Congregation Outreach

How to Apply for a Regular or Planning Grant

Successful grant applicants will need to demonstrate how their request addresses one or more of the Foundation’s Impact Areas in this funding focus area. Please click here to read important information regarding our interests and goals for funding in this area. Also review the User’s Guide which provides more detailed instructions and examples for accurately completing the Grant Application.


Any Christian congregation in the St. Louis region is eligible to apply for a regular grant.  Interested applicants must be recognized by and in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) organization. Organizations that were created by one or more congregations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Lutheran Foundation staff to discuss further. Collaborative efforts, which are strongly encouraged, should include the tax-exempt letter of the lead agency (which must be a congregation). The geographic area supported by the Foundation is identified in our Core Values.


Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) congregations are eligible to receive in-depth consultation from Send Me St. Louis for their planning needs. All other congregations in need of such planning assistance should submit an application to the Foundation for a planning grant (up to $5,000); applications are accepted at any time of the year.

Funding Parameters

  • The Foundation is interested in supporting new social service outreach ministry efforts. Consideration will be given for expanded programs as long as the request is accretive and Foundation support would not supplant funding for existing services. The Foundation will consider requests to support existing activities, but will not give these priority, even if the program will discontinue if the Foundation does not provide funding.
  • Priority will be given to Lutheran congregations; proposals from other Christian faiths will also be considered.  Non-profit organizations created by and which have active involvement by a congregation may be eligible for funding; please contact Lutheran Foundation staff for additional consultation.
  • Preference will be given to requests that demonstrate collaboration between the requesting congregation and other churches and/or nonprofit organizations.
  • Congregations can initially request funding for a ministry effort for one year. If the project is successful, an additional request for the same project can be submitted for funding for up to two additional years; continued funding is not guaranteed. The congregation should be prepared to assume the funding or enlist other support to continue a program after the grant expires.
  • Grants will not be awarded for normal operating expenses, routine maintenance needs, contributions to other organizations, or endowment funds. In general, requests for capital improvements will not be considered unless directly associated with the proposed social service outreach ministry activity.
  • Receipt of a grant in this funding focus area does not disqualify the congregation from applying for or receiving other grants from the Foundation. However, each congregation can have no more than two active Social Service Outreach Ministry Grants.
  • Creativity in developing proposals for novel or experimental approaches to social service outreach ministry is encouraged, even if this means the prospects for a “successful” program are less certain.
  • Programs that contain a significant amount of volunteer lay involvement will receive special consideration.
  • The congregation must demonstrate a commitment to the proposed program through financial support and/or volunteer involvement.
  • At least 50 percent of program participants/service recipients should be non-members of the congregation.
  • Preference will be given to efforts that serve people in underserved communities.


All organizations funded in this funding focus area will be required to attend at least two trainings annually through Send Me St. Louis.  Click here to learn more about available trainings.

Further, Lutheran Foundation has developed specific requirements for the formatting of outcome statements, the types of outcome statements that programs monitor, and how outcome data is tracked and reported.  Click here for more information.


Examples of Possible Ministry Projects

  • English as a second language
  • Citizenship classes
  • After-school mentoring/tutoring
  • Job training for ex-offenders
  • Food pantry/clothing closet
  • Health fairs
  • Fitness/healthy living programs
  • Health screenings
  • Substance abuse services
  • Services for pregnant and teen moms
  • Meals on wheels
  • Adult mentoring
  • Outreach to the homeless (food, shelter, clothing)
  • Recreation activities for underserved youth
  • Social activities for seniors
  • Exercise programs for seniors
  • Community computer room/classes
  • Community revitalization


Examples of Ineligible Funding Requests

  • Vacation Bible School
  • Sunday school activities
  • Confirmation classes
  • Youth groups
  • Bible studies, unless it is a component of a larger outreach effort
  • Playgrounds
  • Homebound visits for Word and Sacrament
  • Evangelism programs
  • Capital repairs/church renovations
  • Vans
  • School ministries


In general, Lutheran Foundation does not provide funds to purchase food for a food pantry or assist in paying for clients' housing or utility bills.  Further, the Foundation typically does not fund the purchase of building supplies/equipment, unless the project is new and supplies/equipment are needed to help launch the program.

Application Process

All interested congregations or organizations must submit a Grant Application by the stated deadlines in order to be considered for funding. The Foundation strongly encourages applicants to meet with staff prior to submission of a funding request to explore opportunities for funding. Lutheran Foundation’s Board of Directors makes funding decisions on all applications. Grant Applications may be submitted anytime during the year; however, applications will only be reviewed two times per year as noted below.



Application Deadlines Board Decision Dates
December 1 February 28
June 1 August 31


When the application deadline falls on a weekend, the deadline is extended to the following Monday. Proposals must be received by the Foundation (not post-marked) by the stated deadline. In fairness to all, the Foundation does not extend deadlines for any reason.

Please note that non-LCMS congregations seeking a planning grant (up to $5,000) can submit a request at any time during the year. Decisions are made on an on-going basis and are not subject to the above deadlines/decision dates.