The Pokagon Fund’s Municipal grants are awarded for projects that directly benefit the following Michigan communities or their residents: the City of New Buffalo; the Townships of New Buffalo, Three Oaks or Chikaming; or the Villages of Three Oaks, Grand Beach or Michiana. Collectively, these communities are known as “Harbor Country.” Projects that do not provide a direct benefit to in Harbor Country will not be considered for a Discretionary grant by the Fund.
To be eligible to apply for or receive a Municipal grant from the Fund, an organization must be classified as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) or be a unit of government. In rare and very limited circumstances, TPF may make a grant to an organization that is not described in Section 501(c)(3) of the IRC if it is seeking funding for a purpose that is listed in Section 170(c)(2)(B) of the IRC (an applicant must contact TPF staff prior to beginning an application if she or he believes the organization falls into this category).
Before beginning an application, applicants are strongly encouraged to visit the Funding Focus Areas page. Further, applicants should demonstrate how its proposed project strongly aligns with these funding priorities as it completes the application. Grants for unsolicited projects are generally limited to $10,000.
Grants are reviewed on a quarterly basis. The deadlines for the Municipal grant applications are January 15, April 15, July 15 and October 15 each year (if the date falls on a holiday or weekend, then the deadline is extended to the next business day). TPF’s Board of Directors will usually make a decision on each application at its regular meeting in the month following the deadline, but it reserves the right to postpone a decision.
The following units of government can submit a Letter of Inquiry or a grant application (as appropriate) for all or a portion of its respective unpledged Municipal allocation:
- New Buffalo Township
- City of New Buffalo
- Chikaming Township
- Three Oaks Township
- New Buffalo Area Schools
- Three Oaks (village)
- Michiana (village)
- Grand Beach (village)
- River Valley School District
A unit of government that is not on the list above is not eligible for a Municipal grant from the Fund but may want to consider an application for Discretionary funding. Those municipalities considering submitting a Municipal grant application should contact The Pokagon Fund to determine the amount of funding that is available to request because these amounts change frequently. Projects must align with TPF’s Funding Focus Areas and the Basic Guidelines for Municipalities with Allocated Funding.
Letter of Inquiry
If a request is for funding exceeding $3,000, the municipality must submit a short Letter of Inquiry that includes brief narratives describing the project and how it would meet TPF’s Funding Focus Areas and the Basic Guidelines for Municipalities with Allocated Funding prior to submitting a full grant application. The Letter of Inquiry will provide an opportunity for the Pokagon Fund’s Board of Directors to make a preliminary determination as to whether and to what extent the proposed municipal project may be funded prior to the municipality preparing a full application. If a request is for $3,000 or less, a municipality should skip the Letter of Inquiry and submit a full application.
Letters of Inquiry are due on the first of the month preceding the full application deadline (see “Full application for municipal grants” section below). For example, if a municipality wants the Fund’s board to consider a $5,000 grant application at its November grantmaking meeting, the full grant application would be due on October 15 and the Letter of Inquiry would be due on September 1. The Fund would provide a response on the Letter of Inquiry by late September.
If a request is for $3,000 or less or The Fund’s board has approved a Letter of Inquiry for a project, then the municipality may submit a full grant application through the online portal. Grants are reviewed on a quarterly basis. The deadlines for the Discretionary grant applications are January 15, April 15, July 15, and October 15 each year (if the date falls on a holiday or weekend, then the deadline is extended to the next business day). TPF’s Board of Directors will usually make a decision on each application at its regular meeting in the month following the deadline but reserves the right to postpone a decision.
All projects must meet the Fund’s Funding Focus Areas and the Basic Guidelines for Municipalities with Allocated Funding prior to submitting a full grant.