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Big Idea Grant

Grants to Michigan Nonprofits, Schools, and Agencies in
Eligible Areas to Enhance the Quality of Life for Local Residents

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Berrien Community Foundation (BCF) - Frederick S. Upton Foundation

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:



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Grants to Michigan nonprofits, government organizations, schools, and religious organizations in eligible areas for programs that will enhance the quality of life of local residents. A Letter of Inquiry must be submitted prior to submitting a full proposal. Eligible programs will show innovation and vision along with the potential for sustainability into the future. Programs must benefit Berrien County residents.

The Frederick S. Upton Foundation is seeking BIG IDEA proposals that will positively impact life in Berrien County. The Upton Foundation is asking nonprofit organizations to dream big with programs that will improve the quality of life in Berrien County. Agencies are encouraged to be creative and dream big about how they could significantly impact the community.

  • The BIG IDEA should show innovation and vision along with the potential for sustainability into the future.
  • BIG IDEAS can be collaborations with multiple agencies/partners.
  • If the BIG IDEA is a program expansion, a fresh approach should be demonstrated.
  • Agencies should evaluate how the community will be changed for the better when their BIG IDEA is successful. 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 183095

Estimated Size of Grant:

Each year the Foundation provides one $50,000 grant and one $25,000 grant.

Term of Contract:

Funding would support programs running during the time period of August 1, 2021– July 31, 2022.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

This funding opportunity is open to 501(c)3 non-profit agencies, schools, religious organizations doing community work, and government organizations.

Collaborative efforts are highly encouraged. Funding for capital building grants will not be considered. This grant process is separate from the standard grant process and is not considered as an agency’s annual grant.

Pre-Application Information:

Submit a letter of intent via email by April 13th, 2021.

Based upon review of the letters of inquiry, the Upton Foundation will invite selected agencies to submit a full proposal for review. Financial documentation will be requested during this phase of the grant application process.

Full proposals will be due by June 1, 2021. Agency representatives will be asked to do a brief presentation for the Frederick S. Upton Foundation Associate Board of Trustees during the July 4 Holiday weekend. Grants will be announced the week following the presentations.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Mail a copy of the letter of intent to:
Upton Foundation
2900 S. State St., Ste. 2E
St. Joseph, MI 49085

Email a copy of the letter intent to:

For additional information contact:
Lisa Cripps-Downey

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Michigan: Berrien County

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