Endowment Challenge Grants FAQ

Madison Community Foundation offers endowment challenge grants to nonprofits to build capacity and sustainability. This may be for a specific purpose (maintenance endowment for a computer lab), a program goal (endowing an internship or fellowship program), or for general agency purposes. Grants help agencies leverage additional funds and incorporate endowment fundraising as a regular part of their ongoing development program.

What are the Parameters?

Challenge grants are generally 1:2 challenges (Each dollar from MCF leverages two additional dollars).For instance, a $50,000 challenge grant would help leverage an additional $100,000, for a total of $150,000 in endowment growth. In rare instances, we have made $100,000 endowment challenge grants, which require a 1:3 match.

What's the Timeframe for Match Eligibility?

The challenge grant timeline is based on the applicant’s campaign planning. Generally, the timeframe is 12-18 months to raise the full match. In order to be eligible, funds must be gathered after the MCF award date and be used specifically for the endowment purpose.A written pledge is indication of committed funds, but only cash received is eligible for the match.For instance, a three-year pledge of $10,000 per year will result in $30,000 of endowment growth. However, if the stated campaign deadline is two years, only $20,000 of the gift would be eligible as matching MCF funds.  

What Type of Funds Are Eligible?

Funds eligible for match must be new cash (rather than organizational cash on hand or in reserve). MCF can also help agencies with transfers of stock, closely held stock, and real estate.

How Do I Start the Endowment Fund?

Once you have raised an initial $50,000, you can start your MCF endowment fund. Email Darcy Kobinsky or call her at (608) 232-1763 to fill out the paperwork. 

When are the Matching Funds Available?

Payment schedule is determined through the grant application/approval process. Generally, MCF transfers half of our match one the agency has reached half of the challenge goal. Remaining funds are transferred once the match is 100% completed. 

How Do I Request the Funds?

Challenge Grant funds may be requested during any MCF application cycle.MCF generally conducts two cycles per year – spring and fall. In 2017, we will conduct only a fall grant cycle. Click here for more details. Please email Tom Linfield or call him at (608) 232-1763 to discuss your project.

I think of my legacy gift as paying it forward. What better way to enhance the future of the city that has given me such a wonderful life?"

– Jane Coleman, donor, Legacy Society member

To learn more about giving, visit our Ways to Give page.