funding guidelinesEligibility Criteria and Funding Priorities

Proposed projects or activities should have a nexus within Western Michigan or its surrounding environs and be consistent with the Justice Foundation of West Michigan’s (JFWM) mission statement:

To serve the West Michigan public and legal community through the funding of programs that promote or provide legal services to the disadvantaged, improve the administration of justice, and educate the public about core democratic values.

The Foundation prefers that the applicant be recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or similar exempt organization. If the applicant is a current or former JFWM grant recipient, satisfactory compliance with the Foundation’s grant reporting requirements is a pre-requisite for eligibility.

Application Process

Grants will be awarded twice per year. Applications must be received by the Foundation Committee’s March or September meetings (held the last Tuesday of the month). The Foundation reserves the right to consider applications on an accelerated time frame if circumstances warrant. The Foundation will accept applications by mail, facsimile or e-mail, however, if facsimile or e-mail is used, the applicant bears all risks of software incompatibility and/or transmission failure. The Foundation suggests that applicant send applications by certified mail. Applications should be forwarded to:

Justice Foundation of West Michigan
c/o Grand Rapids Bar Association
161 Ottawa Ave., N.W., Suite 203-B
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


The Foundation Committee will select from among the applications received, and grants will be awarded within 90 days of the application deadline.

Size of Awards

Grants vary in amounts, up to $5,000. The Foundation may identify certain projects that may be awarded larger amounts, as circumstances require.


Ineligible Projects

Absent unusual or extraordinary circumstances, the JFWM will not fund requests for the following:


  • Capital construction projects or endowment campaigns.
  • Ticket purchases or sponsorships for charitable dinners or special events regardless of the nature or work of the requesting organization.
  • Partisan political activities.
  • Honorariums and/or speaker fees.
  • Operation costs of an organization.
  • Grants will not be made to individuals.

Other Grant Considerations

Justice Foundation of West Michigan funds generally may be used to supplement programs funded by other sources. Grants of "start-up money" to fledgling organizations may be considered where such actions might provide incentive to other donors to support worthy projects that require additional funds.

The Foundation Board will consider applications for any acceptable use of funds, although grants will generally be restricted to activities that support our mission statement. Procedures and priorities may change in the future as resources and needs change. Grants funded by the Justice Foundation of West Michigan are wholly discretionary and such funding does not imply that a program will receive funds for the next grant cycle. However, the Foundation does reserve the right to make multi-year awards when circumstances clearly support such a decision.