How to Apply

Three Rivers Community Foundation offers annual grants that usually range from $500 to no more than $4,000. Letter of inquiry instructions are released in December. Letters of inquiry are due the following January.  If invited to submit a full proposal, the deadline is in late March or early April. Notification of grantees is in mid-June, and grant awards are released in late June.

The Grantmaking Committee is comprised of TRCF Board Members, community activists, donors, past grantees, and others. It strives to have a representative who works in each one of TRCF’s key issue areas. Every committee member reads every letter of inquiry and full proposal.

Here are the guidelines for submitting Letters of Inquiry to Three Rivers Community Foundation for the 2021 grant cycle!

Letters of Inquiry are DUE by Friday, January 29, 2021, by 6:00 PM.  Email submission is highly preferred.

PDF: 2021-Letter-of-Inquiry-Instructions

Word: 2021-Letter-of-Inquiry-Instructions

TRCF strongly prefers:

  • Grassroots organizations with budgets under $250,000;
  • New organizations or projects that have not been previously funded by TRCF;
  • Projects that take place or have a strong focus on creating change in Southwestern PA (Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland counties);
  • Projects addressing persistent divisions in society based on race, color, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, class, religion, disability, sex, ancestry, or national origin;
  • Projects developing new, grassroots leadership, with strong components of community organizing, community education, problem identification and solving, and community building;
  • Youth-led projects and those promoting youth activism;
  • Projects addressing emerging or cutting-edge issues and using new approaches to problem solving;
  • Organizations or projects that take affirmative steps to assure that their workplaces, programs, and services are accessible to people with disabilities; and/or
  • Collaborations and coalitions that emphasize joint strategies and projects.

TRCF does not consider:

  • Organizations with budgets in excess of $2 million;
  • Social service projects;
  • Individuals;
  • Activities that benefit private interest, business, or profit-making groups, including social enterprises;
  • Funding of capital expenses that are not tied to a specific project (i.e., general building maintenance or upgrades). However building improvements may be funded if demonstrated to be essential to planned project activities or goals;
  • Funds being used for underwriting fundraisers or matching grants;
  • Any expenses related to a project, or operating costs, that are incurred before July 1, 2019;
  • Organizations whose primary events, work, or programs are held in locations either completely or partially inaccessible to people with disabilities;
  • Direct purchase of office equipment (computers, fax machines, copiers, phones, etc.) solely for office administrative activities. However, the purchase of equipment may be funded if demonstrated to be essential to planned project activities or goals;
  • Projects that proselytize for any specific religion (i.e., passing out religious literature to participants in the program for which funding is being requested); or
  • Arts programs that do not include a means for the audience to discuss the social change related issue(s) the work presents, or some other form of action beyond just the exhibit/performance.
Most grantees fall into one of our six Key Issue Areas:

Disability Rights
Economic Justice
Environmental Justice
LGBTQ Rights (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning)
Racial Justice
Women’s Rights

Other grantees fall under the very broad category of social justice (arts, prisoner/ex-offender rights, voter mobilization, media justice, etc.).