Criteria and Eligibility


To be eligible for funding, strong organizations must:

  • Be tax-exempt under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code
  • Have an organizational budget of not more than $2 million
  • Meet the Giving Circle’s mission to create positive change in Northern Virginia by directly benefiting people in need, where “need” refers to people who have low income, are disadvantaged or are under-served

To be eligible for funding, Projects or Capacity Building Efforts (CBE) must:

  • Be specific with clear goals, objectives, and measurable outcomes
  • Serve the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, or Prince William, or the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park or all of Northern Virginia.
  • Have a full Project or CBE budget of no more than $70,000

Note: Only one application will be considered per organization. Should you submit more than one application, only the first application received will be considered.


The Giving Circle of HOPE gives preference to:

Organizations that:

  • Utilize volunteers and leverage resources
  • Work with and through multiple sectors (nonprofit, government, corporations and individuals) to create more impact than they could on their own
  • Demonstrate willingness to raise funds independently and in a variety of ways
  • Have engaged and diverse boards (including members from the community, government, corporations and clients)

Projects that:

  • Do more than give resources to their clients – they provide clients with new tools, techniques or skills
  • Have long-term impact on the population served
  • Are based on proven models of effectiveness and then innovate to create better applications of those models
  • Are creative, innovative and collaborative

Capacity Building Efforts (CBE) that:

  • Improve and enhance their ability to achieve their mission and sustain themselves into the future
  • Strengthen their performance and impact on the community
  • Provide more or better services to their clients
  • Increase their visibility and outreach possibilities in the community

Grant Applications:

  • That fully follow the GCH application format
  • Where GCH funding has significant impact on the success of the Project or CBE (Budget <= $70,000)
  • With clear definition of the Project/CBE
  • With clear definition of the Project’s impact on target population or the CBE’s impact on the non-profit

The Giving Circle of HOPE does not fund:

  • Grant requests that exceed $7,000
  • Organizations, projects or programs that promote a particular religious or political ideology
  • Endowments
  • Dinner galas, advertising, and other special fundraising events
  • General operating expenses of an organization
  • Intermediary funding agencies
  • Organizations that have received a GCH grant for the previous two consecutive years
  • Winning organizations from 2016 who have not submitted either an interim or a final grant evaluation form with their 2017 application package.

Post-Grant Evaluation:
All grantees will be expected to submit a written one-page report either the 2017 Post-Grant Evaluation Form for a Project or the 2017 Post-Grant Evaluation Form for a CBE within 45 days of the conclusion of their grant period. Guidelines for this report will be included with your grant award and the report can be downloaded from this website.