Catalyst Grants

Funding for vital and innovative ministries available now

Important: Prior to submitting a grant application, please contact Mary Kuenning Gross via email or at (262) 271-8990.

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.

We are seeking opportunities to support initiatives in congregations that:

  • Transform lives through community-based initiatives (how might you partner with others in your community to meet your community’s needs?)
  • Stretch or deepen a congregation’s commitment to working for justice (how might you go beyond study to act on a justice issue of importance in your local community?
  • Expand a congregation’s ideas about what constitutes ministry, who their members are and what their role is in their local community (What steps are you taking or would you like to take to reimagine church?)


Catalyst grants are available for ideas within faith communities that transform lives through innovative ministry for the 21st century. The strongest grants will include collaboration 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:

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 Mary Kuenning Gross. 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!)

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 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.

Grant Application

Please contact Mary Kuenning Gross 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 must be completed in one sitting. Download this document to help you prepare to answer those questions. When you are ready to submit your application, here is the link to the online form.

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, contact Mary Kuenning Gross: via email or at (262) 271-8990.

Prior to filling out a grant application, please contact Mary Kuenning Gross via email or at (262) 271-8990.

Download this document to help you prepare to complete your Catalyst Grant Application

Click this link to the grant application form when you are ready to submit your application

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