Capacity Building

The Foundation strives to ensure our nonprofit partners have the tools and resources they need to operate strong programs and resilient organizations. We develop capacity building investments to help organizations increase specific capabilities that increase effectiveness and catalyze impact over the long-term.

Current Foundation grantee partners are eligible to apply for capacity building supoort. The Foundation's capacity building investments are tailored to the needs of each partner, but frequently fall into the categories listed below.

Capacity Building Categories

Board and leadership development

Leadership training, executive coaching, governance training, executive transition, succession, and search processes.


Organization assessments, strategic planning, fund development planning, program evaluations, or real estate or facility planning.

Internal operations

Financial management, internal controls, human resources, volunteer management, marketing and communications. IT capacity through upgrades to hardware and software, networking, websites, and staff training to optimize the use of technology.

Peer learning/collaboration

Workshops, peer skill sharing, support to strengthen collaborative efforts.


Supporting grantees in taking time to celebrate accomplishments, recharge and prepare for the next major project.


• Tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code
• Current Foundation grantee partner
• Commitment from the organization (its senior leaders and board) of time and resources to build capacity
• Commitment to learning with the Foundation about what worked, what could have gone better, and what difference the investment made for your organization

Frequently Asked Questions

• Applicants may request up to $50,000 annually unless otherwise discussed with the Foundation
• Applicants are eligible to receive one capacity building grant per 12-month period
• Requested dollar amounts must be realistic and accompanied by a clear description of the need for funding

• Partners requesting support for a consultant must vet at least two potential consultants before making a selection. It is important that organizations find a consultant that is a good fit and understands their needs.
• ZFF does not provide a preferred consultant list, but we are happy to share a list of consultants that other grantees have recommended.

• We recognize some projects or initiatives require multiple partners and consultants. Organizations should submit a complete project budget, including all anticipated consultant costs, with the application. All consultant scopes, project charters/MOUs, and final reports should be shared with the Foundation.

• We will work with our partners to set goals and establish reporting metrics to understand if the capacity building funding resulted in the desired outcome. At the end of the day, we'd like to know the degree to which the capacity building funding helped position your organization to achieve its medium or long-term goals (organizational, programmatic, financial, etc.).
• A final report will be required at the end of the grant term, asking the following questions:
    • Briefly describe the expected and actual results of the capacity building project.
    • To what degree did this grant funding help position your organization to achieve its medium or long-term goals (organizational, programmatic,
       financial)? (1-4) scale
       1 - Not at all
       2 - Very little
       3 - Somewhat
       4 - To a great extent
    • What difference did this support make to your organization? How was your organization strengthened?
    • If you worked with a consultant, please share the deliverables from the consultant's scope of work.
    • Anything else you'd like to share with us?

For more information

Reach out to us to learn more and/or discuss a potential capacity building request.