The Cortland County Bright Ideas grants program offers nonprofits serving Cortland County the opportunity to apply for a $5,000 grant to support their missions. Applicants are invited to submit their best and brightest idea for enhancing their organization and better serving the community.

  • 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, publicly supported organizations such as schools and municipalities, and organizations using a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor
  • Organizations serving residents of Cortland County
  • A completed grant evaluation must be completed for prior grant recipients in order to be eligible to apply again.

What would your organization do with an extra $5,000 this year?

Every nonprofit has needs that go unfulfilled, sometimes year after year. Maybe you have an idea for a new project, persistent capital need, or enhancement that your organization would make if only the funds were available. If your organization has a need, any need, this grant opportunity might be for you!

  • The Cortland Bright Idea’s annual grant application deadline typically falls within mid-February each year. Notifications on funding decisions occur in late-March.
    • 2023 Deadline: February 21, 2023
  • Each organization is eligible to submit one online application.
  • Grant requests should not exceed $5,000.
  • All grant applications must be submitted through our online form.
Apply Here

If your nonprofit has received a Cortland Bright Ideas grant, we request that you submit a final report. These reports assist us in assessing our grantmaking efforts.

Submit A Report

The Community Foundation can only pay grants to registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations (including churches) or to a public entity such as a town, public school or state agency. All others will need to use a fiscal sponsor.

Learn More

The Fenstermacher Fund, administered by the Community Foundation, serves as a catalyst for the Bright Ideas program. Ted Fenstermacher was a prominent attorney who served as a chief prosecutor in the Nuremberg war crimes trials following World War II. The Fenstermacher Fund, established through his bequest in 2001, has supported the general needs of the community for more than 15 years, largely through the funding of a lecture series, prior to the launch of Bright Ideas. In addition to the Fenstermacher Fund, Cortland Bright Ideas is supported through the generosity of local residents. The selection committee is comprised of the organizations and individuals who contributed that year.

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