How to Apply for a Grant

The George W. Neilson Foundation meets the third Tuesday of each month to review grant applications.

The Foundation office is open from 12:30p.m. – 4:30 p.m. every Wednesday afternoon.

Please mail or drop off applications by the first Wednesday of the month in order to be considered at that months’ meeting.

If our meeting agenda is too full, there is a possibility that an application may be tabled until the next month, but notification of this will be timely, as well as notification of approval or denial.

Need Help?

If you run into any questions during the application process, use the MCF Guide below or contact us for further information.

Application Process

Review our guidelines below


  • Download and complete the Minnesota Common Grant Application
  • Prepare a brief 1-2 page letter summarizing your proposal.
  • Include a copy of your organization’s 501(c )3 determination letter from the IRS.
  • Detail your project and organization budget.
  • List out other funds pledged for this proposal.
  • Applications may be mailed to the PO Box listed or dropped off at the foundation office at First National Bank in Bemidji.

George W. Neilson Foundation
PO Box 692
Bemidji, MN 56619-0692

Funding Guidelines

The George W. Neilson Foundation will continue to support community development projects by making grants to programs and projects that will improve the lives of the area’s children, adults and senior citizens. Projects which:

  • Improve the quality of community life.
  • Contribute to community cohesion.
  • Provide for community revitalization.
  • Help to create a positive community image.
  • Respond to specific community needs.

These are the grant requests that the Board of Trustees welcome for review. In providing these grants to various not-for-profit organizations, the George W. Neilson Foundation stresses the importance of matching funds, “sweat equity”, and funding from other individuals and organization in order to promote ownership of the project and to help insure viability. The Foundation will consider “bricks and mortar” grants along with grants for new programming. The Foundation will require evidence that the requesting organization has sufficient resources available or assured to sustain its program after the start-up period has been completed.

What is Acceptable?

Examples of ACCEPTABLE costs in programs and projects that are otherwise approved include:

  • Capital building and equipment costs, etc.
  • Expansion or improvement of facilities.
  • Educational exhibits, program materials, etc.
  • Start-up costs on a one-time basis (evidence of continued funding required.)
  • Applied research (must show promise of practical solutions to clearly identified community problems.)

What is Not Acceptable?

Examples of costs normally considered NOT ACCEPTABLE include:

  • Propaganda, attempts to influence legislation or the outcome of any public election or political activity.
  • Individual travel or study.
  • Promotion of any sectarian religious activity.
  • General purpose grants.
  • Sustaining grants whose purpose is to meet continuing operating costs such as salaries, rent, supplies or maintenance, etc.
  • Works of art whose primary function is of a decorative nature.
  • Publications or advertising.
  • Feasibility studies, employment of consultants, or support of advisory committees.
  • Camping programs or field trips.
  • Basic research (defined as pursuing the advancement of knowledge.)
  • Projects which are commonly supported by tax dollars.

Ready to Apply?

Start by downloading the application form today.