, such as knowing the project is one track and having the intended effect.


  • Eligible applicants are nonprofit organizations exempt from Federal income taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Applicants must be located in and/or primarily serve the people and communities of Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse, or Wilkin counties or the portion of the White Earth Nation in Becker County.
  • For-profit businesses and individuals are not eligible to apply for grant funds, nor are 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) agencies.
  • Proposals will not be considered from applicants that already have a Changemaker grant until a final report on their current project is submitted.


  • Lobbying or political activities
  • Religious activities
  • Event sponsorship
  • Past operating deficits
  • Replacement or substitution for governmental funding
  • Expenses incurred prior to approval of grant award

Funding Limits

Requests may be for up to, but not more than, $10,000. Awards will average $7,500. Generally, the grant will fund 50% or less of the total project budget. 

Application Process

Applications for the Changemaker program are submitted through West Central Initiative’s online site. To use the site, you first need to register an account by setting up a user name and password. Instructions for doing this are provided at the site, but if you have questions, please contact West Central Initiative.

The questions asked in the Changemakers application help us to understand the goals of your project and the capacity of your organization to deliver and measure impact. Of utmost importance, we want to understand how your project aligns with the Changemakers emphasis on practices that are equitable and sustainable.