Achieving Today. Sustaining for the Future.
The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts

Applying for an Activation Fund Grant

Prior to submitting a Letter of Intent
 for the Activation Fund, please contact Sonia Shah, Senior Program Officer, at or (508) 438-0009 x6 to discuss your proposed project idea at least 30 days before the Letter of Intent deadline.

Potential Activation Fund grant applicants should follow these steps:

1. Review the Activation Fund Guidelines:

Approximately 20 percent of the Foundation’s grantmaking portfolio has been invested through the Activation Fund. The Activation Fund is designed to attract applicant-initiated proposals which fit the Foundation’s mission and complement its Synergy Initiative grant projects, while generating action beyond the routine. Envisioned somewhat as a venture capital fund, this funding avenue is intended to support discrete projects in Central Massachusetts that activate:

  • Creative and innovative approaches to alleviating community health concerns;
  • A community organization's movement to the next level of capacity and effectiveness, which the organization can sustain;
  • Partnerships to address health issues with new strategies;
  • And/or the exploration of emerging health challenges and opportunities.

In general, grants are one year in duration.  Previous grants made have ranged from $10,000 to $100,000, with an average grant size of approximately $50,000.  In 2018, the average grant was approximately $71,000.

 2. Review Examples of 
Successful Activation Fund Projects

 3. Review the Foundation’s Funding Exclusions:

In general, the Foundation will not support:

  • projects outside of Central Massachusetts;
  • endowments;
  • capital campaigns;
  • fund drives or sponsorship of events;
  • scholarships; or
  • the retirement of operating deficits.

In addition, by law, the Foundation is not permitted to provide direct support to individuals for projects, scholarships or health care, nor may it fund electoral activities or candidates for public office.

4. Review the Activation Fund Deadlines:

Consultation with THFCM staff encouraged prior to March 24, 2019

Letters of Intent due:

 April 24, 2019

Applications invited:

 June 20, 2019

Applications due:

 July 26, 2019

Grant awards:

 September 19, 2019

Please contact Sonia Shah, Senior Program Officer, at or (508) 438-0009 x6 to discuss your proposed project idea at least 30 days before the Letter of Intent deadline.

5. Complete and Submit the Letter of Intent and Associated Materials:

1.  Cover Sheet (For a Word version, please send a request to 

2.  Letter of Intent (Max 3 pages)

3.  Projected Project Budget – The overall budget of the proposed project highlighting the amount requested (an Excel spreadsheet is preferred, but a Word document is fine).  Please include other funding sources, if relevant.

4.  Summary of Relevant Qualifications and Capacity – Explain the relevant qualifications of those who would direct the proposed project and the capacity of the applicant organization to successfully manage the proposed project. 

5.  Letter of Tax Exempt Status - A copy of the applicant organization’s IRS letter indicating current tax exempt status.  For a governmental unit or political subdivision thereof, a governmental information letter from the IRS is required. 

6.  Audit – A copy of an accountant's most recent report or audit with an Opinion Letter and a Management Letter.  If your agency is not audited, you may submit the agency’s most recent tax return (Form 990). 

7.  Internal Financial Report – A copy of the applicant organization’s most recent internal financial report. (ex:
current quarterly financial statement/income statement/balance sheet).

8.  List of Board of Directors/Officers - A list of current officers and members of the applicant organization’s board of directors.

Application materials, including any attachments, should be included in one email and sent to by 5:00pm EST on Wednesday, April 24, 2019.  Late or incomplete submissions will not be accepted.

All submissions will be acknowledged within 1 business day with an electronic receipt.  If you do not receive an email confirming your submission, please contact Daniel Germain at or (508) 438-0009 x4 to verify your submission.

Overview of the Letter of Intent and Application Process

All Letters of Intent are reviewed by the Distribution Committee and the Board of the Foundation.  Those invited by the Board to submit an application will be notified by Foundation staff and are strongly encouraged to work with Foundation staff in completing their grant application. 

The entire Activation Fund grant application process takes approximately six months from the initial contact with staff prior to submission of a Letter of Intent through the Board's final funding decision. 

  • The initial contact with staff should occur at least one month before the Letter of Intent deadline
  • The review of the Letters of Intent takes about two months
  • The review of the applications and funding decisions takes another month
  • Applicants will be notified of the Board's decision by mail