Catalyst Grants

Funding for vital and innovative ministries available now

Important: Prior to submitting a grant application, please contact Tisha Brown via email or at (608) 846-7880

Catalyst Grants

Catalyst Grants are all about sparking creativity and innovation in the Wisconsin Conference. Not sure if the idea is going to fly? Why not try it? The Catalyst Team is committed to encouraging experimentation and understands that not every idea will take root. We are hoping to support and encourage the type of learning that comes from failure as well as success.


Catalyst Grants are all about providing funding to ideas that haven’t received seed funding in the past. Ideas that will be considered for funding should be an exploration of one of these key focus areas:

  • Community based ministries,
  • Multi-cultural literacy,
  • Justice work,
  • Emerging new ministry/governance models,
  • Leadership development
  • Spiritual formation.

Catalyst grants are available for ideas within faith communities that transform lives through innovative ministry for the 21st century. The strongest grants will include partnerships with the wider community and will have an impact and a vision that reaches beyond the local congregation to benefit the wider community context to which the congregation is called to respond.

The Catalyst team endeavors to be as generous as possible with the available funds. Typically grants are limited to a maximum of $5,000. Applicants with programs that may need multi-year funding may reapply for up to 3 years, but amounts typically will decline each year as the local program generates support and sustainable funding, if intended as an ongoing program. Future year funding, if needed, will be contingent on completion of annual evaluations and the ability to show learning, growth and development throughout the granting period.


You can see how grants are fueling innovation in Wisconsin churches at this link.

Catalyst Grant Covenants

Catalyst grant recipients agree to the following covenants:

Engaging with a coach

The Catalyst team provides a trained coach to each grant recipient free of charge for the duration of the grant period. The coach is a supportive resource whose primary purpose is to support you in meeting the goals and vision of your grant project. The coach will check in at the beginning of the granting period and quarterly. Feel free to reach out at other times as needed.

Telling the story

Telling your story is very important to help the learning network in our conference grow. All grant recipients are encouraged to find as many ways as possible to share the story of their project far and wide. You never know when your story might spark an idea somewhere else that can grow into a new ministry or effort to touch lives.

We want to hear stories of great success and also stories of failure and learning. Both are valuable. When considering where to tell your story don’t forget about your local newspaper or the neighborhood newsletter or other community publications in your community. Please send your stories and information about any publicity you might receive to Tisha Brown. Where appropriate, the stories the Catalyst team receives will be shared in the Conference and Association newsletters, on Facebook and possibly with the national setting of the UCC.

How will you tell your story? (jot down a few ideas and share these with your coach)

Promoting Catalyst grants through your project

Please include some or all of this information whenever speaking to your congregation or community about your project.

“This {project/program/etc.} has been funded in part by a Catalyst Grant from the Wisconsin Conference, UCC.” If you have more space to say more add this: Catalyst Grants are enthusiastically and generously supported by the people of the Wisconsin Conference, UCC through our giving to Our Churches Wider Mission (OCWM). And/or this: Catalyst Grant funding is provided through the Catalyst team of the Wisconsin Conference and is an example of our OCWM dollars at work.

Evaluating the project

In order for the Catalyst grant program to support the conference mission of equipping leaders and congregations to transform lives through innovative ministry for the 21st century, we must be harvesting best practices and learning from the projects we support. Throughout the granting period recipients will be asked to provide periodic updates to their coaches who will in turn share those updates with the Catalyst team.

At the end of the project, if appropriate, we’d love to see deliverables that can be shared with the rest of the conference in the form of a curriculum, study guide, how to manual or case study.

At the completion of your granting term you will be asked to complete a final evaluation report. A copy of that report is provided to you now so that you can plan accordingly for reporting on your project. You can also download the report guidelines from the conference website.

You are expected to complete this report within three months of the end of the grant period. Requests for further funding will be dependent in part on successful completion of a project evaluation.

Ongoing Support

All grant recipients will be matched with a member of the Catalyst Team who will check in with them periodically for idea sharing and support. Studies have shown that a project that is provided with ongoing support is 80 percent more successful.

Grant Application

Successful Catalyst Grant Recipients will contact Tisha Brown to set up a grant consultation prior to completing a grant application. During this conversation you will be asked to share your idea and will explore questions designed to support you in honing your idea and preparing your grant application. The application itself is an online form that has been designed to be easy to get through that shouldn’t take too long to complete once your ideas are formed.

Prior to your grant consultation you should be able to speak to the following:
  • What is the problem you hope to address and how will your solution address that problem?
  • What are the social, spiritual or communal impacts you hope to have through your project?
  • With whom are you partnering in the wider community?
  • How does this project or idea align with your congregation’s mission
  • What is your vision of the future – where will this project be in 3 to 5 years?
  • What’s your budget and what will these funds be used for?

The Catalyst Grant Application is found HERE.

Application Deadline

Catalyst will accept requests in the Spring and Fall of each year. Applications received prior to March 31st will be considered by the Catalyst Team at its May meeting. Applications received by September 30th will be considered at the November meeting. Grants are awarded based on the merits of the program and availability of funds. Requests should typically be less than 50% of program costs.

For questions, and prior to filling out a grant application, contact Tisha Brown: via email or at (608) 846-7880


Grant application

Prior to filling out a grant application, please contact Tisha Brown via email or at (608) 846-7880.

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(608) 846-7880