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Grant Process

NOTE: Grant applications are only accepted by invitation from the Foundation.


Here at the Charles E. Lakin Foundation, Inc., we are driven by a single goal; to do our part in making our local region a better place for all. Our decision making process is informed by comprehensive empirical studies and high quality evaluation. We strive to build productive relationships and make a positive impact with all of our philanthropic pursuits.

By Invitation Only

Proposals to the Charles E. Lakin Foundation, Inc. are by invitation only. Instead of an open application process, we have chosen to strategically fund a select group of grantees for longer project periods at higher dollar amounts. This practice makes the process more personable to the grantee and allows our staff the opportunity to build stronger relationships with current grantees to ensure ongoing success.

Letter of Inquiry

While grant proposals are by invitation only, the Foundation will accept a letter of inquiry by email or regular mail. The letter should be brief and explain the organization, the potential request, the amount of the request and the timeframe for the request. It should also include the organization’s website address. Before sending a letter of inquiry all grant seekers should review the grant parameters (below) to be eligible for consideration.


The Foundation has two grants cycles each year and may add a shortened cycle to address emergency situations such as COVID 19 or local area disasters. Grant invitations are extended in December and June, with funding six months later. The Foundation utilizes an online portal system for grant applications and reporting. Organizations invited to apply for a grant will receive full training and support in completing the application and/or reports.

Grant Parameters

Project Eligibility


The Foundation’s grantmaking parameters were established by the Founder and the Board of Directors have further refined the parameters to strategically address the local community’s needs to bring about positive change. The Foundation is proactive in seeking grantmaking opportunities which involves identifying organizations or programs that target specific issues of strategic interest to the Foundation. As appropriate, the Foundation will collaborate with other funding partners to seek the best possible outcome.


1. Determine Eligibility

To be considered for possible funding, your organization must hold current 501(c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service.

2. Within Territory

The funding request must be for a project within our geographic scope, which includes:

  • Iowa Counties: Pottawattamie, Mills, Montgomery, Fremont, Page, and Cass 

  • Nebraska Counties: Douglas and Sarpy 

3. Mission Alignment

The Foundation will make grants to various projects which align with our mission to fund programs and organizations that help people in need overcome adversity, restore dignity and ultimately transform their lives.  We empower adults, children, and families to become productive and contributing citizens by providing funding within three core focus areas: 

          1.  Children and families

          2.  Education and training

          3.  Economic resilience

4. Exclusion Factors

In general, the Foundation does not fund the following:

  • Startup Organizations

  • Governmental Entities

  • Organizations with broad public support (e.g. hospitals, universities, museums, or zoos)

  • Endowment grants

  • Arts and culture organizations

  • Political or lobbying activities

  • Projects of religious denominations or sects, other than eligible educational, health or human service-related projects

  • Grants to individuals

  • Galas, benefits, and other fundraising events

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