Advocacy Grant

Advocacy grants are for nonprofits that want to solve policy or program issues that will help Middle Tennesseans get healthier. We give them to nonprofits that focus on either increasing access to health services or preventing childhood trauma.

We fund two types of Advocacy Grants:

1. Multi-year Advocacy Grants provide unrestricted funds for nonprofits with a well-developed advocacy plan. Recipients of these funds are committed to advocacy and to solving problems that affect many people because of a broken system. These can grants are $100,000 or less per year.

2. Capacity-Building Grants provide funds for nonprofits to improve their agencies before beginning advocacy work. These funds can be used for strategic planning and will prepare an agency to apply for a future multi-year grant. These grants are $15,000 or less.

Advocacy Grant applicants are required to attend an Advocacy Workshop before applying. All applicants are required to attend an Introduction Workshop.

1. Required Forms

Please download the budget form to submit with your Advocacy Grant application. Please note that the budget form is only for Capacity-Building applicants. Multi-year grant applicants do not submit a budget form. The remaining forms will be submitted with the progress and final reports.

2. Application Details

The preliminary application is the first part of the grant application. The full proposal is the final part of the grant application. Deadlines for both parts of the proposal are located here.
Preliminary Application:

The online Advocacy Grant Preliminary Application has four parts. Questions with an asterisks (*) are optional for Capacity-Building applicants. A strategic plan is required for multi-year grants. Capacity-Building grant applications do not require a strategic plan.

Organization Information

  1. Identify your organization, including: name, mailing address, phone, and fax (optional), as well as a 100-word description of your organization and its mission.
  2. Indicate the Annual Budget for your organization.
  3. Has your agency had a financial audit conducted by an outside auditor for a time period within the previous 18 months?

Contact Information

  1. Indicate the primary contact for this request.
  2. Indicate your organization’s Executive Director. This is your organization’s highest-ranking salaried position. Could also be titled President or CEO.
  3. Indicate the organization’s Board Chair and Treasurer.

Agency’s Advocacy Experience and Goals

  1. Indicate geographic area and population served/represented.
  2. Please describe your organization’s advocacy experience. This may include previous work in public policy, advocacy to shape or improve programs, or institutional systems change advocacy. Remember that advocacy can include activities like public education about issues facing your clients, building relationships with policymakers or training your patients to advocate for program improvements. Please share your most recent accomplishments and lessons learned. (300-word limit)
  3. Describe the community or constituency for whom your agency advocates and illustrate your experience in reaching, engaging, and serving this population. Please describe how they are/will be involved in setting or executing the agency’s advocacy strategy. What niche do you fill that is different from other associations or agencies serving the same population? (200-word limit)
  4. Has your agency previously worked with coalition partners to advocate for policy or institutional changes? Please describe the partnership and the role played by your agency. (200-word limit)
  5. Please complete this sentence: “Through advocacy, our agency seeks to improve health for Tennesseans by… (100-word limit)
  6. Please elaborate on the organization’s advocacy goals in the statement above. Please explain how those goals aim to increase access to health services or prevent childhood trauma (Adverse Childhood Experiences or “ACEs”). These goals may be in the area of public policy, program implementation or systems change. (300-word limit)
  7. Think about your results from the Advocacy Capacity Tool (see link below). What skills or capacities does your agency currently have that position you well to pursue these goals? (250-word limit)
  8. What skills or capacities does your agency need to build in order to achieve these goals? (250-word limit)

Required Attachments

  1. Agency’s 3-year Strategic Plan, approved by the Board of Directors (please highlight advocacy goals and related work)*
  2. Results from Bolder Advocacy’s online Advocacy Capacity Tool. This free tool can be found at this link:

Please attach only the summary results.

The online Advocacy Full Proposal has 7 parts.

Information you entered on your preliminary application will populate into the appropriate fields in your full proposal. If needed, you will be able to change this information in the full proposal. Please remember to update and save your application after making any changes.

If your organization has not had an audit within the last 18 months, you are required to attend the Internal Controls workshop. Internal Controls workshops are offered four times per year. Go to the workshops page.

Needs Assessment

  1. Provide demographic information regarding your core constituency. What are the specific health needs or challenges faced by this population that can be addressed through public policy or systems change advocacy? Please provide citations for research or data source. Please limit your response to 500 words.
  2. Give evidence illustrating community need for your organization’s advocacy work and detail how the community or the state will benefit. If you are successful in your advocacy efforts, how many people in Tennessee could be directly impacted? Please provide citations for research or data source. Please limit your response to 500 words.
  3. Please describe any specific issues you see on the horizon. What challenges or opportunities do you see in the next three years that your agency will be well-positioned to address? Please limit your response to 200 words.

