setting ideas in motion

Grant Cycles & Areas of Interest

Woods Charitable Fund reviews proposals and awards grants twice a year. To apply, organizations must be invited by WCF staff to submit a formal application. Please see Before You Apply and our Timetable for more details.

The Fund supports a broad range of activities benefiting the people of Lincoln, Nebraska, including but not limited to the Areas of Interest described below. We are interested in reviewing plans for pilot projects and innovative programs, as well as requests for operational support and sustained growth for organizations whose work coincides with the purposes of the foundation. The foundation funds both direct services and policy programs.

WCF especially looks forward to opportunities to review proposals joining partners (academic, community, government, business, public service, faith-based) to explore ways to integrate perspectives and talents toward common goals. We support projects that involve coalition-building, public education and advocacy to effect positive social change and improve opportunities for all citizens.

Arts & Culture

Visual art, literature, dance, theater, music and mixed media presentations are cornerstones of a community’s aesthetic and ethical being. They can bind people through shared experience and understanding. They stimulate thought, communication and creativity. Woods supports programs in the arts and humanities that will enhance or develop the common aesthetic spirit.

Programs that connect the arts and humanities with nontraditional participants are of special interest to the Fund.

Civic & Community

To sustain or increase its vitality, a community must consistently nurture its development, particularly as that development impacts underrepresented residents. The Fund supports projects that empower those with fewer advantages to participate in the economic system and that foster community participation and responsibility, thus engaging people to solve problems and improve opportunities for all. Advocacy groups, neighborhood, legal, volunteer and community organizations are effective avenues to promote civic participation and leadership. Woods recognizes the growing need in Lincoln for affordable housing and supports programs that expand its availability.

The need for individuals to achieve self-sufficiency has been identified as a primary community concern. The Fund encourages submission of proposals that suggest creative approaches to helping people escape poverty and become work ready.


Our educational systems face the challenge of preparing individuals for a rapidly changing society. Today, more than ever before, education touches the lives of people of all ages – students at all levels, newcomers learning a second language and culture, adults retraining to handle new job responsibilities. The Fund looks forward to opportunities to review proposals from existing educational institutions and from creative new programs to meet the challenge.

Human Services

A significant cornerstone in community life is the family. Its power to mold and develop mentally healthy, secure, loving members determines Woods’ interest in supporting projects to strengthen families and provide opportunities for youth to achieve their full potential. This is a broad category and may include either direct service or policy programs focused on child care, behavioral and mental health, youth development, the elderly, family planning, shelter and basic needs, those returning to society after incarceration as well as others.

The Fund will give special consideration to programs and initiatives designed to prevent youth and family violence.

The Fund gives special consideration to programs and initiatives designed to:

  • Support organizations that haven’t traditionally served refugees and immigrants but are trying to integrate them into their client bases and work forces;
  • Expand English language education for New Americans;
  • Help develop community acceptance and appreciation for New Americans; and
  • Extend research and planning concerning immigrants and refugees in Lincoln.

In addition to our traditional grant cycles, the Fund offers an annual Breakthrough Initiative Grant specifically to support promising and groundbreaking new programs, collaborations and/or organizational best practices.