What is Empower Polk?

Empower Polk is an annual competitive grant program of the GiveWell Community Foundation with the goal of empowering local nonprofit organizations to become more efficient and sustainable. The GWCF grants committee reviews and advises on awards with final approval by the GWCF board of directors.

Empower Polk began in 2018 with a focus on infrastructure support, helping nonprofits get the additional training, tools, or technology they need to execute their mission. Empower Polk may change areas of focus year to year.

How Can You Support Empower Polk?

Funding for Empower Polk comes from contributions made to the GWCF Grant Committee Unrestricted Fund. Anyone can contribute to this fund, and 100% of all contributions go directly towards Empower Polk grants. GWCF donor-advised fundholders may request a grant from their fund to Empower Polk. Online donations can be made using the link below.

Who Can Apply?

The Empower Polk grant cycle is currently only available by invitation only to nonprofits organizations who have established an agency fund within GiveWell Community Foundation. Invitations to apply have been sent via e-mail to nonprofits who are eligible to apply for Empower Polk funding.


  • Empower Polk 2021 application was open March 1 – 15, 2021.
  • Empower Polk 2021 grant awards will be announced in May 2021. All grant applications are reviewed by the Foundation’s Grants Committee for funding consideration.

How to Apply and Report?


Empower Polk Guidelines

Start by reading the Empower Polk Application Guidelines.


Submit Grant Application

Use the Nonprofit Portal to apply for and report on Empower Polk funding.


Video Tutorial

Learn how to use our Nonprofit Portal to apply for funding.


Project Budget Worksheet

Create a project budget with this Excel worksheet.

Previous EP Grants

Empower Polk 2020

The Empower Polk 2020 grant cycle made capacity building grants ranging from $900 to $5,000 to 29 local nonprofits:

  • A Woman’s Choice – $2,363.18 for upgrades to donor website.
  • Achievement Academy – $3,000 for strategic planning.
  • Alliance for Independence – $4,000 for computer upgrades.
  • Bonnet Springs Park – $4,951 for technology and training.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Polk County – $2,600 for new marketing/outreach materials.
  • Camp Fire U.S.A. Sunshine Council – $3,500 for computer/technology upgrades.
  • Central Florida Speech & Hearing Center – $5,000 for updated electronic medical record software.
  • Circle of Friends Ministry – $2,000 for organizational consulting and marketing upgrades.
  • Cornerstone Hospice Foundation – $3,200 for leadership training for managers.
  • Explorations V Children’s Museum – $5,000 for integration of software systems.
  • Family Literacy Academy at Lake Wales – $3,500 for branding refresh.
  • Girls Inc. of Winter Haven – $1,348 for new donor management software.
  • Gospel Inc. – $2,500 for video marketing campaign.
  • Humane Society of Polk County – $4,544 for computer and software upgrades.
  • Imperial Symphony Orchestra – $2,044 for technology upgrades.
  • InnerAct Alliance – $3,500 for technology and marketing upgrades and board training.
  • Junior League of Greater Lakeland – $924.97 for video projector and screen.
  • kidsPACK – $5,000 for donor software upgrade.
  • Lakeland Choral Society – $2,000 for marketing strategic plan.
  • Lakeland Community Theatre – $3,800 for video projector upgrade.
  • lkldnow.com – $1,600 for staff training.
  • Parker Street Ministries – $3,000 for digital communications and human resources training for staff.
  • Peace River Center – $2,500 for public awareness video campaign.
  • Polk Education Foundation – $2,287 for upgrades to outdoor building signage.
  • SPCA Florida – $4,425 for medical equipment upgrade (autoclave).
  • Talbot House Ministries of Lakeland – $1,371 for volunteer software upgrade.
  • Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE) – $3,500 for computer upgrades.
  • Women’s Resource Center of Florida – $2,500 for board training.
  • YMCA of West Central Florida -$5,000 for medical equipment (defibrillators) and training.
Empower Polk 2019

25 local nonprofits received a total of $101,066.17 in Empower Polk 2019 funding from the Grant Committee Unrestricted Fund within the GiveWell Community Foundation. Each nonprofit received between $1,500 and $5,000.

  • Achievement Academy
  • Alliance for Independence
  • Bonnet Springs Park
  • Central Florida Speech and Hearing Center
  • Circle of Friends Ministry, Inc.
  • Cornerstone Hospice Foundation
  • Family Literacy Academy at Lake Wales
  • Gospel Inc.
  • Imperial Symphony Orchestra
  • Lakeland Choral Society Inc
  • Lakeland Community Theatre, Inc.
  • Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine
  • Learning Resource Center of Polk County
  • Lighthouse Ministries, Inc.
  • Meals on Wheels of Polk County
  • Parker Street Ministries, Inc.
  • Peace River Center
  • Polk Education Foundation
  • SPCA Florida
  • Talbot House Ministries of Lakeland, Inc.
  • Theatre Winter Haven
  • Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE)
  • Women’s Resource Center of Florida, Inc
Empower Polk 2018

25 local nonprofits received a total of $110,699 in Empower Polk 2018 funding from the Grant Committee Unrestricted Fund within the GiveWell Community Foundation. Each nonprofit received between $1,500 and $5,000.

  • All Saints Academy to develop innovative teaching practices.
  • Alliance for Independence for technology improvements.
  • Cornerstone Hospice for community outreach and support.
  • Central FL Speech & Hearing Center for technology improvements.
  • Family Literacy Academy at Lake Wales for marketing and outreach improvements.
  • Florida Dance Theatre for marketing improvements.
  • Gospel, Inc. for video creation.
  • Imperial Symphony Orchestra for strategic planning.
  • Junior Achievement of Polk County for staff training.
  • Lakeland Choral Society Inc for strengthening choral groups and youth choirs.
  • Lakeland Kiwanis Charitable Foundation for leadership training.
  • Lakeland Volunteers In Medicine for marketing and development improvements.
  • Meals on Wheels of Polk County for technology and website improvements.
  • Noah’s Ark of Central Florida for board development and staff training.
  • Parker Street Ministries for marketing and website improvements.
  • Polk Education Foundation for marketing improvements.
  • Santa Fe Catholic High School for technology improvements.
  • The Schools of McKeel Academy for strategic planning.
  • SPCA Florida for bilingual marketing improvements.
  • Strings in Need to provide instruments for students.
  • Talbot House Ministries for board development and strategic planning.
  • Theatre Winter Haven for marketing improvements.
  • Volunteers In Service To the Elderly (VISTE) for technology improvements.
  • Women’s Resource Center for staff training.
  • YMCA of West Central Florida to better secure check-in/out for camp and childcare participants.