Advocacy Game Plan

  1. FOR CAPACITY BUILDING APPLICANTS ONLY: Please paste the “Expected Outcomes and Deliverables” section from your CNM Consultant Contract. (200-word limit)
  2. *Multi-year applicants: Drawing from your strategic plan, please outline your organization’s health advocacy goals over the next three to five years. What are the strategies you plan to use to achieve each goal? How will you evaluate success? (500-word limit)
  3. Think about your results from the Advocacy Capacity Tool. What core capacities or skills does your agency need to build or maintain in order to meet these goals or address the challenges you anticipate? *Multi-year applicants: Please outline the specific, measurable capacity-building benchmark goals you will use to evaluate progress. (500-word limit)
  4. * Will you need to build new partnerships to achieve your goals? What skills can you rely on other agencies to bring to collaborative work? Who else should be at the table? What are the specific area(s) of strength that your agency contributes in coalition work with other agencies? (250-word limit)
  5. * Will you be able to achieve these benchmarks with existing staff? Will your agency need to hire or reallocate staff time to advocacy work? Please explain. Include a brief biographical sketch for any new proposed program staff. (200-word limit)
  6. Do you anticipate any turnover in your leadership team over the grant term? If so, what is your plan for preparing new leaders to take on advocacy work? (200-word limit)

Financial Information

  1. What is the total amount of support requested from The Trust?
  2. Year 1 Request Amount
  3. *For multi-year applicants only: Year 2 Request Amount
  4. *For multi-year applicants only: Year 3 Request Amount
  5. *Identify additional current sources of funding that can be used to support agency’s advocacy work. Please describe length of funding relationship and likelihood of continued funding. Describe your plan for future sustainability. Please also describe any matching or in-kind support the agency receives for advocacy. (300 word limit)
  6. List the name and title of staff/board member(s) in your agency that are able to access the agency’s secured checks. Describe how the checks are physically secured. List the name/title of staff/board member(s) that enter data (e.g. code checks, etc.) into the agency’s accounting system. Describe the accounting software used by the agency. Please describe how the accounting system data is backed up and how frequently back-ups are made. How are the back-ups secured? (100 word limit)
  7. Please list the name and title of the staff/board member(s) that prepare the monthly bank reconciliations(s). List the staff/board member that receives the monthly bank statements. Please list the individuals that review the bank reconciliation(s). Does the agency process its own payroll or does it use an external vendor? Please list the staff/board member responsible for entering payroll or submitting the payroll information to the outside vendor. Please list the name/title of staff/board member charged with approving time sheets. List the name and title of staff/board member(s) that receive and review monthly payroll reports. Please describe your agency’s process for tracking restricted donations. (250 word limit)
  8. List the name and title of the staff/board member(s) that are authorized to sign checks on behalf of the agency. Please describe how many signatures are required on checks. Please list the name and title of the staff/board member(s) that are responsible for approving invoices for payment. Please describe how frequently the board reviews the agency’s financial statements and other financial reports (payroll, expense listings, etc.). (100 word limit)

Required Attachments

  1. Agency’s 3-year Strategic Plan, approved by the Board of Directors (please highlight advocacy goals and related work)*
  2. Results from Bolder Advocacy Capacity Tool. This free tool can be found at this…
  3. Current Financial Statement (Unaudited Profit and Loss Statement). Please include aggregate year to date data rather than month by month statements.
  4. Current Financial Statement (Unaudited Balance Sheet).
  5. Organization Chart (Please upload your chart as a pdf file).
  6. Letter(s) of Support from current or potential coalition partners
  7. Capacity-building grant applicants will need to upload the Application Budget Form.

Please contact Meredith Benton at (615)284-8271 ext. 116 for questions about Advocacy Grants.

We evaluate Advocacy Grants based on responses to the following questions.

1. Does this agency (*articulate a plan to) advocate for policies that have been demonstrated or reasonably assumed to improve the health of individuals throughout Middle Tennessee?

2. Do the agency’s (*intended) advocacy efforts coincide with the mission and values of The Trust to promote just health policy, respect, and access to care for vulnerable populations?

3. Do the advocacy goals of the organization include systemic changes that address an existing deficiency within the community?

4. Does this agency have clear and realistic advocacy goals in their strategic plan and capacity-building benchmarks in their proposal? *Does this agency articulate a clear commitment to and realistic expectation for engaging in strategic planning for advocacy? Do the deliverables from their CNM contract address the support they need?

5. Are the infrastructure and leadership present for successful execution of the agency’s strategic plan (*to take on systems change advocacy work?)

6. Is the agency well-positioned to address a specific timely policy issue or opportunity for systemic change?

7. Does this agency (*intend to) work collaboratively with community partners to develop and execute advocacy strategies? Do they have a history of collaborative partnerships?

8. Has the agency engaged a broad base of constituents, clients or supporters in their advocacy strategy? (*Do they have a network of clients, members or constituents that they plan to engage?)

9. Does the agency appear to be sustainable and the organization financially viable if The Trust’s funding were to end?

Ready To Start?

Applicants must also meet our general eligibility criteria. You will need your agency’s Tax ID number to begin the application. Please remember to update and save after modifying any of the fields. We also suggest that you save your text in a Microsoft Word document as a backup.

Begin your application or return to a saved application below.


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