Aside from initiatives involving technology and the Awards of Achievement, the Foundation continues a special focus on agencies serving Nashville’s most vulnerable populations. In addition, the Foundation works to enhance Nashville’s unique community assets and to help agencies develop new streams of earned revenue.

In general, support will go to organizations with strong track records of service to significant numbers of individuals. Grantees must be tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and not private foundations as described in Section 509(a).

In addition, the Foundation makes a limited number of grants to other Nashville-based organizations to strengthen agency infrastructure and for management consulting as described below.

In general, the Foundation does not make grants for operating expenses or programs. Exceptions may be made if support is needed as part of a realistic plan to achieve operational stability that is not dependent on short-term grants. Emergency operating support will be granted only if an agency has a compelling long-term plan to achieve financial stability. Otherwise, grants generally will fall into the following categories:

Strengthening Agency Infrastructure

Grants generally focus on capital needs – projects typically aimed at expanding capacity to serve clients. Capital requests will be considered only if an agency’s basic operating budget is on solid footing. In addition, the Foundation will pay special attention to grants that promise to strengthen earned revenue streams. In general, it’s a good idea to discuss the needs with the Foundation staff before submitting a grant.


Management grants typically cover consulting expenses. They may include, but are not limited to: strategic planning, board development, market studies, human resource management, financial management, development of strategies for fundraising or revenue generation, and expenses directly associated with administrative collaborations or mergers. In some cases, the Foundation may seek to partner with other funders to support projects that require a larger scale.


For legal reasons, the Foundation does not support individuals or their projects, private foundations, political activities, or advertising. As a matter of policy, the Foundation does not ordinarily support:

  • Recurring expenses for operations, programs or salaries, except as described earlier.
  • Projects, programs or organizations that serve a limited audience or a relatively small number of people.
  • Endowments or scholarships.
  • Social or fundraising events.
  • Biomedical or clinical research.
  • Schools below the college level, except for projects intended to serve the broader community.
  • Hospitals or nursing homes.
  • Organizations whose principal impact is outside of Middle Tennessee.
  • Religious organizations for religious purposes.

Proposals are accepted throughout the year. Before submitting a formal application, organizations should make contact by phone or email. Applications may be submitted by letter or through the website. If you apply by mail, the letter should describe the organization and its record of accomplishment, the objectives of the grant, the amount sought from the Foundation in relation to the total need, exactly how the Foundation funds would be used, and the proposed method to evaluate the program’s success. Only one copy is needed.

Did you know?

The foundation's Awards of Achievement are the centerpiece of the largest nonprofit awards ceremony in the nation.

When the Country Music Hall of Fame wanted to move downtown from Music Row, The Frist Foundation stepped in with a $1 million grant.

The Nashville Public Education Foundation was launched in The Frist Foundation boardroom.