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Be a Grant Reviewer


About Grant Reviewing

Grant reviewers assist us with reading and scoring grant applications, and they are an essential part of our decision making process. As members of the Lancaster County community, reviewers are able to provide valuable insight on the needs of the community. Throughout the process reviewers are also able to learn about the inspiring initiatives that community benefit organizations (CBOs) are implementing across the county. Many reviewers express admiration for the way organizations work to create positive change in the people they serve and in Lancaster County. Grant reviewers are diverse in their experience of Lancaster and their perspective. Effective reviewers have: Knowledge of our community, a desire to voice their opinion, and computer literacy/access.


What can you expect?

Grant reviewers can expect to read an average of six to ten applications during a three week period. Depending on how long you take to read through and score applications, this process can take 3-5 hours over the course of those few weeks.

All grant reviews are completed online; reviewers need to be comfortable working online and have access to a computer, laptop or other mobile device with internet access.

*Because of the importance of grant reviewers in our process, we require all volunteers to attend an information session, complete implicit bias training, and fill out a conflict of interest form.*

Grant reviewing is done in two cycles:

Cycle 1: June 1 – June 22
Cycle 2: August 3 – August 24

Want to learn more?


Want to be a reviewer?

If you are interested in becoming a grant reviewer, fill out the sign up sheet below. Once we receive and review your information, when we approach a grant cycle, we will reach out with a detailed email regarding the information session and how to sign up to review grants during a specific cycle. 


Learn more about the types of applications received in each cycle, and the evaluation criteria of each program: 

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Grant Programs Cycle 1

Passion Grants

Passion Grants convert The Community Foundation’s donors’ passions into impact through supporting programming in a broad range of focus areas including: human services, the environment, restoring historical structures, clean water, human rights/inclusion, the arts, preschool child development, and projects in Eastern Lancaster County.

What should I look for in a Passion Grant application?

• Need and Vision – Does the application address community needs, and does it outline a clear vision for change?

• Equity and Inclusion – Does the organization demonstrate a commitment to racial equity, inclusion, and social justice? Does the program focus on an underserved or underrepresented group of people?

• Implementation Plan – How effectively does the application outline a plan for project coordination, utilization of funding, strategies, and timeline?

• Collaboration – Does the application incorporate meaningful collaboration or partnerships with other organizations?

• Organizational Capacity – Does the organization demonstrate capacity to successfully implement its proposed program?

• Results  – Does the application articulate ways the organization will measure the effect of the program or solution at a broad community level, and are the outcomes meaningful and feasible?


John J. Snyder Fund

The John J. Snyder, Jr. Fund for Historic Preservation is a distinct fund of our Passion Grants. It provides for the restoration, maintenance, and repair of historical structures in Lancaster and Cumberland counties. Grant funds may be used for many of the “unglamorous things” necessary to sustain a documented historical structure owned by a community benefit organization, so that it may be preserved for future generations.

What should I look for in a John J. Synder Fund application?

• Historical Significance – The degree to which the historic structure has significance in the community

• Equity and Inclusion – Does the organization demonstrate a commitment to racial equity, inclusion, and social justice? Does the program focus on an underserved or underrepresented group of people?

• Potential for transformation – The degree to which the project would affect the functioning of the organization

• Implementation Plan – The degree to which the key details of the project are accounted for

• Organizational Planning/Capacity – The degree to which the organization has planned/is planning to gather the needed funding for this and other upcoming projects; the degree to which the organization demonstrates a proven track record with similar projects.

• Long-term Benefits and Cost-Effectiveness – The degree to which the project brings ecological benefits, use of community resources, and long-term cost savings

CBO Equity & Inclusion Program

CBOs will join a 9-month learning journey embedding equity practices that encourage collective reflection and transformational change. The workshops offer fresh perspectives and practical strategies guiding CBOs toward creating an organizational equity & inclusion plan.

What should I look for in a CBO Equity & Inclusion Program application?

• Commitment to DEI – Does the organization describe a clear commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)?

• Challenges – Has the organization described current challenges regarding equity and inclusion substantially? Is the organization intentional with identifying examples of those challenges?

• Vision and Desire – Does the application clearly describe their desire and vision with respect to DEI?

• Goals and Results – Does the application clearly articulate the organization’s desired DEI goals and results?

• Cohort Experience – If chosen, how will this organization contribute and gain from the 8-month experience?


Grant Programs Cycle 2

Capacity Building Grant

The grant supports capacity building work designed to help fulfill an organization’s mission. Examples of capacity building includes strategic planning, marketing or staff development.

What should I look for in a Capacity Building Grant application? 

• Project Vision – Does the vision position the organization to better fulfill its mission?

• Equity and Inclusion – Does the organization demonstrate a commitment to racial equity, inclusion, and social justice? Does the program focus on an underserved or underrepresented group of people?

• Organizational Sustainability – Does this capacity building effort increase the organization’s long-term sustainability?

• Need/Opportunity – How effectively are the organizational needs, opportunities, and timeliness of this capacity building initiative communicated?

• Implementation Plan – Does the application provide a plan for project coordination, utilization of funding, strategies, and a timeline?


Community Bridge Builders Program

The Community Foundation is launching the Community Bridge Builders Program to support and promote visionary projects seeking to bring historically or recently divided groups into harmony with one another. In today’s America, social media, the political landscape, and public discourse have become so polarized and tension between groups feels frightening and unsustainable. Lancaster County is filled with creativity, compassion and caring. We challenge our county’s CBO leaders to identify new programs to erase hate and prejudice, and to advance welcoming and appreciation of differing perspectives. The Community Bridge Builders Program will create bold pathways for all residents to manifest a brighter future – together.

What should I look for in a Community Bridge Builders Program application? 

• Need – The application clearly identifies two or more groups of people who have been in conflict or disconnected from each other.

• Potential of Proposed Solution – The proposed solution has real potential to bring these groups of people closer together in the short-term and/or the long-term.

• Implementation Plan – The organization(s) have created a robust, logical plan that clearly identifies realistic timelines, budget, and goals.

• Learning – The applicant has a clear plan to collect information about what is working and what is not, and to share their learning with the broader community.

• Innovation – Is the applicant using a strategy that is new for Lancaster County within the past year?

• Equity & Inclusion – Does this application advance the health and well-being of communities that have historically been marginalized? (e.g. BIPOC population, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, etc.)


Baldwin Leadership Program (offered every other year)

The Baldwin Leadership Program supports the personal leadership development of individuals in Lancaster County. The Class of 2023 will include 10 local leaders ready to embark on extraordinary opportunities. The 18-month program seeks to spark your curiosity for growth and leadership development. The timeline provides supportive group engagement and resources to amplify your personally designed project. Monthly cohort meetings and retreat are required.

What should I look for in a Baldwin Leadership Program application? 

• Leadership Capacity – Do the applicant’s goals and self-designed program increase her/his/their leadership capacity?

• Self-designed Program – Does the applicant bring a creative approach to her/his/their self-designed program?

• Creative Thinking Skills – Will the program foster the applicant’s creative thinking skills?

• Community Benefit – Will the self-directed program impact Lancaster’s leadership capacity, as well as the partnering CBO?

• Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) – Does the applicant demonstrate a commitment to racial equity, inclusion, and social justice? Will the applicant bring a diverse perspective to the cohort of Baldwin Leaders?

Email Program Officer, Alma Felix, at if you have any questions.


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Send Program Officer Alma Felix an email.

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