Prioritizing Equity and Innovation in Our Grants

The Grant Process

Our grants catalyze change, address pressing social issues, and strengthen marginalized communities. They provide a profound opportunity for parishes and their nonprofit. However, the grant evaluation process can feel daunting, especially to those who have never completed a Letter of Intent (LOI). We prioritize a few key criteria when we evaluate applications: applicants who would be first-time recipients, applications for underrepresented impact areas, projects and organizations that are equity-oriented, and applications with forethought on measured impact.

New Grantees vs. Returning Grantees

The parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta represent 117 diverse communities. ECF strives to be equitable in the distribution of our funds. We prioritize grants in communities that have not received funding recently. Established recipients are encouraged to re-apply and have undoubtedly contributed valuable work to their communities. However, we also believe in the power of supporting initiatives with as many of our parishes as we can.

Underrepresented Impact Areas

ECF specifically seeks to fund efforts around 6 key areas. These are: hunger, homelessness, generational poverty, refugees and immigrants, human trafficking victims, and people impacted by the criminal justice system. These areas are not all equally represented throughout the outreach efforts of our parishes and their nonprofit partners. ECF receives many applications in the areas of hunger, homelessness, and generational poverty. However, applications which address refugees and immigrants, human trafficking victims, and people impacted by the criminal justice system are less frequent. Because of this, applications in these impact areas are often prioritized in our grant making decisions. By deliberately seeking out proposals that tackle these underrepresented areas, we strive to broaden the scope of our impact to address systemic injustices that disproportionately affect marginalized communities.


Equity is a core value of our grant evaluation process. Applicants who have demonstrated a thoughtful and intentional approach to analyzing their equitable impact will be prioritized in our decision-making. Applications should demonstrate a careful examination on how clientele are impacted by the proposed project. Applicants should prioritize finding ways for clients to have input into the services they receive. They should also participate in program design, and provide feedback which is used in future decision making. We seek to support initiatives that show forethought as to how they can dismantle the “us/them” mentality and instead champion equitable practices of solidarity.

Measured Impact

A core way that we can both evaluate the success of a grant and iterate on lessons learned, is to clearly define and measure what success looks like. While outcomes may vary across different projects and contexts, we encourage applicants to articulate their project’s clear goals, evaluation methods, and evidence-based practices around impact. What is measured can be managed. And by fostering a culture of data-driven decision-making, we seek to empower applicants to assess the impact of their work, adapt strategies as needed, and share lessons learned with the broader ECF community.

The grant evaluation process is not merely about selecting recipients. It is about fostering a community and network of support around the Church’s call to love like Jesus. Through intentional evaluations and criteria, we can amplify applicants’ impact. We can cultivate sustainable change, and focus on our God-given work that should be consequential to our world. As we embark on this work together, we invite applicants to give it a try—to step forward with bold ideas, transformative visions, and unwavering commitment to social change.

Interested in applying for ECF funding? Have questions about our funding priorities? Please contact us – we are happy to talk with you about your application and how we might partner together to create lasting change!

The Rev. Trey B. Phillips (he/him) serves as an At-Large Member of the ECF Board of Directors and is the curate and Director of Youth Ministries at St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church (Marietta). There his work focuses upon the Christian formation of the youth and wider parish. Trey's passion is to reinvigorate the local parish as a center for deep theological learning by employing the rich intersection of human learning sciences and religious education. Trey grew up in Alabama and lived in Indiana and South Carolina before he and his spouse, Annie, moved to Atlanta in 2017. Annie is currently a pre-K teacher at College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center in Decatur, GA. They enjoy going to the movies, traveling, and practicing hospitality—usually through board games and cookies! Learn more about the ECF Board of Directors.

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