'A Community Thrives': Gannett Foundation calls for applications in national, local crowdfunding and grant program

Brianna Childers / Topeka Capital-Journal

The pandemic has created financial challenges for many nonprofits and municipal organizations aimed at helping their communities.  

Groups can get a helping hand by applying to the 2021 A Community Thrives program, a $2.3 million initiative of the Gannett Foundation. The program is sponsored by Gannett — the parent company of The Morning Sun and USA TODAY Network — and is marking its fifth year supporting groups that address social issues.  

Starting June 1, Kansas organizations can apply to raise money for a specific project. They’ll first raise money on their own through crowdfunding campaigns, then they'll be eligible for one of 15 national grants of up to $100,000. Separate incentives aimed at rewarding high-fundraising projects will be offered. 

"We have reported on the challenges our nonprofit organizations across Kansas faced because of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Tomari Quinn, Kansas state editor. "It affected their fundraising abilities, stretched resources to a breaking point and all during a time when it was difficult to have people in the office because of the health crisis. 

"We hope and believe this fundraising opportunity and grant funding from the Gannett Foundation will help our Kansas nonprofit organizations recover and continue to provide much-needed services in our communities." 

Projects will be eligible for hundreds of community operating grants starting at $2,500, chosen by leaders across Gannett's USA TODAY Network of more than 250 news sites in 46 states. Organizations that focus on building up historically under-resourced and underserved groups will be specially considered. 

“A Community Thrives is an opportunity for Gannett to raise up local ideas and community needs by providing nonprofit organizations with visibility, grants and exposure to new donors through the unique power of the USA TODAY and USA TODAY Network platforms,” said Sue Madden, director of the Gannett Foundation. 

Why raise money for local communities?  

Journalists in the USA TODAY Network tell local stories and regularly hear amazing ideas to improve American communities — which helped inspire the creation of A Community Thrives. 

Central to A Community Thrives, and Gannett Foundation, is this elevation of local nonprofit groups and communities, Gannett CEO Mike Reed said. 

“Our driving mission is to empower our communities. It’s at the core of what we do,” Reed said. “The strength of our network gives us the ability to support local efforts across the country, particularly underserved groups.” 

Since 2017, A Community Thrives has distributed $12 million in grants and donations to community-based organizations across the USA. 

This year, organizations can apply from June 1 to 30 at acommunitythrives.mightycause.com. Recipients will be announced Sept. 30. 

Those who want to participate but don't have a project can donate July 19 to Aug. 13. Organizations and their projects will be posted to the site on those dates, and people can donate to one or multiple nonprofit groups by searching their location or a mission category. 

To learn about all the 2020 A Community Thrives grant recipients, go to act.usatoday.com. 

Contributing: Joel Shannon and Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, Jonathan Riley, the Morning Sun.