“What If…” Mini Grants
For the first time in Gifford’s history, Syracusans as young as 12 years old can apply for a “What If…” Mini Grant!
- Yes, adults can still apply.
- Orientation sessions will be held from July through November.
- Applications can be submitted following the orientation.
Can adults still apply?
Yes! We fully encourage Syracuse residents of all ages to apply. The only difference is that this year we have expanded the age limits to include Syracuse youth. However, this is not meant to discourage adult applicants. If you are interested in applying as an adult, you will still need to follow the same basic steps as described below in the How To Apply section.
If you have received a What If grant previously and are interested in applying again, please contact Sheria Walker.
What is a “What If…” Mini Grant?
“What if…” is designed to foster growth in neighborhoods and strengthen the capacity of Syracuse residents who seek to make positive changes in their neighborhood while encouraging creativity, collaboration, and innovation. We believe that the people who live in a community should decide what happens in their community. Therefore, we look for projects that are driven by neighbors, grassroots organizations, or others who are actively involved in making our city a better place. We are deeply committed to lifting up the ideas, voices, and initiatives of our Syracuse neighbors who have not been heard.
One important group that is rarely heard from is young people. Just like adults, Syracuse youth are affected by changes in public policy, economic shifts, transportation challenges, and much more. But unlike adults, they rarely have the same means or opportunities to put their ideas into action.
This year’s “What If…” program is designed to empower young people by giving them the resources and support necessary to solve the problems they care about, in the way that they choose.
We invite you to approach us with your ideas about how to build community support, show comradery, and solve the problems that you and your neighbors are facing.
How to apply
Attend one of our orientation sessions.
We will host informational meetings at our office at 126 N. Salina St. #310 Syracuse, NY 13202 on the following dates:
- July 8th at 6 pm
- July 22nd at 6 pm
- Aug. 19th at 6 pm
- Sept. 9th at 6 pm
- Sept. 23rd at 6 pm
- Oct. 14th at 6 pm
- Nov. 4th at 6 pm
Make an account.
Create an account on Foundant – our grants management system. You can log back in anytime to start an application or edit an application in progress.
Submit your application.
Gather the information you need to show how your plan will work. You can preview the application questions by clicking the button below. Please note that you must be logged in to complete the submission process.
Want to be an adviser?
If you are interested in serving as an adviser for a youth applicant, please click the button below to read about the process and sign up.
Am I eligible to apply?
- Applicant must live in the City of Syracuse
- Project must take place in the City of Syracuse
- Applicant/group must be an individual or a grassroots organization. This funding is not meant for large, established nonprofits (mature organizations should see our Community Grants page).
What is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit status?
Basically a 501c3 status is a federal tax status that nonprofit or charitable organizations can file for. It changes the way they are recognized by the government allows them to have special permissions in things like paying sales tax. Here is a great resource if you’d like to learn more:
Do I need to have a 501(c)(3) nonprofit status?
Nope! If your group does not have a 501c3 status, you can absolutely still apply for funding. You will need to find a fiscal sponsor who agrees to receive the funding on your behalf. The Foundation can help guide you through this process.
What is a Fiscal Sponsor
A fiscal sponsor is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit that is willing to accept money from us on your behalf. Our grants must be paid to a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit (including churches) or to a public entity, such as a town, public school, or state agency. If you need one or have further questions regarding fiscal sponsors contact Sheria.
What’s the difference between Community Grants and What If Mini Grants? Can I apply for both?
Community Grants and What If… mini grants are two very different grants with two very different audiences. As such, organizations may not apply for both. Community grantmaking is meant for more established organizations in our tri-county service area (Onondaga, Madison and Oswego counties) and has a direct focus on supporting requests that address organizational capacity building. What If… mini grants are specific to grassroots groups or individuals within the City of Syracuse.
Help! I’ve forgotten the password to my account.
No worries! Contact Sheria Walker.
Help! I started to fill out my application and now I can’t find it in my account anymore.
Contact Sheria Walker for help with this.
I don’t have access to a computer, can I still apply?
Absolutely! Yes, reach out to Sheria Walker and we will work with you to help provide access to an application.
Can I apply more than once?
Yes, but only after you can meet the following requirements:
- Have you turned in all reports that were assigned to you? Is the project done and are all funds spent?
- Is it is a new calendar year since you last got a grant? For example, if you got a grant in 2021 you would not be able to reapply until 2022.
Can I re-apply if my grant is denied?
Yes, absolutely! We always strive to give feedback and reasons why a grant is denied. Oftentimes you will be asked to reapply after you address whatever concerns we may have had.
I got the grant, but things aren’t going as planned, what should I do?
Call Sheria if you need to talk about a new timeline, new budget, an extension on your reporting deadline, etc.
Stay in touch
We have a lot of stuff in the works - don't be the last to know.