Grants FAQ

Nebraska nonprofits with 501(c)(3) status and departments or groups at any University of Nebraska campus are eligible to apply for WIN grants. 

If a project involves collaboration among nonprofits, multiple university departments or a nonprofit-university partnership, the application should be submitted by the entity that will take financial responsibility for the grant. 

Grant amounts are determined by the total of WIN’s membership gifts between July 1 and June 30 each year. Grant funds are evenly divided between the nonprofit and university projects selected.

Proposals should address important and urgent issues that are important to Nebraskans. They need not be directed to solely benefit women.

WIN’s collective gifts are intended to make a significant impact on a project in a one-year time frame.

WIN’s collective grants are intended to provide high impact to a project in a one-year time frame. Capital projects are eligible and will be evaluated based on the bold, innovative solution they provide to urgent issues affecting Nebraska.

While WIN recognizes the importance and life-changing nature of scholarships, scholarships are considered only as part of broader projects.

WIN’s process to evaluate funding opportunities includes letters of inquiry, a request for proposal and site visits. Those elements are defined here:

Letters of inquiry (LOI) — Beginning in the 2020-2021 grant cycle, WIN will use an online tool to gather letter of inquiry information. The tool will be open from Jan. 1 to 11:59 p.m. Feb. 23 on this website.

Requests for proposals (RFP) — After reviewing LOIs, WIN will invite six to eight nonprofit grant seekers and six to eight university grant seekers to submit formal proposals and will distribute a document outlining the information needed in that process.

Site visits — From the proposals submitted, WIN will select up to four nonprofit and up to four university grant seekers for whom meetings will be scheduled to learn more about their proposals and plans. After the site visits, two nonprofit and two university grant seekers will be placed on the ballot on which WIN members.

WIN’s Grants Committee sets the annual timeline for grants and reviews letters of inquiry (LOI) and proposals from grant seekers. The committee also conducts site visits and determines which projects will be placed on the ballot. All WIN members have a vote in selecting the grant recipients from the finalists on the ballot.

For additional information about WIN’s grant process, please contact WIN@nufoundation.org or call Lori Shriner, 402-458-1209 .

Past recipients may submit letters of inquiry for new projects after all reports required for their grant have been accepted. Their submissions will be assessed based on the same criteria as other letters of inquiry.

WIN’s grants are awarded in the fall and are based on membership gifts made in the previous one-year period, July 1 to June 30. 

In the past five years, WIN grants have averaged $83,500 each.  

Letters of inquiry are due in February, and from those submissions, WIN will invite 12 to 16 projects to submit full proposals. Everyone who submits a letter of inquiry will be notified of their status in the process in mid-March.

WIN’s letters of inquiry are moving to an online submission process. We encourage you to include website links to allow us to learn more about your organization, but no additional documentation is required at this stage.

Collaborative projects among nonprofits and university divisions are allowed and encouraged. The letter of inquiry should be submitted by the organization or division that will take financial management responsibility for a grant.

WIN grants are made available to grant recipients in late fall, usually by November, and are intended to be expended in the following calendar year.

WIN grant agreements with recipients include a process to request extensions of that period if needed.

No WIN sponsor is required for consideration in the grant application process.

Letters of inquiry for the 2020-2021 grant cycle are due by 11:59 p.m. Feb. 16, 2021.

The timeline for the 2020-2021 grants cycle is available here.

Your LOI should include the following: 

  • Project name, organization name, contact person with email and phone number
  • A brief description of the critical need being addressed, whom the project serves and its impact on Nebraskans
  • Designation of project category or categories: arts and culture; education and environment; health and human services; or civic and community
  • A brief description of what your organization would do with a grant of $80,000 or more, being as clear and focused as possible about its impact
  • An estimated budget, which need not be detailed but should identify the kinds of expenses the project would incur (i.e, supplies, staffing, programming)
  • A list of key project leaders and other collaborators
  • Nonprofit organizational information should include: name, year incorporated, federal tax ID, 501(c)(3) public charity designation, website address, mission, amount of annual budget and how the organization is funded
  • University organizational information should include primary applicant, university campus, college/department/division and website address

Religious organizations may apply if they meet all other qualifications as a nonprofit organization.

Nonprofits operating in and serving Nebraska are eligible for grants. A chapter, affiliate or branch of a larger organization would be eligible if they have a local board or governing body, there is local control of grant expenditures and budget,  and expenditures and services would be based and delivered in Nebraska.