For Such a Time as This Grants

Our Capital Campaign Mission Grants Program 

First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, United Church of Christ invites grant applications from organizations and individuals for projects and initiatives relevant to our mission. Grants will be funded through a mission tithe from our recent capital campaign, For Such a Time as This.  A first round of grants was solicited and awarded in 2017.  With pledges now almost fully realized, the For Such A Time As This Grants Committee will be starting the second and final round of funding in the fall of 2018. The application process will remain the same as previously, and the Committee is pleased to announce the timeline for the new cycle. See below!

2018-2019 CYCLE


2018 Grants Cycle ― Important Dates

October 15: Initial deadline for First Church sponsor to send Letter of Intent to submit a proposal to the First Church Parish Office, E-mail sub-mission is preferred, to, but paper applications may be mailed to the Parish Office, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138

November 19: Application due to Parish Office by e-mail (preferred) or paper submission.December

December - February : Grants Committee reviews proposals and makes recommendations for awards. As part of the review process, finalists (or all applicants, if the pool is small) will meet with representatives of the Grants Committee or host a site visit. The review process will take approximately three months.

February: Executive Council reviews and ratifies Grants Committee recommendations 

March 1: Applicants notified of award decisions


Granting Priorities

Grant requests submitted to First Church will be evaluated based on alignment with our congregation’s mission and ongoing areas of concern.

Funding will be distributed to maximize impact relevant to these principles, with an aim to building collaborative relationships with external organizations beyond financial support whenever possible. In partnership, we would be interested in exploring a variety of ways our congregation may be involved through volunteering, joint events, educational opportunities, and more.


Grounded in God, our hope and our healing

Growing in community, with Jesus our center

Acting in love, made bold by the Spirit

Areas of Concern

First Church has a history of involvement in social justice ministries. Congregational interests include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

  • Homelessness
  • Gun violence
  • Food insecurity
  • Ministerial training and education
  • Interfaith collaboration
  • Racial justice

For more information on First Church and our outreach priorities, please see our Vision and Calling and First Church in the World materials on our website, as well as the inspiration for our campaign, “For Such a Time as This.”

Grant size and funding available

First Church intends to award grants ranging from $500 up to $50,000, based on alignment with First Church’s mission and ministry priorities, the application’s strength, budget justification, and anticipated impact. Though the exact grant mix is not determined in advance, the Grants Committee expects to make several larger high-impact grants, along with a greater number of smaller and mid-size grants.

In the 2017 grant cycle, the Grants Committee anticipates making one award of $15,000 - $25,000 as well as 3 - 6 smaller awards. Individuals or organizations requesting larger amounts should expect to be asked for additional application materials and reporting requirements.


  • Internal or External - Grant requests from organizations and individuals beyond First Church’s own walls as well as from congregational members will be considered, with the hope that projects will extend our ministry into the broader community.
  • First Church Sponsorship - Grant requests must be sponsored by one or more First Church members. Sponsors of an external organization’s request would be responsible for showing their support through a written statement in the Letter of Intent, described below. With the assistance of the Grants Committee, the sponsor may also help to identify partnership opportunities.
  • Organizational Status - Individuals, groups of individuals, or organizations are all invited to apply. Eligible organizational applicants must have 501(c)(3) status.
  • Time-limited Investment - The current mission grant program does not intend to fund ongoing support for projects beyond this grant cycle. Examples of appropriate requests would be time-limited or stand-alone projects, infrastructure and equipment requests, or program support with a convincing plan for ongoing sustainability. For projects developed within the First Church community, the FCC operating budget will not absorb future ongoing program costs, unless an existing committee plans to incorporate the new program within their current budget allocation.

Application process

Letter of Intent - The first step in submitting an application is to draft a short letter of intent containing the following information:

  • The letter should be signed by the First Church members putting forward the proposal, OR, in the case of an external applicant, the First Church members sponsoring the proposal
  • 2 - 3 sentences describing the applicant, whether an organization or an individual
  • 2 - 3 sentences describing the proposed use of the funds
  • 2 - 3 sentences describing the anticipated results of the project or impact of the grant
  • The amount requested
  • Contact information for the First Church sponsors and for the external organization, if applicable

The letter of intent has several aims:

  • To determine if the project aligns closely enough with FCC’s mission and ministry priorities to invite a full application
  • To pair the applicant with a member of the Grants Committee to be a resource for questions surrounding proposal development

Grant Application - Within two weeks after submitting a Letter of Intent, applicants with projects well-aligned with First Church’s mission will be contacted by the Grants Committee. Applicants will be sent blank copies of the following proposal documents, based on the Association of Grant Managers’ Common Proposal Forms.

  • Cover Sheet
  • Full Proposal Narrative
  • Budget Template

Some of the fields in the application are applicable only to organizational applicants. Individuals or groups of individuals are encouraged to fill out only the fields that are relevant to them. Grants Committee members are available for questions and assistance in navigating the application.

Proposals for amounts exceeding $15,000 will be asked to submit additional materials to support the application. A Grants Committee member will work with applicants to identify these necessary supporting documents when the full proposal is requested. Materials may include:

  • Recent audit or financial statement
  • Annual report
  • List of board members with affiliations
  • Diversity data form

If you have questions about the For Such a Time as This Grants Program, please contact Leslie Pelton-Cairns at, or Caitlin Anderson at



The Grants Committee of First Church‘s Capital Campaign has made a first round awards to five projects that will enable us to extend our mission beyond our Garden Street home. The Executive Council voted on September 25, 2017 to accept the recommendations of the Grants Committee, and we are excited to announce the grantees and their projects!

Community Resources for Justice (CRJ) helps to support adults transitioning from incarceration, young adults transitioning from foster care, and individuals with developmental disabilities.  This grant will fund a demonstration project for extending the time that formerly incarcerated individuals may be housed by CRJ’s step-down program, helping them to find independent housing and begin employment.   

Food for Free is a food rescue group that picks up food from large cafeterias, grocery stores, and restaurants, redistributing it to food pantries, weekend backpack programs, and our own Friday Café.  This grant will allow Food for Free to refrigerate another truck in their fleet.

First Church’s Friday Café hosts homeless guests and volunteers each Friday during the program year in a safe and spirit-filled place, providing food, toiletries, clothing and other resources.  Losing our stage in the Capital Campaign, the Friday Café also lost their storage area.  This grant will allow Friday Café to purchase a hoist system to raise and lower supplies into Margaret Jewett Hall from a new storage area in the former Archives space.

LGBT Asylum Support Task Force is a ministry of Hadwen Park Congregational Church in Worcester that supports LGBTQI individuals seeking asylum in the US. The First Church grant will allow the Task Force to support one additional legal immigrant for 12 - 15 months, while he or she goes through the asylum process in the US, helping to obtain work permits, finding employment, connecting with social services, and applying for asylum.

The Cory Johnson Program for Post-Traumatic Healing at Roxbury Presbyterian Church’s Social Impact Center helps to support individuals and families impacted by urban violence.  This grant will provide funding for a Mother’s Support Group and “Can We Talk?” events that address issues of gun violence, homelessness, and racial justice, and also connect community members to additional treatment and support services.   

We are grateful to be a part of the work these organizations are doing.  In the coming months the Grants Committee hopes to provide opportunities for First Church to become better acquainted with these organizations and projects.  There was an extraordinary field of applicants and we thank all the organizations that applied.  We look forward to another grants cycle next year.

Acting in Love, Made Bold by the Spirit!

  ―  The Grants Committee

Aaron Hume, Caitlin Anderson, Jean Carr, Jean-Dany Joachim, Leslie Pelton-Cairns




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