Breakthrough Initiative Grants

Breakthrough Initiative Grants from Woods Charitable Fund support promising and groundbreaking new programs, collaborations and/or organizational best practices in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Woods Charitable Fund awarded Breakthrough Initiative Grants in 2017 and 2018 and will not offer a Breakthrough Initiative Grant opportunity in 2019.

Breakthrough Initiative Grants have been awarded as multi-year grants in the range from $200,000-$400,000. Nonprofit organizations that apply for a Breakthrough grant are eligible to also apply for WCF’s traditional funding awards during its regular grant cycles in May and November.

Breakthrough Initiative Grants address challenges or needs of broad relevance to Lincoln or a very significant challenge affecting a small but unique and vulnerable population in Lincoln. A proposed project could test a specific, innovative new response to an identified problem with a commitment to make the findings widely and openly accessible.

Those applying may propose activities or approaches that involve risk-taking, as long as the risk is balanced by the significant potential for improvement for the nonprofits and the populations they serve.


Nonprofit organizations with a 501(c)(3) status located in Lincoln, Nebraska, or with a proposal directly benefiting Lincoln are eligible to apply when Breakthrough Initiative Grants are available. If the project is a collaboration, partnering organizations must submit evidence of support. University or government entities may collaborate as partners on a project but cannot serve as the project’s lead agency.

The proposed project must fit within WCF’s traditional funding interest areas: Arts & Culture, Civic & Community, Education and Human Services.

  • More information on our funding interests is available here.
  • Additional information on WCF’s grant-making considerations is available here.
  • More information on projects and areas ineligible for funding is available here.

Breakthrough Initiative Grants will not be awarded in 2019.

For Breakthrough Initiative Grants and traditional WCF grants, nonprofits interested in applying must first contact WCF to discuss the proposal, and when they are to be offered, Breakthrough inquiries must then be invited to complete an electronic Letter of Intent (LOI). WCF staff would notify organizations if they may proceed with a full proposal for a Breakthrough grant, and Breakthrough finalists are expected to present information about their proposal to the WCF staff and board of directors.